The relatively poorly known Bieszczady Mountains are a wild and remote wilderness home to some of Europes most exciting wildlife. Located in the extreme South-Eastern corner of Poland the area lies within the UNESCO East Carpathian Biosphere Reserve which covers over 2,000 square kilometres. During early spring this sparsely populated region is little visited by Polish people. Utilising two centres – with some nights in the heart of the national park and others in prime mammal habitat just outside – will be the key to success in finding and watching the wildlife.
The use of different techniques to increase wildlife encounters
Besides exploring the region on foot, time will be spent scanning from suitable vantage points at dusk and dawn. Spotlighting sessions in some specific areas from a vehicle after dark is another technique to encounter some of the area’s rarest wildlife. Moreover, using a personal observation hide located in a patchwork of mixed woodlands, rolling hills and colourful meadows is another great option. More details of our hide can be found by clicking here.
Humans versus elusive wildlife: how to win the hide and seek game
Open meadows inside forested areas are a magnet to resident ungulates. Overlooking such areas in the early morning or during the last hour of daylight is prime time to see a herd of European Bisons for example. Staying and watching at twilight might reveal a predator on the scene too as in previous years we have succeeded in seeing wolves and even bears more than once!
Expertise and a network to rely on
Spotlighting sessions near rivers and streams might reveal species like Otter, Beaver, Polecat and even Wildcat. The ultimate observation of course would be an ecounter with a Eurasian Lynx. On this tour in 2015, 2016 and 2017 we succeeded in spotting this notoriously elusive feline, aka the ‘phantom of the forest’. Besides relying on our own extensive knowledge of the area EB5 has got access to exclusive special permits allowing access to some of the best areas otherwise closed to the general public.
Iconic creatures the real way
In general, views of large carnivores and herbivores resident in the area are made from mid to long range so telescopes are required for the best views and to observe their natural behaviour without disturbing them. Although, being a very exciting and intense experience to see a target species, patience and determination are required whilst scanning the terrain. Despite every effort being made to maximise our chances of seeing wildlife luck sometimes plays its part!
Although mammals are the primary focus of this tour, there are some specific birds here worth an effort too. Tengmalm’s, Ural, Eagle, Long-eared and Pygmy Owls are all possible along with Hazel Grouse, Nutcracker and a variety of woodpeckers such as White-backed, Black and Grey-headed. Migrants like Black Storks and Lesser-spotted Eagles might have returned too.