These photographs were taken by Phil on our May 2009 tour to Northeast Poland.
As you can see some excellent birds and animals were found, but the overriding memory of this country is the quality of its landscape and wildlife.
Lesser-spotted eagle over a polish meadow.
This Wryneck was in the orchard opposite our hotel.
This river near our hotel is home for beaver, boar and racoon dog. (John Topham)
The Citrine Wagtail has expanded its range westwards in recent years. We found a male in Poland last year, while a female was in the same area in 2009.
This Lesser-spotted Eagle grabbed a frog from beside our hotel and soared around above us showing every feather before heading to the trees to eat it.
The entrance to Bialowieza Forest protected zone. (John Topham)
The Bialowieza forest is a magical place. This inquisitive Pine Marten was an unexpected highlight.
Collared and Pied Flycatchers were both seen in good number near our hotel.
Beavers have created this wonderful flooded part of the forest.
Here we saw Black Stork, Black Woodpecker and Collared Flycatcher. (John Topham)
This Black Stork soared overhead as we sat next in an ancient forest flooded by beavers.
The Aquatic Warbler is the rarest of Europe's migrating passerines. We had excellent views on this trip.
The European Elk or Moose is common in the marshes at Biebrza. seeing them is not always easy, but our small friendly hotel had them in the meadows .
This crazy young Elk ate willow from the roadside verge near our hotel. This picture was taken through the vehicle window as it grazed just feet away.
Penduline tits were heard in many places & we enjoyed excellent views.
Bluethroats are usually silent and secretive when breeding, so we were fortunate in finding an unpaired male.
Poland is a great place to see woodpeckers. This is probably the most northerly Syrian woodpecker in the country?
We found one here in 2008 & a pair were present this visit.
Many Waxwings lingered from the winter invasion. This bird by our hotel was eating mistletoe.
Savi's Warblers can be hard work to see in the dense reeds, but we always seem to be fortunate with this species.
The Biebrza meadows held hundreds of White-winged Black Terns during our visit and thousands of gaudy Ruff.
At times we could see all three species of marsh tern together.
Biebrza's marshes are amazing for the number and diversity of birds present. (John Topham)
The joy of any visit to Poland is not all about common birds. Barn Swallows find friends among both farmers and birders.
The Violet Copper is very rare and localised in Poland.
The White-backed Woodpecker is a difficult bird to find in Europe.
Poland has a wonderful range of mammals to search for. We found a couple of Wild Boar in a meadow near our hotel..
Wood Warblers sing in every part of the forest, they are even present in some gardens!
From the air, one can see the small strip fields that provide the habitat diversity that Poland's 'common' birds depend upon.
The Common Rosefinch is a late migrant that can hide in the canopy of trees. Familiarity with its call allows birders chance to track it down.
Black Woodpeckers are both noisy and common. We see evidence of their destructive feeding habits everywhere.
A chance encounter with a Slow Worm.
Mole Cricket (John Topham)
Red Squirrels are common.
This reservoir held Citrine Wagtail, Penduline Tit, several White-tailed Eagles, all three species of marsh tern..........
amongst many others. (John Topham).
Our hotel by the forest had garden birds like Wryneck, Woodlark, Lesser Spotted eagle and Great Grey Shrike! (John Topham)
"One of life's memorable experiences"........said Frida.
THERE IS MORE?
The photographs below were taken on our 2008 tour for York RSPB members group.
This Barred Warbler was a real show off. We were able to watch his 'parachute' display flight.
Our hotel was in a converted monastery. The river banks were home for Bluethroats and Savi's Warblers.
This Pygmy Owl was calling during the day and so was most likely a young bird that had yet to find a mate.
The ancient Bialowieza Forest is unique in Europe and special permits were granted for our visit.
Savi's Warbler can be a nightmare to see well. This one had not read the field guide!
White Storks were common in the flower-filled meadows.
This male Penduline Tit had not yet completed building its nest.
White-winged Black Terns filled the sky whenever an eagle flew over. They then returned to settle on fence posts.
Once breeding has started, the Bluethroat ceases to sing in the open and becomes harder to locate.
Lesser Spotted Eagle. This was our first of several sightings, with a couple of the much rarer Spotted Eagle seen on the tour too.
The Wryneck is relatively common. This one was calling from a church roof.