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This area of fishponds around the town of Milicz in Poland's Barycz River valley includes deciduous woodland and wet meadows as well as the ponds themselves.
The ponds vary greatly in size but most are shallow with abundant emergent vegetation and reedbeds and the area is of great importance for breeding and passage waterbirds.
Both bitterns and both storks breed in the area as well as Red-necked Grebe and Black-necked Grebe, Spotted Crake and Little Crake and Common Crane. Poland's only regular breeding site for Purple Heron is here and Whooper Swan is an occasional breeder. Breeding waterfowl include Greylag Goose, Gadwall, Common Teal, Garganey and Ferruginous Duck.
One of the major attractions for birders is the small breeding population of White-tailed Eagle and other raptors include Marsh Harrier, Northern Goshawk, Red Kite and Black Kite and European Honey Buzzard.
Waders such as Green Sandpiper, Woodcock and Black-tailed Godwit are present in summer along with Common Tern and Black Tern. Reedbed passerines include Penduline Tit and Bearded Tit and Grasshopper Warbler, Savi's Warbler, River Warbler and Great Reed Warbler.
The drier areas and woodlands nearby hold European Roller and woodpeckers such as Black Woodpecker, Grey-headed Woodpecker, Middle Spotted Woodpecker and White-backed Woodpecker. Passerines found in these areas include both nightingales, Red-breasted Flycatcher and Bluethroat, warblers including Barred Warbler and Icterine Warbler as well as Serin and Common Rosefinch.
Bean Goose occurs on passage in this valley in numbers sometimes approaching 10,000 and various other waterfowl and wader species can be seen during these periods. Lesser White-fronted Goose and Red-breasted Goose are recorded annually. Great White Egret is regular in small numbers in autumn. In mild years many geese and ducks will remain for the winter when they provide prey for as many as 20 White-tailed Eagle. Pygmy Cormorant and Eleonora's Falcon have both been recorded as vagrants at Milicz.
Birds you can see here include:
Red-necked Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, Great Cormorant, Great Bittern, Little Bittern, Great White Egret, Grey Heron, Purple Heron, Black Stork, White Stork, Mute Swan, Bewick's Swan, Whooper Swan, Tundra Bean Goose, Taiga Bean Goose, Lesser White-fronted Goose, Greylag Goose, Barnacle Goose, Red-breasted Goose, Eurasian Wigeon, Gadwall, Common Teal, Mallard, Garganey, Northern Shoveler, Common Pochard, Ferruginous Duck, Tufted Duck, Common Goldeneye, Smew, Goosander, European Honey Buzzard, Black Kite, Red Kite, White-tailed Eagle, Western Marsh Harrier, Hen Harrier, Northern Goshawk, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Common Buzzard, Common Kestrel, Northern Hobby, Common Pheasant, Common Crane, Water Rail, Spotted Crake, Little Crake, Corncrake, Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Northern Lapwing, Dunlin, Ruff, Common Snipe, Eurasian Woodcock, Black-tailed Godwit, Spotted Redshank, Common Redshank, Common Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Black-headed Gull, Common Tern, Black Tern, Stock Dove, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, Common Cuckoo, Common Kingfisher, European Roller, Eurasian Hoopoe, Eurasian Wryneck, Grey-headed Woodpecker, Black Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Middle Spotted Woodpecker, White-backed Woodpecker, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Eurasian Skylark, Sand Martin, Barn Swallow, Northern House Martin, Tawny Pipit, Tree Pipit, Blue-headed Wagtail, Pied Wagtail, Common Wren, Dunnock, Eurasian Robin, Thrush Nightingale, Common Nightingale, Bluethroat, Whinchat, Eurasian Blackbird, Fieldfare, Song Thrush, Common Grasshopper Warbler, Eurasian River Warbler, Savi's Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Marsh Warbler, Common Reed Warbler, Great Reed Warbler, Icterine Warbler, Barred Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Common Whitethroat, Garden Warbler, Blackcap, Common Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Red-breasted Flycatcher, Bearded Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Short-toed Treecreeper, Penduline Tit, Eurasian Golden Oriole, Red-backed Shrike, Great Grey Shrike, Common Magpie, Hooded Crow, Northern Raven, Common Starling, House Sparrow, Eurasian Tree Sparrow, Chaffinch, European Serin, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Eurasian Linnet, Common Rosefinch, Hawfinch, Yellowhammer, Ortolan Bunting, Reed Bunting, Corn Bunting
History and Use
Areas of Interest
Access and Facilities
Milicz lies about 55km north of Wroclaw and the main series of fishponds lie to the east and west of the town along the Barycz valley.
Many of the ponds and meadows can be viewed from the local roads but a permit is required to explore the strictly protected areas.
The Stawno complex of ponds to the east is the largest and often considered the best group of ponds for birds. Entry to the central part requires a permit from the ornithological station at Ruda Milicka about 5km east of Milicz. Much useful information about birding in the area is available from the staff here.
There are good woodlands along the Milicz road and the wooded hills near Skoroszow to the south are excellent for raptors and woodpeckers.
Content and images originally posted by Steve