Tour Leader: Łukasz Mazurek
Participants: Stephen (UK), Trish & Paul (UK), Sarah & Bob (BE), Jane (US), Ella & Leopold (IR&FR), Alvaro & Hanna (ES&AT), Tom (UK).
Text and photos by Łukasz Mazurek
End of August was probably one of the most difficult times of the year for wildlife watching, with the heat wave well established for weeks already. The early morning mists did not help, either.
Nevertheless, we did our best, visiting all the best sites at dawns and dusks almost every day and once again it has worked out great. We did have problems with finding Bison at first but birds (Hoopoe, Lesser-spotted Eagle, Honey Buzzard, Pygmy & Tawny Owl, Black Woodpecker, Red-backed and Great Grey Shrikes) and other mammals (Roe and Red Deer, Wild Boar, Pine Marten) were very obliging. Finally, we went out even earlier one day and saw several Bison at 4 different sites.
To my surprise, I did not manage to tire everyone completely in the first three days.. and on our last day in the Białowieża Forest Tom and Alvaro still did not have enough, yet so I pointed them out a good trail for a morning half-maraton and.. they had excellent views of a herd of Bison and a single Wolf!
Biebrza Marshes were posing similar challenges but our good wildlife karma and maybe also a little bit of expertise, made us see two Elks (Moose) and several Beavers very close on the first evening there. In the next two days there these were followed by dozens of Cranes, two Greater-Spotted and 13 White-tailed Eagles, 3 Black Storks, more Red-backed and Great Grey Shrikes, Goosanders, Kingfisher (in the scope), Whooper Swans, but also a Nutcracker and numerous waders and waterfowl.
Our usual Elk (Moose) safari at dawn brought 5 more Elks seen very close and very well as well as a Marsh Harrier and a lot more Cranes.
Everyone survived the early mornings, 15+ km walks a day, as well as the usual tons of traditional Polish food and occasional shots of vodka, not to mention my long talks.. I would even risk saying everyone was quite happy and satisfied ;)
Here are a few more photos from that week: