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BELARUS

Wednesday 11th May - Sunday 22nd May 2016

Dave Farrow

Great Grey Owl (Dave Farrow)

Great Grey Owl (Dave Farrow)

This was the third Birdquest tour to Belarus, a wonderful tour that has so many good birds, and we had them all to ourselves. Of the many highlights, the big favourite were the magnificent Great Grey Owls, and we enjoyed prolonged looks at these awesome creatures. We also found Ural Owl with chicks, Long-eared Owls at two nests, three Eurasian Pygmy Owls including a pair making a food exchange by a nest, and four Tawny Owls including one at roost. The other family that features strongly on this tour are the Woodpeckers, and we had multiple sightings of Eurasian Three-toed, White-backed, Middle Spotted, Lesser Spotted, Grey-headed, Black, Syrian and Great Spotted Woodpeckers and Eurasian Wryneck. We saw Smew at a breeding site, a hen Hazel Grouse sat tightly on her nest, and found male Capercaillie in the endless pine forests of the north. We saw both Lesser and Greater Spotted Eagles on breeding territory, while a Booted Eagle was an unusual find. In the grassy meadows of the Pripyat River we watched a lek of Great Snipe, while Corncrakes peeked out of the herbage and Terek Sandpipers sang from the banks. Of course May is the best time for migrant songsters and we had great looks at Aquatic Warbler, plus Greenish, River, Savi’s and Barred Warblers, Collared and Red-breasted Flycatchers singing in the ancient woodlands and Citrine Wagtails in the marshes. There was no shortage of mammals as indicated by tracks everywhere, and we managed to see Eurasian Beaver, Moose and European Bison.

Corncrake (Dave Farrow)

Corncrake (Dave Farrow)