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To western birders Belarus is little-known ornithologically and rarely visited but with greater freedom of travel and an improving tourist infrastructure this situation will surely change in the next few years.
The Berezinsky Biosphere Reserve is located about 120km north of Minsk and this 1,200km2 area consists of vast pine forests, fens, bogs and wet meadows along the flood-plain of the Beresina River.
Nearly 220 bird species have been recorded in this area.
Great Bittern, Common Crane and Black Stork breed here as well as Corn Crake and raptors including White-tailed Eagle, European Honey Buzzard and Montagu's Harrier.
The extensive forests have owls such as Ural Owl, Eurasian Pygmy Owl and Tengmalm's Owl and woodpeckers including White-backed Woodpecker and Three-toed Woodpecker as well as Western Capercaillie and Black Grouse.
Bohemian Waxwing and Pine Grosbeak occur in winter.
Birds you can see here include:
Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Red-necked Grebe, Great Cormorant, Great Bittern, Little Bittern, Great White Egret, Grey Heron, Black Stork, White Stork, Mute Swan, Whooper Swan, Tundra Bean Goose, Greater White-fronted Goose, Greylag Goose, Eurasian Wigeon, Gadwall, Common Teal, Mallard, Northern Pintail, Garganey, Northern Shoveler, Common Pochard, Tufted Duck, Common Goldeneye, Goosander, European Honey Buzzard, Black Kite, White-tailed Eagle, Short-toed Eagle, Western Marsh Harrier, Hen Harrier, Montagu's Harrier, Northern Goshawk, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Common Buzzard, Rough-legged Buzzard, Lesser Spotted Eagle, Greater Spotted Eagle, Golden Eagle, Osprey, Common Kestrel, Merlin, Northern Hobby, Peregrine Falcon, Hazel Grouse, Willow Ptarmigan, Black Grouse, Western Capercaillie, Grey Partridge, Common Quail, Water Rail, Spotted Crake, Little Crake, Corn Crake, Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Common Crane, Eurasian Oystercatcher, Eurasian Golden Plover, Little Ringed Plover, Northern Lapwing, Little Stint, Ruff, Great Snipe, Common Snipe, Eurasian Woodcock, Black-tailed Godwit, Eurasian Curlew, Common Redshank, Common Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Little Gull, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Common Tern, Black Tern, White-winged Tern, Stock Dove, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, European Turtle Dove, Common Cuckoo, Eurasian Eagle Owl, Eurasian Pygmy Owl, Little Owl, Tawny Owl, Ural Owl, Long-eared Owl, Short-eared Owl, Tengmalm's Owl, European Nightjar, Common Swift, Common Kingfisher, European Roller, Eurasian Hoopoe, Eurasian Wryneck, Grey-headed Woodpecker, Green Woodpecker, Black Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Middle Spotted Woodpecker, White-backed Woodpecker, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Eurasian Three-toed Woodpecker, Wood Lark, Eurasian Skylark, Sand Martin, Barn Swallow, Northern House Martin, Tawny Pipit, Tree Pipit, Meadow Pipit, Blue-headed Wagtail, White Wagtail, Bohemian Waxwing, Common Wren, Dunnock, Eurasian Robin, Thrush Nightingale, Bluethroat, Black Redstart, Common Redstart, Whinchat, Northern Wheatear, Eurasian Blackbird, Fieldfare, Redwing, Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, Common Grasshopper Warbler, Eurasian River Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Marsh Warbler, Great Reed Warbler, Icterine Warbler, Barred Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Common Whitethroat, Garden Warbler, Blackcap, Greenish Warbler, Wood Warbler, Common Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Goldcrest, Spotted Flycatcher, Red-breasted Flycatcher, European Pied Flycatcher, Long-tailed Tit, Marsh Tit, Willow Tit, Crested Tit, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Eurasian Nuthatch, Short-toed Treecreeper, Penduline Tit, Eurasian Golden Oriole, Red-backed Shrike, Great Grey Shrike, Common Jay, Spotted Nutcracker, Common Magpie, Eurasian Jackdaw, Rook, Hooded Crow, Northern Raven, Common Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Brambling, European Serin, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Eurasian Siskin, Northern Redpoll, Eurasian Linnet, Common Crossbill, Pine Grosbeak, Common Rosefinch, Common Bullfinch, Hawfinch, Yellowhammer, Ortolan Bunting, Reed Bunting
More than 50 species of mammal have been found on the reserve including European Bison Bison bonasus, Red Deer Cervus elaphus, European Elk Alces alces and Wild Boar Sus scrofa. There is a thriving population of Eurasian Beaver Castor fiber and carnivores include Grey Wolf Canis lupus and Brown Bear Ursus arctos, Lynx Felis lynx, European Mink Mustela lutreola, Pine Marten Martes martes and the Raccoon Dog Nyctereutes procyonoides, introduced from Eastern Asia.
The area also has 10 species of amphibians and 5 reptiles, and nearly 800 flowering plants have been identified.
History and Use
Areas of Interest
Access and Facilities
Accommodation is available at a hunting lodge within the reserve and there is also the Reserve Hotel in Domzheritsy.
Content and images originally posted by Steve