Abstract: In the period May-July in the years 2015 and 2016 the survey of 174 buildings, mostly owned by the church in 130 settlements of Győr-Moson-Sopron County was conducted for bats. During the survey 8 species of bats were detected, bat traces were recorded in 64% of the buildings. Obtained results were compared to the similar survey of 1995-96 by Papp Károly and following tendencies were detected. Population of the Serotine bat has decreased by two thirds in the county; individuals of the species were detected in 10 out of 33 earlier inhabited buildings, estimated number of individuals having decreased to 138 from earlier 571. Estimated number of Greater and Lesser mouse-eared bats has decreased as well. The population of Grey long-eared bats in the county has doubled in the last 10 years, presumably because the species endures altered circumstances following restoration works of churches. The number of individuals in the colony of Geoffroy’s bats found in 1997 has increased from 80 to 400 and the existence of another colony in the region is assumed, based on the discovery of two individuals in Pusztacsalád. The population of Lesser horseshoe bats dwelling in the castle of Fertőd has decreased from earlier 26 to 19 individuals. Altogether it can be stated that the house-dwelling bat fauna of the county shows a decreasing tendency, the number of individuals in earlier known bigger adult colonies is decreasing or the colonies have left their earlier dwelling places due to restoration works.
Abstract: The paper is reporting on the results of the bat surveys, conducted in forested habitats of 11 Natura 2000 sites, related to Fertő-Hanság National Park Directorate in Western-Hungary, between 2012 and 2016. 182 localities were sampled on 212 occasions, mainly with acoustic methods with additional mistnettings. 21 bat species were observed. Beside many new data on common bat species, significant data were collected on rare and strictly protected forest dweller bats like Western Barbastelle (Barbastella barbastellus) and Bechstein’s Bat (Myotis bechsteinii). Several remnant populations of these bat species are locally threatened. The survival of these forest dweller bat populations need conservation actions, which focus on the conservation of semi-natural old forest fragments, and improve the naturalness of forests with degraded state.
Abstract: On the area of the Little Hungarian Plain the survey, habitat mapping of local pannonian root vole (Microtus oeconomus mehelyi) populations and the assessment of appropriate habitat management have become emphasized in the last years. From 2012 on live capture surveys were conducted on more than 35 sampling areas within potential habitats in the Region Lake Fertő, Hanság, Tóköz and Szigetköz, disclosing in several cases formerly unknown populations of the species. According to earlier literature the Hungarian sub-species of the tundra vole dwells in reed and sedge habitats. During the surveys it was shown that significant populations live also in different habitats like marshes with bur-reed as well as rich fens and wet meadows. For the long term conservation of populations alternative habitats play key roles. Maintaining the habitats of the tundra vole in good condition and providing adequate water supply are conservation priority. However, in several cases this cannot be solved, or only insufficiently thus there may be need for regular grazing or mowing of the areas. Latter is - coinciding with earlier land use - a must on rich fens and wet meadows. It is important that mowing is done respecting and harmonizing with the needs of local animal species.
Abstract: We counted Mute Swans (Cygnus olor) - that are expanding in Hungary with an increasing wintering population - in the Hungarian part of the Small Hungarian Plain in the period January 13th-22nd 2017. There has been no such overall survey on the expansive and not easily overviewed survey area. Now the counting of the wintering population was enabled by the concentration of population due to the strongly decreased open water surfaces as a consequence of the rare strong frost without snow. During fieldwork every known wetland and wintering site where swans feed during the day (agricultural areas - rape fields) and move to water surfaces close by only for the night, was checked. On Lake Fertő - having no other choice - birds swimming on leaks were counted from plane. During counts altogether 1546 individuals were found on 19 separate spots, 81.2% of that on arable fields. This way of wintering is spreading and is present also on areas where swans can spend the night only in nearby gravel pits - even working ones. According to the observation of ringed birds there was no significant move or exchange in the population. Whooper Swans (Cygnus cygnus) joined groups of Mute Swans on three spots, this behavior being unusual and possibly predicting later breeding trials.
Abstract: The paper sums results of systematic researches carried out on stands occurring on the Little Hungarian Plain and the West-Hungarian Borderlands of the strictly protected Natura 2000 keeled plump bush-cricket (Isophya costata) subendemic to the Carpathian Basin. The presence of species on the Little Hungarian Plain or the administrative area of the Fertő-Hanság National Park Directorate was unknown until 2003. Presently, 10 local populations of keeled plump bush-cricket are known. However, the number of populations and number of individuals surveyed in the Little Hungarian Plain are in most cases significantly less than those typical for other plain, hill or mountain base areas in the country. The most of the recent local populations are decreasing caused by changes in landuse (e.g. intensive mechanical mowing, reseeding). Loess grasslands and steppe meadows rich in dicots supposed to be original habitats of the species were even before landscape formation very subordinate in this region. Semi-natural hayfields rich in mesophilic dicots are rare in the local landscape structure, or remained only in a very fragmented state. Due to high ground water level, hayfields of the region are wet meadows, being unsuitable for Isophya costata. Therefore only isolated, tiny populations of the species live in the surveyed region the conservation and possible strengthening of which should be part of the conservation priorities in the region. For the protection of the species the reduction or stopping of any trampling on the habitats is justified; on meadow-type habitats late mowing (earliest in mid-July), or mosaic management leaving uncut patches is desirable.
Abstract: The object of present study was to investigate the occurrence of aquatic macroinvertebrate species which are significant for nature conservation considerations in the operational area of the Fertő–Hanság National Park Directorate. In our faunistical research we used qualitative and quantitative datas after the year 2005. Several aquatic macro-invertebrate species included in the Council Directive 92/43/ECC, the IUCN Red List, the Berne Convention or are under nature conservation. These species are the key members of the Water Framework Directive, perfectly usable for habitat certification, and very sensitive to changes in environmental factors and because of this feature, they are suitable in monitoring of anthropogenic pressure.
In our research, we used qualitative and quantitative sampling method. The quantitative sampling method based on the protocol of National Biodiversity Monitoring System, while pick sampling and standard pond net was used during the qualitative sampling. The occurrence of 415 species was proved in the operational area of the Fertő–Hanság National Park Directorate. In total 202 independent sampling sites have been sampled, which lasted 139 days.
In our investigation, we identified 295.000 individuals and confirmed the occurrence of 35 protected or strictly protected species or species which are under the scope of international convention. Among from these, 11 species can be found in the Natura 2000 Habitat Directive of European Union.
Among the species of conservation concern, eight molluscs (Anisus vorticulus, Borysthenia naticina, Fagotia daudebartii acicularis, Fagotia esperi, Pseudanodonta complanata, Theodoxus danubialis danubialis, Theodoxus transversalis, Unio crassus), two leeches (Hirudo medicinalis, Hirudo verbana), two decapods (Astacus astacus, Astacus leptodactylus), seven mayflies (Ephemerella mesoleuca, Ephoron virgo, Neoephemera maxima, Oligoneuriella keffermuellerae, Oligoneuriella pallida, Oligoneuriella rhenana, Palingenia longicauda), fourteen dragonflies (Aeshna isoceles, Calopteryx virgo, Coenagrion ornatum, Cordulegaster bidentata, Cordulegaster heros, Epitheca bimaculata, Gomphus flavipes, Gomphus vulgatissimus, Leucorrhinia pectoralis, Libellula fulva, Onychogomphus forcipatus, Ophiogomphus cecilia, Orthetrum brunneum, Somatochlora aenea), two bugs (Aquarius najas, Notonecta lutea) and one aquatic beetle (Macronychus quadrituberculatus) can be found. In order to preserve the aquatic macro-invertebrate community, its important to maintain the hydrological regime, to preserve the biodiversity and to control the intensive fishing in standing waters. This is also an important task in small watercourses where dredging and removing of riparian vegetation have to be avoided, while in the bigger watercourses, the damming and establishing water reservoirs in river bed, removing of riparian vegetation and shore protection activities form the biggest threats.
Abstract: The Rábaköz (HUFH20001) Natura 2000 site was designated in 2004; its area measures 5973 hectares in 32 municipalities. The site is composed of 9 bigger blocks and several smaller fragments. Geographically it is inhomogeneous, partly lying on lower gravel bench of the West-Hungarian Borderland (Nyugat-magyarországi-peremvidék), and partly on the higher floodplain of the Little Hungarian Plain (Kisalföld) macroregions. Its western part was originally covered by closed forests with Turkey-oak and hornbeam-oak, significant part of the recent settlements being still surrounded by greater forest blocks. For the eastern part a high proportion of hardwood alluvial forests is typical. These microregions were for long time one of the botanically least disclosed areas in Hungary. Their intensive research began in the second half of the 1990s, raising awareness of the botanic peculiarities and values of the area; this research justified the appointment of the recent Rábaköz Natura 2000 site. On the Natura 2000 site two entire vegetation mappings have been conducted in the years 2005 and 2015; on a scale of 1:10 000. Habitat types (according to the Hungarian "Á-NÉR" categories), naturalness-degradation values, typical species and potential threats were recorded for each habitat patches. Based on these surveys, the site is covered by nature-like or secondary habitats to an extent of 55-45%. 86% of the area is covered by forests or other tree-dominated habitats. Turkey oak forests have a proportion of 25.6%, these are the largest closed plain oak forest blocks in Hungary. Hornbeam - sessile oak forests are present (2.5%) in the western part of the area. Hardwood alluvial forests occupy a significant part along the rivers Répce and Kis-Rába (12.2%). Stands dominated by alien tree species are also extensive, pine and black locust plantations account for altogether 16.0%. Secondary forests and tree groups (mainly young oak stands) cover 12.2%.
Wet grasslands occupy only 0.3%, among them rich fens are of outstanding importance to nature conservation. Rich fens can be found in the wet basin near Ebergőc settlement (discovered in 2004), with several fen associations and several protected plant species. The Molinion-meadows near Nemeskér and Gyóró are also valuable. Dry and semi-dry grasslands (2.7%) are mainly represented by estuca rubra hay meadows. Salt steppes of country-wide outstanding value are situated south of Iván village. The secondary grasslands (including dry and wet types, ca. 7%) were formed by the abandonment of earlier pastures and ploughlands. Agricultural habitats and other artificial habitats occupy only a minor part (<3%) of the Natura 2000 site.
Nearly exactly the half of the Natura 2000 site (2993 ha, 50.11%) can be classified as a habitat of community interest. In the case of appropriate management several other stands may transform into habitats of community interest within a few decades; thus, their proportion could be increased to ca. 80%. Natural associations are threatened by human influence (mainly management of forests) to greater, and the change of environmental factors (e.g. desiccation) to a lesser extent. Schematic forest management and abandonment or radical intensification of pasture and meadow management are important potentia threats.
Abstract: The extent of botanic research in the Szigetköz can be viewed as outstanding even on national level; at the same time vegetation or habitat maps were prepared only about its sub-areas. Our research in 2013-2014 included Natura 2000 site HUFH30005 Szigetköz (16762,8 ha). At the survey the methodology given in the handbook of the National Biodiversity Monitoring System (TAKÁCS & MOLNÁR 2009) was applied.
More than half of the survey area (56.79 %) are covered by secondary (ÁNÉR: O, R) and disturbed habitats (ÁNÉR: S, T). In the first category uncharacteristic grasslands and forests and sapling forests with native trees but in uncharacteristic or degraded state were included. In the latter category agricultural habitats and tree plantations (of hybrid poplars, willows etc.) were included. The ratio of natural and near-natural habitats (alluvial forests, wet meadows, reed beds etc.) is only 25.52 %. Artificial habitats (inhabited areas, industrial sites, traffic networks) were detected on 154.76 ha, 0.9 % of the investigated area. Waters (U8, U9) were listed as a separate group covering a significant area of 2443 ha and the state of which is natural or near-natural despite the regulations.
Natural habitats are endangered primarily by forestry and water management but in the vicinity of settlements the continuous increase of buildings is also a significant problem. With appropriate conservation management the extent of natural habitats can be increased significantly within a couple of decades.
Abstract: In the Hanság area near Lébény research for disclosing the habitats, surveying populations and tracking population changes of the Hungarian Meadow Viper (Vipera ursinii rakosiensis MÉHELY, 1893) has been conducted from the year 2001, assigned by Fertő-Hanság National Park Directorate. During our survey we succeeded in identifying altogether 154 Hungarian Meadow Viper individuals based on photographs. Among them the body length of 117, tail length of 35 of these and body mass of 30 vipers were measured.
Based on earlier literature and sightings on the habitats Fűzfa-sziget and Polgár-Pintér-Hany there is a small populations drifted to the edge of vanishing. Based on sighting data a significant decline of populations could be experienced until 2010, then sightings got more frequent following the release of artificially raised individuals.
According to all sighting data the proven area inhabited by the Hungarian Meadow Viper was 5.67 ha on Fűzfa-sziget (together with individuals sighted outside the fence 6.33 ha), 3.99 ha on Nagy-domb and 0.37 ha in Polgár-Pintér-Hany.
Based on shots of camera traps significant predators of the Hungarian Meadow Viper include, apart from birds fox, badger and wild boar.
For conservation of the populations it is necessary to stop fragmentation, increase effective size of habitats suitable for the vipers significantly and to manage the area optimally, what may mean a total abandonment of conventional agricultural management. Beside earlier conservation measures repatriation aiming at the increase of active population size and genetic variety as well as reintroduction of the species to the site Nagy-domb newly established within the LIFE+ program (2009-2013) became necessary.
Surveys confirmed that for the collection of demographic data supporting conservation measures it is necessary to capture and measure individuals as well as to take photos of their heads from several angles enabling individual identification.
The 152 mature vipers raised in the Hungarian Meadow Viper Conservation Centre offered opportunity to introduce and track 16 individuals with radio tags. As a result of this a high rate of predation could be proven which could explain the rapidly dwindling population size of the last decades. According to the downloaded body temperature data row of 3 retrieved tags hibernation period of these individuals in the surveyed year ranged from 105 to 126 days. Based on the data of tagged individuals home ranges of Hungarian Meadow Vipers are 0.5 ha on the average, strongly influenced by the grassland structure and the amount of grass litter in the habitat. Average home range was greatest on the restored Nagy-domb, smaller on the regularly mowed Fűzfa-sziget, and smallest in Polgár-Pintér-Hany grazed moderately by sheep and receiving no further management. This was also the habitat where most individuals were proven to overwinter. The supposed background for differences in home ranges is that vipers can satisfy their daily needs - find appropriate food and sunbathing places as well as shelter. The results indicate as well that in habitats of the Hungarian Meadow Viper mowing and mulching should be replaced with grazing as management measure.
The Kentish Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus) has a stable population of 24-25 pairs in Fertőzug (Seewinkel) (PELLINGER et al. 2010). On the wetland restorations of Mekszikópuszta, a marginal site of this population every few years there is a successful breeding of 1-8 pairs in dry years following high water levels (KÁRPÁTI 1993, PELLINGER 2003). On June 3rd 2015 I found two Kentish Plover nest with eggs in a corn field bordering the Cikes site of Mekszikópuszta, the two nests being 58 m away from each other. The distance to the other two nests on salt steppe was 450 m. After contacting the farmer we appointed a protective zone of 80×60 m where no pest control activities were carried out henceforth. I don’t have information about the breeding success, because to avoid disturbance we didn’t approach the nests any more. In the case of other shorebirds bound to saline areas - Pied Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta), Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus) (personal observations in the areas of Nagyszentjános, Acsalag, Petőháza, Csorna, Csatárimajor), Collared Pratincole (Glareola pratincola) and Black-winged Pratincole (Glareola nordmanni) (KOVÁCS & KAPOCSI 2004a, 2004b, OLÁH & SZÉLL 1994) - successful breeding on ploughland is known. In the case of Pied Avocet and Black-winged Stilt an increase in the significance of these ploughland nestings is likely; however, in the case of the pratincole species and the Kentish Plover this could prove itself an ecological trap.
The list of bird species observed at the Hungarian part of Lake Fertő was prepared by HADARICS & PELLINGER (1993). This species list contained bird species that assuredly occurred at the Hungarian part of the lake and surroundings between 1971 and 31st December 1992, a total of 255 species. Based on the articles that were published as a supplement to the species list (HADARICS 1995, 1999, 2006, 2008) the recent bird fauna of the Hungarian part of the Fertő grew by many new species until end of 2007, that is altogether 294 bird species occurred until 31st December 2007. In the following nine years (2008-2016) the occurrence of 11 further species (and 2 subspecies) could be proved on the investigated area. These are the following (in brackets the years of occurrence and in the case of rarer species the serial number of the record in Hungary): Bewick’s Swan (2013 - 36th for Hungary), Egyptian Goose (2010, 2011, 2014 and 2016), Baillon’s Crake (2014, 2015), Baird’s Sandpiper (2008 - 2nd for Hungary), Buff-breasted Sandpiper (2011 - 10th for Hungary), Long-tailed Skua (2004), Sabine’s Gull (2012 - 6th for Hungary), „light mantled” Lesser Black-backed Gull (2011), Oriental Turtle-dove (2010 - 1st for Hungary), European Scops-owl (every year from 2007), Ural Owl (2012), Horned Lark (2010), Rock Pipit (2016 - 1st for Hungary), Pied Wagtail (2008, 2011 - 1st and 3rd for Hungary) and European Crested Tit (2011, 2013). Including these the number of bird species observed at the Hungarian part of the Fertő since 1971 increased to 305. This article contains the detailed occurrence data of these species. Four bird species were observed only before 1971 at the Hungarian part of the Fertő (HADARICS 2006). So altogether the number of assuredly occurring bird species at the Hungarian part of Lake Fertő in recent times (from 1971 to 31st December 2006) is 305, while the number of bird species that have ever occurred on the area (so together with the four species with data before 1971) is 309.