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ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.

Poland - May 2024 (2 Viewers)

Agree with the others, a smashing read Pete, sounds like you had a lovely and rewarding time. Like you, I prefer, where possible, to bird without a guide. Ok this means you miss some birds, but i think it is outweighed by the enjoyment of finding your own things, and birding as a free spirit, so to speak.
Thanks Owen, Mike and Nick for the kind comments.

Tuesday 21st May:

Fortunately, my flight was not until late afternoon so I did not have to return the car until early afternoon. This meant, even considering the significant drive, I had a bit more birding time in the area to hunt down the missing target. So I was at Carska corner at first light to again slowly work the roadsides between Bialowieza and Podolany that had become familiar over the last couple of days. The same species as on previous visits were seen or heard but perhaps it was because I was there even earlier in the morning or that there had been an overnight arrival but this time I also heard (and saw) at least two singing Icterine Warbler. I also had a couple of Marsh Tit - can't believe I had not encountered them before. After feeling I had done as much as I could here I called in at Dyrekcyjny Park in case it was any good for woodpeckers but by the time I got there it seemed as though the students from the adjacent Forestry School were out with brush-cutters doing some maintenance - with the noise and disturbance I decided to move on.

I quickly returned to the accommodation to collect my pre-packed bag and then set off again for the tower and on to Budy Bridge as a last ditch effort. The tower was quiet and the bridge provided the usual suspects, included Great and Middle Spotted Woodpecker. So I resumed a wander along the road eventually getting as far as Teremiski, adding a singing Wood Lark to the trip list. Just before the village I glanced at my watch and realised that I needed to return to the car and set off. About half way back and with time running out a green woodpecker flew from the meadow on my left across the road in front of me and into the canopy of a mature small-leaved lime only to disappear amongst the foliage. As I approached, it flew to the next tree, a much less densely leaved birch, and with a bit of stalking and repositioning I finally managed a very good view of a male Grey-headed Woodpecker that shortly flew off calling. It is a good job I was on my own at this point as anyone around would have witnessed the unedifying spectacle of an old-ish man with no functional anterior cruciate ligaments in either knee doing a grotesque sort of celebratory dance in the middle of the road. Well pleased, I could go back to the car and happily leave the area to begin the journey home.

Despite my efforts to avoid it, my navigation app took me back through the horrendous roadworks but I was too happy to let it worry me and a stop at one of the many red lights allowed nice views of a Lesser Spotted Eagle circling over the arable fields. The car was returned and I proceed through the airport without a hitch, although it seems as though the departure area has less of a capacity than the plane for which you are waiting! With that it was a smooth flight back to Stanstead and then an evening drive back home through biblical rain and spray on the M25. Another very productive trip with 123 species seen in total and all 5 target lifers seen.

I also did pretty well on the mammal front:

Roe Deer - Biebrza;
Red Deer - Bialowieza;
Moose / Elk - Biebrza;
Bison - Teremiski, Bialowieza;
Polecat - Kosy Most, Bialowieza;
Red Squirrel - Bialowieza;
Red Fox - Biebrza, Bialowieza & Siemienowka;
Hare - Biebrza;
Stoat - Biebrza.


1. & 2. View from Pogorzelce road tower;
3. Teremiski Meadows.


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Brilliant Pete! Can't tell you how pleased I am you nailed the Woodie at the final attempt! A wonderful and most enjoyable account of a highly successful trip, many thanks for taking the time to write it up!

Thanks again Chris, glad you enjoyed it. Yes, it was a bit last minute but perhaps all the more enjoyable for that - although I may not have said that if I'd dipped.
It's a hell of a story, thank you for that. I'm under impression of your efficiency - you found 123 species (which is great result) and visited the majority of the top-of-the-list places in very limited time frame. I respect that.

Thanks. I always try to fit in as much as possible as I may never get the chance to return - there is always somewhere else to go with new birds.
You certainly had a great trip Pete,
I still need Grey-headed Woody😩
Am due a few more trips into the near continent possibly Brussels (don’t know about this year though…praps next?)
Totally condone the “war dance”🤩 round the tree in the said wood, I’m not beyond a celebratory clenched fist, held high to the gods when I score either…👍
I had no idea that the Grey-headed was such a coveted creature. It's quite common here, in Upper Silesia region, it frequently breeds in city parks, botanical gardens and cemeteries.
I dipped Grey Headed there...
Well done, tricky buggers!
Not very tricky on my feeders 🙂

Three-toed are very tricky in my limited experience, only seen once with a guide in Bialowieza, but then it showed superbly.

I guess it depends where you are..........over 3 days in and around Bialowieza I enjoyed 5 White-backed Woodpecker sightings (involving 3-4 birds) and they are / were considered difficult. I also enjoyed at least 4 Middle-spotted Woodpecker sightings but I found that these can be quite secretive, always trying to get onto the blind side of a tree-trunk. Black Woodies are beasts and I have enjoyed several good sightings in the WP. I've been quite fortunate with Lesser Spots, having seen around 10 in the Uk and several abroad.

Over several trips to Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland however Grey-Headed have always eluded me, I heard one clearly at Bialowieza Zoo but I just could not see it. I also saw one for a nano-second in flight at Bilaowieza after the guide whistled it in. My only good view of one was near Lake Kerkini, Greece.

But...............Jos's feeders in his 'tiny garden' Lithuania is the place!!
Have grey-headed woodpeckers declined significantly? My only sighting was in a suburban park in Vienna many years ago (with more heard calling), but most of the records from that city seem to be historic. The same site had really tame middle-spotted woodpeckers, habituated to people feeding birds.
Have grey-headed woodpeckers declined significantly? My only sighting was in a suburban park in Vienna many years ago (with more heard calling), but most of the records from that city seem to be historic. The same site had really tame middle-spotted woodpeckers, habituated to people feeding birds.
Possibly in Austria, but I don't think in Lithuania (and I assume neighbouring Poland) - the species is local, but not particularly declining as far as I can judge. Can be relatively tame where it occurs.

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