I had the fantastic opportunity to go for two days to the Naust Eco Station of Professor Vadim Sidorovich and his wife Ira Rotenko in the Naliboki Forest.
We were with a group of 10 persons and got a very warm welcome in the station. The lodges are not luxurious but very cosy and furnished in a beautiful authentic artisanal way. I was very excited but I realised that two days is too short to hope for a lot of encounters with the wildlife, but those days exceeded all my expectations!!!
First we saw a herd of bison , two bulls and a little big further another eight bulls! We saw two red deer swimming in the river, a lot of roe deer and a whole herd of red deer, all together in great open plains. Two cranes passed us in the sky , and on the way back to the station we saw a mountain hare and in his close proximity a spectacular great grey owl, a very rare bird! Wow, I was only a few hours in the Naliboki Forest and already I was overwhelmed by these fantastic encounters! And it was fine that everyone of our group spotted these magnificent creatures.
The next morning we left the station early in the morning and very soon already we saw a moose, running in the forest! And then, my biggest wish came true : a big gray male wolf crossed the road, about 25 meters in front of our car!!! Luckily for us he stopped and looked at us , with his magnificent yellow eyes!!!! My body was full of adrenaline, my hands were shaking , but nevertheless I could take some pictures! Wow, what an unforgettable moment! He was so beautiful, so graceful, so pure, an image I will never forget!
We also witnessed a fantastic couple capercaillie, while the male bird was impressing his female. Other birds we watched and heard were the woodcock, cranes, wild swan, raven, black woodpecker and much much more. Everywhere in the forest you can see the presence of beavers and their impact on the environment. Also we saw a red fox hunting for some little prey.
During those two days we made a lot of walks were I was really overwhelmed by the knowledge of Vadim. He is a top expert, he’s telling with a lot of passion. He showed us burrows of wolf, lynx and badger. Also marking signs and scratch marks of lynx, wolf and brown bear and we got a lot of information about the behaviour of those animals. We were also witness of how and where Vadim is putting cameratraps and could see the results of them.
For the lunch Vadim brought us to an idyllic place between two rivers. It was sunny and dry, but nevertheless too dry for nature. Later that day Vadim took us to a part of the wood with fantastic big old oaks. Some of them have reached the age of 300 years!
In the evening Ira welcomed us in a warm cosy kitchen with a fantastic meal .The sky in Naliboki Forest is so pure with no light pollution so a great opportunity to watch the stars.
Although I was only for 2 days (44 hours to be precise) in the Naust Eco Station, the result was more than I expected. This short experience was one of the most inspiring moments of my life! But there is so much more to see and learn, so I certainly come back , but for a longer period !
Many thanks to Ira and Vadim that I could be part of this magic world!!!