Azure tits photo and birdwatchers tour

DAY 1: Transfer from Minsk to Turaŭ

From Minsk we  drive directly to Turaŭ, an ancient town located on the edge of the  Prypiać river flood plain. The area is a meссa for birdwatchers.

DAY 2: Turaŭ Meadow Reserve, Middle Prypiać Reserve and surroundings

The local star, Azure Tit,  will certainly be our highlight for the day. Belarus is the westernmost  destination where we have a chance to see this gorgeous bird in its  breeding habitat, among the riparian willow forests of the Prypiać  river.

Managed by  APB-BirdLife Belarus, the famous Turaŭ Meadow Reserve and vicinity is  currently one of the most important stopover sites for half a million  Ruff, and a stronghold for hundreds of breeding Black-tailed Godwits.  The unique mosaic of numerous oxbows, channels and flooded meadows of  the Prypiać River at Turaŭ provides crucial support to many breeding and  migrant waders including Great Snipe, Terek and Marsh Sandpipers, Ringed Plover, Oystercatcher and many other species. On temporary islands Black, White-winged Black and Whiskered Terns often establish colonies. In willow bushes and reedbeds the songs of Bluethroat, Savi’s Warbler and Scarlet Rosefinch can be heard daily. At night the silence is broken by a chorus of Corncrakes and Little Crakes.

DAY 3: Floodplain forests of the Prypiać River, Bielaje Fishfarm and surroundings

Today we  visit different types of forests and marshes along the Prypiać River  valley. The broad-leaved woodlands with open shrubs and overgrown fens  host one of the largest populations of Greater Spotted Eagles in Europe. Occasionally soaring eagles can be seen above nearby pastures. Middle Spotted Woodpeckers, Wrynecks and Collared Flycatchers forage beneath the crowns of 30-metre tall oaks. Black and Grey-headed Woodpeckers are associated with old deciduous forests while dead trees are the habitat for White-backed and Three-toed Woodpeckers. Red-breasted Flycatcher is a hornbeam forest dweller in this area too.

Our next destination is Bielaje Fishfarm, which is surrounded by forest and frequently visited by Black Storks, White-tailed and Lesser Spotted Eagles. It is the only place in Belarus, and one of the few sites in continental Europe, where Smews breed. Great Bitterns can occasionally be heard booming from the reedbeds. Barred, Savi’s and River Warblers are present in relatively large numbers while careful searching along the canals at dusk can offer a glimpse of Night Herons.

photo by Pavel Lychkousky (