Palace Park, Bialowieza © Papyrus Tours
|POL1/13||8||Monday 6th May to Monday 13th May 2013||8 plus leader||£1395 (£180)*||Lance Degnan|
*Single room supplement.
- Bialowieza Forest
- Siemianowka Reservoir
- Biebrza Marshes
We returned to Poland in 2007 following the same itinerary which features the Bialowieza and Biebrza Marshes National Parks and found 147 species of birds, and an unexpected bonus, Wolf.
In the setting of some of the best remaining natural habitats in Europe, at a time when the spring migrants are arriving, the birdwatching will be superb. In addition to a wonderful variety of the commoner migrants, our local contacts will guide us to the breeding sites of rarer species, including the lekking grounds of Great Snipe. There will also be access to areas of special protection.
To give an outline of the prolific birdlife to be encountered, birds of prey should include Honey Buzzard, Lesser and Greater Spotted Eagles, White-tailed Eagle and Montagu’s Harrier and no fewer than nine species of woodpecker, including Wryneck and Black Woodpecker. Other woodland species in and around Bialowieza Forest should include Collared Flycatcher, Red-backed Shrike and Thrush Nightingale.
The Siemianowka Reservoir holds breeding Citrine Wagtail, Tawny Pipit and Ortolan Bunting whilst the Biebrza Marshes hold an internationally important population of Aquatic Warblers; also Great Reed and Savi’s Warblers. These marshes also provide habitat for breeding Great Bittern, Garganey, Common Crane, Ruff, Marsh Sandpiper, Black-tailed Godwit, White-winged and Whiskered Terns, and a host of other less common species are well represented here.
For a week of wonderful spring birdwatching in two of the most natural areas in Europe, this 8-day trip to Poland cannot be bettered.
Day 1 : Bialowieza
We depart from the UK on the morning flight to Warsaw, driving in the afternoon to Bialowieza on the Belarus border for a three night stay.
Days 2 and 3 : Bialowieza Forest
The Bialowieza Forest is wild and ancient, straddling the border with Belarus. We will explore the many different types of wild woodland and witness a rich avifauna. Both White and Black Stork, Honey Buzzard and Lesser Spotted Eagle occur here, together with no fewer than nine species of woodpeckers, including Wryneck, Three-toed, White-backed, Middle-Spotted, Grey-headed and Black Woodpecker. A walk in the primeval ‘strict reserve’ will produce many Collared Flycatchers in full song. The woodland margins hold Marsh, Icterine, Barred and River Warblers, together with Red-backed Shrike, Common Rosefinch and Thrush Nightingale. With luck and the assistance of our guide, we should encounter Nutcracker, Tengmalm’s and Pygmy Owls, and we may come across some of the few European Bison that inhabit the forest or perhaps a Pine Marten. Our local Polish guide will also give us an insight into the local history of this area, which is extremely interesting.
Day 4 : Siemianowka Reservoir
We drive north and stop at the now famous Siemianowka Reservoir where we will spend the afternoon. Breeding Citrine Wagtails are found here together with migratory waders, terns and raptors, including White-tailed Eagle. The farmland surrounding the reservoir holds Ortolan Bunting, Montagu’s Harrier and Tawny Pipit. We will arrive in the Biebrza Basin in the early evening for a four night stay.
Days 5, 6 and 7 : Biebrza Marshes
The marshes stretch for many kilometres and host both Lesser and Greater Spotted Eagles. An internationally important population of Aquatic Warblers breeds here and we should have good views of these little ‘tigers’ of the sedge-beds. An evening at a Great Snipe ‘lek’ will be memorable. Other interesting species include breeding Great Bittern, Garganey, Corn Crake, Common Crane, Green Sandpiper, Ruff, Black-tailed Godwit, Marsh Sandpiper, Little Gull, Black, White-winged and Whiskered Terns, Roller, Bluethroat, Penduline Tit, Great Reed and Savi’s Warblers. Elk roam the marshes and European Beavers build their lodges in the flooded woodlands.
Day 8 : Return to UK
We drive to Warsaw, birding along the way, and connect with our afternoon flight back to the UK.