Monday, September 21, 2009

Poland - Bialowieza update

Four days at Bialowieza completed and we have not done too badly. Skunked out seeing bison though for a second time... Found abundant sign this year at two locations and got close but could not get to grips. The best mammal was a family of beavers watched as they returned to their lodge in the half-light of dawn. The forest here is awesome though and you never leave empty-handed. The stars were the woodpeckers; we managed to see white-backed (2), great spotted (common), middle-spotted (common), lesser spotted (3), three-toed (2), black woodpecker (common) and green. Only grey-headed eluded us (again). Other good birds included a superb encounter with a hazelhen (scope views perched and awesome flyby) and a few nutcrackers. The real star at Bialowieza though is the strictly protected forest reserve, a visit to which should be on every naturalists 'to do' list. It is just amazing. Still wading through the fungi spotted...

European bison - it's starting to get personal. One day I will see one in the field.

Three-toed woodpecker, one of seven species of woodpecker encountered this week at Bialowieza

Sympetrum pedemontanum, one of the highlights of today's look at Siemianowka reservoir - a curious little dragonfly with poorly-known habitat requirements. This was a decade tick for me, last seen in Georgia in 1998.

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