I have just spent a few days in the Hortobágy photographing birds, and I must admit, this is one of the last wild places in Europe. A vast area that is managed and protected rigorously by the nature guides and rangers as well as the designated responsible tour operators that are granted permission to use the reserve.
The Hortobágy is the largest continuous natural grassland in Europe, which means that it was not formed as a result of deforestation or river control. The Hortobágy became the first national park in Hungary in 1973, and today it is still the country’s largest protected area, more than 80,000 hectares.
The Hortobágy has outstanding natural features, maintaining great biological diversity in respect of species and habitats. It is a unique example of the harmonious coexistence of people and nature based on the considerate use of the land.
A major part of the area of the National Park is formed by natural habitats, alkaline grasslands, meadows and the marshes lying between them. From the point of view of nature conservation, the artificial wetlands, which cover a much smaller area, are of considerable importance: these are the fishponds, situated on 6 thousand hectares, created during the last century on the worst quality grazing-lands and marshes. Lake Tisza, a reservoir established in the 1970’s, shows what the water-world looked like before the river was controlled.
The marshes and fishponds are bird nesting habitats and migration sites of European significance. The appearance of 342 bird species has been registered in Hortobágy so far, of which 152 species nest in the National Park.
Eurasian Spoonbill – Hortobágy
If travelling to the region, I definitely recommend you stay at the Bíbic Nature Lodge (www.bibiclodge.com), where you will be looked after greatly by Tibor.
Bíbic Nature Lodge – Hortobágy
If birds or nature photography are your thing, then check or http://www.sakertour.com.