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Ocsa Nature Reserve

Ocsa Nature Reserve

Located about 10 kms south of Budapest, the Ocsa Nature Reserve is a unique natural area but most of it is restricted access to protect the habitat and wildlife. Were it not protected it would be overrun with joggers, dog walkers, mountain bikers, photographers, picnickers and dirt bikers. On this day we had permission to enter and had three corncrakes calling in the middle of the day in this meadow.

Tétény Plateau

Tétény Plateau

In the extreme SW corner of Budapest, surrounded by suburban sprawl on all sides, is a 300 hectare patch of hawthorn scrub and grassland known as Tétény fennsík (plateau). A great oasis for breeding and migratory songbirds.

Hungarian Plain

Hungarian Plain

Covering most of the south and east of the country, the Great Hungarian Plain is huge and flat as a pancake because it used to be the bottom of the Pannonian Sea which dried up in the Pleistocene Epoch. Can’t lay down in the grass like this during the spring and summer because of the ticks.

Kégl Palace

Kégl Palace

Purchasing the property near Székesfehérvár in 1873, Hungarian Member of Parliament György Kégl then built this magnificent neo-renaissance estate house between 1876 and 1878. It survived two world wars, but is now abandoned and decaying. It has a great look for a haunted house! :D

Rácalmás Island Nature Reserve

Rácalmás Island Nature Reserve

A large forested island in the Danube River about 60 km due south of Budapest, the reserve is an oasis for birds. Tawny Owls, Black Kites, Red Kites, Honey Buzzards, Woodcocks, flycatchers, tits and warblers can be found here along with six species of woodpecker and lots of wild boar.

Water Buffalo

Water Buffalo

Bubalus bubalis ■ A familiar site on the Hungarian puszta, water buffalo have been bred in the Carpathian Basin since at least the 16th century. The Hungarian herd dropped off sharply after World War II, but in recent decades has been making a strong comeback. The high fat milk is used for making cheeses such as mozzarella and feta, and it is also used for meat.

Pickup truck

Pickup truck

When I was out for a drive in the countryside, I saw this great, home-built pickup truck. Who needs an F Series when you have this kind of innovation? Gotta love the gravity feed fuel system. :D

Grey Cattle

Grey Cattle

Bos taurus hungaricus ■ This ancient, hardy breed of beef cattle is indigenous to Hungary and is a classic symbol of the country. They are very large animals with males like this bull weighing up to 900 kg (almost 2,000 lbs).

Kiskunság National Park

Kiskunság National Park

Mikla-puszta in the southern part of Kiskunság National Park. Great spot for open country raptors.

Kardoskut

Kardoskut

Derelict farm building near the village of Kardoskut in southern Hungary, not far from the Romanian border.

Budaörs

Budaörs

View of the Budapest suburb of Budaörs from the top of Odvashegy.

Ocsa Nature Reserve

Ocsa Nature Reserve

Searching for one of Hungary’s rarer butterflies, the False Ringlet (Coenonympha oedippus), at the Ocsa Nature Reserve southwest of Budapest.

Hortobágy National Park

Hortobágy National Park

Although we were unsuccessful this day in our efforts to re-locate Hungary’s first ever Bonaparte’s Gull, it was still a great day to be out in the field. The quest is as much fun as the finding.

Cziráky Estate

Cziráky Estate

Lovasberény, Hungary ■ Acquired by Count Józef Cziráky in 1730, the buildings underwent extensive rebuiding and renovation during the 18th century, and acquired the present form around 1810. Although severely dilapidated inside and out, one can get a real sense of the splendour and wealth of the Hungarian nobility at the height of the Hapsburg Empire.

Balaton sunset

Balaton sunset

Spectacular sunset over Lake Balaton.

Stand your ground

Stand your ground

Böddi-szék, Kiskunság National Park, Hungary. ■ Likely protecting his pregnant wife down the road, this donkey wouldn’t budge.

Hortobágy National Park

Hortobágy National Park

Searching for Aquatic Warblers (Acrocephalus paludicola) ■ At 82,000 hectares (203,000 acres), Hortobágy National Park, in the eastern part of Hungary, is one of the largest contiguous chunks of grassland and wetland in Europe.

Kiskunság National Park

Kiskunság National Park

One of my favorite birding areas in Hungary - the northernmost section of Kiskunság National Park known as Apajpuszta, about 50 km due south of Budapest on the flood plain between the Danube and Tisza rivers.

Badacsony

Badacsony

Beautiful Badacsony, on the north side of Lake Balaton.

Buda Castle at night

Buda Castle at night

A Unesco World Heritage Site, the Royal Palace complex atop Castle Hill on the west bank of the Danube River has been the residence of Hungarian kings, emperors and regents since the first structure was completed on this site by King Béla IV in 1265. The building now houses the National Art Gallery, the National Library, and the Budapest History Museum.

Vanishing point

Vanishing point

Kiskunság National Park near Szabadszállás, Hungary.

Rush Hour

Rush Hour

Traffic jam on the puszta, Kiskunság National Park.

This old house

This old house

Derelict house at Lake Velence, Hungary.

Mute Swans

Mute Swans

Adult and juvenile Mute Swans toughing out a cold snap on frozen Lake Balaton.

Estergom Basillica

Estergom Basillica

Officially known as the Cathedral and Primatial Basillica of the Blessed Virgin Mary Assumed into Heaven and Saint Adalbert, this impressive building on a bluff overlooking the Danube River is the largest church in Hungary and 18th largest in the world. Construction was started in 1822, and completed in 1869.

Rácalmás Island Nature Reserve

Rácalmás Island Nature Reserve

Riparian forest along the Danube and Tisza Rivers provide vital migration corridors for songbirds. This is a branch of the Danube at Rácalmás.

Museum of Ethnography

Museum of Ethnography

The largest repository of traditional Hungarian folk cultural artifacts and material in the world is at this museum on downtown Budapest’s Kossuth Lájos Square.

Pest

Pest

Budapest used to be two cities - Buda on the west bank of the Danube River, and Pest on the east. This is a view of downtown Pest from the observation deck at Saint Stephen’s Basillica.

Hungarian Parliament

Hungarian Parliament

Hungary’s magnificent neo-gothic parliament building. 40 million bricks and 40 kg of gold was used in its construction, which was completed in 1904 after 19 years of work. It contains 691 rooms, and houses the most sacred symbol of Hungarian nationhood - the Crown of St. Stephen.

Museum of Terror

Museum of Terror

This popular museum on Andrássy St. in downtown Budapest chronicles Hungary’s tortured history from the Nazi occupation in the spring of 1944 through the Communist regime which fell in 1989.

Xántus János

Xántus János

Bust on Budapest’s Markó Street of Hungarian Army officer and noted Baja, California naturalist John Xantus. The Xantus Hummingbird is named after him, as well as a fish, a crab, a lizard and several plants.

Votive Church

Votive Church

Of the 30 or so churches in the southern Hungarian university city of Szeged, there is none larger or more spectacular than the Roman Catholic Votive Church and Cathedral of Our Lady of Hungary. The twin towers are 91 meters (299 ft) high, and the largest of the building’s five bells weighs a whopping 8,537 kilos (18,820 lbs).

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