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Gdansk Bay - BirdForum Opus

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Much of the coastline of this huge bay in north-eastern Poland is good for birds and although the city of Gdansk itself is highly industrialised the surrounding areas remain excellent birding habitat.


Notable Species

This is a vast area with a wide range of breeding birds and the stretch of coast here attracts migrants which number in the millions. Well over 300 species have been recorded in this area, rarities such as Steller's Eider and King Eider are frequently seen and species generally scarce in the Baltic such as Dark-bellied Brent Goose and Barnacle Goose are regular. Skuas often appear in the bay after stormy weather and Iceland Gull and Glaucous Gull are regular in winter.

Bay of Puck

The Bay of Puck lies in the north-western corner of Gdansk Bay and is separated from the open sea by Mierzeja Helska, (Hel Peninsula) a long sandy peninsula with pinewoods and marshes. The bay holds tens of thousands of divers and grebes, seabirds and ducks including Long-tailed Duck, Scaup, Goldeneye, Smew and Goosander, on passage and in winter and the sandy beaches of the peninsula attract thousands of waders.

This is one of Poland's top rarity hotspots and there is a ringing station at Chalupy, the penisula's narrowest point, operating in spring and autumn. Raptors and passerines on migration occur in huge numbers, Citrine Wagtail and Red-throated Pipit are regular in spring and Broad-billed Sandpiper in autumn.

There is a road and railway to the tip of the peninsula. One of Poland's rarer breeding birds, Wood Sandpiper, nests in the peatbogs at Bialawskie Bloto to the west of Wladyslawowo at the base of the peninsula and Common Crane, European Nightjar and Wood Lark also breed. Parrot Crossbill has bred in the pinewoods on the peninsula.

Inland, about 30km to the west of Gdansk is an area of marshes and lakes, farmland and forest around the town of Kartuzy with breeding birds such as Black Stork, White-tailed Eagle, Red-breasted Flycatcher and [Eurasian River Warbler|[River Warbler]].

Vistula Estuary

On the southern side of the Bay of Puck is the delta of the River Reda at Rewa with excellent marshes for waders in autumn.

However, probably the best site in the entire area is the Vistula Estuary to the east of Gdansk where the marshes, sandbanks and lagoons are constantly changing due to the deposition and subsequent erosion of vast amounts of silt. Arctic Tern and Sandwich Tern breed here and nowhere else in Poland. Another good site for scarcer species and rarities, Broad-billed Sandpiper and Terek Sandpiper are regular. At times more than 100,000 birds are present in this area.

There is a ringing station at Swibno, just west of the rivermouth, which is open August-October. Breeders here include terns, Ringed Plover and Little Ringed Plover and Common Shelduck.

Vistula Lagoon

Further east is the Vistula Lagoon, separated from Gdansk Bay by the long and sandy spit of Mierzeja Wislana (Vistula Spit), another superb area for migrants and rarities. This large and shallow coastal lagoon is linked to the sea by a narrow channel in the Russian sector but is otherwise cut off and there is an incredibly rich invertebrate and fish fauna.

There are extensive reedbeds on the southern shores and branches of the Vistula enter the lagoon from the west. Tens of thousands of birds, particularly geese and ducks, visit the lagoon in winter and on passage. There are also breeding White-tailed Eagle, Mediterranean Gull and Corn Crake. There is a road along the spit and the southern shore can be reached via Elblag.

Druzno is a shallow and reed-fringed lake surrounded by marshland to the south of the lagoon, just south of the town of Elblag. There is a superb range of wetland birds breeding here including Ferruginous Duck, Common Crane and Little Gull as well as Lesser Spotted Eagle, River Warbler and Common Rosefinch.

Tens of thousands of birds occur on passage and in winter with significant numbers of Bean Goose, Greater White-fronted Goose and Greylag Goose and a variety of ducks.


Exceptional rarities recorded here have included Tibetan Sand Plover (twice), Slender-billed Gull, and Radde's Warbler. Citrine Wagtail has bred in the area since the mid-1990s.


Birds you can see here include:

Red-throated Diver, Black-throated Diver, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Red-necked Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, Great Cormorant, Great Bittern, Little Bittern, Grey Heron, Black Stork, White Stork, Mute Swan, Whooper Swan, Bewick's Swan, Tundra Bean Goose, Taiga Bean Goose, Greater White-fronted Goose, Greylag Goose, Dark-bellied Brent Goose, Barnacle Goose, Common Shelduck, Eurasian Wigeon, Gadwall, Common Teal, Mallard, Garganey, Northern Shoveler, Common Pochard, Ferruginous Duck, Tufted Duck, Greater Scaup, Common Eider, King Eider, Steller's Eider, Long-tailed Duck, Common Scoter, Velvet Scoter, Common Goldeneye, Smew, Red-breasted Merganser, Goosander, European Honey Buzzard, White-tailed Eagle, Western Marsh Harrier, Hen Harrier, Montagu's Harrier, Northern Goshawk, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Rough-legged Buzzard, Common Buzzard, Lesser Spotted Eagle, Osprey, Common Kestrel, Red-footed Falcon, Northern Hobby, Peregrine Falcon, Common Quail, Water Rail, Spotted Crake, Little Crake, Corn Crake, Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Common Crane, Eurasian Oystercatcher, Pied Avocet, Little Ringed Plover, Ringed Plover, Eurasian Golden Plover, Grey Plover, Northern Lapwing, Red Knot, Sanderling, Temminck's Stint, Little Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, Purple Sandpiper, Dunlin, Broad-billed Sandpiper, Ruff, Common Snipe, Jack Snipe, Black-tailed Godwit, Bar-tailed Godwit, Spotted Redshank, Common Redshank, Marsh Sandpiper, Common Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Terek Sandpiper, Ruddy Turnstone, Red-necked Phalarope, Pomarine Skua, Arctic Skua, Long-tailed Skua, Little Gull, Mediterranean Gull, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Iceland Gull, Glaucous Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Caspian Tern, Sandwich Tern, Common Tern, Arctic Tern, Little Tern, Black Tern, White-winged Black Tern, Feral Pigeon, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, Common Cuckoo, Short-eared Owl, European Nightjar, Common Swift, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Wood Lark, Eurasian Skylark, Sand Martin, Barn Swallow, Northern House Martin, Blue-headed Wagtail, Citrine Wagtail, Pied Wagtail, Richard's Pipit, Tawny Pipit, Meadow Pipit, Red-throated Pipit, Common Wren, Dunnock, Eurasian Robin, Thrush Nightingale, Bluethroat, Black Redstart, Whinchat, Northern Wheatear, Eurasian Blackbird, Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, Common Grasshopper Warbler, Eurasian River Warbler, Savi's Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Marsh Warbler, Common Reed Warbler, Great Reed Warbler, Icterine Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Common Whitethroat, Barred Warbler, Garden Warbler, Blackcap, Greenish Warbler, Wood Warbler, Common Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Red-breasted Flycatcher, European Pied Flycatcher, Bearded Tit, Willow Tit, Crested Tit, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Eurasian Nuthatch, Eurasian Golden Oriole, Red-backed Shrike, Common Jay, Common Magpie, Eurasian Jackdaw, Rook, Hooded Crow, Common Starling, House Sparrow, Eurasian Tree Sparrow, Chaffinch, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Eurasian Linnet, Common Crossbill, Parrot Crossbill, Common Rosefinch, Snow Bunting, Lapland Bunting, Yellowhammer, Ortolan Bunting, Reed Bunting, Corn Bunting

Other Wildlife

To do

Site Information

Gdansk is a major industrial port and not the most attractive of cities but forms a good base from which to explore this area. An alternative is to find accommodation in the many seaside resorts along the bay's coast.

Access and Facilities

Gdansk lies about 360km north-west of Warsaw and can be reached on the E77 road.

Alternatively, there are trains or internal flights and also ferries from various Scandinavian ports.

Contact Details

To do

External Links

Stay Poland - Gdansk Bay & Hel Peninsula, with area map

Content and images originally posted by Steve