Wolf by Oliwier Myka

Tour Dates: Thursday 3rd – Tuesday 8th October 2024 (Warsaw to Warsaw)
Tour Price: £1,450pp plus flight
Estimated Flight Price: London to Warsaw approx. £250 return
Deposit: £400 per person
Conservation Donation from Wise Birding: £100 – £150
Minimum Number: 4 people
Maximum Group Size: 6 people

Target Mammals: European Bison, Eurasian Elk, Wolf, Beaver Wild Boar, Pine Marten and Racoon Dog
Target Species Birds: Common Cranes, White-tailed Eagle, Rough-legged Buzzard, Tundra Bean Goose, Pygmy Owl and White-backed Woodpecker

Tour Summary
This new 5 night tour to Poland is focused on mammals with a nice daily distraction of some quality birds too! We will be based at two locations, the famous Białowieża Forest and the Biebrza Marshes. Białowieża Forest is the largest remaining remnant of the original European Forest and one of the oldest in the whole of Europe. Often most famous for its population of European Bison, but also a very good area for Wolves. Our local guide sees these animals quite frequently at this time of year and he will be key to our success. In contrast, to the forest we will also visit the Biebrza Marshes and its associated maze of channels, flooded meadows and lakes has a whole different feel to the ancient forest. At this time of year the winter birding can be good with the spectacle of thousands of Cranes coming into roost as well as other species like wildfowl. Aside from the bird distractions, the marshes can also be good for mammals with Elk and Beavers present and Wolves too!

ACCOMMODATION: 5 nights in Poland 
3 nights in Białowieża and 2 nights at Biebrza
Meals: Full board

DAY 1: Arrival Warsaw – Białowieża Forest After arriving at Warsaw airport at around lunch time, we will take the transfer to our hotel in the fabulous Białowieża Forest which is around a 3.5 hour drive. If flight arrival times allow we will head straight out to try and find our first Bison or we may try a night drive for Racoon Dog or Wild Boar. Overnight Białowieża Forest

Watching European Bison in Bialowieza Forest by Oliwier Myka

DAYS 2 – 3: Birding in Białowieża Forest
We will spend a every dawn and dusk period searching for mammals – Bison Safaris & Wolf patrols. The most effective way to search for Wolves in Białowieża is to travel along the very long and dense network of roads (the forest is divided into parts by numerous perpendicular service roads – the legacy of Tsarist times). October is a good time for Wolf and our guide has had many great encounters with this mammal and it will be a high priority for the tour. Equally, seeing Bison at this time of year can be very good as numbers build during the autumn and this will be a key species for us to look for. Other mammals that are also possible include Roe and Red Deer, Wild Boar, Pine Marten and Racoon Dog.
Outside of the key mammal periods we will visit the old growth part of the forest in search of woodpeckers  and reasonable chances to see Hazel Grouse, Nutcracker and Pygmy Owl. Other birds may include Crested Tit, Great Grey Shrike, Rough-legged Buzzard, White-tailed Eagle and Goshawk.
Depending on our  success with mammals, we will also visit the Siemianówka reservoir in the northern part of the area as October is a good time for bird migration, particularly for ducks & waders. We will also visit a local bird ringing camp there. A visit to what is called the “Strict Reserve” of Białowieża National Park (UNESCO site) where you can experience how the European lowlands is also planned and we will learn how the forest looked over a hundred years ago and how the national park started. Overnight Białowieża Forest

Wolves in Bialowieza Forest by Oliwier Myka

DAYS 4 & 5: Biebrza Marshes
After a final dawn Wolf Patrol in Białowieża Forest, we will have breakfast and then head north to Biebrza Marshes with a stop on Knyszyn and/or Dojlidy fishponds where we will look for White-tailed Eagle, Tundra Bean Goose, Penduline Tit. We will arrive at the Biebrza Marshes in the evening.
Biebrza is the only place where Elk survived during World War II and we will focus on that species on the two early mornings. Wolf is also a possibility as we travel to this area, so we will be looking out for this species too. The mosaic of channels and cut-off rivers holds many Beaver families and we will take a dedicated evening trip to try and find this species. Outside of the key mammal times we hope to find a nice selection of birds such as Rough-legged Buzzard and Hen Harrier and the spectacle of hundreds of Cranes for which this area is one of the most important stopovers in Poland before they migrate to southern Europe. Overnight Biebrza

Eurasian Elk by Oliwier Myka

DAY 6: Biebrza to Warsaw
We will spend our final morning birding on Biebrza Marshes searching for any species that we may have missed or simply try to get some better views of species. We will then take the 2.5 hour transfer to Warsaw where the tour concludes.

Please note this is a flexible itinerary which may need to be adjusted slightly dependent on arrival / departure times, weather conditions and the most recent information from our local guides

Leaders: Oliwier Myka and Wise Birding Leader
Included in cost: Accommodation in twin en-suite rooms, all meals, ground transport, park fees and services of leader.
Not included in cost: International airfare, travel insurance, drinks other than water and any airport/visa fees.
Single Supplement: £125 
Transport: Minivan or Minibus dependent on group size
Difficulty: Easy – Moderate. Walking is easy going with short leisurely walks on open trails and walking distances of up to 8Km a day, though snow is likely!
Climate: Changeable and quite chilly with average day time temperatures of  around 12C and dropping to around 4C and below early and late in the day.
Tour Start Point: Warsaw Chopin airport, Poland
Tour End Point: Warsaw Chopin airport, Poland
Suggested Airlines: LOT Airlines

Eurasian Beaver by Oliwier Myka