Itinerary

In Europe, there are only a few habitats that have been preserved in their original character. As to the number of such habitats, Slovakia, with its rich network of virgin forest reserves, has a key position in Central Europe. Several valuable forests that provide a living space for many rare bird species are located in the wider surroundings of Zvolen. During our trip, we will observe various bird populations of deciduous forests, combined mountain forests, conifer mountain forests, oak pastures, pastures, meadows, wetlands and aquatic areas. In all of the above mentioned habitats, it is possible to observe a great number of bird species not only in the daytime but also at night.

  1. Day 1

    Arrival to Slovakia, accommodation, informal reception.

  2. Day 2

    Birds of Deciduous Forests – Xerophytic Populations (State Nature Reserve /SNR/ Boky) The Boky SNR represents a very well preserved oak forest with a canopy that is disintegrated. The forest gradually changes into arboreal steppes. More than 40 bird species can be observed here in the nesting time, for example: 6 Woodpecker species, several species of Tits and Flycatchers and an abundance of Warblers. Also, the following birds can be viewed: Hoopoe (Upupa epops), Eurasian Wryneck (Jynx torquilla), at night: Tawny Owl (Strix aluco), Long-eared Owl (Asio otus), and in early spring: Eagle Owl (Bubo bubo).

  3. Day 3

    Birds of Deciduous Forests – Rich Populations (SNR Kasivarova) In the SNR Kasivarova, a unique oak forest containing oaks of exceptional size has been preserved. 40 bird species that are typical of deciduous forests can be found here; among them, especially those that nest in tree hollows, such as: Collared Flycatcher (Ficedula albicollis), Spotted Flycatcher (Muscicapa striata), Blue Tit (Parus caeruleus), Great Tit (Parus major), Wood Nuthatch (Sitta europaea), Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major), Middle Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos medius), Lesser Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos minor), Black Woodpecker (Dryocopus martius), and at night: Tawny Owl (Strix aluco).

  4. Day 4

    Birds of Mixed Mountain Forests (SNR Badinsky prales /Badin Virgin Forest/) The Badin Virgin Forest SNR is an exceptionally precious forest composed of beech and fir trees. The trees of extraordinary size were admired by Prince Charles during his last-year visit in Slovakia. Bird species typical of Carpathian mixed forest can be found here: Coal Tit (Parus ater), Willow Tit (Parus montanus), Wood Warbler (Phylloscopus sibilatrix), Goldcrest (Regulus regulus), Common Bullfinch (Pyrrhula pyrrhula), Mistle Trush (Turdus viscivorus) and Grey-headed Woodpecker (Picus canus). Among the birds of this area, there are several rare species: Three-toed Woodpecker (Picoides tridactylus) - a glacial relict, White-backed Woodpecker (Dendrocopos leucotos) – the most endangered European woodpecker, Stock Pigeon (Columba oenas) – also on the list of endangered species, and Pygmy Owl (Glaucidium passerinum) – the smallest European owl.

  5. Day 5

    Birds of Coniferous Mountain Forests (SNR Polana nad Detvou /Polana Above Detva/) The Polana Above Detva SNR represents the most precious part of the Polana massif that is included in the UNESCO network of biosphere reserves. The southernmost spruce forests in Slovakia, that are in fact of virgin forest character, cover this area. Bird species typical of Carpathian coniferous forests can be observed here: Ring Ouzel (Turdus torquatus), Crested Tit (Parus cristatus), Goldcrest (Regulus regulus), Firecrest (Regulus ignicapillus), Coal Tit (Parus ater), Common Crossbill (Loxia curvirostra), Spotted Nutcracker (Nucifraga caryocatactes), and from the rare ones: Tengmalm´s Owl (Aegolius funereus), Pygmy Owl (Glaucidium passerinum), Ural Owl (Strix uralensis), Three-toed Woodpecker (Picoides tridactylus) and Western Capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus).

  6. Day 6

    Birds of Meadow and Pasture Populations (Podpolanie /Under Polana region/) The foothill meadow populations have been developing under centuries lasting influence of the traditional mountain farming in the area of Polana. Therefore, very specific habitats with many bird species typical of this landscape type have been created. The most typical species is the quite rare Lesser Grey Shrike (Lanius minor) that lives here in the largest population in central Europe. We may also observe: Yellowhammer (Emberiza citrinella), Corn Bunting (Miliaria calandra), Red-backed Shrike (Lanius collurio), Stonechat (Saxicola torquata), Whinchat (Saxicola rubetra), but also birds of prey such as Common Buzzard (Buteo buteo), Common Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus), Eurasian Hobby (Falco subbuteo), Lesser Spotted Eagle (Aquila pomarina), and rarely also Golden Eagle (Aquila Chrysaetos). At night, Corn Crake (Crex crex) and European Nightjar (Caprimulgus europaeus) can be noticed.

  7. Day 7

    Birds of Pastoral Oak Wood (Gavurky Protected Area /PA/) In the PA Gavurky, an oak wood of Panonian character that is unique in Slovakia has been preserved. The specific character of the wood enables occurrence of species that are typical of deciduous forests, meadows and pastures. Among the rare species, the following birds can be observed: Hoopoe (Upupa epops), Common Redstart (Phoenicurus phoenicurus), Lullula arborea (Wood Lark), at night: Tawny Owl (Strix aluco) and Long-eared Owl (Asio otus).

  8. Day 8

    Birds of Aquatic and Wetland Populations (Water Reservoir Ruzina) Aquatic and wetland habitats have developed at the Ruzina water reservoir. They, along with the adjacent meadows, provide good conditions for the life of a great number of bird species. More than 100 species have been found here, out of which more than a half nest in this area. The water reservoir is exceptionally rich as to the occurrence of aquatic birds, especially during the spring and autumn migration. During the time of nesting, the following birds may be observed: Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus), Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis), Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos), Common Teal (Anas crecca), Garganey (Anas querquedula), Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata), Common Pochard (Aythya ferina), Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula), Common Coot (Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus), Common Snipe (Gallinago gallinago), Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus), Great Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus arundinaceus), Marsh Warbler (Acrocephalus palustris), Yellow Wagtail (Motacilla flava), Reed Bunting (Emberiza schoeniclus), Common Rosefinch (Carpodacus erythrinus), and rarely also: Red-necked Grebe (Podiceps grisegena), Black-necked Grebe (Podiceps nigricollis) and Ferruginosus Duck (Aythya nyroca).

  9. Day 9

    Farewell and departure from Slovakia.

Basic information

from €749 per person

Duration: 9 days

Type/style: Guided observing and birdwatching tour

Level of difficulty: Easy

Languages: English, French, Deutsch

Pick up & Drop off: On your request

Birdwatching Common redstart bird Goldcrest bird Eurasian eagle-owl bird Common kestrel bird Common bullfinch bird Spotted flycatcher bird Ferruginous duck bird

Included

trip transport, accommodation in stylish 3* hotel/pension, half board - breakfast and dinner, guide services, information materials, entrance tickets and fees

Excluded

transport from airport to starting point of the trip and back