TRAVELLING NATURALIST TRIP REPORT
5th - 13th May 2001
Marek Borkowski (5th-9th)
Ania Gasowska (9th-13th)
Guides at Bialowieza:
Weather: Mainly bright and sunny though often with a surprisingly cold wind; some showers, including a particularly heavy and thundery one on 7th.
Saturday 5th May: Arrival & transfer to Rajgrod
We met Marek as arranged at Warsaw Airport and were introduced to Pawel, our driver for the week. As soon as we left Warsaw behind and got to open country, we saw the first of many White Storks, with birds both on the fields hunting for frogs etc and on nests on poles or rooftops. Of particular interest were three Black Storks circling overhead when we broke our journey after about an hour for a brief birding stop over-looking the fishponds near Knurowiec, north of Wyszków, and a welcome tea/coffee break. Arrival at our hotel in time for dinner.
Sunday 6th May: Wojdy Fishponds & Biebrza Marshes
A warm and sunny day throughout and our pre-breakfast walk commenced with a stunningly smart male Goosander on the lake in front of the hotel, followed quickly by Goldeneye, Marsh Harrier, Great Reed Warbler, Wood Warbler, Tree Pipit and Redstart. After breakfast we then went the short distance by minibus to explore the fishponds at Wojdy. Little Ringed Plovers as soon as we left the bus started a very exciting morning, with good views never in short supply. Breeding-plumaged Black Terns dipping to pick food items from the surface of the water were very nice to see, as well as Wood Sandpipers, Garganey and very good numbers of Ruffs, many of which were in full breeding plumage. It was really good see the variety of plumage types in the males. We also had very good views of two Temminck's Stints, several Spotted Redshanks and singing Savi's and Great Reed Warblers. A pair of Penduline Tits were attending their hanging nest made from the fluff of bulrushes and reed heads. Montagu's and Marsh Harriers flew over, as did several Common Cranes. Marek's family provided an excellent lunch at their farm nearby, accompanied by Golden Orioles and Hoopoe around the farm, and good numbers of Map butterflies. We relaxed during the afternoon with White-backed Woodpecker seen during a short walk up the lane, and after tea and coffee and a scrummy 'dripping cake' on the veranda, we walked along the lane to the river bridge. A Thrush Nightingale sang briefly from a nearby thicket and we saw a fine male Red-backed Shrike on a dead branch. During the late afternoon, we walked out across the marsh and amongst drumming Snipe, we eventually had good, if brief, views of several Aquatic Warblers, a highly sought-after species with a very restricted distribution. We then returned to the farm for an excellent dinner before returning to the hotel.
Monday 7th May: Central Biebrza Marshes
After breakfast, we found ourselves blocked inside the hotel grounds as workmen had dug up the main drive! This allowed us all to walk along the embankment and have superb views the Great Reed Warbler found before breakfast. An hour later, we were at last on the road and heading south to the central Biebrza Marshes. We first of all explored a large wet meadow, listening to Thrush Nightingales and Corn Crake. We also found tracks, droppings and tree damage caused by Elk. Just as we were finishing a superb picnic lunch, an adult White-tailed Eagle drifted over, carrying a large fish. Then a Spotted Eagle was found circling over a distant plantation. We moved on to a bridge overlooking the flood plain of the River Biebrza where hundreds of Ruffs were immediately apparent, many males in full breeding regalia and beginning their lekking rituals. Many Wood Sandpipers and several Redshanks, Lapwings and Black-tailed Godwits were also present. Several Blue-headed Wagtails and a distant White-winged Black Tern were also seen. As a heavy thunder-storm approached, we sheltered in the minibus until it passed, then moved on to a second bridge over the river, finding a nice male Montagu's Harrier and good numbers of Sand Martins. We headed for a local hotel for a hot meal and a beer, then travelled the short distance to view the Great Snipe lek. At least ten males were seen at about 50m distance. Back to our hotel for a late, light supper.
Tuesday 8th May: Far south of Biebzra Marshes
The weather was much improved with unbroken sunshine though the cool north-east wind kept the temperatures down. The pre-breakfast walk by Humphrey and Bryan was one of their best hour's birding ever, with a pair of Willow Tits attending a nest in a metal signpost, a female Hen Harrier, Red Kite and possible Rough-legged Buzzard, Tufted Ducks and Pochard, and a pair of Golden Orioles being seen. After breakfast, we explored the far southern end of the marshes. The day's birding produced thousands of Ruffs, including really excellent views of breeding plumaged males of various colours. Also breeding-plumaged Spotted Redshanks, Wood Sandpipers, a Turnstone, and good numbers of White-winged Black Terns. Lunch overlooked a colony of Black-headed Gulls, with Little Gull, Common Tern, Teal and Gadwall also present. A distant pair of Lesser Spotted Eagles was followed by a much closer individual over the road - good practice at evacuating the minibus in a hurry! Yellow Wagtails were mainly of the Blue-headed race, M f flava, though we did eventually find a single Grey-headed Wagtail, M f thunbergi, a migrant heading for northern Scandinavia. Viewing from a raised field overlooking the flooded marshes, we eventually had reasonable views of Whiskered Terns with Black-necked Grebes and a lone male Wigeon. Finally, a further stop alongside the cobbled Czar's Road, we found two distant Elk which showed well in the telescopes, and several Greylag Geese were accompanied by a single White-fronted Goose. Back in time for dinner.
Wednesday 9th May: South-east to Bialowieza
The intrepid few (well, three actually!) were up very early and went with Marek to search for grouse. Black Grouse were only heard in the distance, but of more interest were the good views of Pine Marten, Marsh & Icterine Warblers. River Warbler was also heard singing. Breakfast with the rest of us at the normal time and we then loaded everything into the bus for our drive south-east to the forest. First stop was at the Bialystok fishponds where we were very pleased to find some really close Red-necked and Black-necked Grebes. Several Little Gulls were also found across the other side of one of the larger ponds, and the closest nests of Black-headed Gulls all contained eggs. Moving on then to overlook Zbiornik Siemianowka, a large man-made lake very close the border with Belarus. Whilst having our picnic lunch here, we found Common & Caspian Gulls, further views of all three marsh terns (Black, White-winged and Whiskered) and several Great White Egrets. Further exploration of the northern shore failed to find Citrine Wagtail (it appeared that they had not yet arrived for the summer), but we did have Wheatear, Whinchat, Blue-headed Wagtails and two male Golden Orioles vigorously chasing one another over the marsh. We finally arrived at the hunting lodge in the forest in time for dinner, after which we tried an hour's drive in the forest. Both species of small owl failed to show though a roding Woodcock did fly over.
Thursday 10th May: Bialowieski Forest
A gentle start with a 7:30am breakfast, followed by the most superb morning walk into the nearby 'Strict Reserve'. As we walked across the open meadow towards the forest entrance, a pair of Lesser Spotted Eagles were soaring nearby. One of them gave excellent views in the superb light conditions. As soon as we entered the forest, Arek showed us Grey-headed Woodpecker - satisfactory for some but oh too brief for others! We then moved on, listening to Collared and Red-breasted Flycatchers in full song. A Black Woodpecker showed briefly several times and we then spent 20 minutes or so watching a pair of White-backed Woodpeckers feeding young in the nest. Views of the adult birds through the telescopes actually filled the frame! Several Collared Flycatchers showed well though the Red-breasted Flycatchers did not, in fact they all but stopped singing completely by the end of the morning and we never got to grips with them. The graves of the wartime partisans I found very moving, with their simple wooden crosses and coils of barbed wire.
Returning then for lunch at the restaurant in Bialowieza, the afternoon was spent 'at leisure' recharging one's batteries. Some of us took a stroll through the park grounds around the hotel. At one point, we were watching Collared Flycatcher, Common Rosefinch, Hawfinch, Nuthatch and Middle Spotted Woodpecker within the space of half an hour or so in the same tree! Moving on we found a nice Tree Pipit sitting quietly above us. The Thrush Nightingales again remained invisible in their thickets! A pair of Hawfinches were mobbing a Jay. Off to dinner, where we found a male Black Redstart on the rooftops around the restaurant, and after which we returned to the forest in the minibus to search for owls. Again, no luck with the owls, though it was rather too windy, but we did glimpse another roding Woodcock and several large bats were hawking insects along the forest edge and road. As we returned, we heard Spotted Crake giving its 'whiplash' call in some wet ground near the hotel. Ania heard Pygmy Owl calling from her room (Ania in her room that is, not the owl!), but unfortunately the rest of us were deep in slumber - was she dreaming?
Friday 11th May; Bialowiesa
An early morning walk by some of the group produced Great Grey Shrike and Moorhen near the hotel. After breakfast, we walked the boardwalk trail called Zebra Zubra. Collared Flycatchers, Crested Tit, Goldcrest, Golden Orioles, Middle Spotted Woodpecker and a singing Icterine Warbler. At the end of the trail, we found ourselves at the animal park so we paid a brief visit around the enclosures containing local wildlife such as Red & Roe Deer, Wolf, Wild Boar and Tarpan, a small breeding herd of 'recreated' European Wild Horse. After lunch, we went to the Narewka River on other side of the town. Arek showed us a Hawfinch sitting on its nest in a roadside alder. The cold wind made birding quite difficult but a Goshawk did fly over and a River Warbler sang intermittently from a roadside ditch (but unfortunately didn't show itself). We then met up with Dorota who took us walking through an area of spruce. We added Marsh Tit and Green Sandpiper was seen distantly on a log in the river. Dinner as usual in the town, after which the Spotted Crake was still calling near the hotel.
Saturday 12th May; Bialowiesa Forest
A 5am start to explore a greater area of forest in the bus. Arek was guiding us to some favoured Bison haunts and we did briefly watch a bull and cow before they moved off deeper into the trees. Although no further Bison were sighted, both Red and Roe Deer were seen. We came back for a hearty breakfast before returning to the forest. Both Marsh & Willow Tits were heard singing and we flushed a hen Hazel Grouse from the roadside. A careful walk ahead of the bus revealed the bird sitting motionless on a branch just above ground level and allowed everyone superb views in the telescopes. At the River Lesna, we glimpsed a Wryneck as it flew off ahead of us and a Common Rosefinch perched in full view for a brief period. We heard a further Grey-headed Woodpecker which we found a little later on a dead tree. Arek pointed out various plants as we walked the forest trails, in particular, Cabbage Thistle which is a favoured food plant of the Bison, and Viper's Grass and Jacob's Ladder which are both protected plants in Poland. Back for a leisurely lunch, some walking back, some on the bus with Pawel. Some were lucky enough to find a singing River Warbler in full view by the river! Those who still had energy to spare returned to the Strict Reserve for a second visit. Arek guided us along the trails, again a seemingly boundless font of knowledge, identifying plants and bird calls with ease. We again found a singing Red-breasted Flycatcher which some of us managed to glimpse amongst the tree tops, and again when it briefly came lower. Finally, after an excellent farewell dinner, we stopped by the hotel entrance and listened to three Corn Crakes and a Thrush Nightingale - a fitting end to a really excellent trip.
Sunday 13th May: Departure
Humphrey and Bryan were up early. Humphrey at last managed to see Thrush Nightingale after standing still for over half an hour, and Bryan rushed back having found a Barred Warbler, the first for the year. We all had an early breakfast so we could depart promptly for Warsaw, where we managed an hour or so exploring the Old City before heading for the airport and our flight home.
Little Grebe / Dabchick: Noted on 2 days, on 8th & 9th.
Red-necked Grebe: Noted only on 1 day, 4 on 9th.
Great Crested Grebe: Noted on 5 days, 5th - 9th.
Black-necked Grebe: Noted on 2 days with 2 on 8th, 4 pairs on 9th.
Great Cormorant: Noted on 5 days, 5th - 9th.
Grey Heron: Noted on 5 days, 5th - 9th.
Great [White] Egret: Noted only on 1 day, 4 on 9th.
Great Bittern: Noted booming on 3 days, 6th - 8th.
Black Stork: Noted on 3 days with 3 on 5th, 2 on 8th, 1 on 9th.
White Stork: Noted each day.
Mute Swan: Noted on 5 days, max 25 on 6th.
[Greater] White-fronted Goose: Noted only on 1 day, 1 on 8th with Greylags.
Greylag Goose: Noted only on 1 day, 7 on 8th.
Eurasian Wigeon: Noted on 2 days with single males on 8th & 9th.
Gadwall: Noted on 2 days with several on 8th & 9th.
Eurasian / Common Teal: Noted only on 1 day, a male on 8th.
Mallard: Noted most days.
Garganey: Noted on 4 days with 8 on 6th, then several on 7th - 9th.
Northern Shoveler: Noted on 3 days with 2 on 6th, several on 8th & 9th.
Common Pochard: Noted on 2 days with 2 pairs on 8th & on 9th.
Tufted Duck: Noted on 2 days with several pairs on 8th & 9th.
Common Goldeneye: Noted only on 1 day, 3 pairs on 6th.
Goosander: Noted on 3 days with a male on 6th, a pair on 7th, a pair on 8th.
Red Kite: Noted only on 1 day, 1 on 8th.
White-tailed Eagle: Noted only on 1 day, an adult on 7th.
Hen Harrier: Noted only on 1 day, a female on 8th.
Montagu's Harrier: Noted on 4 days with 2 males on 6th, 1 male on 7th, 2 on 8th, a male on 9th.
[Eurasian] Marsh Harrier: Noted on 5 days with several each day on 6th - 9th, 2 females on 12th.
Eurasian Sparrowhawk: Noted on 3 days with singles on 6th, 8th & 11th.
Northern Goshawk: Noted on 2 days with 1 on 11th, 1 over hotel on 12th.
Common Buzzard: Noted each day.
[Rough-legged Buzzard: Noted only on 1 day, 1 possibly of this species on 8th.]
Lesser Spotted Eagle: Noted on 4 days with 2 on 8th, a pair including a superbly close bird on 10th, 1 on 11th, several on 12th.
[Greater] Spotted Eagle: Noted only on 1 day, 1 on 7th.
Common / Eurasian Kestrel: Noted on 5 days.
Eurasian Hobby: Noted only on 1 day, 1 distantly on 6th.
Black Grouse: Noted only on 1 day, heard early morning on 9th.
Hazel Grouse: Noted only on 1 day, a female very close on 12th.
Grey Partridge: Noted on 4 days from the vehicle, singles on 5th & 7th, 2 on 8th, 1 on roadside on 13th.
Common Crane: Noted on 4 days with at least 10 on 6th, 20 on 7th, 6 on 8th, several on 9th.
Corn Crake: Noted on 6 days with several heard on 7th & 8th, heard early morning on 9th, heard on 11th, calling on 12th, calling near hotel on 13th - but never seen!
Spotted Crake: Noted only on 1 day, heard calling near the lodge on 10th.
Common Moorhen: Noted only on 1 day, 1 on 11th.
Eurasian/Common Coot: Noted on 5 days, 5th - 9th.
Northern Lapwing: Noted on 6 days.
[Greater] Ringed Plover: Noted on 2 days with 2 on 5th, 1 on 8th.
Little (Ringed) Plover: Noted on 2 days with 6 on 6th, several on 9th.
Black-tailed Godwit: Noted on 4 days with 2 on 6th, 2 pairs on 7th, several pairs on 8th & 9th.
Spotted Redshank: Noted on 2 days with 4 on 6th, c.40 on 8th.
Common Redshank: Noted on 4 days, 6th - 9th.
Common Greenshank: Noted only on 1 day, 1 on 6th.
Green Sandpiper: Noted only on 1 day, 1 on Narewka R. on 11th.
Wood Sandpiper: Noted on 4 days, max at least 30 on 7th.
Ruddy Turnstone: Noted only on 1 day, 1 on 8th.
Eurasian Woodcock: Noted on 3 days with 2 seen & heard on 7th, 1 roding late evening on 9th, another roding late evening on 10th.
Great Snipe: Noted only on 1 day, at least 10 lekking on 7th - excellent views!
Common Snipe: Noted most days.
Temminck's Stint: Noted only on 1 day, 2 on 6th.
Dunlin: Noted only on 1 day, 1 in breeding plumage on 6th.
Ruff: Noted on 4 days with c.200 on 6th, at least 400 on 7th, many thousands on 8th, many again on 9th - again really good to see lekking males in full plumage.
Common / Mew Gull: Noted only on 1 day, 2 on 9th.
Caspian Gull: Noted only on 1 day, 1 on 9th - many authorities are using this new name for this eastern form of Yellow-legged Gull, Larus cachinnans; the Mediterranean form remains as Yellow -legged Gull but becomes Larus michahellis.
Black-headed Gull: Noted on 6 days, including breeding colonies.
Little Gull: Noted on 2 days with a 1st summer on 8th, 5 Bialystok fishponds & an adult ZS on 9th.
Whiskered Tern: Noted on 2 days with several on 8th & 9th.
White-winged [Black] Tern: Noted on 3 days with 1 distantly on 7th, several on 8th, many on 9th.
Black Tern: Noted on 4 days with 20 on 6th, 5 on 7th, several on 8th & 9th.
Common Tern: Noted on 5 days, 5th - 9th.
Rock Dove / Feral Pigeon: Noted most days.
Stock Dove: Noted only on 1 day, 1 on 11th.
[Common] Wood Pigeon: Noted each day.
[European] Turtle Dove: Noted only on 1 day, 2 on 8th.
[Eurasian] Collared Dove: Noted most days.
Common Cuckoo: Noted each day, both heard & seen.
Tawny Owl: Noted only on 1 day, heard on 5th.
Eurasian Pygmy-owl: Noted only on 1 day, heard by Ania from her balcony on 10th.
Common Swift: Noted on 3 days with several on 7th, 1 over R Lesna on 12th, several over Warsaw on 13th.
Hoopoe: Noted on 3 days with singles on 6th, 8th & 9th.
Eurasian Wryneck: Noted on 2 days with 1 briefly R Lesna on 12th, 2 near hotel on 13th.
Middle Spotted Woodpecker: Noted on 2 days with a male near lodge on 10th & 11th.
White-backed Woodpecker: Noted on 2 days with 1 on 6th, a pair feeding young in the nest on 10th.
Great Spotted Woodpecker: Noted on 6 days.
Black Woodpecker: Noted only on 1 day, a pair on 10th.
Grey-headed Woodpecker: Noted on 2 days with a male on 10th, 1 on 12th.
[Eurasian] Sky Lark: Noted most days.
[European] Sand Martin: Noted on 4 days, max 40 on 7th.
Barn Swallow: Noted each day.
[Common] House Martin: Noted most days.
Yellow Wagtail: Noted on 6 days, mainly the nominate Blue-headed Wagtails M f flava, but 1 Grey-headed Wagtail M f thunbergi also seen.
Pied / White Wagtail: Noted each day, all of course being the nominate White Wagtail M a alba.
Meadow Pipit: Noted on 3 days, on 6th, 7th & 9th.
Tree Pipit: Noted on 3 days, 1 singing on 6th, 1 seen well sitting on tree on 10th, 2 males singing on tree tops on 12th.
Red-backed Shrike: Noted on 5 days with 3 on 6th, a male early morning on 9th, a pair by hotel on 11th & 12th, a male near hotel on 13th.
Northern / Great Grey Shrike: Noted on 2 days with 1 by hotel on 11th & 12th.
[Winter] Wren: Noted on 2 days, 11th & 12th.
Dunnock / Hedge Accentor: Noted on 3 days, 6th, 7th & 12th.
[Common] Blackbird: Noted most days.
Fieldfare: Noted on 6 days, 6th - 9th, 11th & 12th.
Song Thrush: Noted most days.
[European] Robin: Noted on 2 days, on 6th & 11th.
Thrush Nightingale: Heard singing most days, 1 seen at last by Humphrey on 13th was the only bird seen!
Bluethroat: Noted only on 1 day, one singing at Great Snipe lek on 7th.
Black Redstart: Noted on 3 days with a male near the restaurant on 10th & 12th, 1 at the zoo on 11th.
Common Redstart: Noted on 2 days with a male on 6th, a male on 8th.
Whinchat: Noted on 3 days with 4 on 6th, a pair on 7th & 9th.
Northern Wheatear: Noted only on 1 day, a male on 9th.
[Common] Grasshopper Warbler: Noted only on 1 day, several singing near the Great Snipe lek on 7th.
[Eurasian] River Warbler: Noted on 4 days with heard early morning on 9th, singing by Narewka R on 11th, a male seen well, singing by hotel on 12th, then 2 heard singing near hotel on 13th.
Savi's Warbler: Noted on 2 days with several heard & seen on 6th, heard on 7th.
Aquatic Warbler: Noted only on 1 day, heard & seen on 6th.
Sedge Warbler: Noted on 6 days.
[Eurasian] Reed Warbler: Noted only on 6th.
Marsh Warbler: Noted only on 1 day, 1 seen early morning on 9th.
Great Reed Warbler: Noted on 6 days, including good views of several birds.
Icterine Warbler: Noted on 3 days with 2 seen early morning on 9th & 10th, heard on 11th.
Blackcap: Noted most days.
Garden Warbler: Noted on 4 days, heard singing on 6th, 11th,12th & 13th.
Common Whitethroat: Noted on 5 days.
Lesser Whitethroat: Noted on 4 days.
Barred Warbler: Noted only on 1 day, 1 seen by Bryan near hotel on 13th.
Willow Warbler: Noted most days.
Common / Eurasian Chiffchaff: Noted each day.
Wood Warbler: Noted on 6 days.
Goldcrest: Noted on 2 days, heard singing on 10th, seen on 11th.
Spotted Flycatcher: Noted on 5 days.
[European] Pied Flycatcher: Noted only on 1 day, two males on 11th.
Collared Flycatcher: Noted on 4 days, stunning males on 10th - 13th.
Red-breasted Flycatcher: Noted on 2 days with several heard singing but not seen on 10th, heard & glimpsed briefly on 12th.
Marsh Tit: Noted on 2 days with several on 11th & 12th.
Willow Tit: Noted on 2 days with a pair feeding young on 8th, singing on 12th.
Crested Tit: Noted only on 1 day, 2 on 11th.
Great Tit: Noted each day.
Blue Tit: Noted most days.
Long-tailed Tit: Noted on 2 days with 2 white headed birds on 6th, several on 11th.
Penduline Tit: Noted only on 1 day, a pair at nest on 6th.
(Eurasian) Nuthatch: Noted on 2 days, 1 near lodge on 10th & 11th.
Eurasian Treecreeper: Noted on 2 days, on 10th & 13th.
Eurasian Jay: Noted each day.
Black-billed / Eurasian Magpie: Noted on 6 days.
Eurasian/Western Jackdaw: Noted most days.
Rook: Noted on 5 days.
Hooded Crow: Noted most days.
Common Raven: Noted on 4 days with 2 on 6th, 2 on 7th, 2 on 8th, 2 on 11th.
[Eurasian] Golden Oriole: Noted most days with several males on 6th, several heard on 7th & 8th, 2 males chasing each other ZS on 9th, several on 10th - 13th.
Common Starling: Noted each day.
Yellowhammer: Noted most days.
Reed Bunting: Noted on 6 days.
[Common / European] Chaffinch: Noted each day.
European Serin: Noted only on 1 day, a male on 5th.
European Greenfinch: Noted on 3 days, on 11th - 13th.
European Goldfinch: Noted on 5 days.
Common Linnet: Noted on 3 days.
Common Rosefinch: Noted on 2 days with a male singing near lodge on 10th, a male by R Lesna on 12th.
Common / Eurasian Bullfinch: Noted only on 1 day, a male in forest on 12th.
Hawfinch: Noted on 4 days with several good views around lodge on 10th, a pair on nest on 11th, several on 12th, and again on roadside on 13th.
House Sparrow: Noted on 6 days.
[Eurasian] Tree Sparrow: Noted on 2 days, on 7th & 8th.
BUTTERFLIES & other insects:
Eastern Bath White: Noted only on 7th.
Green-veined White: Noted on 2 days, on 6th & 10th.
Small White: Noted on 5 days.
Orange-tip: Noted on 5 days.
Brimstone: Noted on 6 days.
Small Copper: Noted only on 8th.
Holly Blue: Noted only on 7th.
Peacock: Noted only on 6th.
Comma: Noted only on 10th.
Map Butterfly: Noted on 2 days, on 6th & 7th.
Speckled Wood: Noted on 4 days, 6th, 7th, 10th & 11th.
Club-tailed Dragonfly: Noted on 2 days, with singles on 8th & 11th.
Brilliant Emerald: Noted only on 9th.
AMPHIBIANS & REPTILES:
Common Toad: Noted on 3 days with 2 on 7th, 1 on 9th, several on 10th.
Marsh Frog: Noted on 2 days with many at fishponds on 6th, heard on 9th.
Common Frog: Noted on 2 days with many on 6th, 1 on 11th.
Fire-bellied Toad: Noted on 3 days with several heard on 6th, heard on 8th, heard on 9th.
Eastern Hedgehog: Noted on 2 days with 1 early morning on 9th, 1 on the hotel lawn at night on 10th.
[Wolf: A dropping containing Red Deer fur was found on 12th.]
Red Fox: Noted only on 1 day, 2 seen on 7th.
Pine Marten: Noted only on 1 day, 1 seen early morning on 9th.
[Wild Boar: Diggings noted on 6th.]
Red Deer: Noted on 2 days with 1 on 6th, 2 on 12th.
Elk / Moose: Noted on 2 days with tracks, droppings and tree damage on 7th, 2 seen on 8th.
Roe Deer: Noted on 5 days, singles on 6th, 7th, 9th, 12th & 13th.
European Bison: Noted only on 1 day, 2 (a bull & cow) on 12th.
Red Squirrel: Noted on 4 days with 2 on 6th, 1 on 10th, 1 on 11th, 1 on 12th.
[European Beaver: Signs noted on 3 days with lodge & tunnels at Rajgrod on 7th, tree felled & old dam on 8th & 9th.]
Brown Hare: Noted on 5 days.
[Nos. on right refer to Fitter, Fitter & Blamey, The Wild Flowers of Britain and Northern Europe]
Aristolochiaceae: Asarum europaeum Asarabacca 38.2
Cannabaceae: Humulus lupulus Wild Hop 38.5
Caryophyllaceae: Stellaria holostea Greater Stitchwort 54.1
Myosoton aquaticum Water Chickweed 54.3
Ranunculaceae: Caltha palustris Marsh Marigold / Kingcup 66.2
Anemone nemorosa Wood Anemone 76.5
Papaveraceae: Chelidonium majus Greater Celandine 80.9
Cruciferae: Cardamine bulbifera Coralroot Bittercress 90.3
Rosaceae: Rubus saxatilis Stone Bramble 110.7
Geum rivale Water Avens 112.5
Prunus padus Bird Cherry 118.4
Leguminosae: Cytisus sp. Broom 124.
Vicia sepium Bush Vetch 126.3
Lathyrus vernus Spring Pea 128.3
Oxalidaceae: Oxalis acetosella Wood-sorrel 136.1
Geraniaceae: Geranium sylvaticum Wood Cranesbill 138.1a
Rhamnaceae: Frangula alnus Alder Buckthorn 144.6
Ericaceae: Vaccinium oxycoccos Cranberry 176.3
Violaceae: Viola reichenbachiana Early Dog Violet 150.2b
Viola palustris Bog/Marsh Violet 150.6
Viola tricolor Heartsease 150.8
Primulaceae: Primula vulgaris Primrose 178.1
Primula elatior Oxlip 178.2
Trientalis europaea Chickweed Wintergreen 180.3
Polemoniaceae: Polemonium caeruleum Jacob's Ladder 188.5
Rubiaceae: Galium odoratum Woodruff 188.8
Boraginaceae: Symphytum officinale Common Comphrey 192.1
Myosotis sylvatica Wood Forgetmenot 194.3
Labiatae: Ajuga reptans Common Bugle 200.1
Glechoma hederacea Ground Ivy 202.3
Lamium purpureum Red Deadnettle 204.2
Lamiastrum galeobdolon Yellow Archangel 204.9
Scrophulariaceae: Lathraea squamaria Toothwort 222.1
Adoxaceae: Adoxa moschatellina Moschatel 222.6
Compositae: Cirsium oleraceum Cabbage Thistle 248.8
Scorzonera humilis Viper's Grass 254.4
Liliaceae: Convallaria majalis Lily of the Valley 264.1
Maianthemum bifolium May Lily 264.2
Allium ursinum Ramsons 268.1
Polygonatum sp. Solomon's Seal 272.
Paris quadrifolia Herb Paris 272.3
Amaryllidaceae: Narcissus poeticus Poet's Narcissus 274.3
The birds of the trip must be the Great Snipe at their lek and also the lovely pair of White-backed Woodpeckers bringing food to their young at the nest. We must not forget all the other superb birds. The many Ruffs in their breeding finery, all three of the 'marsh' terns, again in full breeding plumage, the pair of Penduline Tits attending their delicately hanging nest, the really close views of the Lesser Spotted Eagles and the oh-so-difficult-to-see Aquatic Warblers all made a lasting impression. Arek's comment upon his return from a quick scouting walk through some scrub, "Nothing except a few River Warblers!" must be the quote of the week!
Thank you to Pawel for driving us around for the week, to Arek and Dorota for their infinite knowledge of the Bialowieza area and, of course, our biggest thank you to Ania and to the whole Borkowski family.
I do hope to meet you all again in the not-too-distant future.
Keith Grant, May 2001