Birding in Spring
The birding trip is mainly targeted on several charismatic species of birds of the local fauna: the capercaillie, black stork, owls (first of all, eagle owl, grey grey owl, pygmy owl and Tengmalm’s owl), black and white storks.
Concerning capercaillie, about 18 km from the field station there is a huge capercaillie lek. It is not a small plot with many birds. It is an area of about 1-2 km2 with 40 to 70 males and females of the capercaillie altogether, and also there are several small plots with 6-10 of them. The lek is situated within the large (about 20 km2) poor quality habitats on the sand dune massif with pine stands with few logging areas. The sand dune area is drained by a small river and there are some boggy pine stands. In winter and in summer there are few ungulates, rare lynx and wolf tracks, but in march-early May the place is full of tracks of wolf, lynx, red fox and pine marten. The last spring of 2015, at least, a pack of three wolves and two different lynxes visited the place regularly, every night somebody of them obligatory watched over the lek. We offer to watch and make nice shots of capercaillies from a special tent-hide as well as to set up several camera traps to capture possible exciting situations.
We will also listen to and watch black grouses at several their leks, visit a huge white stork colony of 40-60 nests of them in the Nioman big river valley as well as watch for black stork and visit the species nests. As to owls, the targeted species are eagle owl, great grey owl, pygmy owl and Tengmalm’s owl. Playing the owl species shouts, we will get pleasure to listen to them. Great grey owl calls in daytime, and there is a great chance to approach it. Also, in the Nioman valley that is flooded in April there are huge flocks of waterfowl. This is within the program too.
Moreover there will be plenty of small birds. Among them there are many rare or(and) endangered species. The terrain is full of diurnal raptors of 20 species, e.g. the short toed eagle, booted eagle, spotted eagle and golden eagle.
Besides of birds, within the trip program we will see bisons, beavers with their huge construction activity, many wolf dens from the previous years and fresh signs of wolf activity.