Core areas of the National Park


Area: 6241 ha

Biogeographic region: Lower Danube region

There are three territories of the National Park in the Lower Danube region and Mikla-puszta is the southernmost one; it is located on the border of the Solt Lowland and Kalocsai-Sárköz landscape units. The area evolved on the low floodplain of the Danube, which was inundated every year. The intrusion and retraction of flood water took place through creeks (Vár-fok, Kígyós-ér and Nagy-ér). River regulations of the 19th century brought about significant changes in the appearance of the landscape. The former wetlands turned into steppe grassland, having unique geomorphological formations. One can find sharply eroded ridges as well as temporary water-logged depressions.

Areas that once were covered by permanent wetlands have become species-poor saline wetlands with high salt content and highly alkaline pH. Deepest parts are occupied by reed, while shallower zones are covered by Sea Clubrush stands and even shallower ones by saline meadows. An endemic species of our saline habitats, the Sea Aster, blooms from late summer in the latter habitat. Farther away from the water, barren playas can be found, where salt frequently precipitates in mid-summer; this phenomenon is called “salt blooming” among local people. Lepidium crassifolium, Camphorosma annua and some Seepweed species are the only plants able to tolerate the conditions in this habitat. Species-rich Meadow-steppe and forest-steppe used to cover higher ridges but deforestation and grazing have profoundly altered the plant species composition of these habitats. The Green-winged Orchid blooms on high ridges at the turn of April and May. The Spider Orchid also blooms in this period, while the Bug Orchid waits until early summer. A rare orchid of the Danube-Tisza Interfluve, the Autumn Lady’s-tresses blooms in late summer and in autumn.

The mosaic of different habitats is a popular stop-over site for migrating birds. As the wintering species, such as Great Grey Shrike and Hen Harrier depart, Northern Lapwings arrive as early as February and they are followed by Black-tailed Godwits, Tringa and Calidris Sandpipers and Curlews. Large flocks of Great White-fronted Geese, Bean Geese and Greylag Geese rest and feed in the area during their northerly migration. The latter species also breed in the reed beds of the puszta. Besides the noisy migrating birds, two cryptic species, Eurasian Stone-Curlew and Kentish Plover, also increase the ornithological value of the puszta. Red-footed Falcons, Common Kestrels, Sakers and Long-eared Owls breed in small forest patches. Wintering raptors include Rough-legged Buzzard, but one can also spot a Merlin, darting through the sky.