April is usually one of the best months for photographing plants and animals. I show some plants and insects that were photographed in gardens, parks and in the forest called Nagyerdő in Debrecen (some insects where collected when I did not have my camera with me and photographed later). Among the plants there will be quite common herbaceous ones that can be found all around Europe in ruderal plant communities - but I'll try to show them in a different perspective. Most people never notice how nice these common plants may be. And by showing some rare insects, I'd like to demonstrate that sometimes there is a suprising, hidden biodiversity even in cities. Sustaining a healthy environment in city parks and gardens (e.g. avoiding insecticides, leaving some decaying wood in parks, propagating native plant species, etc.) may be a great help for animal and plant biodiversity. Beside its intrinsic value, insect biodiversity has an economical value also: different bee and fly species pollinate different types of garden and agricultural plants; many insects prey on agricultural/horticultural pests; many help by accelerating the decomposition of dead organic material, etc.
Saturday, December 31, 2011
Friday, December 30, 2011
At the beginning of March, there are usually still only common spring insects that are active in lowland forests, like in the so-called Nagyerdő forest (part of the Natura 2000) at the northern edge of the city of Debrecen. Most beetles have not yet ended their winter hibernation and this makes them quite easy to find, if one knows where to look for them. The Nagyerdő has many different tree species - it is partly a park, so there are many alien trees as well. The most important tree species for the insects are the old Pendunculate Oaks that grow here in a large number. These trees support a suprising diversity of insects. Many wasps, ants, bugs and beetles require oaks: either they feed from the oaks, or they prey on the plant-eaters. Also, decaying oak wood is the sole food source for many endangered beetles. And in winter, many arthropods hybernate under the barks of old oaks. The majority of these is still inactive in March, and one can find many rare species under the pieces of bark. Some other trees like pines and sycamores host an entirely different collection of arthropods under their barks.
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
In January, there's usually not much to photograph (in Europe), mostly not when one spends his time in a city. But there are some opportunities to blow off the dust on the camera. In winter I regularly collect small pieces of moss from house walls or from tree barks so that I can search for microscopic animals in them later. For that, I use a stereo-microscope and if I find something, I make photos of it.
Monday, December 26, 2011
At the end of November, we traveled to Ómassa, a small village in the Bükk mountains to make a small trip in the beech forest. The temperature was -6 °C, here it is always a bit colder than in other parts of the Bükk. Different types of frost crytals covered the fallen leaves and stones on the ground...
Friday, December 23, 2011
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
In the middle of September I went on a cycling tour to the Aggtelek National Park in north-eastern Hungary. I took all my photography equipment with me, because I wanted to take some pictures in the unique peat bogs of Kelemér and at a little lake in Jósvafő. I started my tour in the town of Putnok and cycled up towards the peat bog. There are two such bogs close to each other near the village called Kelemér, and both of them are strictly protected. There are very few peat bogs in Hungary and these are the easternmost ones. The bogs are hidden in a dense forest and inside them so many trees (Downy Birches, willows, poplars) are growing that it is quite easy to walk past them without even noticing them. That is probably one of the reasons that these bogs remained quite intact throughout the ages. They are truly unique habitats in Hungary, where climate and the lack of high mountains do not favour the persistence of such bogs (see here).
Saturday, December 17, 2011
On the last day of August we drove out from Debrecen eastwards, towards Újléta, to a characteristic sandy habitat surounded by lowland forests and agricultural landscape. On the way we stopped at the Fancsika lakes where we searched for insects and spiders using a sweeping net in the patches of swamp habitats and the cattail vegetation by the water. Even here numerous spectacular species were found that I've never seen before, but the real sensation was found during the night-lamping.
Saturday, December 10, 2011
In the second half of August we drove to the Keleti Canal, near the town Balmazújváros (at the edge of Hortobágy National Park) for night-lamping. Countless biting and non-biting midges were swarming near the water and the lamp attracted many other insects. Only common moth species came, but from other insect groups a couple of rarer species showed up.
Friday, December 9, 2011
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
In the middle of August, with some friends we traveled to an area of the Great Hungarian Plateau quite well known among tourists: the Puszta. We spent 2 days in a nature reserve called Bugac-Puszta near the village of Bugac. The nature reserve is part of the Kiskunság National Park, which is in turn part of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves. There are characteristic sandy plains and patches of White Poplar - Juniper woods which form a floristic association. The climate is arid and very hot in the summer. These characteristics and the unique fauna make Bugac-Puszta an excellent destination for nature photographers (but the best time to travel here is probably not August).
Sunday, December 4, 2011
I spent only one and a half hour in Kisgyőr this summer. This is a small village near Miskolc in north-east Hungary that I regularly visit for taking photos. It is surrounded by a protected landscape of warm, submediterranean slope-steppes, bush-forests and old orchards, called The Galya. The area constitutes the southernmost part of the Bükk-mountains, but its flora and fauna is more like that of the submediterranean slopes in the Balkans. Despite the very short trip, I managed to find several nice themes to photograph and I think this is a good proof that one does not have to travel far from home to find an astonishing nature.
Saturday, November 26, 2011
Sunday, November 13, 2011
One of the most interesting destinations to visit on our spider-excursion in Finnmark was the so-called Pasvikdalen, the valley of the Passvikelva river located at the southernmost tip of the county. This is not really a valley, but instead a comlpex network of lakes and rivers and streams. The area is at the triple border of Finnland, Norway and Russia. It is also home of the Øvre Pasvik National Park that is famous of its brown bears. We visited this area on two occasions. The National Park is located more than 100 kms Southwards from Kirkenes in a largely uninhabited area.
Sunday, November 6, 2011
On one day on our field trip in Finnmark, we traveled some 60 kms eastwards from Kirkenes to the border area of Norway and Russia. The border is along the small Jakobselva river, and one of the main villages here is Grense Jakobselv (basically just some houses). The avarage population density in Sør-Varanger is 3/sq km, but that of the border area and the adjacent easternmost part of Sør-Varanger is definetly lower! During this trip, we stopped at Jarfjordfjellet, collected some spiders at the Jakobselv river and at the shores of the Barents sea, and than traveled to the uninhabited tundra zone of the border area.
Sunday, October 30, 2011
On the last week of July we - 3 members of the German Spinnen-Forum - traveled to Finnmark (Finnmárku), the extreme Northeast county of Norway. We were invited there by three Norwegian arachnologists and we spent there a whole week. Our aim was to investigate the really poorly known spider fauna of this county and to find species of spiders that have never been recorded from Norway before. With a loaned car we traveled to many breath-taking landscapes in Sør-Varanger commune (Máttá-Várjjat in Sami) and spent every daytime with collecting and photographing the remarkable local fauna and flora. And luckily, daytime here in summer is really a long period. In a series of posts I will report about this journey.
Monday, July 18, 2011
At the trip in Greece, Sithonia Peninsula, I spent a lot of time searching for animals in the sea surroundung the village of Neos Marmaras. Luckily, the water was clean, the area was beautiful and I managed to find and photograph quite a lot of echinoderms, fish and molluscs. As I do not have an underwater camera, I took photos and videos of animals in small tidal pools and in shallow water.
Sunday, July 17, 2011
At the end of June we were on vacation in Greece, in the middle peninsula of Chalkidiki called Sithonia Peninsula. This is a mostly arid region, with quite few inhabitants characterised by mediterranean pine forests, olive groves and rocky sea shores. The highest point of the peninsula is about 900 ms. As we were there quite late in the summer, the whole area was very dry, meaning that very few flowers were blossoming and most arthropods were already past their active cycle. Most mediterranean animals are active from winter to spring and from autumn to winter, meaning that adult specimens either aestivate in summer or they die at the end of spring and only eggs or larvae survive. However, I did manage to find some intersting animals even on the land.
Friday, July 15, 2011
Thursday, July 14, 2011
Sebesvíz, Bükk Mountains, Hungary (Sebesvíz, Bükk-Gebirge, Ungarn) (Sebesvíz, Bükk-hegység, Magyarország) 06.2011.
Közép-Garadna - Bükk Mountians, Hungary (Közép-Garadna - Bükk-Gebirge, Ungarn) (Közép-Garadna, Bükk-hegység, Magyarország) 06.2011.
In June 2011 we visited the Bükk mountains in North-East Hungary. The nice, sunshiny day was perfect for taking photos and we managed to find some very rare animals. We spent some time searching at Közép-Garadna, at a place where we had managed to find the strangest harvestman of Hungary back in 2009. We were succesful at the end, we found a male and a female Holoscotolemon jaqueti specimen. This is the only harvestman in our country that belongs to the primitive suborder Laniatores. It is easily recognised from its orange colour and its huge, spiny pedipalps. Holoscotolemon and hence the suborder Laniatores are only known since a couple of years in Hungary, exclusively from some places in the Bükk mountains. Due to its life habits it is really difficult to find this species. I found it under piles of stone, some 50 cm deep. This harvestman reaches maturnity slowly and its reproduction rate is certainly very low. Its population number is hence never high. There is page of the species – and of the other harvestmen - in the SpinnenWiki here. Location: Bükk, Közép-Garadna. Date: 13.06.2011.
We visited the Kácsa-Island in June 2011, a remnant of the floodplain of the River Tisza, near the town Tiszacsege. This protected area is managed by the Hortobágy National Park and its flora and fauna represent how much of the Hungarian Plain looked like before its great rivers were controlled. The small 'island' is enclosed by the river and its oxbow. Location: Tiszacsege. Date: 17.06.2011.
Sunday, July 10, 2011
In the middle of June I took a short trip to Komlóstető, a small hill partially covered with houses that belongs to the city of Miskolc. There is a small, arid meadow, which does not seem to be of interest at first sight, howewer it has a suprisingly interesting animal life. Many invertebrates live here that I’ve never seen before anywhere else. Location: Miskolc, Komlóstető. Date: 12.06.2011.
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
Bugojno, Bosnia and Herzegovina II. (Bugojno, Bosnien und Herzegowina II.) (Bugojno, Bosznia és Hercegovina II.) 05.2011.
Monday, July 4, 2011
Bugojno, Bosnia and Herzegovina I. (Bugojno, Bosnien und Herzegowina I.) (Bugojno, Bosznia és Hercegovina I.) 05.2011.
In the mountainous area near Bugojno, central Bosnia we made many interesting discoveries. Meadows with blossoming orchids interrupted the dense Illyrian forests, brooks were flowing nearby, and due to the rather high elevation above sea level the local plant life was in a much fresher state than the one in Croatia. Location: Bugojno. Date: 24-25.2011.
Sunday, July 3, 2011
Livno, Bosnia and Herzegovina (Livno, Bosnien und Herzegowina) (Livno, Bosznia és Hercegovina) 05.2011.
We travelled from Čiovo to Southern Bosnia for one and a half days where we got to kwnow this land rich in interesting landscapes. After leaving the border, we traveled past karst landscapes in a mostly uninhabited region in the traditional county of Herzeg-Bosnia. The first area that we searched through was a field at the edge of a shrubby forest dominated by Downy Oak, near Zagoričani, Livno. Than we visited a large open limestone pavement landscape nearby. Location: Zagoričani, Livno. Date: 24-25.05.2011.
Thursday, June 16, 2011
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
In Middle Dalmatia we found a fascinating flora and fauna, a part of which I’ll try to present in this post. We searched through the hills surrounding Trogir, here the landscape is mostly characterised by arid slopes with large rocks, mediterranean plant communities, and an insect fauna typical of arid areas. Location: Surroundings of Trogir. Date: 23.05.2011.
Thursday, June 9, 2011
On the Čiovo island I spent only about an hour with photographing animals and plants on the seashore, but yet I managed to find many interesting species. The Adriatic is a popular destination for scuba divers, but even without special equipment one may make a short walk on the shore for exploring sea life - even without getting wet. The low tide is most suitable for this, when many animals are trapped in small pools remaining on the surface of rocks. The Mediterranean Sea, which the Adria is a part of, covers only 0.7% of the worldwide marine surface area and yet it holds 9% of its biodiversity according to present knowledge. This is even more surprising considered that the so-called Messinian salinity crisis ended only about 5.3 million years ago and this enormous biodiversity was formed only after this event. The Mediterranean Sea Marine Ecoregion is also part of WWF's Global 200, just as the Mediterranean Basin. Location: Čiovo Island. Date: 22-26.05.2011.
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
At the end of May 2011 we visited the Balkan on a trip organised by the Spinnen-Forum (there is a common trip report here at the Forum). Our aim was to find as many spider species as possible and to get to know the mediterranean fauna. The base during the trip was the island Čiovo. This island is located between Trogir and Split in the region of Middle-Dalmatia, it has an area of 28.8 square kilometers, its highest point is 217 m. Some smaller settlements are located on the island and the town of Trogir (which is on the World Heritage list) expands partly onto it also. Its area is – luckily – still mostly covered by natural vegetation. There are plenty of natural or semi-natural dry, coastal pine forests intterrupted by olive groves. A beautiful rocky seashore is found on the southern part. Location: Čiovo Island. Date: 22-26.05.2011.
Monday, May 16, 2011
At the beginning of May I spent a few days in Smolenice, in the Western part of Slovakia, in the Little Carpathians. These are an about 100 km long, rather low-lying mountain range, covered mainly by decidous forests and a few pine forests. The most famous attraction of the town is the Smolenice Castle, which was rebuilt by the Hungarian Graf József Pálffy in neo-gothic style. The surrounding forests have a rich insect fauna. Location: Smolenice. Date: 03-06.05.2011.
Sunday, May 15, 2011
Sebesvíz, Bükk Mountains, Hungary (Sebesvíz, Bükk-Gebirge, Ungarn) (Sebesvíz, Bükk-hegység, Magyarország) 04.2011.
The brook Sebesvíz in the Bükk Mountains is one of my favourite places for nature photography. It is a short but very fast-flowing mountain brook, flowing into the brook Garadna. Sebesvíz and its surroundings are home to many interesting and rare invertebrate species, some of which occur only here in Hungary. Location: Sebesvíz-brook. Date: 02.04.2011.
Saturday, May 14, 2011
This blog is about nature photos, biodiversity, faunistics and floristics. My name is Walter Pfliegler, I am a molecular biologist, amateur nature photographer and naturalist. Started from simply taking photos of animals and plants, nowadays I also determine them and collect and preparate some groups of animals for correct determination and proper publication. I regularly make photography trips in Hungary and abroad. Using this blog, I show my trips, focusing mostly on the interesting animals found. Most of the photos shown were made out in the natural habitat, some of them are studio-photos.
Friday, May 13, 2011
Thursday, May 12, 2011
Excursions listed according to national parks and other protected areas
Exkursionen nach Nationalparken und anderen geschützten Gebieten gelistet
Túrák listája nemzeti parkok és más védett területek szerint
EUROPE - EUROPA - EURÓPA
ALBANIA - ALBANIEN - ALBÁNIA
- Parku Kombëtar Bredhi i Drenovës
- Parku Kombëtar Bredhi i Hotovës-Dangelli
- Parku Kombëtar i Butrintit
AUSTRIA - ÖSTERREICH - AUSZTRIA
- Nationalpark Hohe Tauern
- Nationalpark Kalkalpen
GREECE - GRIECHENLAND - GÖRÖGORSZÁG
HUNGARY - UNGARN - MAGYARORSZÁG
- Aggteleki Nemzeti Park
- Balaton-Felvidéki Nemzeti Park
- Bükki Nemzeti Park
- Northern and Eastern Hungary 2006-2007.
- Bükk Mountains, Hungary 04-08.2008.
- Bükk Mountains, Hungary 09-10.2008.
- Western Bükk mts., 06.2009
- Central Bükk mts., 06.2009
- Cave in Bükk National Park, 10.2010
- Sebesvíz - Bükk Mountains, 04.2011
- Bükk mountains, 04.2011
- Bükk at night, 05.2011
- Bükk mountains, 06.2011
- Bükk mountains, 10.2011
- Bükk mountains, 11.2011
- Bükk mountains, autumn 2011
- Lillafüred, Hungary, 11.2012
- Caving in Bükk mountains, 03.2013
- Kács, Hungary, 08.2013
- Létrási Cave, Bükk mountains, 10.2013.
- Bükk Mountains, 04.2015.
- Bükk Mountains, 10.2015.
- Körös-Maros Nemzeti Park
- Hajdúsági Tájvédelmi Körzet
- Lázbérci Tájvédelmi Körzet
- Szatmár-Beregi Tájvédelmi Körzet
- Zempléni Tájvédelmi Körzet
MONTENEGRO - MONTENEGRO - MONTENEGRÓ
- Nacionalni Park Biogradska Gora
NORWAY - NORWEGEN - NORVÉGIA
- Øvre Pasvik Nasjonalpark
- Færdesmyra Naturreservat
- Pasvik Naturreservat
POLAND - POLEN - LENGYELORSZÁG
- Tatrzański Park Narodowy
ROMANIA - RUMÄNIEN - ROMÁNIA
- Parcul Natural Apuseni
SARDINIA - SARDINIEN - SZARDÍNIA
- Parco Nazionale del Golfo di Orosei e del Gennargentu
- Parco Nazionale dell'Arcipelago di La Maddalena
SLOVAKIA - SLOWAKEI - SZLOVÁKIA
- Tatranský národný park
- Chránená krajinná oblasť Malé Karpaty
MACARONESIA - MACARONESIEN - MAKARONÉZIA
CANARY ISLANDS - KANARISCHE INSELN - KANÁRI-SZIGETEK
- Parque Nacional de Garajonay
- Parque Nacional del Teide
- Parque Natural de la Corona Forestal
- Parque Natural de Majona
- Parque Rural de Anaga
- Parque Rural de Valle de Gran Rey