An invitation to join Terry Pickford bird watching in the Czech Republic May 2013.
The Czech Republic is one of the best-kept secrets in the birding world. Few British birdwatchers venture to this fascinating and friendly country to explore the mountains, extensive reed beds and thousands of fish ponds which are the habitat for many of Europe’s rarest breeding birds. With over 200 recorded breeding species and an unbelievable 405 recorded species to wet your appetite this is a birding paradise.
Saker Falcon, Obora image Dusan Boucny
Yet the Czech Republic is less than two hours’ flight away, accommodation is first- class and food and drink are still remarkably cheap and very enjoyable if you know where to go.
Terry Pickford, one of Britain’s foremost raptor experts with over 45 years experience has been leading small birding groups to Southern Bohemia and Moravia each May since 1995. Groups consist of seven people and under Terry’s expert leadership you will expect to tick off an average of 140 species. As expected raptors are very much on the menu, species include Imperial Eagle, White-tailed Eagle, Saker Falcon, Honey Buzzard, Red and Black Kites, Hobby, Montagu’s Harrier, and on rare occasions Red-footed Falcon, Pallid Harrier and Lesser-spotted Eagle have been observed.
Imperial Eagle image by Dusan Boucny
In May 2013 Terry will lead the seven days of a two venue visit to the republic, the first four days beginning from the atmospheric old town of Trebon in Southern Bohemia. From this heavily forested region you will be invited to join Terry as he explores the internationally famous Trebonsko Biosphere reserve, where it is not uncommon to observe four or even five raptor species soaring above your head together.
The fabulous Trebonsko Biosphere Reserve
With more than 500 ponds each constructed in the Middle Ages, these extensive lakes surrounded by vast woodlands now support the largest population of White-tailed eagles in the republic, estimated to number at least twenty nesting pairs. There will also be great opportunities to see Scarlet Rosefinch, European Bee- eaters, Corncrake, Black Stork and a large variety of Woodpeckers before travelling along the Austrian Border to enjoy the last three days of your trip at your final venue in southern Moravia. Here your holiday will continue from the prestigious Hotel Hranicni Zamek, locally known as the Little Border Chateau , near the town of Lednice. Dinner each evening is taken in the hotel dinning room, bring your binoculars, with panoramic views over-looking one of the largest fish ponds in the region providing an unrivalled vista from your table. Look out for: Marsh Harrier, Hobby including many species of waterfowl: Red-crested Pochard, Black-necked Grebe, Gadwall and Garganey plus rare or uncommon waders rarely seen in the UK. You are also likely to see the Roe deer, Eastern Hedgehog and Pine Marten crossing the lawn as evening encroaches.
Montagu’s Harrier image by Dusan Boucny
Tucked away in an obscure corner of Southern Moravia, just 30 minutes from your hotel, along its border with Austria and Slovakia, you will visit ‘Obora’ one of the republic’s last flood planes regarded as an absolute gem by Gerard Gorman. At the southern tip of this unique region the Dyje and Morava rivers converge and the flood-plain between is a complex of riverine forests with old gnarled oaks, ashes and elms.
Purple Heron image by Dusan Boucny
Obora is regarded as one of the most important habitats inside the republic for a variety of rare and threatened breeding species of raptors, including Imperial Eagle, Honey Buzzard and Saker Falcon. There is also a good selection of woodpeckers: Middle Spotted, Black, Grey-headed and Syrian; the Golden Oriol and Corncrake can be seen and heard also in good numbers here. You must also look out for both the Purple and Squacco heron along the river and pond edges.
White-tailed Eagle image by Dusan Boucny
If you would like to join Terry or require addition information before making any decision, please contact Terry Pickford by using the the following e-mail: Czech.Birding@raptorpolitics.org.uk before the middle of January 2013 to register your interest.
The visit begins from Manchester airport departing on Wednesday 22 May returning on the 29 May. Throughout the trip you will be staying in first class pension and hotel accommodation complete with en-suite facilities based upon a B/B arrangement. Travel will be by mini bus and throughot the visit Terry will be assisted by Jaroslav Simek one of the republic’s most experienced bird watchers and member of the Czech Republic’s Rare Breeding Bird Committee.
Trebon General Information
Trebon’s main square
Trebon is located on the bank of Lake Svet (World Pond) in the heart of the Trebonsko Protected Landscape Area, which has been designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. The town square is dominated by the Old Town Hall, with its 31-meter tall observation tower. This square is encircled by burghers’ houses, featuring Renaissance and Baroque gables and a vaulted arcade. Trebon’s other historical monuments include a chateau with a park, an Augustinian monastery with St Giles’ Church, and the Schwarzenberg Vault, with a chapel where chamber music performances are held in the summer.
Svet Pond is a man made lake, used for fish farming and water recreation, constructed by the Rozmberk family’s regent in 1571. Rozmberk Instructional Trail, a 22 km marked interpretive cycling trail, begins at the dam on Svet Pond, just south of the old city center. Cesta Kolen Sveta, a 12 km hiking and cycling trail circles the pond itself. The Schwarzenberg Vault is a 19th century Neo-Gothic structure, built as a mausoleum for the Scwarzenberg family, located in its own park south of Svet Pond.
Cervené Blato (Red Marshland) Nature Reserve is located in the south-western part of the Trebonsko Protected Landscape Area. It was established in 1953 to protect the peat-bog, an Ice Age relict that preserves an unusual plant and insect community as well as many pairs of breeding Night jar.
Cervene Blato - Breeding haunt of Green Sandpiper
Lednice Region: information and characteristics of the town and Castle:
Lednice is situated on a flat bank of the River Thaya, which creates numerous picturesque shoulders, canals and ponds there. It is an important border town. Lednice is one of the most attractive and most visited places in the Czech Republic. Since the year 1996, this “Garden of Europe” is a part of the UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage.
The most attractive monument of the Lednice-Valtice historical complex is Lednice castle. It is one of the most beautiful buildings in the romantic historical architecture. In the year 1632 the Lichtenstein family built the castle as their summer family residence. They also owned a nearby castle Valtice which was their main residence. Lednice castle was built in Italian style of villas and it became a Moravian pearl of a baroque architecture.
Between these two castles Lednice and Valtice was created a beautiful park full of valuable historical objects. It was developed over three centuries. When you walk through the park, you can see a romatic ruin of John’s Castle, Hunting lodge built in classicism style, Temple of Apollo with the Doric portico; Pond mansion; Border Castle; Belvedere; a viewpiont Reistna Colonnade; Rendez-vous also called Temple of Diana; Three Graces; Aqueduct; Obelisk; Waterworks and Minaret. You can also see if you are lucky European Beaver, Night Heron and Great Reed Warbler as well as at least four species of woodpecker.
Czech Birdwatching-Image Gallery by Terry Pickford
Hotel Reception: Little Border Chateau-Moravia
Dinning out: Southern Bohemia
Dinning in the old Castle Dungeon: Southern Bohemia
Little Border Chateau Dinning Room View over Pond
Long-eared owl: Photographed in Chateau Grounds
Short-eared Owl: Photographed in Local Graveyard
Sumava Mountains: Birding Group 2010
Sumava Mountains: Scarlet Rosefinch Habitat
Sumava Mountains: Scarlet Rosefinch
Sumava Mountains: Crested-tit
Sumava Mountains: Firecrest
Obora Flood Plain Moravia: Corncrake
White-tailed Eagle: Trebonsko: Southern Moravia
Trebonsko: Carp Production on a huge scale result, 20 breeding pairs White-tailed Eagles
Trebonsko: Eyries containing White-tailed Eagle triplets common
Moravia: Male Montagu Harrier image taken from Mini Bus
Moravia: Female Montagu Harrier captured from Mini Bus bringing nesting material
Moravia: Penduline Tit nest
Moravia: Penduline Tit
Southern Bohemia: Northern Merlin rare summer migrant from Russia, captured near Trebon
Trebonsko Reserve, Southern Bohemia: Jaroslav Simek ringing Bluethroat
Middle-spotted woodpecker, photographed in hotel grounds
Hawfinch photographed in hotel grounds
European Beeeater photographed in breeding colony just 20 Km from hotel