The Covid-19 epidemic is gradually closing borders or otherwise restricting trips abroad. Travelers and photographers around the world have remained locked in their homelands, trying to take advantage of the opportunities they have left. This also applies to those Czech photographers. The only neighbor that has not yet introduced any border restrictions is Poland. Yet. However, our trip was planned for a longer period of time, because our northern neighbor really has something to admire all year round.
This year’s visit to the Biebrzan National Park, next to the more famous Bialowieza National Park, was my fourth. The spring months are really wonderful for every nature lover, especially for bird lovers. There are not many places in Europe that boast a similar number and diversity of bird species. Flooded meadows along the Biebrza and Narew rivers show flocks of cranes, waders, ducks, geese, terns and other feathers nesting or migrating further north and often staying several weeks to recharge their batteries. A real paradise for nature photographers. Anyone who has once visited these parts must fall in love with this sandy plain with endless pine and birch forests and river meanders
However, autumn is much more modest in terms of the number of photographic objects. Thousands of heads of cranes can be seen here, who find many opportunities to relax and spend the night in the local wetlands on their way from the north of Europe. In addition, they find plenty of food in the surrounding harvested corn fields, so they are in no hurry. However, the flocks are very vigilant and approaching them “within reach” of the telephoto lens is rather a great luck and coincidence.
However, people do not go for birds at the valley of the Biebrza River at the turn of September and October. The main attraction that enthusiasts from all over Europe travel here for is the shy spirit of the local forests and swamps – the European elk. Elk rut is not nearly as noticeable as deer rut. But it is an opportunity to meet this impressive animal much easier than in other seasons. Even so, such a meeting is a work of great happiness. We spent a total of four days here. After three days of futile research and several hundred kilometers, we had an infamous balance. One observed elk at a distance of about one kilometer. Slowly we began to succumb to carelessness. In addition, the elk’s rut ended a week ago, so the chances of watching the elk, not to mention photographing it, became more and more thin. The last morning of our stay here came. The weather seemed to copy our mood. The lead sky, from which a cold autumn intrusive rain dropped at intervals of about ten minutes.
Luck didn’t leave us in the end, if you’re willing to go a little against him. In that gray, cold and damp morning, we finally observed four specimens of the European elk. Due to the lighting conditions and the great distance, we did not bring any amazing photos. But the very encounter with this amazing creature is an unforgettable experience. Biebrza, the European Amazon, can never disappoint.