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» About the Kiskunsag National Park » THE TURJÁNVIDÉK
THE TURJÁNVIDÉK
 
Parallel with the line of intersection of the Danube-Tisza Interfluve and the Danube-valley – within a few kilometres of width, but over a length of 130 kilometre – there is a system of swamps and marshes. The northern part of this is known as the Turjánvidék, the southern as Őrjeg.
The turjánvidék – to the south from Budapest – includes the turjánosok in Dabas, the meadows in Tatárszentgyörgy, the meadows in Peszéradacs, the meadows in Kurjantó and Balázsi, the turjános in the vicinity of Tabdi and Kiskőrös, the meadow in Csukás and the area around the Kolon Lake. Őrjeg is the part south of Kecel of the major swamp and marshland stretching from Akasztó to the south of Hajós.
The swamps and marshes do not constitute a homogenous unit, but they have come into being in a similar way. At the beginning of the holecene the old Danube flowed on the edge of what today is the Danube-Tisza Interfluve, where today the swamp and marshes are to be found. The eastern border of the swamp and marsh system is the sand plateau on a higher elevation. In the northern part of the Plateau the swamps and marshes border sandy surfaces, whereas in the south they are delimited by high loess walls along the high bank in the Kecel and Baja area. In the west – between Bugyi and Szakmár – a large sodic zone circles the Turjánvidék and the northern part of the Őrjeg. The meadows of Peszéradacs and the Kolon Lake in Izsák belong to the Kiskunság National Park, whereas the turjános in Kiskőrös and the protected areas of the Vörös mocsár (Red marsh) in Császártöltés nature conservation area all to be found in the Turjánvidék.
 
Let us embark on our excursion in the Turjánvidék in the northern most part, on the meadows of Peszéradacs. The meadows in Peszéradacs in the Kiskunság National Park consist of three parts that can be well separated from each other based on habitat. The northern part is the Peszéri puszta – almost completely without trees – that stretches from the edge of the sand plateau between the Danube and theTisza as far as sodic aeras of the Danube Plain. The landscape is made varied by the sand mounds that stick out like little islands. One can find semi-open and closed sand waste grassland on the 5-10 m high mounds, in other places loess grass can be found. There used to be similar vegetation on mounds in the middle and south of Peszéradacs, on its western edge, but today most of them are occupied by trees. The Peszéri-puszta is characterized by ancient steppe meadows rich in species, steppe meadows on lakes, swamp meadows with molinia and large swamp meadows with Orchio-Schoenetum nigricantis, with patches of tufted sedge. The lowest third of Peszéradacs already belongs to the meadows of Balázsi, an area with hardly any trees. Among the swamp meadows overgrown with thyme one can find long stretches of willow swamps, reeds, marsh ferns, and larger clumps. The meadow of Balázsi and its southern extension, the Kurjantó are among the best preserved parts of the Turjánvidék. Its swamp and marsh meadows are part of a mosaic consisting of sand puszta, similar to the Peszéri-puszta.
 
On the dry grass and steppe meadows there were human settlements in the past millennia, or they were tilled, therefore their flora and fauna can be seen only in a few places. On the mounds with ancient vegetation – depending on the fertility of the sandy soil – one can even see seven astralagus species. The milkwetch (Astragalus aster) – mainly seen on the Danube Plain in Hungary – often appears at the foot of higher mounds. On the top of the mounds there is sand iris (Iris humilis), in some places dwarf iris (Iris pumila), whereas at the foot of the mounds there is blue iris (Iris Spuria). In the steppes rich in flowers one can find the eight species of the blister beetle (Meloe L.), several ground beetles (Carabus sp) e.g., the indigenous Hungarian ground beetle (Carabus hungaricus). The European bee-eater (Merops apiaster) makes its nesting tunnels in the side of the mounds.
On the lower parts steppe meadows – rich in species – dominate. The wet meadows feature feather grass (Stipa pennata), (Festuca rupicola) and various orchids, the bug orchid (Orchis coliophora), the burnt orchid (Orchis ustulata), pyramid orchid (Anacamptis piramidalis), the early spider orchid (Ophrys spegodes), globe flower (Globularia punctata), the pheasant`s eye (Adonis vernalis), the Italian grape hyacinth (Muscari botryoides), the sword lily (Galdiolus palustris), and the short spurred fragrant orchid (Gymnadenia odoratissima) existing only here on the Great Hungarian Plain. Where the wet and dry grasslands meet, lake steppe meadows came into being. Somewhat lower than the habitat of the early spider orchid and of the military orchid the fragrant orchid (Gymnadenia conopsea) also appears, but the habitats of the woodcock orchid (Ophrys scolopax) and of the fly orchid (Ophrys insectifera) can also be found here. On steppe meadows lying lower, the Eastern green bush-cricket (Tettigonia caudata), and the flightless - and indigenous in the Carpathian Basin - Hungarian tarsza (Isophya costata) enjoy the fresh grasslands.
 
The Peszéri-puszta and the central third of Peszéradacs divided by sand mounds are separated by the Great Forest of Adacs, and its continuation, the band of the Bicske Forest. The poplar and birch of the Great Forest are both used by the European honey buzzard (Pernis apivorus) and short-toed snake eagle (Cricaetus gallicus) as a breeding ground. The Szabadszállás pasture in Kunadacs is the biggest sandy patch in the area that has remained like this unspoilt. In the vicinity of the cemetery mound in Adacs one can find large areas of sand saffron, pheasant`s eye and early spider orchid. The area is presented by the Kosbor nature trail that can be visited any time.
In the Peszéri-puszta the first spring plants to appear on the fresh grasslands are the sedges species (Carex), in the summer the moor grass (Molinia), the large pink (Dianthus superbus), the marsh gentian (Gentiana pneumontanthe), the devil’s bit (Succisa) and the great burnet (Sanguisorba officinalis).
 
It is in ant hills that the caterpillars of Alcon Blue (Maculinea alcon) and the scarce large blue (M. teleius) develop and transform. The motley butterfly of the Turjánvidék, the small pearl-bordered fritillary (Boloria selene) can still often be found in certain places.
The Hungarian meadow viper (Vipera ursini rakosiensis) living in European steppes and in some mountain areas – having several sub-species and on the verge of extinction – can only be found in the Carpathian Basin. The most stable population of this small snake – whose venom is not very dangerous for people – lives in the area of Kunpeszér. The Hungarian Meadow Viper Protection and Training Centre can be found outside the village, which – in addition to doing research and protecting the species – also receives visitors.
 
One of the best known spots of the turjánvidék is the Kolon Lake in Izsák. This lake – almost 3000 hectare in size – used to be a branch of the ancient Danube some thirty thousand years ago. The lake and its environs have changed due to manifold human influence: As the railway line between Kecskemét and Fülöpszállás was completed in 1895, the north-western corner of the lake became separated from the rest of the lake, and through the Danube Valley Main Canal the water of the lake was drained for a certain period. In 1952 peat mining also started on the lake. Later they tried to use it as a system for storing inland water. From the 1960’s the lake slowly regained its former appearance as a place with rush and reeds. This was further improved by being protected as a national park and systematic management as part of nature conservation. The lake has been on the list of wetlands of international importance sine 1997 (Ramsar area)
 
The western side of the lake is delimited by rather steep sand mounds: the Revecke Mound, the Matyó Mound, Bikatorok, and open sand mound grasslands.
 
The flora and fauna of the Kolon Lake
 
Beyond the reeds of the lake we find slightly sodic marsh meadows (Nagytelek) going as far as the streets in the outskirts of the town of Izsák. These meadows are used as grassland and grazing ground for grey cattle. Several birds nesting on the ground – such as the strictly protected great bustard (Otis tarda), the black-tailed godwit (Limosa limosa), and the Eurasian curlew (Numenius arquatus) – find a nesting place in this area. In the rows of trees separating the pastures common kestrels (Falco tinnunculus) and European rollers (Coracias garrulus) breed. When the water level rises in the spring, in the surface waters in the deeper spots of the meadow great egrets, flocks of ducks and geese, and white storks (Ciconia ciconia) nesting in Izsák find their food.
The natural vegetation of the sandy areas round the lake (sand grasslands, forests, sand mounds) consists of open sand grasslands, with patches of juniper and poplar, so the sand species are dominant. It is in the evening twilight that the common spadefoot (Pelobates fuscus) sets off in search of food, and the European pond turtle (Emys orbicularis) living in the lake can often be seen in May laying their eggs in the sand. In the spring and summer evenings and dawns the trilling sound of the European nightjar (Caprimulgus europaeus) carries far into the distance among the mounds.
The oak-ash-elm forest on the southern side of the lake (common-forest outside the village of Páhi) is surrounded by an extremely valuable drying swamp meadow that is rich in species. In early spring the marsh marigold (Caltha palustris) stands out with its vibrant yellow colour. In May several species of orchids appear on the canope of buttercups. The greatest amount is made up of the early marsh orchid (Dactylorhiza incarnata), the military orchid (Orchis militaris) and the loose-flowered orchid (Orchis laxiflora), a smaller amount is made up of the early spider orchid (Ophrys sphegodes) and the bug orchid (Orchis coriophora). In this period we can also find the blossoming patches of the purple Siberian and pipra iris. In the quickly warming shallow open waters the fire-bellied toad (Bombina bombina), the moor frog (Rana arvalis), and the rare agile frog (Rana dalmatina) multiply. The typical bird of the meadows is the corn crane (Crex crex) nesting on the ground and producing a small number of offspring. It is strictly protected. The black stork (Ciconia nigra) has its nest in the Közös-forest, the huge white-tailed eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla) starts breeding already in February, the young eagles leave the safety of their home only in June.
 
As of today the Kolon Lake is a eutrophic swamp lake with reed as its dominant vegetation. The reed is relatively poor in plant species. Nevertheless the (Typha latifolia) and the lesser bulrush (Thypha angustifolia), the tufted sedge (Crex elata) and the sawtooth sedge (Cladium mariscus) managed to gain some ground. The lake is rich in invertebrate fauna, which provides food for a multitude of amphibious animals, fishes, reptiles and birds. Frequent species are the raft spider (Dolomedes fimbriatus) and the diving bell spider (Aranea aquatica), and the biggest colony of large white-faced darter (Leucorrhinia pectoralis) of Hungary also lives here. The water of the Lake is home to many fishes: tenches, pikes and crucian carps live in the deeper parts of the water bed and in the canal. The protected European weather loach and the European mudminnow are frequently to be found in the Kolon Lake.
 
The expansive wetland provides a nesting area and food for a great number of birds. The herons hatch in a colony: the little egret and great egret (Egretta garzetta) E. alba), the common spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia), the grey heron (Ardea cinerea), the squacco heron (Ardeola ralloides) and the black-crowned night heron (Nycticorax nycticorax). The great bitterns (Botaurus stellaris) hide their nests far away from the others, among the reeds. Mallards, teals and the greylag geese (Anser anser) also hatch around the lake. It is mainly their singing that gives away the songbirds in the reeds that hatch in colony around the lake. The reed warbler and sedge warbler (Acrocephalus scirpaceus, The. schoenobaenus) hatch in the greatest number.The Savi`s warbler (Locustella luscinioides) and the great reed warbler (Acrocephalus arundinaceus) are also well represented. One of the biggest colonies of the moustached warbler (Acrocephalus melanopogon) – that nests in Hungary only sporadically – is also connected to the Kolon Lake.
 
The Red Swamp in Császártöltés and the Őrjeg in Kecel
 
The Kalocsai-Sárköz used to be one of the areas of Hungary rich in still waters. Before the regulation of rivers the Danube flooded several times a year the plain along the river as far as the edge of the Homokhátság in the Kiskunság. Thus it created large temporary and permanent wetlands. The landscape was a mesh of hollows, streamlets, succulents, small and large lakes and naturally terminated river branches. One of the last remnants of the formerly rich waterworld is the Red Swamp under the high bank at Kecel-Baja forming the eastern border of the Turjánvidék.
 
 
The natural values of the Őrjeg
 
The character of the Red Swamp is determined by the reeds and rushes. From a botanical perspective its most valuable habitats are the molinia meadows and the tussock grass. The willow swamps are habitats that have been part of the landscape for thousands of years. The swamp forests with white willows and Hungarian ash can be found in a lot of small patches scattered all over the Őrjeg. The size of the forest groves with hard wood or of the oak-ash-elm grove forests has decreased by now. At shrub level the guilder rose is prolific, at grass level the lily of the valley grows, and dewberry may become widespread.
 
The fauna of the Őrjeg
 
The dense water vegetation provides a hide-out, and the small creatures living in the water provide a rich source of food for such protected fish species as the European weather loach (Misgurnus fossilis) and the strictly protected European mudminnow (Umbra krameri) which live in swamps. This world of swamp swarming with arthropods is a treat for amphibians and reptiles.
The Őrjég is rich in birds. The herons make their nest undisturbed in reeds that are difficult to access. In the dense reeds of the swamp the little grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis) often breeds, on the open water one can observe the great-crested grebe (Podiceps cristatus). Also, the mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) often hatches here, but the strictly protected ferruginous duck (Aythya nyroca) can be seen here regularly too. The Western marsh-harrier (Circus aeruginosus), the common buzzard (Buteo buteo) are the most widespread predators, but the white-tailed eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla) and the saker falcon (Falco cherrug) hatch here regularly too.
Except for the winter months, birds sing everywhere among the reeds. The members of the choir are small singing birds: the European penduline tit (Remiz pendulinus), the bearded reedling (Panurus biarmicus),the sedge warbler (Acrocephalus schoenobaenus), the Savi`s warbler (Locustella luscinioides), the river warbler (Locustella fluviatilis), or the reed warbler (Acrocephalus scirpaceus). A common rodent in the marshes and canals is the muskrat (Ondatra zibethicus), but common are the harvest mouse (Micromys minutus), and a striped field mouse (Apodemus agrarius) too.
The area is also rich in wild animals. Wild boars (Sus scrofa), foxes (Vulpes vulpes) and badgers are here in great numbers. The golden jackal (Canis aureus) – which probably originates from the Balkans – has resettled here since the 1990’s. In addition to deers (Capreolus capreolus) huge male red deers are also hunted in the Őrjeg every year, which indicates the excellent quality of the habitat.
 
 
Nature trails and touring trails in the Turjánvidék
 
The meadows in Peszéradacs (5757 ha)
In the meadows of Peszéradacs the Kosbor natur trail starts from the Csikókert to be found at the Adacsgyöngye fishing centre. The sights are indicated by Hungarian and English signs.
The length of the above touring trail is about 1800 m. GPS: 46° 56’ 5,216” , 19° 19’ 34,015”
Outside Kunadacs the Hungarian Meadow Viper Protection and Training Centre can be visited by appointment or during organized tours. GPS: 47° 1’ 27,811” , 19° 17’ 21,287”
 
 
The Kolon Lake in Izsák (2962 ha)
Around the Kolon Lake in Izsák the Aqua Colun (GPS: 46° 48’ 34,918” ; 19° 2’' 18,572”) the Poszáta and the Bikatorok nature trails are worth walking along (GPS: 46° 47’ 46,684” ; 19° 20’ 48,445”). The Aqua Colun nature trail starts next to the riding track in Izsák, and as you walk along the lake you can observe the flora and fauna of the area. The Poszáta nature trail winds along the environs of Madárvárta. Here one can get to know the characteristic habitats of the area (swamp, marsh meadow, sandy habitats).
It is worth going to Soltszentimre on the western shore of the Kolon Lake, where the ruins of the “Csonka-torony” (an incomplete tower) can be seen.
The Madárvárta at the Kolon Lake is a centre for ornithological, geological, botanical and other research. It takes an active role in the educational programme of the Kiskunság National Park, also organizing open days and showing the public how birds are banded. It is also possible here to organise ‘nomadic’ camps for small groups, where the students can acquire practice in field work and nature study with the help of a teacher. GPS: 46° 46’ 8,879”, 19° 19’ 44,932”
 
Red Swamp Nature Conservation Area in Császártöltés (930 ha)
 
Heading from Kecel to Császártöltés we first reach the Natura Halászcsárda and peat lakes. The nature trail goes along the fishing pond created from the former quarry ponds, visitors can get to know the water and shore habitats, and the domestic and local history of peat mining during a pleasant walk. The fishing pond created next to the nature trail and the Halászcsárda offering delicious food provide recreational opportunities for the visitors.
GPS: 46° 30’ 15,425” , 19° 11” 36,182”
The about 2.5 km Red Swamp nature trail starts before Császsártöltés from the Csala csárda. (GPS: 46° 26’ 6,705” , 19° 10’ 42,210”). Its length is 2500 m, its signs are in Hungarian. It can be visited throughout the year, but wearing the right gear is recommended, rubber boots in the spring and in the autumn.
The settlements around the Őrjeg offer a great number of sights for visitiors. It is worth visiting Kiskőrös and its environs, the row of wine cellars in Hajós and in Pincefalu, or Kalocsat, the episcopal see of one of the Hungarian archbishops.
 
   
 
2014. 12. 11. Oldal nyomtatása
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