- We take a scheduled flight from London to Krakow and drive two hours to the Pieniny Mountains.
- Depending on our arrival time, we may be able to look for owls which can often be seen into the early evening. With a bit of luck, we should see pygmy, tawny, Ural and possibly even Tengmalm’s owl. At dusk we shall keep an eye out for mammals, as red deer, wild boar, lynx and beaver are all possibilities in this area.
- Accommodation: Hotel in Pieniny Mountains, 4-nights on full board basis.
- The mixed forests and wild meadows of the Pieniny Mountains attract prolific birdlife, and we will spend the next two days exploring this varied habitat, walking amidst the limestone rock pillars and medieval castles.
- Pre-breakfast walks in the natural Carpathian beech forests should reward us with views of hazel grouse, nutcracker, crossbill, firecrest and an array of woodpecker species. Late morning, we take to the alpine meadows in search of birds of prey. Sparrowhawk, goshawk, kestrel, peregrine, lesser-spotted and golden eagle are among the raptors we hope to see here, as well as common buzzard, honey buzzard, hobby, Montagu’s harrier and red-footed falcon.
- Similar to the previous day, we will head out at dusk in search of owls, as well as numerous mammal species which frequent the forests.
- Today, following an early breakfast, we make our way to the Tatra Mountains – a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, which forms a natural border between Slovakia and Poland, and is home to an extraordinary diversity of life, including 43 mammal species, 200 birds and three endemic arthropod species. Here, we hope to encounter red deer, roe deer, wild boar, and if we are lucky we may even see Eurasian lynx, brown bear or wolf.
- We will journey by cable car up to 2,000 metres above sea level, surrounded by rich alpine flora, which is the perfect habitat for alpine accentor, water pipit, northern wheatear, golden eagle and peregrine.
- This afternoon, we visit the Orawa peat bogs where we can enjoy an array of plants such as bog whorthleberry, sundew, cranberry and ledum, as well as resident black grouse. The surrounding meadows are the ideal habitat for spotting great grey shrike and whinchat. Aside from the rich birdlife, the peat bogs are also inhabited by two packs of wolves which are often seen crossing the open meadows.
- We drive two hours to Zator to visit extensive fishponds where autumn migration should be in full swing. This important wetland area is a haven for birdlife where we can observe vast numbers of migrating wildfowl, waders, terns, warblers and numerous songbirds.
- The muddy flats provide a feeding ground for an array of waders, including little stint, Temminck’s stint, curlew, green, wood, broad-billed and common sandpiper, little, ringed and grey plover, lapwing, black-tailed godwit, whimbrel and Eurasian curlew. Other highlights include common crane, common, jack and great snipe, white and black stork, great and little bittern. Hidden in amongst the reedbeds we may also come across night heron, reed bunting, bluethroat, sedge warbler, penduline and bearded tit.
- This afternoon, we drive approximately 80 kilometres to our next accommodation.
- Accommodation: Hotel in Niepołomice Forest, 3-nights on full board basis
- The Niepołomice Forest is home to 180 recorded bird species, including 115 breeders and 60 migrants, and in the six nature reserves we look for eight species of woodpecker, hawfinch, short-toed treecreeper, as well as long-tailed, marsh and willow tits.
- In the extensive fields surrounding the forest, we go in search of grey partridge, house and tree sparrow, chaffinch, greenfinch, goldfinch, yellowhammer, corn bunting, siskin, black redstart and whinchat, as well as flocks of thrushes including fieldfare, redwing and mistle thrush. Other birds we hope to see include a range of wagtails and pipits, while wild boar, red deer and racoon dog are known to frequent the meadows at dusk.
- During our stay in Niepołomice Forest, we will have the opportunity to revisit the Zator fishponds to look for any species we may have missed on Day 5.
- We drive back to Krakow, and depending on the time of our flight, we may have time for a short stop in the city, before taking our return flight to London. .
All prices are per person and include:
- Services of the naturalist leader
- All meals
- Guided activities
We stay in two comfortable hotels, located in the picturesque Pieniny Mountains and in Niepołomicka Forest. All rooms have en suite facilities.
All meals are included.
Breakfasts and dinners are taken at the hotel. Lunches are a mix of picnics and leisurely sit-down meals taken at one of the region’s traditional restaurants.
Visiting southern Poland during the autumn migration should provide us with an array of birdlife, particularly at the Zator fishponds where we hope to see Temminck’s and little stint, garganey and ferruginous duck, as well as an abundance of geese and cranes. Other species we hope to encounter include great grey shrike, hawfinch, great snipe, Ural and pygmy owl, spotted nutcracker, and white-tailed eagle, to name just a few!
- Lesser-spotted eagle
- Hazel grouse
- Red-backed shrike
- Alpine accentor
Poland is home to almost all of Europe’s large mammal species, which can often be observed in the open, unspoiled countryside. When travelling in the Pieniny and Tatra mountains, we hope to see Tatra marmot, brown bear, and possibly wolf.
- European brown bear
- Red squirrel
- Tatra chamois
- Eurasian beaver
Depending on the weather, we may be lucky enough to spot a few butterflies species still on the wing.
- Camberwell beauty
- Yellow-legged tortoiseshell
On this tour we visit a variety of habitats from wetlands, peat bogs, fields and forests to spectacular montane areas.
Mainly easy: most of the walks take place along well used trails, are not strenuous and are taken at a gentle pace.
Sturdy waterproof walking shoes or lightweight boots with corrugated soles for grip are recommended.
Price includes return scheduled flights London – Krakow – London.
Ground transportation is by minibus with driver.