There are very few places left in Europe, to watch the European Bison (Bison bonasus bonasus). Białowieża Forest in NE-Poland is surely the most famous. However just about 80 years ago, it was the only place in the world to watch this animal in the wild. During First World War, all bisons living in the wild had been killed. Thanks to a captive breeding programme, it was possible to perpetuate the species. First animals from this programe were released in Białowieża Forest.
Today, the forest is home for about 600 bisons. You will easily find the tracks on the paths as well as faeces (which are home to Geotrupes mutator – a dung beetle).
It is very difficult to see the bisons themselves and you need some luck! During a visit last year, I found four bulls on a meadow. It is really impressive to be face to face with this animal. The bulls are up to 1.90 m high, 3 m long and weigh up to 900 kg.
If they are approaching, you should try to leave very fast…
Did you ever try to find a Hazel Grouse? Probably not… I can tell stories about this search – it is one of the most difficult birds to find in Middle Europe! If you just want to watch the bird for some seconds, you should schedule some days – and there is no guaranty that it works.
I already tried it in 2010 for five days in the Bavarian Forest – but I just got poor photos.
As I like Grouses I tried once more to photograph them. In April, I was lucky enough to finally get photos of a Hazel Grouse pair in Poland.
The cock has a very strange song. I took sound recordings of the bird in the photographs – if you want to listen to it, click here. It is the high whistling – you will recognize it!
In the trees, it tries to hide behind branches
This is a typical view of a Hazel Grouse. Can you see it? It is almost frame filling…
On the ground, it is very observant
The cock takes care of the hen. It is observant while the hen is feeding.
This was without doubt the best sighting of a Hazel Grouse I ever had