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Birding in E Poland (1 Viewer)

oliwierpl

Active member
Hi everyone!
I've decided to create a new thread to bring closer local wildlife to all of you. It's also a way of showing you how birding in Poland looks like at a different time of year when you might normally think of coming.

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On 17th November with a group of friends we decided to visit endless agricultural fields located just next to the border with Belarus in Krynki area. As we arrived we spotted a mixed flock of ca. 250 passerines with Yellowhammer being the most numerous bird. There were also a few Greenfinches, Chaffinches, Redpolls and even one Brambling. Rough-legged Buzzard hovered above a group of frozen birches giving a spectacular view. We also found a group of about 200 Golden Plovers and saw at least 2 Horned Larks which were migrating westly. Further on the fields we bumped into a herd of at least 100 Bisons! They were feeding leisurely enabling us to spend about an hour with them. Calmness was disturbed only by a huge female of Goshawk which flew close to us. It sat for a moment on an orthodox cross, what a pity that it was a bit too short to take an atmospheric photo! Later during the day 3 Elks dignifiedly came across our road and headed to Belarus.

But the highlight of the trip was an amazing sunset which was in my opinion the prettiest one we had this winter in Poland so far. Have a look at it…

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Snowy winter which has just came to Poland recently brought some Waxwings there. Had a strange view a few days ago when I saw my first flock of Waxwings in the vicinity of two White Storks which decided to winter in Poland...
 

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Original PaulE

Well-known member
Hi everyone!
I've decided to create a new thread to bring closer local wildlife to all of you. It's also a way of showing you how birding in Poland looks like at a different time of year when you might normally think of coming.

------------------------------

On 17th November with a group of friends we decided to visit endless agricultural fields located just next to the border with Belarus in Krynki area. As we arrived we spotted a mixed flock of ca. 250 passerines with Yellowhammer being the most numerous bird. There were also a few Greenfinches, Chaffinches, Redpolls and even one Brambling. Rough-legged Buzzard hovered above a group of frozen birches giving a spectacular view. We also found a group of about 200 Golden Plovers and saw at least 2 Horned Larks which were migrating westly. Further on the fields we bumped into a herd of at least 100 Bisons! They were feeding leisurely enabling us to spend about an hour with them. Calmness was disturbed only by a huge female of Goshawk which flew close to us. It sat for a moment on an orthodox cross, what a pity that it was a bit too short to take an atmospheric photo! Later during the day 3 Elks dignifiedly came across our road and headed to Belarus.

But the highlight of the trip was an amazing sunset which was in my opinion the prettiest one we had this winter in Poland so far. Have a look at it…

------------------------------

Snowy winter which has just came to Poland recently brought some Waxwings there. Had a strange view a few days ago when I saw my first flock of Waxwings in the vicinity of two White Storks which decided to winter in Poland...

Well a good start for your new thread, Some interesting sightings, are the Bison wild? how many are there certainly an impressive looking group!
 

oliwierpl

Active member
Yes, Bisons are wild. They normally gather in big herds in winter ( mainly females and calves, but there were some young bulls as well) and spend this time of year on huge agricultural fields.

The group was composed of almost 100% of the Knyszynska Forest's population.
By the way there are 5 Bison 'wild herds' in Poland with Białowieża one being the most numerous (~500 individuals)
 

Original PaulE

Well-known member
Yes, Bisons are wild. They normally gather in big herds in winter ( mainly females and calves, but there were some young bulls as well) and spend this time of year on huge agricultural fields.

The group was composed of almost 100% of the Knyszynska Forest's population.
By the way there are 5 Bison 'wild herds' in Poland with Białowieża one being the most numerous (~500 individuals)

Thanks for the info,glad to see there are places where big mammals can still exist.
 

oliwierpl

Active member
Winter came so I decided to hang out a bit with my friend in Knyszynska Forest. Walking along my favorite paths paid off as not very far from the car first tracks of Canidae crossed our 'human' road. That was a pack of 4-5 wolves. The original ideas was that we walk down the river in search of woodpeckers. The habitat created by a family of Beavers was perfect for woodpeckers but as soon as we found wolf tracks we changed our plans and decided to follow them. It ended up in 7km walk filed with knowledge of how this biggest carnivore of region's forest behave in the wild. I'm always impressed how well they walk in single file.

Silence of the forest was only disturbed by squeaking of Goldcrests and Tits as well as loud calls of Ravens which are leisurely preparing to their breeding season.

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Photos taken by Tomek Kułakowski presenting wolf tracks, beaver's activity and smartness of the wolves (they had used fallen tree instead of walking through the stream ;) )
 

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oliwierpl

Active member
The weather has changed. As the rain came down, the snow started to melt.

When I heard that the first flocks of Geese and Ducks arrived to Biebrza Marshes I decided to visit the area. On an overcast Sunday it was a perfect time to scan the valley for birds. And indeed, there were some signs of the spring. Few thousands of Greylags, Bean and White-fronted Geese, first Pintails, Wigeons and Lapwings, Skylarks migrating above, at the end of the day even 3 Cranes flew past the hill I was standing on! But rather cold wind, a lack of sun and frozen riverbed gave rather „the winter is not over” scenery. Wintering birds such as Merlin or a pair of Hen Harriers (both quite rare in the region) even strenghten the feeling…

But then Tuesday came. With a sun shining in the morning and temperature at about 7°C I headed north-east, to the Knyszyn Forest. I chose the place with different types of habitats from fertile oak-hornbeam forest through wet alder forest to fresh coniferous forest. There weren’t many birds, just Crested and Willow Tits singing around, Black Woodpecker drumming and two Middle-spotted Woodpeckers establishing their territories. But in this part of the year you can experience the change in nature by an overall impression of it. And while I was looking at the awakened forest I felt like the spring is about to come…

For some pictures please visit my website: http://wildlifeguide.pl/blog/middle-of-february-looking-out-for-early-signs-of-spring/


PS.
According to weather forecast there will be a short comeback of winter on the weekend. I’m planning to visit Belarus then so I will report what happens up...
 

oliwierpl

Active member
As I had mentioned in the previous post I just came back from Belarus.

I've visited belarusian part of Białowieża Forest which is a bit different (more marshy) than the forest on the polish side.
During the weekend I saw Great Grey Owl 5 times in total! In addition there were f.e. Grey-headed, Black and White-backed Woodpeckers.

I'm sharing picture of Great Grey Owl with you. A few more photos, video and a longer trip report can be found there: http://wildlifeguide.pl/blog/late-february-belarusian-part-of-bialowieza-forest/
 

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oliwierpl

Active member
The arrival of spring is always a busy time for me. And so it is now!

Recently I have been doing rare woodpecker survey (commissioned by the Chief Inspectorate of Environmental Protection) in Knyszyn Forest close to Białystok. I have observed both species on a few plots. Of course, as it happens quite often, there were also days with a full list of forest species of Woodpeckers (White-backed, Grey-headed, Three-Toed, Black, Middle-spotted, Lesser-spotted, Greater-spotted). While walking through the forest I flushed a a few Hazel Grouse, several Nutcrackers were also calling from dense spruces.

I also did a little guiding in Białowieża Forest. Taking advantage of a calm night we had a sighting of Pygmy Owl at dusk and heard at least two Tawny Owls, Tengmalm’s Owl and Long-eared Owl. During casual daylight trip we completed a full list of forest Woodpeckers (which as I mentioned happens quite often at this time of the year :t: ) and once more we encountered a male of Pygmy Owl. In the evening we found two Bisons leisurely feeding on forest edge.

A few more photos and a longer trip report can be found there: http://wildlifeguide.pl/blog/late-march-forests-of-ne-poland/

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Photo of Pygmy Owl taken by my guest, Krzysztof Bolechowski. Pictures of woodpeckers by courtesy of my friend Tomek Kułakowski who joined me during my field works.
 

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oliwierpl

Active member
Elks feeding on Marsh Marigolds. A dream, though achievable, view for everyone visiting Biebrza Marshes in April!

PS.
First Spotted Eagles have arrived to the region.
 

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oliwierpl

Active member
I've recently done some guiding on Biebrza Marshes for a sympathetic couple from Alzace, France. The river has bestowed us with some amazing sightings. Undoubtley the highlight was an eveving’s visit on Bagno Ławki fen which brought us Black Grouse, Short-eared Owl and Eagle Owl (all 3 species seen well!).

Some more details are decribed there: http://wildlifeguide.pl/blog/middle-of-april-coming-to-life-biebrza-marshes/

I attache a photo of Pygmy Owl's nesthole at 2m height in Knyszyn Primeval Forest. Birds are incubating now.
 

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oliwierpl

Active member
I spent Easter time exploring Białowieża Forest for my upcoming guests. I’ve located a few territories of Pygmy and Tengmalm's Owls, Three-toed, White-backed ( I found 2 nestholes at different stages of breeding) and Grey-headed Woodpeckers.

I also had a wolf pack response on my howling in the middle of the forest during the fullmoon. Amazing experience!

http://wildlifeguide.pl/blog/late-april-easter-time-in-bialowieza-forest/

PS.
For those who are thinking of coming to Poland and looking for a guide- I'm free between 5th and 10th May :t:

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I attache a photo of White-backed Woodpecker excavating a nesthole.
 

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oliwierpl

Active member
Just came back home after guiding wildlife tours for many companies.
That was a month of uncountable encounters with birds and mammals enriched by picturesque habitats of North East Poland.
Below I will only name a few things that we observed to show you how succesful the trips were…

Hazel Grouse, Grebes (Black-necked, Red-necked, Slavonian), Little Bittern, both species of Spotted Eagles, White-tailed Eagle, Honey Buzzard, 2 species of Storks, Little, Spotted and Corn Crake, Black-throated Diver, Great Snipe, Marsh Terns, Pygmy Owl, Tengmalm’s Owl, Short-eared Owl, Bee-eater, 9 species of Woodpecker, Tawny Pipit, Citrine Wagtail, Thrush Nightingale, Bluethroat, all 4 species of Flycatchers, Warblers (Barred, Savi’s, Grasshopper, River, Marsh, Wood, Icterine, Aquatic), Firecrest, Penduline Tit, Crested Tit, Red-backed and Great Grey Shrikes, Rosefinch and Hawfinch, Bearded Tit.

As well as Bisons, Elks, Red deers, Roe deers, Beavers, Stoat, Red Squirrels, Wolves howling and much more…

Some pictures can be found there: http://wildlifeguide.pl/blog/may-guiding-tours-in-ne-poland/

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I attache a photo of Bison found last week in Białowieża Forest.
 

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oliwierpl

Active member
Recently I’ve visited two „families” in Białowieża Forest.

First one was a nesting site of Three-toed Woodpeckers, where both parents were feeding a youngster.
After that I checked Pygmy Owl nesting site close to Białowieża. A juvenile was staring at me from the hole while the mother was having a rest nearby.

This time of year is the best time to comfortably observe life of these late breeders and if you are planning to photograph either Pygmy Owl or Three-toed Woodpecker I would advise you to visit the Forest in early June.

You cand find some more photos here: http://wildlifeguide.pl/blog/early-june-visiting-bialowiezas-late-breeding-birds/

If you would like to stay more updated with news from top European wildlife spots I can suggest you to start following my Facebook funpage: https://www.facebook.com/wildlifeguide/

Thanks!:t:
 

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oliwierpl

Active member
Autumn is just around the corner…

But there is nothing to worry about, because an amazing time of year is coming!
Picturesque foggy mornings, colorful foliage and humid forest full of diversiform funghis as well as sounds of rutting stags. That’s how „golden polish autumn” (fifth of polish six seasons) looks like.

Owls became active in the last days.
This September one day at dusk in Białowieża Forest I had at least 3 Pygmy Owls calling from their autumnal territories. When the darkness fell Tawny Owls started to being vocal as well as stags of Red Deer which announced that their annual rutting show has begun…

Some photos you can find on my website: http://wildlifeguide.pl/blog/early-september-first-signs-of-autumn/

and on my Facebook funpage (I invite you to follow it): https://www.facebook.com/wildlifeguide/
 

oliwierpl

Active member
Just had an intensive few days in NE Poland while guiding a couple from Ohio, US. We spent only one full day in the Forest and additionally one day at the Marshes. Despite a small amount of time we had in the field we saw a lot! A full set of sedentary forest woodpeckers (8 species), Pygmy Owl, Hazel Grouse (flew over our heads), Greater Spotted Eagle, many Red Deers, a family of Beavers, we also had a few encounters with Bisons.

At our last dusk, we went to have a look at Ławki Bog in search of Elk. Just in few minutes the mist covered almost everything around us. There wasn’t much to see but I heard some noise in the bushes next to us so I decided to stay a bit longer. And after some time a female Elk with a young calf appeared at the edge of the forest and not longer than a minute later dissappeared in the sea of fog…

That was something magical, even for me!

http://wildlifeguide.pl/blog/late-september-3c-in-the-morning/
 

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oliwierpl

Active member
Winter is coming!
The main season for visiting Poland for wildlife-watching is late spring (May to June) and early autumn (September to October). This is mainly because since then all of migratory birds have already arrived (or haven't departed yet ;) ) and the weather is decent at this time of year. Although, I find winter and early spring time undervalued and not as popular for tourists. It is wrong because this time of year can be very rewarding.

To prove my words, I wrote a special post dedicated to this cool half-year an would like to invite you to visit Poland at this time of year.
http://wildlifeguide.pl/an-invitation-to-visit-poland-in-early-2020/

I also attache a few photos I made during my trips.

In my opinion, the best way to experience a beautiful show called "nature awaking in a primeval forest" is to come to Białowieża in late March... You won't regret it.
 

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oliwierpl

Active member
Winter is quite different this year in Poland. So far I witnessed only one day with snow cover... It doesn't seem like it is going to change a lot. Probably spring is going to arrive earlier in 2020.

I still invite you to visit Poland in an early spring time: http://wildlifeguide.pl/an-invitation-to-visit-poland-in-early-2020/

I attache a photo of an amazing Elk I found recently while I was birding in NE Poland.
 

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