Tour At A Glance

Cost:

1599.00

Deposit:

300.00

Single Room Supplement:

None

Tour Code:

Fairly intensive with long hours in the field on some days. Please be aware that biting insects are normally present on this holiday

Group Size:

Eight plus Leaders

Barred Warbler Black Stork Lesser Spotted Eagle Collared Flycatcher Elk Three-toed Woodpecker White-winged Black Terns

Poland - Pristine Marshes and Primeval Forests

Date: 18th - 26th May 2019 [FOUR PLACES]
Leaders: Neil Donaghy

Itinerary

 

DAYS ONE - FIVE
Fly UK/Warsaw. After arrival, we will transfer to Bialowieza, a journey of around 220 kilometres. A journey through Eastern Poland feels more like a step back into the past. As we travel, we will undoubtedly encounter the bird which is the main symbol of Polish landscape - White Stork, as well as common species such as Yellowhammer, Song Thrush, Chaffinch, Whinchat, White Wagtail and Red-backed Shrike. We will visit the inner sanctuary of Bialowieza Forest with a licensed guide who knows the localities of all the species we hope to encounter. It is the last really primeval lowland forest in Europe of oak, lime, ash and spruce with much dying and fallen wood, which resonates with bird song. There are also swampy areas and marshes along river valleys. This wonderful world is inhabited by numerous animals which have maintained the ecological and behavioural patterns of the original habitats. It is an excellent place to find woodpeckers including Three-toed, White-backed, Grey-headed, Black, and Middle Spotted Woodpeckers and Wryneck, as well as the more familiar species we see back home. We should also see Red-breasted, Spotted and Collared Flycatchers, Crested Tit, Common Cuckoo and Green Sandpiper in the forest. Lesser Spotted and White-tailed Eagles hunt overhead, and the first Eurasian Honey Buzzards should be arriving. Other sought after species include River, Barred, Marsh, and Icterine Warblers, Thrush Nightingale, Golden Oriole, Eurasian Serin, Hawfinch, Black Redstart, Common Rosefinch and with luck Greenish Warbler, Hazel Grouse and Spotted Nutcracker, while Wood Warbler, Blackcap and Common Chiffchaff song resonates all around us. Roding male Eurasian Woodcocks can often be seen flying overhead as we search for Eurasian Pygmy Owl, lekking Great Snipe and perhaps even Tengmalm’s Owl if we are very fortunate, and we will make evening excursions at special sites for these species.
 
We will also spend a day at various different sites around the large Siemenowka Reservoir, where our principal target will be the dazzling Citrine Wagtail and possibly Ortolan Bunting, as well as a fine supporting cast that should include Eurasian Hobby, Whooper Swan, Garganey, Great White Egret, Marsh Harrier, Caspian Gull, as well as our first marsh terns, passage wildfowl and shorebirds. A visit to some local meadows is an enjoyable way to spend a couple of hours and these habitats are a haven for birds such as Corn Bunting, Tree Sparrow,  Great Grey Shrike, Wood Lark, Common Crane, Grey Partridge, Blue-headed Wagtail and passage migrants that hopefully will include Eurasian Turtle Dove. A fine selection of butterflies are emerging at this time of year with species such as Camberwell Beauty, Green Hairstreak, Swallowtail, Silver-washed Fritillary, Map and Northern Chequered Skipper to name a few. We will search for European Bison which are present in good numbers in the area, though they are never easy to find at this time of year and we will keep our eyes and ears open for the apex predators; Wolf and European Lynx, though these are exceptionally shy animals that rarely get seen.
Overnights at Dwor Wejmutka.
 
DAY SIX
Following breakfast, we will transfer to Biebrza via the Dojlidy Fishponds on the outskirts of Bialystok. There is a large Black-headed Gull colony here and the cacophony of noise is inescapable, as we search the reed beds for Bearded Tit, Reed Warbler and perhaps even a White-spotted Bluethroat. Red-necked Grebes breed here and are often seen at close quarters, Great Bitterns boom constantly and are occasionally seen, Marsh Harriers quarter overhead and we will search for Little Crake which call from ditches. In some years, Black-necked Grebe also breeds and scarcer species such as Little Bittern are possible on passage. Eventually, we will reach Biebrza River where the marshes and scrubby fens are interspersed with managed grassland We will book into our hotel that is idyllically situated right in the heart of the marshes before we make our first visit to look for Aquatic Warbler in the specialised wet meadow habitats, where we can also see Savi’s Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Reed Bunting, Montagu’s Harrier and possibly even Spotted Crake, which we should hear even if we don’t see it. This is also a very good place to see Elk.
Overnight Tsars Manor House Hotel
 
DAYS SEVEN & EIGHT
Various sites around the marshes should produce raptors with Greater and Lesser Spotted and White-tailed Eagles possible, along with Marsh and Montagu's Harriers. The reed beds and sedges are home for Great Reed, Reed, Sedge, Grasshopper and Savi's Warblers, White-spotted Bluethroat and Penduline Tits. It may also be possible to observe Beavers and their lodges and dams. We will continue birding from the towers and roads to find the most interesting breeding birds such as Common Crane, Black Stork, Eurasian Hoopoe, Black-tailed Godwit, Whiskered, Black, Common  and White-winged Black Terns, while Little Tern is also sometimes present. We will also visit sites for European Bee-eater, Tawny Pipit and Ortolan Bunting, and perhaps even a Syrian Woodpecker, though these are now very difficult to find following the abandonment of a previously regular site. Kyznzyn Fish Ponds should hold more Red-necked Grebes and Whooper Swans, among others, and hopefully low water levels should see shorebirds present. These could include Little Ringed Plover, Ruff, Little Stint and Wood Sandpiper or perhaps even a Temminck’s Stint, Ruddy Turnstone or Red Knot.
Overnights Tsars Manor House Hotel.
 
DAY NINE
With a late afternoon departure from Warsaw, there should be time do some morning birding before lunch prior to making our way to the airport for our return flight. This will take approximately three hours. The tour will conclude upon arrival back in the UK.

 

 

Additional Information

 

TOUR CODE
Intermediate with potentially long hours in the field. We will walk an average of approximately seven kilomteres per day during the first part of the tour; less on the second part. There are late evening finishes for the Great Snipe lek [wellington boots may be required; you will be advised of up to date local conditions in your pre-tour information pack] and Pygmy Owl excursion. If the weather is hot, we may take excursions very early in the mornings; though we will have some downtime later in the day if this is the case.  Evening meals may therefore also be taken at times to fit the schedule, though we will always return to the accommodations for breakfast. Biting insects can be an issue on this holiday.
 
WHATS INCLUDED
Eight nights en suite accommodation, return flights UK/Warsaw with 20KG luggage allowance, priority boarding and allocated seats, meals from dinner on day one to lunch on day nine, ground transport in Poland, services of leaders and local guides, drinking water, tea and coffee and reserve entrance fees.
 
NOT INCLUDED
Transport to/from UK airport and any overnight stay that may be involved, travel insurance, drinks other than those stated, any upgrade to extra legroom seats and extra luggage allowance and items of a purely personal nature.
 
PASSPORT, VISA & HEALTH
Visas are not required by UK nationals. Passports must have 6 months validity beyond the return travel date. Standard health and innoculation requirements apply for UK nationals, visit www.masta-travel-health.com to check these and if necessary, download a free health brief to take to a travel appointment at your local medical practice. 

 

Tour Reports

 

2008  2007  2009 2010  2011  2012  2013   2014 Watford RSPB     2014a    2016

 

2018a    2018b

 

Testimonials

 

" just a quick line now I'm back in Manchester  to say thanks SO much for such a fabulous tour full of great birding and great company. I know Ron also had an absolute blast too"  S M Manchester
 
" I really enjoyed the wide range of birds, mammals and countryside.The accommodation was excellent, the food hearty and plentiful, the treats very thoughtful and the transport very comfortable" S B Watford
 
“Good organisation and planning was evident throughout the trip – Excellent in all respects.” L & M. C. Trowbridge
 
“I enjoyed my holiday very much. Great fun and great birding and occasionally chaotic!" M & J. S. Kent
 
" Thank you for a highly successful week in Poland. The birding [and indeed the mammalling] was excellent and memorable, and I enjoyed the relatively short travelling distances between sites. Neil & Paul were excellent guides and great company and I thought the group mixed very well" A F Southampton
 
“A beautiful country, good company and plenty of lifers” N. D. Glamorgan
 
"Thanks for another brilliant holiday! The hotels and meals were of a much higher standard than expected, the guides were excellent, the birds fantastic and it was great fun throughout" F. G. Surrey
 
" Every effort was made to ensure all key target species were seen by everybody. The service at both hotels was excellent and there were no expensieve or unexpected additional charges. Overall I enjoyed the tour very much and the wide range of habitats and species in particular" A.P. Watford
 
"We saw so many good birds and had such excellent views of them all" J. S. Devon
 
"It was a memorable holiday in many ways and I appreciated the generosity with drinks for the group. I also enjoyed some stunning views of birds in the forest and in terms of lifers it certainly delivered - Neil and David were excellent birders and found everything going. Most of the time the meals and accommodation were excellent. The mosquitoes were a bit of a problem though" A. S. Leicester
 
"Many thanks for the trip report, reading it really brings back to life the birds and places. We saw a really good selection of birds and mostly had great views also, which is always a bonus. I really enjoyed seeing Poland and would love to go back at some stage. Thanks for organising the trip and choosing such lovely hotels and very good ground guides" D. H. Devon
 
"A great trip" L. H. London
 
"I had an absolute ball - you guys are just the best" C. B. Oxford
 
" We had a great holiday and are seriously contemplating booking again for next year. Neil and Ashley are excellent tour operators; the information they provide pre-tour is informative and very useful. On the tour itself they do their utmost to ensure everyone gets good views of each bird, which is made easier by the small group sizes. This was an excellent holiday in every respect and we highly recommend Oriole Birding to others" S & C C Durham
 
"Thanks for another splendid trip. D. O. Cheltenham
 
"I really enjoyed the woodpeckers, Hawfinches and Montagu's Harriers, but the whole tour was brilliant with excellent hotels and meals and great value for money. Neil and the local guides were excellent too and keen to make sure that everyone in the group got along and saw every species well" S. E. Herts
 
" As ever another fantastic tour with Oriole Birding. Many Thanks to Neil and Paul for all their hard work "
M & F S Leicester
 
 " Thanks for the Polish birding which was a great success leaving many happy memories. My hearing and seeing might not be as acute as they were but the birds obliged by coming up close, you were all generously helpful and the company was great. Many thanks to you and to Paul for adding the expertise which made all the difference! " R M Nottingham
 
" I very much appreciate the small group nature of the trips. Enough people to add pairs of eyes, not enough to interefere with the enjoyment of such beautiful places. The accommodations were better than expected and I really enjoyed the mix of habitats and consequently the mix of wildlife" M S Cambridge.

 
 

 

Back