August 2009 Western Poland

This was our first visit to the Milicz Fishponds in the Barycz Valley area of western Poland. We worked with Polish volunteers from our partner organisation, ETNA, to cut and remove grass, rush and willow biomass from the valuable wetland habitats, to improve them for the birds (Corncrake, waders etc) and invertebrates.

The journey to Milicz was a great preparation for the fortnight ahead, taking us through Belgium, Holland and Germany, camping at three sites, including an idyllic place in the Spreewald region of Germany, southeast of Berlin.

Among our other cultural activities, our hosts took us to the beautiful city of Wrocław where we enjoyed the vibrant atmosphere and the stunning architecture, and especially the fabulous (and gigantic) Racławice Panorama painting, commemorating a late 18th Century Polish uprising against the Russians.

Other memorable moments include the extraordinary restaurant at Zmigrod, the birthday barbecue by the lake with the Koniks, the numerous White-tailed Eagles, Marsh Harriers and Cranes, and the many invertebrate and amphibian sightings.


Alex Bush Andy Lyon
Caroline Fowler Diana Jordan
Emma Macaskill Laura Sanderson
Tom Brannigan Liz McDonnell
Marie Evans The Ballad of Western Poland
Species List Butterfly List

September 2009 Eastern Poland

We worked at three different wetland sites for this our first visit to CMok, our partner organisation. Osieck is a small village in the Mazowian Landscape Park south of Warszawa – here we worked to clear grass, rush and willow biomass from Bagno Całowanie, the ‘kissing swamp’, a very important wetland beset by threats from all sides.

Kampinoski National Park west of Warszawa has many valuable areas of open grassland threatened by neglect and scrub invasion – here we cut and chipped huge quantities of sallow scrub, particularly to improve the habitat for the Scarce Large Blue butterfly, Maculinea telejus.

Our last base was a lakeside hotel in a beautiful area of northeastern Poland east of the town of Augustow, very close to the Lithuanian border: a landscape of lakes, forests and rolling countryside grazed by cattle. We were shown several very rich fens, including the fen in the Rospuda valley, the site of the very vitriolic confrontations over the route of the Augustow ring road, and the enormous National Park in the Biebrza Marshes where we saw distant elk and our first flocks of migrating cranes.

migrating cranes


Chris Thain Dianne Nelson
Heather Brown Joe Goodson
Liz Green Chris Kennedy
Phil McGovern Andy Guy
Species List Butterfly List