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Slovakia Birding

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Old Friday 28th April 2006, 22:25   #1
PennineBirder
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Slovakia Birding

I'm off with some pals to Slovakia later in the year on a birding/wildlife trip. Going in to Bratislava and on from there. Will be heading for the Tatra mountains in the north east most likely. Has anyone been there and can give any advice on good sites or areas to head for?.

All info gratefully recieved.

Best

Peter
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Old Friday 28th April 2006, 22:48   #2
Laurence H
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This link

http://www.fatbirder.com/links_geo/europe/slovakia.html

has plenty of trip reports on it. Hope it's of help.

Laurence
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Old Sunday 30th April 2006, 20:27   #3
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Thanks Laurence. I'll check those sites and reports.

Cheers

Peter
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Old Monday 1st May 2006, 09:13   #4
Andrew Whitehouse
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I spent a day or two in the Tatras last July, staying in Stary Smokovec. I had one day up in the mountains and was reasonably successful, seeing several Nutcrackers and a couple of Alpine Accentors. Also had great views of Pine Marten and Alpine Marmot. Other birds were a bit thin on the ground, although mountain birds like Black Redstart and Water Pipit were common. I saw Alpine Accentor pretty high up - above 2000 metres near a small lake called Zamrznute Pleso (just below the mountain Velicky Stit). There are supposed to be Wallcreepers in the Tatras but I expect they're fairly hard work without local knowledge. There's obviously plenty in the forests (owls, woodpeckers) but these are probably going to be tricky to find without help. Note that much of the forest on the southern slopes of the Tatras has been blown down by storms. This also meant that (at least last summer) a lot of the trails were closed.

I'd also recommend a visit to the Slovakian Karst around Kosice. I had a great day around Turna nad Bodvou, which is mentioned in a few trip reports. Stunning views of Imperial Eagle and also Rock Bunting and Rock Thrush. Excellent for butterflies as well. I reckon eastern Slovakia is well worth exploring and I wish I'd spent more time there. Even by eastern European standards it's very cheap too.
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Old Tuesday 2nd May 2006, 22:36   #5
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Many thanks for your sites and info Andrew. I'll certainly add your suggestions to the itinery. We are only there for one week so will have to be selective.

cheers

Peter
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Old Wednesday 3rd May 2006, 14:22   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PennineBirder
Many thanks for your sites and info Andrew. I'll certainly add your suggestions to the itinery. We are only there for one week so will have to be selective.

cheers

Peter
Hi Peter,

I was only there for three days, so you should be able to see a fair bit in a week. Slovakia is a relatively small country and fairly easy to get around. I think that in the east of the country you could probably see decent birds almost everywhere because the habitat's very good. A jaunt into Hungary (even Hortobagy) might not be out of the question either.
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Old Wednesday 3rd May 2006, 14:59   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PennineBirder
I'm off with some pals to Slovakia later in the year on a birding/wildlife trip. Going in to Bratislava and on from there. Will be heading for the Tatra mountains in the north east most likely. Has anyone been there and can give any advice on good sites or areas to head for?.

All info gratefully recieved.

Best

Peter

Peter
I know you are only there for a week but if you have a hire car and need/want to see Wallcreeper then I have an excellent site in the Polish Tatras which as I am sure you know is just over the border. I saw them there last year and I know other have seen them there previously and since.
Anyway just a thought as it takes and hour or so from Sloval border to the site in question.
PM me if you want more details.
Brian

Last edited by breggie : Thursday 15th June 2006 at 14:11.
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Old Monday 8th May 2006, 20:47   #8
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Peter & Andrew
Thanks again. Peter - I will be having a planning session soon and we will make a rough intinery of places we want to go. I'm probably the keenest birder in the group and have seen Wallcreeper in Northern Spain - but I don't think the others have. I'll get back if the Polish option gets the thumbs up for more info.

Andrew - are the roads etc in Slovakia OK?. I was in Bulgaria a couple of years ago on a birding trip and the roads in the south were appalling in places - it took ages to get around not the mention the absence of road signs and even village/town name boards in some areas. We had longer on that trip so it was all manageable - and worth the effort.

Cheers

Peter
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Old Monday 8th May 2006, 21:04   #9
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I mainly travelled by train in Slovakia, which was fine. The roads didn't strike me as being excessively bad, although they probably won't be at Western European standards in many places.
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Old Tuesday 9th May 2006, 08:33   #10
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It's not the roads you need to worry about so much in Slovakia - it's the drivers:

If you’ve survived driving in Italy, you may just make it in Slovakia - maybe. Like Italy, the average Slovak bi-directional thoroughfare has an additional (albeit invisible) third lane that runs down the middle of the road. Those brave enough to use it push their way onto this ‘lane’ and battle oncoming traffic in a life and death determination to leapfrog one or more other vehicles. Unfortunately there are many such brave souls in this part of the world.

This is part of an excellent description on driving in this part of the world available here: http://www.wildimages.co.nz/blog/

This invisible third lane also exists in Poland and here in the Czech Republic.

Be careful, and assume there is a sociopath behind the wheel of every vehicle - because there probably is.

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Old Tuesday 9th May 2006, 23:11   #11
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Adam

Oh Blimey. I have driven a few times in Poland - the first time was a bit hair raising as I had no idea of the 'third lane' style of driving. I found myself taking evasive action and bumping along the cart track at the side of the road on more than one occasion.

The very first time this happens, when you are driving along minding your own business and then find an overtaking motorist hurtling towards you and you think. . . . is he going to move over back into his side of the road or do I swerve onto the cart track. . . .is a test not for the faint hearted. I soon go the hang of this style of driving though.

I thought is was a Polish thing . . . .. not yet having driven in the other countries. Thanks for the warning for Slovakia.

I don't find these local driving conventions too much of a problem as long as you know what they are.

In Bulgaria they have a wierd driving conventiomn that traffic turning into a main road from a side road has priority. Without any road markings this wasn't clear to me and I had a few misunderstandings about who was giving way to who - including a crew from the local constabulary on one occasion who decided I was a dangerous individual for not knowing the local driving etiquette and gave me and my companions the full stop and search treatment.

Cheers

Peter
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