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Some Birding in Lithuania and Ukraine, May 17th - June 3rd 2013 (1 Viewer)


Well-known member
There was still one good bird yet to come, because M and L had been involved in putting up nest boxes for a rare and enigmatic breeding species which had been in slow decline in the region. Whether this decline had been arrested it was perhaps too soon to say, but a start had been made. At the first of the three sites we checked we saw one – perched on the telephone wires near a small sawmill (preferred hunting perch and preferred location too) – an ever-so smart Roller. With only 8 or so (known) pairs in Lithuania the previous year

We had 8 known breeding pairs in 2011 and 2012. This year we have 9 pairs! We have been ringing Rollers chicks since 2011 with colour rings. This year we've found two our ringed birds (one from 2011 and another from 2012) and one from Latvia (this one was ringed in 2006 as a chick and breeds in Lithuania second time. Could be more, but we saw it in 2011 and this year again). One member of the new pair is a chick which was ringed by us last summer! This year we have ringed 16 Rollers, it is the biggest number so far!
It is minor success but we are happy anyway...
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Bah humbug
Congratulations on the Pine Marten - I'm guessing you also eliminated Dean Martin on song.

My mum once had an experience like yours with child 2.

Thanks. We didn't hear it vocalise, but I'm guessing we can rule it out simply on that fact - no crooning was heard anywhere in the vicinity.

Scary experience for someone that! From my point of view from the other side, the closest I've come was going to the wrong house when going back from Uni when my parents had moved house. I'd even helped in the move so I should have known. Fortunately I realised before I put the key in the door as I didn't recognise 'their' car, and was able to embarrassedly drive to the other side of town instead.
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Bah humbug
We had 8 known breeding pairs in 2011 and 2012. This year we have 9 pairs!

Good news! Not out of the woods yet, as they say, but definitely going in the right direction. Any idea of what the population was/could be/should be?

You are right, his name is Simas and he is 8 years old :)

I didn't want to tell you, but....

I was about half right then! I know I'm rubbish on people and names (which is a bit odd considering how good I am at bird names and ids ... erm ... ;) ) I think just about everything else in this trip is 99% accurate though.

My turn to say 'Ouch!!!' But yes, will definitely catch up one day, hopefully next visit ...
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Bah humbug
Wrapping up Lithuania. Day 4

It was now nice and warm, and we had a few hours left before we really should get back and organise a little for the next step (the next step included food). A return to the meadows was discounted as it was now the heat of the day and whilst an excellent spot, unlikely to live up to its full potential. We’d probably gotten the best we could from it already (wolf, if you can recall that far back, and those other predominantly dusky birds). If we’d still needed Lesser Spotted Eagle we could have used this site, but we didn’t. Instead we headed for a city park and a lost vagrant. Not that lost geographically, but a Lithuanian rarity, and a bird I’d only seen once or twice before.

Milda’s driving was absolutely perfect, absolutely nothing to complain about/remain in awe of/discuss/re-iterate or comment on. We got there safely, in a timely fashion, relax … actually I took the opportunity to take a nap for most of the hour-long journey so I don’t really have a clue… but I’m reasonably sure no trail of destruction was left in our wake.

Parking (expertly enough), next to the kerb and a line of grand trees in the grand old park we now wandered over towards the bandstand, ice-cream kiosk and other associated structural paraphernalia of the typical metropolitan park. Taking a slight angle away, through the graceful hanging branches on a roundabout, Milda led the way, a distinctive loud and fruity cheery whistling song drawing us on. And there it was – a cracking male Collared Flycatcher! This year had (I believe) been the best ever year, with 5 or 6 birds found, although this was the only non-coastal one. Overshoots, rather than mega lost, normally breeding some hundreds of miles to the south. Very nice!

Back home, and an hour or two to shower, pack, await arrival of kids from school, engage in a bit of peripheral but unfortunately necessary organisation like emails and the like.

And then we hit the town, gently enough. This involved going out for a proper traditional meal, choice of eating style and menu thus far had largely been dictated by the dual (somethings)* of necessity and ease. We were birding, we had to eat, but birding came first. The traditional Lithuanian meal was in a mock traditional restaurant, complete with paper-mache (?) native puppets in rustic attire etc etc. The meal would have been rather impractical and heavy for normal birding purposes too – the desire to sleep it off rather than bird, revolving around potato dumplings, potato sausage, cold (it was no longer winter) borscht (beetroot soup) etc, most of which we all participated in. Mostly good warming winter food, good stuff. We then wandered a little (slowly), taking in the pleasing architecture and the like. Quite a nice place for a perambulation really. All quite relaxing, and in rather stark contrast to the previous few days. Being civilised ... ? Wearing smarter clothes ... ? (not me on that one, admittedly) Looking at a fountain … ? We did all that.

My bus wasn’t for a while, and although kids had school the next day** I’m sure they didn’t mind staying up rather than leaving me to catch the bus alone.

In search of the bus station toilets we were greeted outside the doors by an artistic rendering of the founding wolf of the city (or something like that – see below), a four-legged standing study in steel and ferocity***. How apt was that? This hadn't been mentioned before, ironically.

So, I caught a bus, chatted to some local people on it and headed on towards another place …

(* Can't think of the word, I'm sure there is one. 'Swords' comes to mind, which would be a nice wordplay, but don't think it is?)

(** One at least. The other (whose name also escapes me), was a lot older and in the middle of exams. Don’t know if they had to be in the next day or not.)

(*** I expect there’s a joke or pun to be had in there somewhere, but hey, will merely draw attention to the point that ‘ferocity’ (ferro-city) is also somehow apt when considering the city was founded**** on the basis of a dream about an iron wolf ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vilnius ) And also 'ironically', just in case you hadn't noticed. Both of those were unintentional).

(**** Founded. I expect there’s a joke or pun to be had in there somewhere about founded and foundries and metal workings and making steel sculptures. (Actually, I expect there isn’t.) I could cast around for more possible puns but probably best not ... )
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Bah humbug
And the pics ...

That Owl again. Note the protective sunglasses.

Citrine Wagtail Desirable Residence

Entrance to The Fishponds. It really was a bird reserve once ...

River Warbler in full song

Modern Vilnius, probably just after I'd woken up.

I'm not really a photographer, just in case there was still any confusion over the matter, but afterwards wish I'd snapped away a few more times in the various habitats etc.


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Bah humbug
To Summarise Thus Far ...

Lithuania Target Species list

Lesser Spotted Eagle
Broad-billed Sandpiper
Terek Sandpiper
Eagle Owl
Tengmalm’s Owl
Pygmy Owl
White-backed Woodpecker
Grey-headed Woodpecker
River Warbler

Also nice would be–

Three-Toed Woodpecker (views of an adult, not just a nearly fledged young head)
Barred Warbler (one with bars)
Black Woodpecker – proper views

This wasn’t a clean up at all costs exercise – I was informed a number of these were either not really present in the area I was visiting or very difficult, so as long as we connected with some and just enjoyed some good birding, success would be deemed achieved.

The list started off a little shorter than this, but grew as I remembered more birds that might be possible (or that I thought might be)

Ok, so bold highlights the birds seen in the above list. The list, as discussed was perhaps a little optimistic (and I would also like to point out again that I didn't actually have a physical list that I was ticking off at the time), but the trip was deemed a total success in terms of General Birding Experience, with the Special Bonuses (mammal lifers and birds I had not seen that often before such as Greenish Warbler, WWBlack Tern and the beautiful Common Rosefinch). 4 lifers (the three above, plus Blyth's Reed), and a handy 120 or so species over the 4 days - some cracking birds, some great wildlife experiences and just generally good company.

Excellent stuff!

And so here ends the first part of the history of my travels in the Eastern Part of the area known as Europe. The next bit should come next, hopefully/ eventually, god willing, the internet still working, other things like the price of milk etc etc etc. The second part will most probably be called TRAVELLING, since that is what largely happens, and as alluded to a rather long time ago involves more buses and trains. TWO CITIES are involved, minor peril and small change. There will probably be some birding too. But Mordor on the Orient Express it definitely isn't ...
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Bah humbug
... There will probably be some birding too. But Mordor on the Orient Express it definitely isn't ...

Kind of heading of into the unknown (although with a certain, if hopefully less foreboding final destination) just like a certain Hobbit (although the similarity probably ends about there; I'm a bit taller, and also like to think I have slightly better social skills than his companion), and certainly heading off to The Orient by Public Transportation. Realised I was writing a similar bit to the end of one of Tolkien's Lord of The Rings epic 3 volumes with the 'Here ends ... ', and although never read any Agatha Christie I am sure they would have made for an interesting collaboration. Meant to write this earlier, but a bit late for editing now.

Anyway ...

Day 5 and probably minus a bit for a while.

The bus journey southwards went as well as could be expected. I didn’t seem to get much sleep - in that kind of fitful limbo of dozing and uncomfortable awakening, dozing and not being quite all there. The bus was comfortable enough - I just wasn't. It probably wouldn’t have mattered if I was asleep or awake in terms of wildlife – it was dark outside and any number of European Bison could have been silently and non-threateningly waltzing alongside the bus as we probably drove through some of the most potentially exciting wild bits of Poland on our way southwards towards the capital and my next engagement along the way …


Bah humbug
Day 5

Tuesday 21st May. Things get Warsaw

The bus from Vilnius arrived smoothly into the city about 5am. I was tired.

It took me nearly an hour to get my things and find my way onto the public transport system. Finding my way onto the public transport system took up the vast majority of this time (getting my bags took about only a minute or so). I just could not find the metro, which I needed to in order to get to my next destination. Eventually, after asking numerous persons for the way and visiting two train stations instead (including the one I’d just come from)* I succeeded in eventually finding it only 300 yards or so from the bus station. In the open cityscape I was in, this was a bit rubbish, but then I’m not really a city dweller, truth to tell (which made all this semi-voluntary city visiting just a little more challenging.)**

Having found it (the metro), I then had to work out what and how to pay. Don’t try asking Polish commuters for assistance. The stream of bustling humanity may as well have been a stream of medium sized boulders in a high-altitude rock avalanche for all the response I could get. I expect commuters the world over are the same - possibly not the best people to stop and try and engage in gentle conversation or have a pleasant cup of tea with. The number of beggars/persons of apparent low means and a slightly unpleasant unwarranted approachability coefficient hanging about probably led to even more of a pre-disposition not to linger and chat with total random strangers like me. Especially random foreign strangers. It would possibly have helped if I'd at least been a bit more realistic with my language choice (English) in terms of response. So all in all, I won’t bear a grudge against the Polish nation or its commuters. I expect my wooden leg and baleful stare didn't help either ... ***

Having found machines that I would hopefully use to purchase my ticket out, I found that they didn’t work – one outright, the other wouldn’t accept my crisp new 50 zloty note (about £15?), which had also been a lot more effort to acquire than it should have been. Rather fortunately my bank card worked, although I couldn't tell which ticket type I needed - the word 'zone' made sense, but not knowing which 'zone' I was in, and which 'zone' I was headed for, I had to just take the obvious choice and purchased the cheapest option and hope that this would see me good. So finally, finally, I was on my way again. The metro was pleasant enough, nothing to write home about (saved that for now – it was an underground rail system …) a couple of stops, a short walk and out to some woodland and fields just on the edge of the city limits. At last!

Pleasant as the greenness and naturalness of grass and turned earth were, the fields bordering the city and leading to the woods seemed fairly devoid of birds at first, but before too long I started to notice signs of life. Joggers, walkers and pushchair walkers where all probably alive, but I wasn't very interested in them. The Yellowhammer bird was the first interesting live thing, looking very yellow too. Next a brief woodpecker through the trees – probably a great spot, but not in the wider sense of the expression - it would have been better to conclusively have seen it more conclusively. A Red Squirrel showing well on a cross limb looked a bit odd – until I realised it was probably a young one – soft grey nose, wide-eyed, undoubtably bushy-tailed, and rather playful to boot. Joined by a second one in a brief game of tag. The woods resounded with bird song. Chaffinch. Robin. Blackcap. And more exotic fare like Golden Oriole ringing out elusively from the tangled tree tops. Wood Warbler and Chiffchaff, the mellow call of the Cuckoo. This whole forest was criss-crossed by wide trackways popular with the joggers, along with mountain bikers and dog walkers, and still the odd perambulator and baby (at least I presume so). I started on a long circuitous walk in the woods. At least it was a complete shape, or so I of course hoped in terms of getting back to the start. A Red Fox ,foraging quietly along the path in a more overgrown section, was my first of the trip, and more common/expected woodland birds continued to fall (onto the list, not literally), but apart from a patch of Wild Boar workings and the distant sound of Roe Deer (presumably), it didn’t quite seem highly promising enough. Maybe there were wilder bits?

Despite this, it seemed pleasant enough. Leaving the woods for a bit and entering another field system on the other side, I came across my first Long-tailed Tit of the trip foraging above a set of picnic tables where I briefly stopped for a breather and to polish off a few biscuits, and presumably a different race from our UK birds. You can often distinguish these European birds by their different head pattern, but I only saw its underside. A distant Hare was nice, probably having been disturbed by some ploughing operations going on, and in the long strips of field more birds of the open countryside – Whinchat, Skylark, Marsh Harrier and a nice pair of Blue-headed Wagtails – although to be honest these were edging on darker than I was expecting. More Dark-grey-headed to be honest.

I re-entered the woods, enjoying good views of Hawfinch and audibly ticking off Thrush Nightingale and more irresistible Wood Warblers.

I perhaps wandered a little further than I originally intended, but sadly, still didn’t find the really wilder bits I was hoping for (maybe there weren't really any?). The last highlight was an altercation between two large dogs which involved the owner of one (a rather elderly gentleman) taking a tumble to the ground as the peacefulness was shattered by the snarls and barks of their two canidian companions. He made it to his feet, and all was well, as far as I could tell from 50 yards or more away. I wasn’t particularly rushing back in any case if I had been only 5 yards away.

My four and a bit hour walk concluded successfully shortly before 11:00, with a little bit of fine tuning from the now-ordinary (ie without peripherals such as a dog or bike) walkers I was now encountering. The now rather-irregular shape I had delineated had been concluded. Back across a brief meadow and to the roadside once again.

(* I arrived by bus at a train station? Yes something like that. It was a joint public transport thingie, you had to walk through the train bit to exit (or at least I did))

(** Challenging. More to come of course. A bit of masochistic**** punishment never hurt anyone?)

(*** I mentioned earlier that this is an almost wholly accurate and true representation of the trip (99% true I think I quoted?) Well, confession time, shocking I know, I have to admit to a tiny bit of artistic embellishment (aka downright lying) in this case - I don't have a wooden leg, have never had one, and probably never will have one ... It's actually made of aluminium, as is the other one. And I don't have a baleful stare, or even a leering grimace - I never, ever show emotion from that side of my face ... )

(**** Masochistic in the (original?), non-sexual meaning of the word, as in A willingness or tendency to subject oneself to unpleasant or trying experiences. I mean, I absolutely hate ice-cream, but there I am, every evening ... )
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Well-known member
I know I'm rubbish on people and names ... I think just about everything else in this trip is 99% accurate though.

The most important thing is you remember my name, the others are not so important.... and sometimes birds of course... ;)
And yes, you are extremely accurate... Luckily the Lithuanian part is over, so no more discreditable information about me. Your wishes list looks terrible... I feel so guilty that we slept too much. But WB Woodpecker is your fault though, I saw it so well and so close...

Next time we will do better ... maybe... ;)


Well-known member
Any idea of what the population was/could be/should be?

It was massive, if it is ok to say so in English. Some statistics:
The beginning of XX century -10.000 pairs
1970s - 1 000-2 000 p.
1980s - significant decrease, there are suspicious that decrease started in 1960s.
1990s - 150-200 p.
2001 - 100-150 p.
2006 - 30 p.
2013 - 9 known breeding pairs.

It is difficult to say what it could be. We are loosing the population in the north of the country. Only two breeding pairs and one single bird (hopefully breeds somewhere) have been seen this year in the north. We had quite a good cluster in this region (3 breeding pairs in one village), but two pairs haven't come back, despite the numerous nest boxes erected for them.

The population in the south is stable and we have minor increase this year.

The Latvians have population of about 25 breeding pairs. They have been working with nest boxes for about 15 years. Therefore there is a hope for us as well.
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Well-known member
dantheman said:
I mean, I absolutely hate ice-cream, but there I am, every evening ... )
You are lying, aren't you!? :eek!: You would have died if you had hated it and had eaten such amount!


Bah humbug
Your wishes list looks terrible... I feel so guilty that we slept too much. ...

It was only a wish list - I only re-quoted it because I was feeling lazy. We were basically really quite successful. And you guys did have work and things.

Never forget the birding mantra -

"We're here to Bird. Not eat. We're here to Bird ... We're not here to sleep ... We're here to ..." etc etc

You are lying, aren't you!? You would have died if you had hated it and had eaten such amount!

Just part of the sacrifices you have to make in trying to be a good guest ... ;)
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Bah humbug
Day 5 continued ... still out and about in Warsaw and environs

I now had business to attend to. This involved popping into the local Tesco, which might seem a bit odd in the circumstances (we usually use Asda), to provision up for the rest of the day. Stocked up for the day and a little beyond, my 15 Polish Zloty (£3?) day travel pass still proved good (so I was in the zone ... ) as I travelled upline to an intermediate subway station. Here, following the second set of instructions a helpful local (ex-local at the time of my visit) birder, jurek, had posted on a certain well-known internet birding site (*), I started off to explore my second site of the day, although with some minor differences in which bus connection I actually took, based on advice given upon asking some young people if they spoke English. Which they did. And if they knew which bus I should take. Which they did. And so which I then did.

The friendly and helpful bus driver kindly alerted me to the required stop - we had arrived. Escaping the amorous clutches of a local Polish girl who had also been helping me out (actually that could be a slight exaggeration, although I’m not wholly sure. She was also aghast that I was spending my one and only day in her beloved Warsaw heading off to some random pools of muddy water – ‘Why wasn’t I going to visit the Old Town? she asked. Why indeed? ... Because I was here to Bird, of course ... duh! ), I set off to explore said fishponds. I think I found most of them – I discovered a huge billboard-type map showing the area and all the waterbodies just by the bus stop just as I was leaving. Hopefully most of the good ones at any rate. In my wanderings I added some nice trip ticks and a potentially interesting mammal, and a good haul of Polish lifers to my Polish life list which 8 hours previously had stood at approximately zero. Ironically, given that it had taken a fair bit of effort to not connect with in Lithuania (we only heard them), just about the first bird encountered was an Icky, (oops, I mean Icterine Warbler), space-invadering in the branches high above me. It eventually gave rubbish views, but I at least saw it – in the bag! (On my return a rather showy individual put this one to shame. Trash birds now …). Woodpigeons coo-ed and Cuckoos coo - cooed. Lesser Whitethroat and Spotted Flycatcher along the same rustic track leading down between the ponds.

Sand Martin, a smart drake Pintail and Pheasant (highlight of any trip …) were all new for the entire trip, with a supporting cast of Wheatear, another Fox and a medium small furry mammal. Or three. My initial thoughts were that the smallish furry creature worriedly looking at me through a nearby fringing of reeds was a young Coypu. It was joined by another. And another. Three baby Coypu coyly peering at me from under a fringe of overhanging reeds? Apparently not, as they don’t really occur here – but Muskrat** do! This would be a new species for me, but on the basis that I didn’t know or register any of the subtle crucial id differences I don’t think I can really have them. A few weeks later, looking at images on the net and trying to work out if they were less like a furry brown aquatic guinea pig or more like an aquatic brown furry guinea pig, and I realised I would just have to let that one go. Oh well. You can’t have them all.

No waders (of course), despite a couple of the lagoons being empty and with an inviting muddy bottom, and the other waterfowl present were mostly ordinary bits and bobs (bits on the side and bobs floating on the water of course). Goldeneye, Black Tern ... ok, so not too bad really!

Early afternoon, and larger rainclouds looming, and I decided to head back into the city instead of having a pleasant picnic lunch in the countryside. The sky really did look threatening, and I had no desire to get soaked if there was not really any need. It also made an awful lot of sense to get back into town early for my next connection and avoid any possible stress. Travelling had gone reasonably well, whilst I was actually travelling. Considering that I didn’t really know what wildlife I was likely to be encountering in my sojourn in a random capital city on my way east, I also felt really quite happy with the day – it was rather enjoyable over-all and some nice spots.

*(The name of the well-known internet birding site cannot be named here of course. The information can be found here though - http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=95871 (Warsaw - choices?). From 2007, although I did make contact beforehand to check it was still current).

**(Beaver also occurs, right into the city (only in suitable habitat though of course). So ... another potential lifer it could have been! Odds of three adult Muskrat or 3 baby Beavers together? - who knows? How gregarious are Muskrat? If only I'd seen a tail or two ...)
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Bah humbug
Day 5 continued, yet again ...

Getting back to the city proved straightforward – catching a bus the other way, out at the terminus, and then onto a street trolley bus train thing all the way to the centre, albeit with a minor hold up with a seven (or so) tram hold-up, seeing three-quarters of the passengers disembark and start walking to try and get on another one further up the tracks, only for the obstruction to clear, and us remaining chilled/unsure/unrushed/very sure passengers to sail past them a couple of hundred yards later.

I had been told that the area around the railway station was dodgy, and there certainly were groups of rather shifty looking individuals hanging around what should have been a rather pleasant open space. As before, most commuters passed through at speed. I ate a hurried lunch on a bench in as nice-ish a spot as I could find behind a burger joint, and headed towards a shopping centre, with the bright idea that I could find some gifty/trinkety thing for the gf, in the bit of time I had available to me. I then suddenly realised that rather than hanging around a rather touristy shopping centre (it was a bit of a nightmare of brightly clad teenagers, bustling throngs and cascading smooth surfaces)*, I could actually visit the ‘Old Town' after all – the map in the Lonely Planet guide indicated it was actually not very far off. This at least made up in part for the guidebook I'd lugged all the way from home not showing where the metro was.

Half an hours walk later, with Black Redstart on the list (was walking along when the distinctive crackling call (has been likened to someone cycling over some crisps) impinged on my consciousness) and another showy Icterine Warbler in some mature trees on the edge of a large memorial square, and I was on the edge of a large open area, impressive old buildings beyond. Having got there, I then realised I didn’t actually have any time to go any further, or to go down to the river an inviting kilometre or two beyond, if I was to allow for the natural vagaries of a public transport system with which I was barely acquainted with, and get back to the bus station and catch my pre-booked bus. So, almost turning on my heels (it was a direction perpendicular to the one I was travelling in, but I lifted my feet up to make the turn), I climbed down an impressive set of stairs to the sweeping underpass below and a steady passage of buses instead.

I now entered into another less-than-pleasant trial in trying to get to my next destination – the bus station from where I hoped to shortly catch a night bus to Ukraine was not far from where I had initially started out, but those few extra kilometres in the time I had available would have sorely pressed my weary legs (cyborg legs would probably have been ok), and public transport it really had to be. It took a while to find and then catch a bus that seemed to be taking me in the right direction, but catch one eventually I did - other passengers were also having trouble it seemed, but there was always someone friendly and trying to help.

Finding a bus to take me to the next bus station proved less easy – the information desk lady was rather unhelpful, forcefully shouting ‘No bus to Z9999’** when I politely asked her which bus to take. She was absolutely furious!! It would have been funny if I wasn't slightly stressed (actually it still was quite funny). Bus drivers were not much more helpful either, but fortunately a passenger asked for me, and eventually I was at the right spot (I had to go back and ask again, as I couldn't find the right quay - but then I hadn't realised there was another side), and then, everything finally falling into place, a bus almost immediately pulled up. In the end I had half an hour to spare, but it felt like it could so easily have not been so ...

Arriving at the bus station I was just sorting my bags out ready for the journey (food and drink and important documents going into my small bag and not into the large one in the hold etc), when I became aware of a small man hovering nearby. Relief and generosity somehow got the better of me, and I gave him my remaining small change (although I did keep the notes back). Whether this was actually helping him or not I'm not really too sure. He turned away without even a grunt of thanks. Maybe he thought that I'd short-changed him.

Not dwelling too much on deep and meaningful things like how great humanity is and how some seem to not really quite hang on at the edges, I continued with the task at hand, ie catching a bus. The bus ...

It wasn’t quite up to the standards of the previous one. East-West Eurolines were obviously re-using someone else’s abandoned buses, but hey, it had all its wheels and was going to be taking me eastwards, so no complaints really. It had nice, colourful curtains, which more than made up for the lack of seatbelts, toilets and baggage marking system***. Only 15 or so other passengers were making the journey. Maybe, I needn't have booked ... Maybe I could have got the later bus and enjoyed a more relaxing evening and even successfully twitched some Polish Old Town buildings properly. Probably best not to ponder such things.

The man in the seat opposite spoke a little English when I asked him roughly what time we were due to arrive at the border, and proud of it too, he was ****. Maybe I really was in a thoughtful mood - it suddenly struck me how it seemed a little strange to me to be hearing English spoken by someone of a generation who would have grown up in a culture in which the English language and all things ‘western’ would have perhaps been considered officially forbidden.

It was still light, it being only early evening, but birding from the window was not great, even after we had left the conurbation behind. The journey progressed. A lengthy wait in the early hours at the border for an hour. And we were the lucky ones - our coach was sent to the head of our very own private queue, and a new phase began ...

(* Other times, other places perhaps, but not here and not now. I had been in outdoor, birding /enjoying the countryside mode. I'd then had to switch into patiently sit and let public transport move me around mode. The switch to shopping mode was never going to happen ...)

(** I've temporarily mislaid the Poland Lonely Planet Book which has the name of the bus station in it, so this will have to do for now. I guess I'm just not great at remembering the names of places either ...)

(*** Whilst I'm particularly good at losing things like books and bank cards around the house, I'm probably only average at losing big things in the wider environment. One worry in foreign travel is of becoming parted with your luggage. Whether through theft or other misadventure, it isn’t just about losing a bag, or even your holiday luggage. You tend to have everything invested in that rough canvas package (well nylon derivative then); it's almost your life. You can guard it well as you can, but once it disappears into the hold of a bus or onto an airline conveyer belt, you have to let it go, it's out of your control and you just trust that someone else doesn’t make off with it at a stop you aren’t making. Fortunately I've not had a bag go missing yet.***** But it doesn't stop me worrying a little ...)

(**** I was asking him the approximate time, just to be clear. I didn't grab him by the collar, shake him, or use any other form of threatening behaviour, direct or indirect. I wouldn't do that, even if he had refused to tell me.)

(***** Oops, that's another possible untruth. I did once lose my bag containing my passport and wallet in the Sahara on a birding trip to Tunisia - but fortunately was able to get it back by retracing my footsteps in the sand. And a bear stole my rucksack in America another time. But again, I got it back (although the bear did make off with my flight ticket home in that instance). But as far as I'm aware, I've never had anything stolen by human hands or an airline company).
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Bah humbug
Some Pics ...

Early morning Warsaw. This was a building.

Reddie or not, here I come ... (Actually having a bit of a scratch, but it would be rude to draw attention to the fact)

The only photo I took in the woods. This bit was nice, but didn't see many birds.


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Bah humbug
... and the remainder.

A view of the meadows just after I'd seen the Long-tailed Tit.

The only photo I took of the fishponds.

As close as I got to the 'Old Town'. Tick and run ...


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Mick Sway

Well-known member
Super report thanks for sharing.
Would love to visit my late fathers native country one day.


Well-known member
Lithuania Target Species list
Tengmalm’s Owl

Take a look what a beauty I found in one of our nest boxes for Rollers !!! :)

The only one excuse I have that I would never think looking for Tengmalm's Owl in our nest boxes!


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