The importance of Poland lays in its large natural habitats. In the east, there are several large forests. Most famous is Białowieża, the last deciduous woods in Europe that have never been managed by mankind. There are raptors, hazelhen, owls, woodpeckers, flycatchers, as well as large mammals, like European Bison, wild boar and grey wolves.

Białowieża Forest  ©Wikipedia Commons

Several river valleys, notably Vistula (Wisła); Narew, Bug, Warta and Oder (Odra); have wide flood lands or sandy islands full of water birds and waders. Marshes along Biebrza are the largest wetland in Europe, with large populations of Aquatic Warbler, Spotted Eagle, Great Snipe and White-winged Black Tern among over 200 species. The marshes are the preferred habitat of Elk.

Great Snipe Gallinago media ©Thho46 Wikipedia Commons

There are mountains in the south, notably Tatras (Tatry) and Bieszczady, with raptors and alpine species like Wallcreeper. It is also good for two endemic subspecies of Alpine Marmots, Chamois and for Brown Bear.

Northern Poland is dotted with lakes and forests and is very important for waterfowl and migrating birds especially the Bay of Gdañsk and large fishponds (like Milicz) and reservoirs (Słońsk, Turawski, Mietkowski). The northeast has several eastern specialities on the edge of their range such as Citrine Wagtail and Greenish Warbler. It is also noted for beaver.

A small population of lynx have help on and there are on-going attempts to reintroduce them into the Kampinoski National Park area.

Eurasian Lynx Lynx lynx ©Marcus Piet Wikipedia Commons

Much of the countryside is still low-intensity farmland teeming with birds. White Storks, Corncrakes and many other birds can be found everywhere, even on the outskirts of cities.

Belovezhskaya Pushcha National Park (Map)
The fauna of the reserve includes 59 mammals (including 6 rare species), 253 bird species, 11 amphibians, 7 reptiles, 24 fish species and over 11,000 invertebrates. The avifauna includes corncrake Crex crex (R); white-tailed eagle Haliaetus albicilla (R); white stork Ciconia ciconia, peregrine falcon Falco peregrinus and eagle owl Bubo bubo.

Bialowieza Primeval Forest (Map)
Bialowieski National Park is the oldest national park in Poland and one of the oldest in Europe. It was founded as Reserve Forestry in 1921 but officially established as National Park in Bialowieza in 1932. In 1947 it was restored as the Bialowieski National Park. At one time the property of Polish kings, the Bialowieskie Forests have survived in an almost unaltered form. It is without a doubt the most valuable, natural area in the lowlands of entire Europe. Located on the watershed of the Baltic and Black seas, this immense forest range consisting of evergreens and broad-leaved trees is the home of some remarkable animal life including rare and interesting mammals such as European Bison, Wolves, Elk and others.

Biebrza National Park (Map)
The Biebrza National Park is located in Northeast Poland, in the Podlaskie Voivodship. The northeastern boundary of the park is near the Belarus border, and the Narew River and its confluence with the Biebrza River form the southern boundary. The park was established in 1993, and with a total area of 59.233 ha, it is the largest of the Polish national parks. The area is good for Elk and Beaver as well as birds like Black stork and raptors.

Black Stork Ciconia nigra ©Quartl Wikipedia Commons

Milicz Ponds
The ponds are located in Silesia, close to Breslaw. In the middle-ages, monks excavated carp ponds. Nowadays, they can hardly be distinguished from natural ones and are one of the most important resting places for migratory birds in west Poland.

Text Source: Fatbirder

Map Source: Googlemaps™

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons

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