Thursday, 29 October 2009

Destinations: Tatras National Park - Poland

The Tatras National Park (Tatrzanski NP) in southern Poland, lies right on the border with Slovakia. This is Poland's highest mountain range and is mostly rugged, hiking country. The highest peak is Rysy (2499 m). Forests reach up to around 1800 m and above that is dwarf pine and pastures and boulder and scree country dotted with tarns. The gateway to the highest peaks is the city of Zakopane (a major winter sport centre) which is about 110 km south of Krakow by road. Key birds at the higher elevations are Alpine Accentor, Water Pipit, Lesser Redpoll and Wallcreeper. Though difficult to see, being shy of people, there are Wolf and Brown Bear. Alpine Marmots and Chamois are also here and easier to observe. Other birds are Golden Eagle, Willow and Crested Tits, Nutcracker and indeed most of the typical Alpine-forest songbirds one would expect. In suitable old forests there are also Ural, Pygmy and Tengmalm's Owls, Hazel Grouse and White-backed and Three-toed Woodpeckers. A convenient cable-car runs up into the high peaks from Kuznice near Zakopane.

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