TRAVELLING NATURALIST TRIP REPORT
21st - 28th April 2001
with help from:
Peter Vrlik & Pavol Majko
Saturday 21st April: Arrival
With over an hour's delay at Heathrow due to pressure of other air traffic, we arrived at Budapest just 40 minutes behind schedule. We met up with Katka and Milan, our guide and driver respectively for the week, and embarked on the drive north into Slovakia. Delays at the border and intermittent fog slowed our journey. Arrival later than expected at the hotel in time for a late dinner.
Sunday 22nd April: Chocské Hills
It rained more or less continuously during the morning, but even so our guides for the day, Peter and Pavol, took us straight to a Black Woodpecker's nest where we had excellent views of the pair. There were also Ring Ouzels, Crested Tits, Crossbill and the very grey local race of Coal Tit in the area. We then moved on to a Golden Eagle's nest on a crag, just a kilometre from a small village. The rain kept on coming so we didn't actually see the eagle on the nest - it kept its head down! We ate our picnic lunch in the bus and then retraced our path, heading for a large area of grazing land. The clouds lifted and we dried out as we walked out across the grassland. Several Common Buzzards soared overhead; then a Hobby came across. A nice male Whinchat was sitting on the top of a small tree, with Black Redstart and Grey Wagtail feeding around the small stream at its base. Then a superb Lesser Spotted Eagle appeared, carrying what seemed to be a frog. It flew across, heading for its nest in the nearby conifer plantation. We watched it for some time, both in the air and walking around on the ground, searching for further prey. Two large nests on poles alongside the road were both occupied by White Storks. We made a stop at a small hotel in town for coffee, then headed for our rendezvous with the bears. We split the group into two parts, each going to a different hide over-looking baited areas in clearings in the forest. One group was unsuccessful but did find droppings, paw prints and a well-scratched tree, together with excellent views of a Hoopoe, quite a rare bird for the mountains. The other group however had excellent views of a Red Deer stag followed by three Brown Bears, at about 50 metres distant! Back to the hotel for a late dinner.
Monday 23rd April: High Tatras mountains
Marián met us at the hotel after breakfast and we drove up to the High Tatras. Visibility was variable, often poor in the low cloud, but even so, a Buzzard flew over, a pair of Willow Tits was feeding small young in their nest beside the trail and we found droppings and prints in the snow of Capercaillie. Returning to the vehicle parked on the road, a Lesser Spotted Eagle flew over, followed by three White Storks. A brief walk along a second trail yielded footprints of Lynx, Fox, Badger, Bear and one of the Marten species. Returning down the road in the bus, we found a lone Black Stork resting in a field. Everyone had excellent views of this bird through the telescope. We then walked out over one of Slovakia's remaining peat bogs, finding a nice Great Grey Shrike and yet another pair of Lesser Spotted Eagles. The cloud lifted and this prompted us to try the ski lift up the mountain. By the time we got there, the cloud was down again giving virtually nil visibility. A male Alpine Accentor did show well near to the terminal building, even coming in for breadcrumbs. Because the cloud didn't lift again, we only stayed there an hour and came back down for a late lunch. Clouds came and went, the sun even showed itself - how fickle mountain weather is! A brief ramble up a forest ride provided us with a second pair of Black Woodpeckers and further Crested Tits. We then returned to the hotel for a brief rest before returning again to the bear hides. Some who were successful yesterday decided to opt out, but the rest of us swapped hides and again, some saw the Hoopoe but no bears and the others were successful with bears - this time a mother and half-grown youngster came in to the honey and corn put down as bait. Again, a distance of only 50 metres or so! An excellent end to our stay in the Tatras National Park.
Tuesday 24th April: East to Zemplinska Sirava
It was raining and overcast for our journey eastwards. First stop was near Spisské to view a small colony of European Sousliks near a cafe-restaurant. Whilst there, good numbers of Wood Warblers were feeding in the Silver Birch trees - some very low enabling excellent views of the finer plumage details. A little further on and we took a photo-stop for Spišský hrad, said to be the largest castle in Europe and dating from the 13th Century. The weather was really closing in now, with rain lashing down and wind buffeting the vehicle. Several attempts to find a suitable coffee stop were eventually rewarded and, after a brief break in the late morning, we carried on to Michalovce to meet up with Štefan at the museum. The weather was really too bad for any birding so we decided to check in at our hotel and have our picnic lunches in the dry. On the way, we stopped at a quarry on the shore of Zemplinska Sirava lake to view an Eagle Owl sitting tight on its nest. After lunch, we returned to the museum to viewed the excellent bird and mammal exhibits, which had all been prepared by Štefan himself. By 4 pm, the rain had stopped and the clouds lifted so we walked around the wooded parkland behind the museum, finding Great Spotted, Middle Spotted and Syrian Woodpeckers, superb views of Serin and Nightingale and a nice Red Squirrel. A Nuthatch was also watched going into a nest-hole in the wall of a building. Returning via the quarry to search for Rock Bunting (which we only heard and never saw!) we did see various Great Crested Grebes on the lake together with a male Goosander and a superb breeding-plumaged Black-throated Diver. Back to the hotel in good time for dinner.
Wednesday 25th April: Senne Fishponds & area
The weather was much improved on yesterday! The clouds dissipated as the day progressed until by the afternoon, it was positively hot. What a change! A pre-breakfast walk by two of us produced three Little Ringed Plovers, a few Tree Sparrows and at least four singing Nightingales around the hotel itself. After breakfast, we again picked up Štefan from the museum and headed for a morning's birding at the Senne Fishponds. With over 700 hectares of ponds and wetland habitat, we could have spent several days here alone! Excellent viewing conditions gave us super views of most bird species - including Whiskered, White-winged and Black Terns in full breeding plumage, good numbers of breeding Black-necked Grebes, Marsh Harriers patrolled the whole area and Purple Herons appeared regularly. Large numbers of Ruff were swelled by Black-tailed Godwits, and there were some nice Garganey amongst the Tufted Ducks and Pochard. Black-headed Gulls were just settling down to breed and we watched a certain amount of thievery from unattended nests. Distant Night Herons and Spoonbills were visible from the tower. We also eventually had excellent views of singing Savi's Warbler. A stop for several Little Gulls feeding amongst large numbers of Black-headed Gulls also enabled us to pick up two small parties of Common Cranes overhead. After our picnic lunch, we travelled to a hornbeam wood near Úbrez, on the east side of the Zemplín lake. Here, much to everyone's delight, we found three recently fledged Ural Owls with one of the adults keeping guard. Back then to the west of Michalovce where a female Saker Falcon was observed sitting on one of the large pylons crossing the fields. Then south to Trebišov where we could see the nest of an Imperial Eagle, but unfortunately no sign of the birds themselves. Back in time for dinner.
Thursday 26th April: Zemplin Hills & Tokaj region
Today we headed south from Michalovce, picking up Milos, our guide for the day. En route, we surprised a superb Imperial Eagle from a roadside shrub - more practice needed getting quickly out of the bus! Arriving at Milos' home, he immediately pointed out a Syrian Woodpecker excavating a nest-hole in a nearby Pine tree, and then a Long-eared Owl roosting quietly in the conifer in his front garden. He then took us south to within sight of the Hungarian border. Stopping first of all to view over some fields towards a distant Short-toed Eagle breeding site. Various Buzzards were seen along the far ridge, then a Short-toed Eagle cruised along the tree-line and, just as we had boarded the bus, a Goshawk appeared. Near Vinicky, we visited an old quarry with an Eagle Owl, or at least its 'ears' and the top of its head, visible on its nest. Turtle Doves and Wood Larks were nice additions to our list. Then a pair of Short-toed Eagles appeared over a nearby slope enabling everyone to obtain really excellent views. Butterflies here included both Common and Scarce Swallowtails, Eastern Festoon and Mallow Skipper. We then adjourned for wine tasting at the local Tokaj winery before moving on to a sandy ridge for our picnic lunch amongst the vines. Milos' first Red-backed Shrikes of the year were seen, together with Tawny Pipit, Corn Bunting and Wrynecks were heard calling but only seen briefly by Milos & Keith. Butterflies abounded in the warm sunshine, including Wood Whites, Small Copper, an unidentified Fritillary (probably Glanville or Knapweed) and three species of Blue. Two final stops were to view a mixed heronry near Svinice (Grey, Purple & Night Herons and Great White & Little Egrets) and a lake near Backa for Red-necked Grebe and Great Reed Warbler. Dropping Milos back at his home, we then travelled west to Medzev, arriving at the hotel in time for dinner.
Friday 27th April: Slovensky kras, west of Moldava
Another bright day encouraged several of us out for a pre-breakfast walk around the hotel. Hawfinches and a Goshawk were notable. After breakfast, we picked up Štefan from Moldava and explored the limestone area, the Slovenský kras, to the west. At Drienovec, we found Wryneck and Eurasian Treecreeper, and although we heard Collared Flycatcher briefly, we could not see it. A Hoopoe was a surprise find here, and we also noted Grizzled and Dingy Skippers. A brief stop under Turniansky hrad, the castle ruins towering above us, we found a further colony of European Sousliks. A couple of hours or so walking up the Zadial gorge was most enjoyable, Marsh Tit and a female Collared Flycatcher were seen, and various Dippers were surprisingly confiding. Several Camberwell Beauty butterflies were on the wing. On our return, we ate lunch at the picnic tables and had Goshawk and two Black Storks overhead. Finally, we spent the rest of the afternoon exploring a quarry. An Eagle Owl on its nest, the third this week, prompted a great discussion! Barred Warbler just went round and round us, from thicket to thicket, never really showing itself except briefly in flight, and a male Rock Bunting, calling quietly nearby, suddenly took flight and disappeared before we could get on to it!
After dinner, on the edge of the small lake just outside the hotel, Milos demonstrated his bat-detector for us. We quickly detected a Daubenton's Bat hawking low over the water and managed to spot-light it in the torch beam. A Serotine Bat was heard briefly but we could not see this, and then a Pipistrelle was found low under the woodland edge.
Saturday 28th April: Departure
An early walk for two hours before breakfast produced very little except several nice Hawfinches and Wood Warblers. A Stock Dove was heard, then another flew over. We eventually had glimpses of Collared Flycatcher attending a nest-hole in the top of a Pine stump but it wasn't until most of us had departed that the male came down and Guy and Štefan had superb views! On the way back down the trail, some also found Yellow-bellied Toad and Fire Salamander.
An 8am breakfast and we headed for Budapest at 9.30am.
BIRD LIST: (where SFP = Senne Fish Ponds)
Black-throated Diver: A breeding-plumaged adult out on the lake on 24th.
Little Grebe / Dabchick: Noted on 2 days, on 25th & 26th.
Red-necked Grebe: Noted only on 1 day, a breeding-plumaged adult on 26th.
Great Crested Grebe: Noted on 3 days, 24th - 26th.
Black-necked Grebe: Noted only at SFP, at least 18 breeding birds on 25th.
Great Cormorant: Noted only on 1 day, a breeding colony on 25th.
Grey Heron: Noted on 4 days, on 21st & 22nd, 25th & a breeding colony on 26th.
Purple Heron: Noted on 2 days with several on 25th & at the colony on 26th.
Great [White] Egret: Noted on 2 days, on 25th & at the colony on 26th.
Little Egret: Noted on 2 days with 4 on 25th, 2 on 26th.
Black-crowned Night-Heron: Noted on 2 days with 8 on 25th, & several on nests at the colony on 26th.
Great Bittern: Noted only on 1 day, booming males on 25th.
Black Stork: Noted on 3 days with 1 on a field on 23rd, 1 at SFP on 25th, 2 over the gorge on 27th.
White Stork: Noted most days, various nests and adults, both flying over and on fields.
Eurasian Spoonbill: Noted only on 1 day, 8 SFP on 25th.
Mute Swan: Noted on 2 days with 8+ SFP on 25th, 2 on 26th.
Greylag Goose: Noted only on 1 day, 2 SFP on 25th.
Gadwall: Noted only on 1 day, several SFP on 25th.
Mallard: Noted each day.
Garganey: Noted on 2 days with 14+ SFP on 25th, 2 males on 26th.
Northern Shoveler: Noted only on 1 day, 2 males SFP on 25th.
Common Pochard: Noted on 2 days, on 25th & 26th.
Tufted Duck: Noted only on 25th.
Goosander: Noted only on 24th, a male seen from the bus close inshore on the lake.
Short-toed Eagle: Noted only on 1 day, at least one pair on 26th; seen distantly from the village, then seen very close at the quarry.
Montagu's Harrier: Noted only on 1 day, a male on 25th.
[Eurasian] Marsh Harrier: Noted regularly on 4 days, 25th - 28th.
Northern Goshawk: Noted on 2 days with 1 on 26th, 3 during day on 27th.
Common Buzzard: Noted each day.
Lesser Spotted Eagle: Noted on 4 days with an adult on 22nd, 2 pairs on 23rd, single birds on 25th & 26th; often very good views.
[Eastern] Imperial Eagle: Noted only on 1 day, an adult surprised from a roadside shrub on 26th.
Golden Eagle: A nest on 22nd, but the adult was not visible due to heavy rain.
Common Kestrel: Noted each day.
Eurasian Hobby: Noted on 2 days with singles on 22nd & 26th.
Saker Falcon: Noted on 2 days with a female on pylons on 25th, & another over meadows on 27th.
Peregrine Falcon: Noted only on 1 day, 1 over quarry on 27th.
Western/Eurasian Capercaillie: Noted only on 1 day, droppings & footprints in the snow on 23rd.
Common Pheasant: Noted on 4 days.
Common Crane: Noted only on 1 day, two groups totalling 11 birds over SFP on 25th.
Water Rail: Noted only on 1 day, birds heard calling at SFP on 25th.
Common Moorhen: Noted on 4 days.
Eurasian/Common Coot: Noted on 4 days.
Northern Lapwing: Noted most days.
([Greater] Ringed Plover): Birds seen distantly at SFP on 25th were thought to be this species.
Little (Ringed) Plover: Noted on 3 days with 3 near hotel on 25th & 26th, 1 in the quarry on 27th.
Black-tailed Godwit: Noted only on 1 day, at SFP on 25th.
Spotted Redshank: Noted only on 1 day, 2 at SFP on 25th.
Common Redshank: Noted only on 1 day, at SFP on 25th.
Common Greenshank: Noted only on 1 day, 4 at SFP on 25th.
Wood Sandpiper: Noted only on 1 day, 1 at SFP on 25th.
Common Sandpiper: Noted only on 1 day, at SFP on 25th.
Dunlin: Noted only on 1 day, at SFP on 25th.
Ruff: Noted only on 1 day, 1200+ at SFP on 25th.
Yellow-legged Gull: Noted only on 1 day, at SFP on 25th.
Common Gull: Noted only on 1 day, 4 at SFP on 25th.
Black-headed Gull: Noted on 4 days.
Little Gull: Noted only on 1 day, 3 adults & a first-winter at SFP on 25th.
Whiskered Tern: Noted on 2 days, breeding-plumaged birds on 25th & 26th.
White-winged [Black] Tern: Noted only at SFP on 25th.
Black Tern: Noted only at SFP on 25th.
Rock Dove / Feral Pigeon: Noted on 5 days, feral birds around the towns & villages.
Stock Dove: Noted only on 1 day, 2 in woods near hotel on 28th.
[Common] Wood Pigeon: Noted on 5 days.
[European] Turtle Dove: Noted on 3 days with several purring plus 1 seen on 26th, also on 27th, and several by puddle in field on 28th.
[Eurasian] Collared Dove: Noted most days.
Common Cuckoo: Noted on 5 days, often heard but several also seen.
[Eurasian] Eagle Owl: Noted on 3 days with birds on nests on 24th, 26th & 27th.
Ural Owl: Noted only on 1 day, female & 3 juvs near Úbrez on 25th.
Long-eared Owl: Noted only on 1 day, 1 roosting in low conifer in Milos' front garden on 26th.
Common Swift: Noted only on 22nd.
Eurasian Hoopoe: Ones and twos noted on 5 days.
Eurasian Wryneck: Noted on 2 days with birds heard calling and seen briefly on 26th & 27th.
Middle Spotted Woodpecker: Noted only on 1 day, 2 near Michalovce Museum on 24th.
Syrian Woodpecker: Noted on 3 days with 1 briefly near Michalovce Museum on 24th, 1 near hotel on 25th, 1 excavating nest-hole on 26th.
Great Spotted Woodpecker: Noted on 5 days with 2 pairs around hotel on 23rd, 1 near Michalovce Museum on 24th, heard on 26th, 1 on 27th, 1 on 28th.
Black Woodpecker: Noted on 4 days with a pair very close on 22nd, a pair on 23rd, 1 flew over on 27th, 1 on 28th.
Crested Lark: Noted on 2 days with 1 on road on 26th, 2 on road on 27th.
Wood Lark: Noted only on 1 day, 1 seen & another singing on 26th.
[Eurasian] Sky Lark: Noted on 5 days.
[European] Sand Martin: Noted on 3 days with c12 near Spisské on 24th, also on 25th & 26th.
Barn Swallow: Noted most days.
[Common] House Martin: Noted on 5 days.
Yellow Wagtail: Noted on 2 days, on 25th & 26th.
Grey Wagtail: Ones or twos noted on 5 days.
White Wagtail: Noted most days.
Tawny Pipit: Noted only on 1 day, 1 on 26th.
Meadow Pipit: Noted only on 1 day, on 22nd.
Tree Pipit: Noted on 2 days, birds heard singing on 23rd, 1 on 26th.
Red-backed Shrike: Noted on 3 days with 3 males & a female on 26th, males also on roadside fence on 27th & 28th.
Great Grey / Northern Grey Shrike: Noted only on 1 day, 1 on 23rd.
[White-throated] Dipper: Noted on 2 days with 2+ pairs including 1 on nest on 27th, 1 by hotel on 28th.
[Winter] Wren: Noted on 5 days.
Alpine Accentor: Noted only on 1 day, a very close male by the ski-lift on 23rd.
Dunnock / Hedge Accentor: Noted on 3 days.
[Common] Blackbird: Noted each day.
Fieldfare: Noted on 3 days, 22nd - 24th.
Redwing: Noted only on 1 day, a few on 22nd.
Song Thrush: Noted most days.
Mistle Thrush: Noted on 3 days, on 22nd, 23rd, & 27th.
[European] Robin: Noted on 4 days.
Common/Rufous Nightingale: Noted on 4 days with 2 males near Michalovce Museum on 24th, 5 round hotel plus others on 25th, good numbers singing on 26th & 27th.
Black Redstart: Noted each day.
Whinchat: Noted on 2 days with a male on 22nd, another on 25th.
[Common] Stonechat: Noted on 4 days with 3 from bus on 25th, 1m on 26th, 2 from bus on 27th, many on roadside on 28th.
Northern Wheatear: Noted on 3 days with 1 on 25th & 26th, a pair in quarry on 27th.
Savi's Warbler: Noted only on 1 day, several singing & 1 seen well on 25th.
Sedge Warbler: Noted on 2 days, on 25th & 26th.
[Eurasian] Reed Warbler: Noted only on 1 day, at SFP on 25th.
Great Reed Warbler: Noted only on 1 day, 1 on 26th.
Blackcap: Noted most days.
Common Whitethroat: Noted on 2 days with 1 on 25th, and a male singing by quarry on 27th.
Lesser Whitethroat: Noted on 4 days.
Barred Warbler: Noted only on 1 day, a male in the quarry on 27th.
Willow Warbler: Noted each day.
Common/Eurasian Chiffchaff: Noted most days.
Wood Warbler: Noted on 5 days with 5 in birches in Spisské plus birds singing near Michalovce Museum on 24th, others singing on 25th -28th.
Goldcrest: Noted on 2 days, on 22nd & 23rd.
[European] Pied Flycatcher: Noted only on 1 day, a male in quarry on 27th.
Collared Flycatcher: Noted on 2 days with a pair by hotel plus a female in quarry on 27th, a pair by hotel on 28th.
[Eurasian] Penduline Tit: Noted only on 1 day, a pair at a nest at SFP on 25th.
Long-tailed Tit: Noted on 2 days with 2 on 23rd, heard on 27th.
Willow Tit: Noted only on 1 day, a pair feeding young in the nest on 23rd.
Marsh Tit: Noted only on 1 day, 2 in gorge on 27th.
Coal Tit: Noted on 3 days, 22nd - 24th.
Crested Tit: Noted on 2 days, several seen on 22nd & 23rd.
Great Tit: Noted each day.
Blue Tit: Noted most days.
Eurasian Nuthatch: Noted on 4 days, 23rd, 24th, 27th & 28th.
Eurasian Treecreeper: Noted only on 1 day, on 27th.
Eurasian Jay: Noted on 4 days.
Black-billed/Eurasian Magpie: Noted each day.
Eurasian/Western Jackdaw: Noted on 3 days.
Rook: Noted on 4 days.
Hooded Crow: Noted on 4 days.
Common Raven: Noted on 5 days with ones or more usually pairs on 22nd, 23rd, 25th - 27th; two nests seen on pylons.
Common Starling: Noted most days.
Yellowhammer: Noted most days.
Rock Bunting: Noted on 2 days, birds heard in the quarries on 24th & 27th, but unfortunately not seen!
Reed Bunting: Noted only on 1 day, several males at SFP on 25th.
Corn Bunting: Noted on 2 days with 2 on 26th, 1 near Moldava on 27th.
Common/European Chaffinch: Noted each day.
European Serin: Noted on 3 days with several on 24th - 26th.
European Greenfinch: Noted most days.
European Goldfinch: Noted most days.
Common Linnet: Noted on 2 days with 2 near hotel on 26th & 27th.
Common Crossbill: Noted on 2 days with several on 22nd & 23rd.
Common/Eurasian Bullfinch: Noted on 2 days with 2m 1f on 23rd, 2 on 24th.
Hawfinch: Noted on 2 days with 4 around the hotel plus 2 over meadows on 27th, 5 by hotel on 28th.
House Sparrow: Noted most days.
[Eurasian] Tree Sparrow: Noted on 3 days with 3 round hotel plus 3 SFP on 25th, also on 26th & 27th.
Common Mole: Mole-hills on 23rd.
Serotine Bat: Detected near the hotel on 27th.
Daubenton's Bat: Seen over lake at hotel on 27th.
Common Pipestrelle: Seen over lake at hotel on 27th.
European Lynx: Footprints in the snow on 23rd.
European Badger: Footprints in the snow on 23rd, further tracks on 26th.
(Pine Marten or Beech Marten): Footprints in the snow on 23rd could have been either species.
Red Fox: Footprints in the snow on 23rd, one dead on road on 24th.
European Brown Bear: Noted on 2 days with a big male plus 2 others on 22nd, a mother & half-grown cub from hide plus footprints in the snow on 23rd.
Stoat: Noted on 2 days with 1 SFP on 25th, 1 near the hotel on 26th.
Wild Boar: 'Diggings' noted on 22nd.
Roe Deer: Noted on 3 days with 4 in roadside field on 24th, 1 on 26th, 3 on 27th.
Red Deer: Noted on 2 days with 3 hinds & a stag on 22nd, footprints in the snow on 23rd.
Red Squirrel: Noted on 3 days with footprints in the snow on 23rd, 1 in the park on 24th, 2 on 27th.; the colouring of all three animals seen were quite a dark brown, not the bright chestnut of our animals. This species, with its huge distribution throughout Europe, east into Asia, is very variable in colour, ranging from almost black, through shades of reds and browns, to quite a pale buff.
European Souslik: Noted on 2 days with 6 or 8 near Spisské on 24th, & another colony near Turniansky hrad on 27th.
Muskrat: Noted only on 26th.
Northern Water Vole: Many holes in damp grassland on 22nd & 23rd.
Brown Hare: Noted on 3 days, 1 from the hide on 22nd, 2 on fields on 25th, 1 on 26th.
AMPHIBIANS & REPTILES:
Fire Salamander: Noted only on 28th.
Yellow-bellied Toad: Noted only on 28th.
Fire-bellied Toad: Noted on 2 days, heard on 25th & 26th.
Green Toad: Noted only on 26th.
Common Frog: Noted only on 27th.
(Edible Frog or Pool Frog): Noted only on 26th., these 'green' frogs could be either species.
Marsh Frog: Noted on 2 days, heard on 25th & 26th.
BUTTERFLIES & other insects:
Swallowtail: Noted on 2 days, 26th & 27th.
Scarce Swallowtail: Noted on 3 days, 25th - 27th.
Eastern Festoon: Noted only on 26th.
Large White: Noted on 2 days, on 25th & 27th.
Small White: Noted on 3 days, on 25th - 27th.
Green-veined White: Noted on 2 days, on 25th & 27th.
Orange-tip: Noted on 3 days, on 25th - 27th.
Brimstone: Noted on 3 days, on 25th - 27th.
Wood White: Noted only on 26th.
Small Copper: Noted only on 26th.
Holly Blue: Noted only on 26th.
Short-tailed Blue: Noted only on 26th.
Tiny blues noted on 26th will have to remain unidentified for the moment.
Peacock: Noted only on 27th.
Camberwell Beauty: Noted only on 27th.
Dingy Skipper: Noted only on 27th.
Grizzled Skipper: Noted only on 27th.
Comma: Noted only on 25th.
Red Admiral: Noted only on 25th.
(Glanville Fritillary or Knapweed Fritillary): Noted only 26th, the exact identity of these Fritillaries is not known.
Speckled Wood: Noted only on 27th.
Mallow Skipper: Noted only on 26th.
[Nos. on right refer to Grey-Wilson & Blamey, Collins Pocket Guide, Alpine Flowers of Britain and Europe]
Aristolochiaceae: Asarum europaeum Asarabacca 30.7
Caryophyllaceae:Stellaria holostea Greater Stitchwort 44.1
Ranunculaceae: Caltha palustris Marsh Marigold 56.3
Anemone nemorosa Wood Anemone 58.3
Adonis vernalis Yellow Pheasant's-eye 62.5a
Ranunculus auricomus Goldilocks Buttercup 66.9
Papaveraceae: Chelidonium majus Greater Celandine 74.7
Cruciferae: Cardamine (=Dentaria) pentaphyllos Five-leaflet Bittercress 80.4a
Cardamine pratensis Cuckoo Flower / Lady's Smock 82.1
Rosaceae: Rosa canina Dog Rose 122.2
Fragaria vesca Wild Strawberry 130.6
Euphorbiaceae: Euphorbia cyparissias Cypress Spurge 162.7
Mercurialis perennis Dog's Mercury 162.9
Thymelaeaceae: Daphne mezereum Mezereon 174.1
Violaceae: Viola tricolor Heartsease 180.10
Primulaceae: Primula vulgaris Primrose 202.1
Primula elatior Oxlip 202.2
Boraginaceae: Pulmonaria montana Mountain Lungwort 224.7
Labiatae: Ajuga reptans Common Bugle 230.2
Lamium purpureum Red Deadnettle 234.3
Lamiastrum galeobdolon Yellow Archangel 234.5
Compositae: Tussilago farfara Coltsfoot 298.1
Petasites albus White Butterbur 298.3
Petasites hybridus Butterbur 298.3b
Liliaceae: Polygonatum sp. Solomon's Seal 332
Iridaceae: Crocus vernus Purple Crocus 336.2
The Brown Bears during the early part of the week must, I think, be the highlight of the trip, outweighing the inclement weather, though without this we would not have found the tracks in the snow. Superb views of Lesser Spotted Eagles and then, later on, the Imperial Eagle flushed from a roadside bush. The sheer diversity and numbers of birds at the Senne Fishponds, the close views of the heronry near Svinice and, finally, our walk up the gorge near Zadiel were all most enjoyable. Who also would have thought we would see three nesting Eagle Owls during the course of one week!
Thank you to the various local guides, Peter Vrlik, Pavol Majko, Marián Janiga, Štefan Danko, Milos Balla and Štefan Matis. Thank you also to Štefan for allowing us into the museum to view his bird and mammal exhibits when the weather precluded doing anything else. Also thank you to the two 'bear men' for taking us to the hides and, of course, to Jiri and E-Tours for all the arrangements. Finally, the biggest thank you to Milan for his good humour and for driving us throughout most of the week, and to Jarka and Katka for the translations and for keeping everything on track.
I do hope to meet you all again in the not-too-distant future.
Keith Grant, April 2001.