Biebrza, third day


This video, in English, is about nature in Biebrza in Poland.

22 May.

Like yesterday, we are in Goniadz, Poland.

A linnet on a shrub.

Cuckoo and golden oriole sounds.

Fieldfares.

A male and a female Montagu’s harrier, circling around each other, not far away. When a female marsh harrier arrives, they drive it away.

In the reed beds, a blue tit (visible), and a Savi’s warbler (invisible, singing).

The bus takes us to a sedge peat bog.

We hear the aquatic warbler singing. Later, we see this exciting rare species at close distance.

This is a video of a singing aquatic warbler at Nagyivan, Hortobagyi National Park, Hungary.

A woodlark in one of the few trees in the bog. A common snipe, flying.

Skylark, singing.

Two moose.

A kestrel.

Then, a female hen harrier. This species stopped nesting in Poland years ago. Here was their last stand. That this bird now is here as late as 22 May, may mean that hen harriers will start nesting again. Recently, this species has declined in the Netherlands.

This video is about hen harriers in Scotland.

We continue, to a few small lakes. There, two hoopoes sit in a tree.

Sounds of corncrake. Corncrakes in the Netherlands: here.

And a skylark, singing.

Black terns, white-winged black terns, and whiskered terns flying over the lakes, diving sometimes.

Some white-winged black terns try to drive away a fox.

Black-tailed godwit and redshank at the next stop.

At the stop after that, a common tern sitting on a log in the middle of the river.

At the next stop, “our” Polish biologist sees a carrion crow, which is rare in Poland.

And someone else sees a golden oriole, singing. Which is also rare: not hearing the singing, but seeing this species, which usually is hidden near leafy tree tops.

This is a golden oriole video.

Our last stop turns out to be the best stop of today. From a watchtower, where barn swallows nest, we have an excellent view over mudflats, meadows, and water.

A black stork flying among many white storks. Great egrets.

Near the bank: wood sandpiper. A greenshank, catching a small fish. Little ringed plover.

A female ruff. Grey lag geese.

Then, both a male and a female citrine wagtail.

This is a citrine wagtail video.

As we arrive back in Goniadz, a lapwing tries to drive away a male Montagu’s harrier.

Greenfinch. Whitethroat.

Fox, cranes, and lapwing in Poland


Poland, 21 May.

As I mentioned, we arrived in Goniadz village, on the edge of Biebrza national park, late in the afternoon.

Sounds of golden oriole, chiffchaff, serin, greenfinch.

Barn swallows drinking from the river while flying just above it.

On a coniferous shrub, a male and a female linnet.

This video is from Stibbe in the Netherlands.

Many fieldfares flying to treetops.

There is a greenfinch nest with chicks in a small coniferous shrub in the garden.

As we walk along the river, we see four adult elks and one calf through the telescope.

Swifts flying. An icterine warbler (see also here) singing.

Then, we hear a wryneck sound in a distant tree. When the Polish biologist in our group plays a recorded wryneck sound, the bird immediately flies to the big tree above our heads.

This is a video of a wryneck; recorded in Breskens, the Netherlands.

The wryneck keeps calling, while making the neck movements from which its name is derived.

Meanwhile, under the wryneck tree, a common frog jumps through the grass.

A Savi’s warbler‘s song from a river reedbed.

A white stork arrives back on its nest, where its sitting partner welcomes its with a clattering sound. Hear stork clattering sound here (especially the lowest of the two sound files on that page).

We reach the bridge, where we put up the telescope.

Across the river, we see two cranes. They are asleep already, though it is not really dark yet.

Then, not far from the cranes, we see a fox. Probably, the fox is eating something quite big, as it keeps eating for a long time. However, the long vegetation hides what exactly the fox is eating.

A lapwing tries to drive the fox away, by flying closely to it and calling loudly. This wakes up the cranes, who stand up and start calling.

A black-tailed godwit tries to drive the fox away. It has as little success as the lapwing: the fox keeps eating.

Then, a redshank tries. The fox is still unimpressed.

The lapwing tries again, with the same result.

Meanwhile, the cranes have started dancing. These big birds are apparently the only ones which might impress the fox enough to leave its meal. However, will they do it? Sometimes, one crane walks to within a few meter of the fox. The fox then lifts it head to watch. As soon as the crane walks away, it starts eating again. Sometimes, both cranes walk to within a few meter of the fox. Again, it lifts it head. And goes back to its food, as soon as the cranes walk away again.

Then, the night falls, making it impossible to see how this story ends.

A bat detector detects a commun noctule bat flying near the river. Tree frog sounds.

Biebrza, second day


Poland, 21 May.

Like yesterday, we are in Wosnawies.

Thrush nightingale and golden oriole sounds.

Hear the thrush nightingale singing on ARKive: here.

Tree sparrows. Hoopoe calling.

A whitethroat.

Two jays.

A red-backed shrike in a coniferous tree.

We go by canoe down the Narew river.

From the reed beds near the river banks, we hear great reed warbler, and reed warbler.

And sedge warbler.

We sometimes see the great reed warbler, as it is so big that it is more difficult for it to hide. And the sedge warbler, as it often flies upwards, singing.

We don’t see the secretive reed warbler, however. Except maybe when we see a nest hanging from reed stems. A little brownish bird flies out. Too quickly to see whether it is a sedge warbler or a reed warbler, or maybe another species yet.

Reed bunting sitting on a reed stem. Yellowhammer on the right hand side bank.

Our canoe passes a mute swan.

A collared dove.

The sounds of the skylark, cuckoo, hoopoe.

And the Savi’s warbler.

As we leave the canoe for dry land, we see a scarlet rosefinch (aka common rosefinch).

From the bus, two roe deer.

A turtle dove.

This is a video of common cranes in France.

A crane in a meadow near the Biebrza river.

Black-tailed godwits. A curlew.

A yellow wagtail on a leafless branch.

Then, a rare bird: a Montagu’s harrier. First, a male. Soon, a female joins it.

This is a Dutch video about Montagu’s harriers in Poland.

Then, a much bigger bird of prey: a greater spotted eagle. It has a small radio device attached to it, so its movements can be studied.

A lesser whitethroat sings.

Finally, two white-winged black terns.

We arrive in Goniadz village.

Common rosefinch and wryneck migration: here.

Common rosefinch in the Netherlands: here.

Pale rosefinch photos from Jordan: here.

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Biebrza, first full day


Poland, 20 May.

In the morning in Wosnawies, where we arrived yesterday, a hoopoe is calling.

Also: golden oriole; chiffchaff.

Tawny owl call. Fieldfare.

Greater celandine flowering.

Willow warbler. Thrush nightingale.

Skylark.

Sounds of yellowhammer and cuckoo.

Swift. Whitethroat.

Grasshopper warbler sound.

A red squirrel on a coniferous tree.

The bus takes us into the reserve.

Two ravens.

A kestrel.

In the park’s rehabilitation center for injured animals, wild boars; and a female moose with a two-day old calf. And a buzzard in a cage.

A red-breasted flycatcher in the telescope.

Then, a male cuckoo sits in a treetop. We see it calling, while most people usually just hear it.

In the sandy soil of parabole dunes in this part of the reserve, the antlion lives.

A brimstone butterfly.

Mouse-ear hawkweed flowering.

Common juniper shrubs.

An orange tip butterfly.

A tree pipit singing in a tree.

This is a video of a tree pipit near Hilversum, the Netherlands.

A flying hoopoe.

A woodlark.

This is a video of a woodlark made in The Netherlands, Strabrechtse heide.

Then, we see a moose. Not a captive one, like in the rehabilitation center, but a wild one, eating, through the telescope.

Our second stop is in a forest growing on old peat ground.

Someone in our group sees a wood warbler and a wryneck.

Lily of the valley flowering.

Gipsywort.

Later, a walk on a sandy road.

A skylark takes a sand bath on it.

A great grey shrike.

A dead young grass snake, killed on the road.

A meadow pipit sitting on a birch tree.

A male marsh harrier flies past.

Like the skylark before, a yellowhammer takes a sand bath on the road.

Eastern Poland is famous for a bird which about reaches its western limit here: the barred warbler. Sometimes, we hear it from dense bushes. But it is about as secretive as the little crake of Bialystok. I just managed to see its tail, and movements indicating that it was cleaning its feathers. Others had more luck.

Another traffic victim, this time a sand lizard.

A speckled wood butterfly. The first one which I see in Poland; more common more to the west.

Again, tree frog sounds as the evening approaches.

Bialystok fish pond birds, Poland


Poland, 19 May.

After Siemianowska lake, we go to Bialystok.

Just outside the city, there are fish ponds.

This artificial habitat is surprisingly rich, including in birds.

Closest to the city is a big black-headed gull colony. One female nesting in the colony has been ringed in Britain.

Also, white-winged black terns and whiskered terns are flying around.

Then, we hear the sound of a very rare and very elusive bird: a little crake. As usually, it hides in the reedbeds. Nevertheless, some of us see a glimpse. A photograph manages to “catch” only part of the bird’s small body.

This video says about itself:

Little Crake at Apaj, Kiskunsagi National Park, Hungary.

A sparrowhawk and a marsh harrier fly past.

The sound of many fire-bellied toads (see also here).

Two Caspian terns flying across the ponds.

Two black-necked grebes; see also here, and here.

A kestrel.

The sound of a bittern.

A penduline tit nest.

A red-necked grebe (see also here).

This video says about itself:

Two birds [red-necked grebes] displaying courtship rituals and mating at Dalkarlskärret, Uppsala, Sweden.

A Caspian gull.

Siemianowska lake, Poland


Poland, 19 May.

After our last morning in Bialowieza, our bus departs.

Just outside the village, two lesser spotted eagles circling.

Thrush nightingale and yellowhammer sounds.

We arrive at Siemianowska lake.

A brimstone butterfly.

Three tern species nest here: black tern; white-winged black tern; and whiskered tern.

On the lake, mute swans, coots, a tufted duck and a pochard are swimming.

A whitethroat is singing.

A honey buzzard flying.

Great egrets.

Black-headed gulls.

A reed bunting.

Yellowhammer sound.

A gadwall flies past.

A lapwing. A penduline tit.

A citrine wagtail feeding the chicks at its nest.

This is a video of a citrine wagtail.

The great reed warbler sings.

An orange tip butterfly.

We go to another spot along this reservoir lake.

Great crested grebes swimming. Linnet sound.

A yellow wagtail: first on the dam where we walk, later on grassland.

Three common terns.

A hooded crow.

A skylark sitting on a pole, singing.

A grey plover.

Bialowieza, last morning


Bialowieza, Poland, 19 May.

Our last morning here.

A little tern flying over a palace park pond.

This is a video of a red-backed shrike couple in the Bargerveen in the Netherlands.

On a shrub on the clearing, a male and a female red-backed shrike sitting together.

A female marsh harrier.

Back in the palace park: tree sparrows. White-collared flycatcher. A common treecreeper (see also here) climbing a tree.

Just outside the park, house martin nests on the post office building.

At the river bridge, a great reed warbler singing.

A beuatiful big butterfly, an old world swallowtail, is sitting on sandy soil. Wings spread out, in order to catch morning sun warmth after the wings have become cold in the night.

This is a video of an old world swallowtail emerging from its pupa.