|Birding trip around the Baltic May-June 2014|
|John van der Woude www.jvanderw.nl|
|See also photo section (mostly showing the scenery of the birding sites)|
|An old dream came true when in 2014 from mid May until the end of June, Nollie and I drove all around the Baltic Sea. Via Germany, Poland, the Baltic states and Finland we drove up to the Barentz Sea in north Norway, and then back through western Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Germany.|
|We drove 12.600 km in total. The weather was mostly good, in the beginning even hot, and sometimes we had snow in the North. We saw the Baltic Sea itself only when crossing over from Estonia to Finland, as we preferred to keep to the far inland sites all the way from Poland to the top of Finland. We brought a small tent but used it at only one site. We mostly had hotels, pensions and several campsite cottages via booking.com.|
|Below the general map are detailed maps of our birding sites in NE Poland and the Baltic states. For the remainder of the trip there is much birding info elsewhere, like for Kuusamo and Varanger. Not only trip reports (like my own from 2003) but also the little Gosney guides and the Crossbill Guide books.|
|For NE Poland we used the Crossbill guide (mainly for Bialowieza and Narew) and the detailed birding site guide for Biebrza NP produced by Lukasz Mazurek (wildpoland.com; also available as pdf download). For the Baltic states we used Gorman's site guide Birding in Eastern Europe, and the Estonia booklet by Gosney.|
|The photo section is for the
whole trip. It is here that some specific birds are mentioned (hardly
at the site info below).
A simple species list for the whole trip is below, at the bottom of this page.
|1. Havelland, riverine wetlands.
2. Bialowieza forest and clearings.
3. Narew NP & Biebrza NP.
4. Zuvintas lake & Punia forest
5. Kretuonas lake & Labanoras forest.
6. Lubans lake area.
7. Tartu area.
8. SE Finland two sites
9. night drive in forest.
10. Kuusamo area.
11. Urho Kekkonen NP.
12. towards Utsjoki.
13. Varanger fjord.
14. Varanger peninsula.
15. Nordkinn peninsula.
16. Stabbursdalen NP.
17. south of Alta.
18. Pallas-Yllästunturi NP
19. Muddus NP.
21. Sånfjället NP.
22. Köping - visited friend
23. Tåkern lake.
24. Store Mosse NP.
25. N Germany site.
Bialowieza village and the forest. In NE Poland, at the border of Belarus.
1. Approach road from the west. Good forest on many places along this road, with e.g. Red-breasted Flycatcher.
2. Information office for the national park. Here you make your appointment for the paid guided visit to the NP the next day or so. This is also the spot where that visit will start with a walk to the entrance of the closed forest at 7.
3. Main street with some shops and a bank.
4. Our hotel Bialowieska, with restaurant and a good location for an evening walk to 5.
5. Good birding here at the Narewka river, with open forest.
6. Sand road in forest, for a walk along the border of the NP.
7. Entrance of the NP, only guided (see 2).
8. Along this quiet road, good views over the river valley to the forest.
9. Just north of here a small road crosses a wet forest (straight north).
Narew NP in NE Poland, west of Bialystok and southeast of Biebrza NP. Here the part at the village Wawieno.
1. Approach road into Wawieno.
2. Our pension at Wawieno. See http://www.biebrza-narew.pl/biebrza_kontakt.php
3. Bird tower.
4. Start of boardwalk across the anastomosing river Narew, mostly through reed beds.
5. Some bushes along the boardwalk in the marsh. Rosefinch very prominent.
Biebrza NP, southern part. The best birding area of Poland. NE of Bialystok.
1. Approach road from Narew NP and Bialystok.
2. Start of small but asfalted road all the way through the NP up to Goniadz. I believe that officially you need a general NP permit/ticket to use this road as it is inside the park, but you can get this permit/ticket only in Goniadz and we had to go to our pension at 3, so we just drove the road and I think nobody would object. Actually, the next day we still birded a lot along this road before we finally reached Goniadz and bought the permits/tickets.
3. Our pension at Dobarz, of the same owner as the pension in Wawieno/Narew NP (see link there).
4. Start of the boardwalk west through the grassy fields and reed beds, for the Aquatic Warbler (best at the end, but also halfway).
5. Interesting, long track going west through half wooded marsh.
6. The hamlet Barwik, where the track west to the bird tower and the (former?) Great Snipe lek starts. We had none, and we understood from the staff at Goniadz that the birds may not lek here anymore, as there have reportedly been photographers getting too close to the birds. Still a nice late evening walk from the pension at Dobarz.
7. The NP office W of Goniadz. Permits, info, maps etc.
8. Platform on N side of Goniadz for viewing north across river. In Goniadz we also had Greenish Warbler in the tree-lined central plaza.
9. Old fort with marsh opposite. Check for Penduline Tits in the trees along the marsh trail.
10. Old sand road/dike going from Mscichy eastward to the river Biebrza.
Following the road south of 10 along Pluty etc. to Wizna, there are several fine elevated views over the Biebrza river valley east. Also, around Wizna you may get some new birds. See the Wild Poland site guide mentioned in the Introduction above.
Zuvintas lake in southern Lithuania, NW of Alytus.
1. Approach road from Simnas, some good roadside birding.
2. Info centre and short boardwalk west through reedbeds and along lake to hide.
Punia forest just N of Alytus, southern Lithuania. Enclosed in wide river bend.
1. Appraoch road through nice old farming villages.
2. Entrance of the forest (in weekend only on foot).
Drive on slowly on the forest road, stopping/walking at promising sites, up to 3, then 4 and on a somewhat lower forest road back to 2. No bridge over the river anywhere on this image.
Labanoras forest and Kretuonas lake at Moletai in NE Lithuania.
1. The A14 from Vilnius.
2. Very nice and quiet camping Mindunai at lake border. Also rooms avalilable. Wifi in central building. Nice staff.
3. Labanoras village. From here several roads deeper into the forest. All worth sveveral stops.
4. Lake Kretuonas with marsh land, see below.
Wetland at the eastern border of Lake Kretuonas, east of the Labanoras forest.
1. Approach road from south into the village Reskutenai.
2. Turn left (west) here on dirt road.
3. From the bend in the road here walk towards lake border through open bush field, for view across the lake and for bush birds.
4. Very birdy wetland with marsh terns etc.
5. From c. here a good view into the wetland.
6. A bird tower near a research station.
7. New and tall tower for viewing the whole surrounding, see photo section.
One of our favorites of the whole trip, the Lubans lake area in eastern Latvia (Letland).
We stayed in a very nice hotel in Madona (upper left on the map) called Viesu maja Janis, with a good family restaurant nearby (ask the staff). From here road P84 towards the Lubans lake goes through good forest, towards the road of point 1 on next map.
Lubans lake and Nagli fish ponds.
1. Road from Madona, orientate on map of the wider area above.
2. Good views from dike over Lubans lake and marshy lake border.
3. Another good view from here, and check the local birds at the mouth of the small canal.
4. Bird tower for viewing the former fish ponds east.
5. Cross the canal here and drive through some interesting fields south to Nagli.
6. From here in the Nagli hamlet, take the dirt road along the small canal/river through the fish pond area towards Lubans lake.
7. Make a walk over several small dikes between the old fish ponds.
8. Carefully check the river side vegetation (Blyth's Reed Warbler).
9. Follow the small dike road SW. Several good viewpoints. Check trees etc.
10. Leave the lake border here, interesting fields ahead. At reserve border halfway 10 and 11, we drove the dike north along the wet forest for a few km. Possibly you can drive all the way to 2, but we went back and turned to 11.
11. Here the dirt road ends. Follow the asfalted roads to Madona.
Tartu area in SE Estonia. Please also use a much larger version of this map. The city of Tartu (good restaurants) is in the lower righthand corner.
1. Our hotel in Ilmatsalu (Hotel Ilmatsalu, on booking.com). Excellent location for visiting the birding sites nearby and further west.
2. Start (at a P) of trail through old fish ponds.
3. The Great Snipe lek in the meadows along the Emajogi river.
4. The famous Hollywood Hill for watching raptors north and west above the vast forests.
5. Start of road west to Alam Pedja NP.
6. Good forest along this straight raod.
7. P for walk across open bog north.
8. End of road with nice view of Emajöi river bend (White-backed Woodpecker right here).
Gosney's Räpina Polder at the border of the huge lake separating Estonia from Russia, in SE Estonia.
1. Leave main road from Räpina here, see coordinates on map.
2. We parked the car here as the track to 3 was too muddy and bumpy when we were there.
3. Start of good birding track to 4. Wet meadows and bushes.
4. Turn left here, but a good birding point in itself. Take your time.
5. The bird tower for viewing down on the wet meadows and across the big lake towards Russia.
Järvselja forest reserve 20 km NNW of Räpina.
1. Find this fork N of the village Järvselja. The fork is at 58.271959, 27.314151.
2. Around here is the start of a boardwalk from a small info. Park here.
3. End of boardwalk through excellent wet forest.
4. We walked from 3 along 4 back to the car at 2, along impressive tall trees.
This list was gradually built up during our six weeks around the Baltic. I have not annotated the list with locations. It would be a table of 25 columns, and mostly we did not record locations for a species after we had seen it as a new species for the trip (trip tick). In the photo section however, several birds are mentioned for specific sites.
Red-throated Diver Roodkeelduiker Black-throated Diver Parelduiker Little Grebe Dodaars Great Crested Grebe Fuut Red-necked Grebe Roodhalsfuut Slavonian Grebe Kuifduiker Gannet Jan van Gent Cormorant Aalscholver Shag Kuifaalscholver Bittern Roerdomp Great White Egret Grote Zilverreiger Grey Heron Blauwe Reiger Black Stork Zwarte Ooievaar White Stork Ooievaar Mute Swan Knobbelzwaan Whooper Swan Wilde Zwaan Taiga Bean Goose Taigarietgans Barnacle Goose Brandgans Brent Goose Rotgans Shelduck Bergeend Wigeon Smient Gadwall Krakeend Teal Wintertaling Mallard Wilde Eend Pintail Pijlstaart Garganey Zomertaling Shoveler Slobeend Pochard Tafeleend Tufted Duck Kuifeend Eider Eider King Eider Koningseider Steller's Eider Stellers Eider Long-tailed Duck IJseend Common Scoter Zwarte Zee-eend Velvet Scoter Grote Zee-eend Goldeneye Brilduiker Smew Nonnetje Red-breasted Merganser Middelste Zaagbek Goosander Grote Zaagbek Harlequin Duck Harlekijneend Honey-buzzard Wespendief Black Kite Zwarte Wouw Red Kite Rode Wouw White-tailed Eagle Zeearend Marsh Harrier Bruine Kiekendief Hen Harrier Blauwe Kiekendief Montagu's Harrier Grauwe Kiekendief Goshawk Havik Sparrowhawk Sperwer Buzzard Buizerd Rough-legged Buzzard Ruigpootbuizerd Lesser Spotted Eagle Schreeuwarend Osprey Visarend Kestrel Torenvalk Merlin Smelleken Hobby Boomvalk Hazel Grouse Hazelhoen Willow/Red Grouse Moerassneeuwhoen Ptarmigan Alpensneeuwhoen Black Grouse Korhoen Capercaillie Auerhoen Partridge Patrijs Pheasant Fazant Water Rail Waterral Spotted Crake Porseleinhoen Corn Crake Kwartelkoning Moorhen Waterhoen Coot Meerkoet Crane Kraanvogel Oystercatcher Scholekster Avocet Kluut Ringed Plover Bontbekplevier Dotterel Morinelplevier Golden Plover Goudplevier Lapwing Kievit Little Stint Kleine Strandloper Temminck's Stint Temmincks Strandloper Dunlin Bonte Strandloper Ruff Kemphaan Jack Snipe Bokje Snipe Watersnip Great Snipe Poelsnip Woodcock Houtsnip Black-tailed Godwit Grutto Bar-tailed Godwit Rosse Grutto Whimbrel Regenwulp Curlew Wulp Spotted Redshank Zwarte Ruiter Redshank Tureluur Marsh Sandpiper Poelruiter Greenshank Groenpootruiter Green Sandpiper Witgat Wood Sandpiper Bosruiter Common Sandpiper Oeverloper Turnstone Steenloper Red-necked Phalarope Grauwe Franjepoot Arctic Skua Kleine Jager Long-tailed Skua Kleinste Jager Great Skua Grote Jager Little Gull Dwergmeeuw Black-headed Gull Kokmeeuw Common Gull Stormmeeuw Lesser Black-backed Gull Kleine Mantelmeeuw Herring Gull Zilvermeeuw Glaucous Gull Grote Burgemeester Great Black-backed Gull Grote Mantelmeeuw Kittiwake Drieteenmeeuw Common Tern Visdief Arctic Tern Noordse Stern Little Tern Dwergstern Whiskered Tern Witwangstern Black Tern Zwarte Stern White-winged Black Tern Witvleugelstern Guillemot Zeekoet Razorbill Alk Black Guillemot Zwarte Zeekoet Puffin Papegaaiduiker Stock dove Holenduif Wood Pigeon Houtduif Collared Dove Turkse tortel Turtle Dove Zomertortel Cuckoo Koekoek Eagle Owl Oehoe Hawk Owl Sperweruil Pygmy Owl Dwerguil Tawny Owl Bosuil Ural Owl Oeraluil Long-eared Owl Ransuil Nightjar Nachtzwaluw Swift Gierzwaluw Hoopoe Hop Wryneck Draaihals Grey-headed Woodpecker Grijskopspecht Green Woodpecker Groene Specht Black Woodpecker Zwarte Specht Great Spotted Woodpecker Grote Bonte Specht Middle Spotted Woodpecker Middelste Bonte Specht White-backed Woodpecker Witrugspecht Lesser Spotted Woodpecker Kleine Bonte Specht Three-toed Woodpecker Drieteenspecht Crested Lark Kuifleeuwerik Wood Lark Boomleeuwerik Sky Lark Veldleeuwerik Shore Lark Strandleeuwerik Sand Martin Oeverzwaluw Barn Swallow Boerenzwaluw House Martin Huiszwaluw Tree Pipit Boompieper Meadow Pipit Graspieper Red-throated Pipit Roodkeelpieper Yellow Wagtail Gele Kwikstaart Citrine Wagtail Citroenkwikstaart Grey Wagtail Grote Gele Kwikstaart White Wagtail Witte Kwikstaart Waxwing Pestvogel Dipper Waterspreeuw Wren Winterkoning Dunnock Heggemus Robin Roodborst Thrush Nightingale Noordse Nachtegaal Nightingale Nachtegaal Bluethroat Blauwborst Red-flanked Bluetail Blauwstaart Black Redstart Zwarte Roodstaart Redstart Gekraagde Roodstaart Whinchat Paapje Stonechat Roodborsttapuit Wheatear Tapuit Ring Ouzel Beflijster Blackbird Merel Fieldfare Kramsvogel Song Thrush Zanglijster Redwing Koperwiek Mistle Thrush Grote Lijster Grasshopper Warbler Sprinkhaanzanger River Warbler Krekelzanger Savi's Warbler Snor Aquatic Warbler Waterrietzanger Sedge Warbler Rietzanger Marsh Warbler Bosrietzanger Reed Warbler Kleine Karekiet Great Reed Warbler Grote Karekiet Blyth's Reed Warbler Struikrietzanger Icterine Warbler Spotvogel Booted Warbler Kleine Spotvogel Barred Warbler Sperwergrasmus Lesser Whitethroat Braamsluiper Whitethroat Grasmus Garden Warbler Tuinfluiter Blackcap Zwartkop Greenish Warbler Grauwe Fitis Arctic Warbler Noordse Boszanger Wood Warbler Fluiter Chiffchaff Tjiftjaf Willow Warbler Fitis Goldcrest Goudhaan Spotted Flycatcher Grauwe Vliegenvanger Red-breasted Flycatcher Kleine Vliegenvanger Collared Flycatcher Withalsvliegenvanger Pied Flycatcher Bonte Vliegenvanger Bearded Tit Baardman Willow Tit Matkop Siberian Tit Bruinkopmees Crested Tit Kuifmees Coal Tit Zwarte Mees Blue Tit Pimpelmees Great Tit Koolmees Nuthatch Boomklever Treecreeper Taigaboomkruiper Short-toed Treecreeper Boomkruiper Penduline Tit Buidelmees Golden Oriole Wielewaal Red-backed Shrike Grauwe Klauwier Great Grey Shrike Klapekster Jay Gaai Siberian Jay Taigagaai Magpie Ekster Nutcracker Notenkraker Jackdaw Kauw Rook Roek Carrion Crow Zwarte Kraai Hooded Crow Bonte Kraai Raven Raaf Starling Spreeuw Rose-coloured Starling Roze Spreeuw House Sparrow Huismus Tree Sparrow Ringmus Chaffinch Vink Brambling Keep Serin Europese Kanarie Greenfinch Groenling Goldfinch Putter Siskin Sijs Linnet Kneu Redpoll Barmsijs Arctic Redpoll Witstuitbarmsijs Crossbill Kruisbek Common Rosefinch Roodmus Pine Grosbeak Haakbek Bullfinch Goudvink Hawfinch Appelvink Lapland Bunting IJsgors Snow Bunting Sneeuwgors Yellowhammer Geelgors Ortolan Bunting Ortolaan Rustic Bunting Bosgors Little Bunting Dwerggors Reed Bunting Rietgors Corn Bunting Grauwe Gors
|To the photo section.|