Saturday, 6 May 2017

Berlin to Bialowieza, Poland

It rained all day on the 4th May, which we spent in Berlin. I wanted to see the Tiergarten woodland which is home to the highest concentration of urban Goshawks in Europe. I did hear a bird call and I saw what could have been occupied nests but in the rain it wasn’t worth spending a lot of time looking in what is quite a large woodland. Several Wood Warbler were new for the trip and there were also Pied Flycatchers but I didn’t see much else.
Berlin's Tiergarten

We left Berlin around 07:00 and we quickly found ourselves in Poland, there were no stops at the border crossing just a slight slowing of the traffic at the customs buildings. After about a 6 hour drive we decided to stop near Warsaw and found a nice campsite on the edge of the Kampinoski Park. There were Lesser Whitethroats, nesting Fieldfare and several more Wood Warblers at the camp site. We spent a couple of hours near Roztoka where we had Common Crane, White Storks and calling Corncrake in the grasslands, these were briefly disturbed by a smart looking Fox.
Fox with White Storks and Common Crane in the background

 More Wood Warblers in the woodland plus Willow Tit but nothing more notable during our late afternoon visit. The temperature has been in the low teens Centigrade but it warmed up today getting to 21 degrees.
Our initial problems with the camper van have not been repeated and we have both been very impressed with the vehicle. This morning we continued on to Bialowieza close to the Belarus border in north-eastern Poland. Along the way we saw signs for the German extermination camp at Treblinka and decided to have a look. Although the camp is long gone there are large numbers of rocks placed to commemorate the countries of origin and towns in Polands of the victims. It is estimated that 800 000 people died there. A large rock with the words ‘never again’ in several languages sits in the middle of the site.
Monument at Treblinka

We stopped briefly in Hajnowka where I took a few photos of a Fieldfare feeding its young before finally arriving in Bialowieza late afternoon. 
Fieldfare with young

We are stopping at the U Michala campsite which has only just re-opened and there is only us and a Finnish couple here at present. A calling Wryneck at the campsite was a nice welcome.
We decided to walk through the village to the Palace Park which is only about a kilometre, as we left the campsite a Lesser Spotted Eagle flew over carrying prey, so is presumably nesting fairly close by.
Lesser Spotted Eagle - adult

It’s Saturday so the park was very busy but I could hear Common Rosefinch singing by the lake and we saw several Hawfinch. We didn't walk far in to the park, I’ll have a look tomorrow morning when its quieter, but a thin piping call close to the main car park caught my attention and it turned out to be a superb male Collared Flycatcher, one of the speciality birds of Eastern Poland. I watched it for a while and it soon became apparent that it had a nest in a hole in a tree. I got some photos in poor light and will have another go tomorrow if the weather is ok.
Collared Flycatcher - male and probably first summer

It’s been hot again today with the temperature reaching 26 Centigrade this afternoon which is a welcome change from the first few days of our journey. The forecast is for more rain tomorrow and its started raining now so hoping for reasonable weather tomorrow.
Route to 6th May

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