Trip reference number: Birds and Music
Trip Operator: Speyside Wildlife
*Unique combination of birds and culture
*Two classical concerts in the famous concert halls of Prague
*Woodpeckers - Black, Grey-headed, Syrian, Middle Spotted, White-backed and Three-toed
*Visit to the Trebonsko Biosphere Reserve for wetland birds and White-tailed Eagles
*Collared Flycatcher, River Warbler, Bluethroat and Golden Orioles
*Scenic landscapes and some beautifully preserved medieval towns
*Nutcracker, Goshawk, Black Stork and Ural Owl in beautiful Sumava Mountains
Arriving in Prague we settle intoour hotel, then enjoy a little local birding in one of the city parks. MiddleSpotted Woodpecker is likely here, along with Marsh and Long-tailed Tit,Nuthatch and Short-toed Treecreeper and perhaps Grey-headed Woodpecker if weare lucky.
Prague is regarded by many as oneof Europe’s most charming and beautiful centres and we shall take a tour of thecity. It is a wonderful mix of stunning architecture, from Gothic, Renaissanceand Baroque to Neoclassical, Art Nouveau and Cubist. The medieval lanes of theOld Town and the Castle District offer a lot to see, with the Charles Bridgespanning the banks of the Vltava River to connect them. The Jewish Quarter isalso worth a visit, with Europe’s oldest active synagogue. In the evening weshall attend a concert in one of the famous music halls of the city.
We leave Prague and drivesouth-west to the picturesque town of Trebon. Trebon is situauted in a basinwhere ancient trees and hundreds of medieval ponds and peat bogs are preserved.It is a UNESCO World Heritage site called the Trebonsko Biosphere Reserve.Walking amongst the ponds, along embankments lined with old trees, we’ll be onthe lookout for Bearded and Penduline Tit, Great Reed and Savi’s Warbler,Red-crested Pochard, Garganey, Black Tern and Black-necked Grebe. CommonRosefinch breed here in increasing numbers, plus Bee-eaters, Golden Oriole anda few Black Storks. White-tailed Eagle has a well established breedingpopulation in this area, with over twenty pairs and we hope for good views ofthese, plus Black and Red Kite and perhaps Montagu’s Harrier. The marshy edgesare good for Great White Egret, Spoonbill, Purple Heron and Marsh Harrier andthe scrubby areas for Marsh and River Warbler, plus Bluethroat. Wryneck, MiddleSpotted, Syrian and Grey-headed Woodpecker are likely, along with Turtle Dove,Common Cuckoo, stunning Collared Flycatcher, Icterine and Barred Warbler, Serinand Hawfinch. We’ll also be alert for Otters, as they are sometimes seen duringthe day here.
We leave Trebon and drive towardsthe Sumava mountains. On the way we visit famous Cesky Krumlov, situated on thebanks of the Vltava river. The town was built around a 13th-century castle withGothic, Renaissance and Baroque elements. It is an outstanding example of asmall central European medieval town, whose architectural heritage has remainedintact, thanks to its peaceful evolution over more than five centuries.
Inthe afternoon we reach our hotel in the Sumava National Park. The Sumava Rangeis covered by the most extensive forests in Central Europe. Raised peat bogs,glacial lakes and remnants of primeval forests create a wonderful mosaic ofhabitats, which are little disturbed by human settlements, as most of theGerman speaking inhabitants were expelled after World War II and the areabecame a deserted zone along the Eastern block border.
Pygmyand Ural Owl and rare woodpeckers such as White-backed, Three-toed and Blackare found in this area and we shall spend time searching for these elusivespecies, though they may be difficult at this time of year. We may see BlackStork flying above the forest, along with raptors including Goshawk, HoneyBuzzard and Hobby. Nutcracker are in mixed forest areas and we’ll be searchingfor Great Grey Shrike, Crested and Willow Tit, Firecrest, Bullfinch, Hawfinchand Common Crossbill. Red-breasted Flycatcher is an uncommon breeder of beechwoodlands here. Dipper and Grey Wagtail are found along the streams and in moreopen areas we’ll look for Ring Ouzel, River and Grasshopper Warbler, Red-backedShrike, breeding Fieldfares and Black Redstart.
After a morning birding in the Sumava region, we drive toPrague, stopping for birds enroute, where in the evening we shall attendanother concert in one of the famous music halls of the city.
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