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Wildlife watching


Nature-watching is not difficult when you come to Poland. All you need is the right clothes, good footwear, Wellington boots or some other rubber-soled shoes, and a pair of binoculars. In some National Parks, you will also require a local guide.

Poland is the staging post for many species of migratory bird. You can observe rollers on fallow fields, ruff on the stubble, cranes on the wetlands and eagles over the meadows. The National Park at the mouth of the River Warta is a paradise for bird-watchers, as are the Biebrza wetlands, Lake Oswin in Masuria and the small lakes of Stawy Milickie in the Barycz Valley.

Unlike summer, the best time to track wild animals is in winter and autumn, when red deer and elk can be observed rutting. But even in July or August, an elk can be "stalked" in the meadows around Biebrza or bison in the forest clearings around Hajnowka. These most powerful of Polish mammals live wild in the Bialowieska Forest and also on a special reserve on the island of Wolin.

Poland is famous for its successful experiments in reintroduction. As well as the bison, some of the other species which have been reintroduced to their natural habitat are the Polish wild horse, the beaver and the lynx. There are now 10 of these predatory cats living in the Kampinoska Forest, all descendants from Ajax, who came from Poznan's zoo.

It can also be interesting to encounter some members of the lesser species. The Pieniny Mountains is the habitat for the most beautiful Polish butterfly (Parnassus Apollo). In the San valley in the Bieszczady Mountains visitors may come across the dark-olive Aesculapian Snake, while the moor frog can be spotted in the Kampinoska forests. The male is azure blue, while the female is orange.

There are also places in Poland where wild animals can be seen outside one's own window. Wild boars frequently dig up lawns near Gdansk, while falcons nest in Warsaw's Palace of Culture and Science.


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