Nature reserves

Red Swamp of Császártöltés

Area: 930 ha

Legal declaration by Decree No. 7/1990. KVM

Biogeographic region: Turján-vidék

The loessy western edge of Upper Backa meets the Danube Valley between Baja and Kecel in a 40 km long, steep slope. At the foot of the slope lies a narrow stripe of wetland, the so called Őrjeg. The Red Swamp is the most valuable, central part of the original wetlands of the Őrjeg; it developed in the old Holocene bed of the Danube. During the succession of the wetlands, dead plant material accumulated in the bottom and turned into peat. The present day appearance of the landscape is a result of peat mining down to a depth of 3 metres. Intensive mining left peat pits behind, which were quickly reoccupied by nature after abandonment.

The lush vegetation of the pits is an excellent shelter for animals. Aquatic invertebrates provide food source for swamp-dwelling fish species, such as the Tench, the strictly protected European Mudminnow and the protected European Weatherfish. Reedbeds are noisy from songbirds from spring until autumn. Singers include typical reed-dwelling songbirds, such as Penduline Tit, Great Reed Warbler, Bluethroat and Savi’s Warbler. Ducks and Grebes are the best adapted birds for aquatic lifestyle. Water Rail, Spotted Crake and Moorhen inhabit the dense vegetation of shorelines. Purple Herons and Great White Egrets breed in the reed beds. Steep loessy banks are suitable nesting grounds for European Bee-eaters.

Visitors should stop by on the road at the steep slopes not only for these colourful birds but also because this spot offers the best view on the protected area lying at the foot of the loess wall. Peat pits with open water are used for fishing with traditional tools. The nature reserve is part of the planned South Őrjeg Landscape Protection Area.