page 1
page 2
page 3
page 4
page 5
page 6
page 7
page 8
page 9
page 10
page 11
page 12
page 13
page 14
page 15
page 16
page 17
page 18
page 19
page 20
page 21
page 22
page 23
page 24
page 25
page 26
page 27
page 28
page 29
page 30
page 31
page 32
page 33
page 34
page 35
page 36
page 37
page 38
page 39
page 40
page 41
page 42
page 43
page 44
page 45
page 46
page 47
page 48
page 49
page 50
page 51
page 52
page 53
page 54
page 55
page 56
page 57
page 58
page 59
page 60
page 61
page 62
page 63
page 64
page 65
page 66
page 67
page 68
page 69
page 70
page 71
page 72
page 73
page 74
page 75
page 76
page 77
page 78
page 79
page 80
page 81
page 82
page 83
page 84
page 85
page 86
page 87
page 88
page 89
page 90
page 91
page 92
page 93
page 94
page 95
page 96
page 97
page 98
page 99
page 100
page 101
page 102
page 103
page 104
page 105
page 106
page 107
page 108
page 109
page 110
page 111
page 112
page 113
page 114
page 115
page 116
page 117
page 118
page 119
page 120
page 121
page 122
page 123
page 124
page 125
page 126
page 127
page 128
page 129
page 130
page 131
page 132
page 133
page 134
page 135
page 136
page 137
page 138
page 139
page 140
page 141
page 142
page 143
page 144
page 145
page 146
page 147
page 148
page 149
page 150
page 151
page 152
page 153
page 154
page 155
page 156
page 157
page 158
page 159
page 160
page 161
page 162
page 163
page 164
page 165
page 166
page 167
page 168
page 169
page 170
page 171
page 172
page 173
page 174
page 175
page 176
page 177
page 178
page 179
page 180
page 181
page 182
page 183
page 184
page 185
page 186
page 187
page 188
page 189
page 190
page 191
page 192
page 193
page 194
page 195
page 196
page 197
page 198
page 199
page 200
page 201
page 202
page 203
page 204
page 205
page 206
page 207
page 208
page 209
page 210
page 211
page 212
page 213
page 214
page 215
page 216
page 217
page 218
page 219
page 220
page 221
page 222
page 223
page 224
page 225
page 226
page 227
page 228
page 229
page 230
page 231
page 232
page 233
page 234
page 235
page 236
page 237
page 238
page 239
page 240
page 241
page 242
page 243
page 244
page 245
page 246
page 247
page 248
page 249
page 250
page 251
page 252
page 253
page 254
page 255
page 256
page 257
page 258
page 259
page 260
page 261
page 262
page 263
page 264
page 265
page 266
page 267
page 268
page 269
page 270
page 271
page 272
page 273
page 274
page 275
page 276
page 277
page 278
page 279
page 280
page 281
page 282
page 283
page 284
page 285
page 286
page 287
page 288
page 289
page 290
page 291
page 292

European Bison, Wolf, and Lynx.These are three of the manymammals, formerly widespread inEurope but now extinct or rare in the moredensely populated west, that flourish inPoland. A number of these animals areeasily observed, but some only withdifficulty. The object of this unusual winterholiday, that has proved such a firmfavourite with clients since the first tour in1985, is to search for the mammals of thePolish forests, and to study their tracksand signs. The advantage of travelling inwinter is not only the snow cover whichmakes tracking so much easier, but alsothe cold weather at this season, whichforces many creatures to shun their naturalfear of man, and to appear less shy.On our travels, we will also be able to enjoythe winter birdlife of Poland. It is true, ofcourse, that many birds desert Polandduring this season; however, like themammals, those that do stay can be moreeasily found in the vicinity of man, wherefood is more readily available. Amongstthose that we may see are such dramaticand attractive species as White-tailedEagle, Rough-legged Buzzard, Hazelhen,Black Grouse, Waxwing and Nutcracker.On our arrival in Warsaw we head north-east to Kruklanki, our base for two nightswhile we explore the Puszcza Boreckaforests in search of European Bison. TheWisent, as the Bison is also known, is thelargest land mammal in Europe and onethat became extinct in the wild in the1920s. Shortly after its demise, aprogramme of captive breeding wasinitiated and in 1952 this magnificent animal was successfully reintroduced backinto the forests of north-eastern Poland.These forests now contain Europe's lastremaining herds of Wisent and the sight ofone of these imposing animals slowlyplodding through the snow-coveredforests is sure to be one of the lingeringmemories of the tour. This is the mostreliable site in Poland for this impressiveanimal and, to date, we have never failedto find them here! Borecka is also a goodspot for the elusive White-backedWoodpecker, plus Roe Deer, Raven andWhite-tailed Eagle. If time permits we willmake the short drive to the astonishing'Wolf's Lair', Hitler's bunker complex informer East Prussia, and site of VonStauffenberg's abortive assassinationattempt.Next we head to the beautiful andfascinating forests of Puszcza Romincka,the favourite hunting area of KaiserWilhelm II. Our 4-night stay at Romincka islikely to be the highlight of the holiday formany. We spend our time here in theexperienced company of local foresters,exploring with them these ancient mixedforests, and looking for birds, mammalsand other winter wildlife whilst learninghow to decipher the tracks and other signsof Wolf and other large mammals.Sightings of Wild Boar, Red Fox, Red andRoe Deer, Elk and Brown Hare are allpossible, whilst Weasel (which turn whitein the winter here), Otter, Beaver and evenLynx have occasionally been seen on pasttours. There will also be the opportunity totake optional nocturnal excursions to lookfor Wolves by waiting in high seats(elevated hides). This will greatly enhancethe possibility of seeing this elusivemammal, though the experience is onlyrecommended for the hardy anddedicated. Birds of the area include White-tailedEagle, Sparrowhawk, Goshawk, Hazelhen,Black Grouse, Black, Three-toed andGrey-headed Woodpeckers, Waxwing,Great Grey Shrike, Hawfinch, Crossbill andNutcracker. The highlight of all, however, isquite likely to be our accommodation! Wewill be based, during our stay, in theforester's house and lodge. This lodge,with its huge, old-fashioned (and veryeffective) enamelled wood-burning stoves,once widespread in eastern Europe, offersus exceptional hospitality, and is a firmfavourite with all our groups.Finally, we must tear ourselves away fromsuch old-fashioned comfort, and begin ourreturn journey to Warsaw. En route we willspend our final night at Dobarz, close tothe huge complex of marshes and riverinewoodlands along the meandering BiebrzaRiver. The Biebrza National Park is one ofthe most important wildlife sites in thewhole of Poland and an excellent area inwhich to look for Elk, the largest cervid inEurope and the same species as theanimal known as the Moose in NorthAmerica. We rarely fail to see it here! Wealso hope to find a variety of interestingbirdlife in the marshes, with a chance ofsuch species as Golden and White-tailedEagles, Rough-legged Buzzard, BlackWoodpecker and Waxwing, as well as allthe commoner species of winteringwaterfowl.Please note that we do not include theBialowieza Forest in the itinerary, as theBison and other mammals are difficult tofind here in the winter. Our time is betterspent in the Romincka Forest to the north,where we have a better chance of locatingthese elusive creatures with the help of thelocal foresters.105Outline itineraryDay 1Fly Warsaw and transferKruklanki.Day 2Puszcza Borecka.Overnight Kruklanki.Day 3/6Puszcza Romincka.Day 7Biebrza Marshes.Day 8Fly London.AccommodationA mix of forest lodges and hotels;normally three nights in rooms withprivate facilities and the other fournights in rooms with shared facilities.FoodAll meals included in the price.GradingA/B.FocusMammals, especially large mammals;birds; some World War II features.LeadersSinclair Dunnett and PiotrMoszkowski, plus local forest guides.Single room supplement£195. ExtensionsSightseeing extensions are availableto Warsaw and Krakow. Web quick search: POL04RUSSIAGERMANYBELORUSSIASLOVAKIAUKRAINEWARSAWGDANSK'WOLF'S LAIR'PUSZCZA ROMINCKAPUSZCZABORECKASUWALKIBIEBRZAMARSHESBIALOWIEZAFORESTKRAKOWBALTIC SEAPOLAND VISTULA RIVERBook direct on 01962 733051or see page 284 for Booking InformationPoland in WinterAn 8-day winter adventure to Poland in search of large mammals that are rare or even extinct in much of western Europe.Saturday 19th January - Saturday 26th January Cost: £1,595WolfElkEuropeanBison

There are few placesleft in Europe that canclaim to be largelyuntouched by the stampedeof human kind. TheBialowieza Forest in Poland is one suchplace, tucked away on the easternmostfringes of Europe and straddling Poland'sborder with Belorussia. Within this vasttract of mixed forest lie 47.5 squarekilometres of untouched primevalwoodland, the largest remaining tract lefton the continent and a UNESCO WorldBiosphere Reserve. Outside the StrictReserve, as it is known locally, themanaged portion of Bialowieza covers afurther 580 square kilometres, a mosaic ofmature and young woodland, riverinemarshes, willow thickets and wet meadowsthat combine to create one of Europe'smost important bird habitats.Many of Europe's wildlife-rich areas aresynonymous with particular families orspecies of animals and birds. The SpanishSteppes have their bustards, the Pyreneesare famous for Wallcreepers and for thebirdwatcher, thoughts of the BialowiezaForest immediately bring to mind thecarpenters of the bird world, thewoodpeckers. Here, all 10 of Europe'swoodpecker species can be found withvarying ease and, with the invaluable helpof the local birdwatchers who scour theforests each spring, we will endeavour totrack down as many as we can during thisexciting Naturetrek weekend. We begin our holiday with a flight toWarsaw, the historic capital of Poland.From here we drive north-east to the smallvillage of Bialowieza, where we will bebased for three nights in a comfortablehotel on the edge of the village. For thenext two full days we will explore theforests and marshes of the BialowiezaForest, walking the trails that criss-crossthis magnificent mixed woodland. By earlyMay the forests will be alive with bird songas wave after wave of returning migrantsstake their claims for the year. Collared,Pied and Red-breasted Flycatchers allbreed here, along with Thrush Nightingale,Redstart, and both Icterine and WoodWarbler. Within this chorus of sound wewill be listening out for the characteristicnotes of the woodpeckers, from theexplosive laugh of the mighty BlackWoodpecker to the falcon-like chittering ofthe Lesser-spotted Woodpecker. White-backed Woodpeckers are early nestersand may already be feeding large young,and we hope to be able to locate the mostelusive and sought-after of the Picidaefamily, the unobtrusive Three-toedWoodpecker. A sudden flurry of wings andleaves may herald an escaping HazelGrouse, while other birds to look for, inand over trees, include Nutcracker,Crossbill, Hawfinch, White Stork, LesserSpotted Eagle, and even perhaps PygmyOwl on an evening foray. Outside the trueforest lies the 'Palace Park', another veryproductive area to explore. Here apatchwork of open woodlands, grassylawns and small lakes provides habitat forMiddle Spotted and Grey-headedWoodpeckers and Wryneck. The park isalso the one place to search for the SyrianWoodpecker, the most difficult of thebunch to find and, although expandingnorth, on the very edge of its breedingrange. Early one morning we will be escorted intothe Strict Reserve, Bialowieza's trueprimeval forest. Here we will have a uniqueopportunity to explore a habitat largelyuntouched by human hands. Indeed, awalk amongst the swampy alder woodsand ancient Limes, Hornbeams, Oaks andSpruces, with our guide talking through theecology en route, is a truly magicalexperience and, for some, will be theundoubted highlight of this short tour. If time permits we may also drive north toexplore the woodlands and marshes in thevicinity of Siemianówka Reservoir. LakeSiemianówka is a superb area of openwater and marsh, formed by the dammingof the Narew River, and holds a richassemblage of resident and migrant birdspecies, including White-tailed Eagle,Citrine Wagtail, passage waders, marshterns and grebes. The surrounding forestsare also another excellent place in whichto look for a few more woodpeckers, inparticular Three-toed. Back in Bialowieza, and if fortunate, we may find one of the forest's mostfamous inhabitants, the European Bison or Wisent. This magnificent mammalbecame extinct in the wild in the 1920s,but was successfully reintroduced into theforest 30 years later. Today the BialowiezaForest contains one of Europe's lastremaining herds, with approximately 250Bison ranging freely within the Polishsection. If we are lucky enough to comeacross one during our time here, it willundoubtedly provide yet another highlight,and an added bonus, to our short butvaried birdwatching weekend. Poland's Primeval ForestsA long-weekend spring break in search of the woodpeckers and other birdlife in Poland's magnificent Bialowieza Forest.Friday 3rd May - Monday 6th May Cost: £795Outline itineraryDay 1Fly Warsaw and transferBialowieza.Day 2/3Bialowieza Forest.Day 4Transfer to Warsaw andfly London. AccommodationComfortable hotel with privatefacilities. FoodAll included in the price.GradingDay walks only. Grade A.FocusBirds and mammals. LeaderRichard Bashford.Single room supplement£80.Web quick search: POL01106Call now or visit your free Trip ItineraryRUSSIABELORUSSIAGERMANYSLOVAKIAUKRAINEWARSAWGDANSKBALTIC COASTHEL PENINSULAVISTULA BAYBIEBRZABASINBIALOWIEZAFORESTBALTIC SEAPOLANDVISTULARIVERThree-toed WoodpeckerWhite-winged TernCollared Flycatcher