RINGING IN HUNGARY
The highlight of my ringing year in 1999 was the two days spent at a ringing camp in Hungary during a fortnight's family holiday in that wonderful country. The ringing camp is at the rear of the Fenekpusta railway station on the south-western shore of Lake Balak (Europe's largest lake). 74km along the R74, just after the 111 km roadside marker, turn left down a dirt track, over the railway crossing and the camp is a quarter of a mile further at the rear of the railway station in a clearing in the woods. The main habitat was phragmites reedbeds with some reedy water meadow, rough grassland and good areas of deciduous woodland. The living accommodation was in ten very basic caravans. There was a communal kitchen/dining marquee, and shower shed with (hot!) water heated by open log fire, and very basic W.C.!
Surviving on 6 hours sleep in 48 hours , it was an experience I will never forget. Over the two days, it wasn't just the number of new species that I ringed that will be remembered, but the hospitality of the ringing camp manager, Sandor Paltor (who was the only other ringer there with good English, if you can call English with a Lancashire accent good!), and the camaraderie of all the other ringers, which included 7 Hungarians, 2 Poles, 1 Slovak and 1 mad Brit (me!).
We got by with pidgin English, German and mostly Latin when discussing birds and bird topography. It's one way to make you remember your German lessons and help you learn your Latin bird names. During my two day stay, a total of 97 birds were ringed by yours truly, which included such delights as River Warbler, Moustached Warbler, Reed Warbler, Great Reed Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Savi's Warbler and Marsh Warbler.
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