Having employed the services of a guide on a previous trip, I decided to go it alone this time. The result was simple. Plenty of time staring at Woodpecker-less trees and definitely no Owls. That was ok though. It was to be expected. The forest spans just over 3000 square kilometeres. That's a lot of ground to cover and that's a lot of trees.
The forest speeds away at an astonishing rate where a short walk can easily turn into a serious hike. The meandering trails hold the promise of an interesting something at every junction.
The meadows are full of wild flowers that cover vast areas where invertebrates, birds, and mammals abound. Agriculture appears less intensified, what appear to be healthy numbers of farmland and meadow dwelling birds such as Yellowhammer, Skylark, Corncrake indicate a fertile environment on more than one level.
A Common Snipe sat on top of a Lamp-post. It's the kind of thing that happens round here. A couple of Lesser Spotted Eagle were seen soaring over the woodland.
The 'Palace' Park is an absolute must visit. It always hosts great birds.
My favourite bird of the park were the Collared Flycatcher. There were at least three singing males there and I spent a bit of time watching them fly circuits round the woodland. Such stunning birds. They were rarely still, constantly flitting about, some seen displaying while listening to their delicate song.
Wandering round the woodland, I managed to find the nest of a Middle Spotted Woodpecker.
A trip to Kosy Most is around a 50 minute drive from Bialowieza. It is a good place for woodpeckers and for Hazel Hen, species that I have caught up with here in the past there. This time wasn't so fruitful, but the walk was pleasant and there were some interesting sightings.
Two extremely vocal Corncrake were inconspicuous within the wild flower meadow. It still perplexes me how they can get so close whilst remaining incognito. A really smart male Barred Warbler presumably had a nearby nest-site as it flew through singing and then sounding off its contact calls. Two Honey Buzzard flew over the woodland.
A slow retreat out of the Bialowieza area the following day it poured with rain but was surprisingly warm and humid. I took my time stopping frequently along the way. I stood high up on a platform listening to the chorus of birdsong. The monotonous mechanical trill of a River Warbler, the cronking Great Reed Warbler, reeling Grasshopper Warbler, the distant echo of a Cuckoo, the weezing of the ubiquitous Yellowhammer, and the melancholic refrain of a Rosefinch. There wasn't a soul in sight. It was all so perfect.
Slightly further along was another pull-in, not somewhere I had been before, but another boardwalk there was really picturesque.
Having negotiated my way onto the site, I wandered over to some dwellings where a guy was tending to his vehicle. A quick word and a lot of sign language and he was on the phone to the landowner. I wasn't allowed in. He asked me where I was from. He saw that I was keen to explore the area.
He gave me an hour.
What a place. Apparantly it's a protected area and brilliant during migration. I could see why. Shallow fishing pools that looked great for migrant waders and waterbirds.
It was the culmination of another great trip to Poland and the food was great too.