Wild Poland Team: Andrzej Petryna (Andy), Piotr Dębowski (Peter), Michał Skierczyński (Mike/Bosman), Olivier Myka (Oliver), Tomasz Jezierczuk (Thomas), Mariola Przyborowska (office), Ewa Zin (UNESCO), Bogdan Jaroszewicz (UNESCO), Joanna Smerczyńska (UNESCO), Irek Smerczyński (UNESCO)
Participants: Veronica and Luca (IT), Dorrit and Ed (UK), Shaun, Robert (UK), Tali, Andy, Helen, Paul and Maggie (UK), Penny, James, Liz and Robert (UK), Clive, Hugh (UK), Craig and Pam (UK), Eamonn, Patrick (IRL), Mary, Pat (IRL), Bernd (DE), Gregory (BE), Deirdre and Paul (IRL), Esperanza and Michael (ES), Bo and Tobey (HKG), Krystyna (UK), Jane (UK), Ivonne (CH)
Text by Mariola Przyborowska
Photos by Wild Poland Team, Clive Oldham and Shaun Waite
The 4th Spring Wildlife Festival has come to an end and here is a short summary:
Our annual event has gathered a fantastic group of 34 participants, mostly from UK but also with a strong representation from Ireland, as well as Italy, Spain, Denmark, Belgium, Switzerland and Hong Kong. Proud to mention, that within the group we’ve had five returning customers!
Our dedicated Team worked tirelessly dawn till dusk doing our best to show the outstanding beauty and natural values of the Białowieża Forest and the Biebrza Marshes.
As usual, we were based in the Białowieża village, at a comfortable lodge located right in the centre of the 19th century park. The amazingly peaceful green surroundings, an abundance of birds right at the doorstep and the constant chorus of frogs filling the air in the warm spring evenings added a special touch to the laid back atmosphere of our event. The weather was just perfect with lots of sun and temperatures around 20° Celsius. Few thunderstorms that occurred at the end of the days brought refreshing air and prooved to be a brilliant occassion for testing our rain gear ;-) And whatever the weather, our Festival Office was open to everyone for a relaxing time with lecture, tea/coffee and a friendly chat.
During the 9 days of the festival we have run a total of 37 trips and recorded 16 mammal species, 157 species of birds, 10 species of amphibians & reptiles and 23 species of butterflies – the complete checklist available here›
But it wasn’t just a plain sailing! Finding Bison was quite challenging this spring; the elusive beasts kept to the deepest parts of the Białowieża Forest. Although we were close and came across their fresh tracks several times, it actually took a few days of intensive searches before we finally succeeded. And when we did, the sighting was very impressive!
Our daily dawn and dusk patrols brought us very close to the local packs of wolves. The most dedicated participants attended the trips starting as early as 3:30 – 4:00 in the morning almost every day. Gregory, Bernd – fair play to you!
Our hard work, intensive tracking and numerous camera traps have eventually paid back. Finally, on the very last morning of the Festival, one of our groups was rewarded with a fantastic sight of 2 Wolves for quite some time and a short distance.
One of the undoubtfull highlights of the Festival was an overnight visit to the Biebrza Marshes. We have organised three departures and everyone had a chance to see the key species inhabiting this largest National Park in Poland: Elk (Moose), Beavers and tremendous list of birds. Above all, the vast spaces of the Marshes, the boat trip down the river at dusk, finally the cosy atmosphere of our wooden guesthouse (and apparently their homemade vodka infused with quince) were widely appreciated by returning groups.
Last but not least, the trips to the Strictly Protected Area of the Białowieża NP, the UNESCO World Heritage Site were very popular and guided by our four outstanding local specialists, Ewa, Joanna, Bogdan and Irek. Needless to say, the visit to this most natural part of the Białowieża Forest is a must and we always aim for the best experience for our groups. Here is a photo from the heart of the Primeval Forest..
And so we could go on and on about our encounters with wildlife during these intensive 9 days out in the wild. Those, who joined know very well what we mean :) Instead we share a small photo gallery (below) and let the images speak for themselves.
It has been a week full of fun, but also a precious opportunity for passionate discussions and knowledge sharing. Huge thanks to everyone who participated and shared! Thank you for being there and for all your positive comments and feedback.
Please enjoy our small photo-gallery: