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This page is dedicated to the memory of Jiri Janda - Bohemian birder and conservationist
Join us on a birding tour in Bohemia in March or April 2005 to see the region's great birds: click here
Lying in Central Europe at the very heart of the continent landlocked Czech Republic has some wonderful bird habitats: old-growth conifer and deciduous forests, traditionally worked farmlands, innumerable old fish-farms and vast peatbogs. Yet for most "western" birders it is still a largely unknown destination.  Typical Czech fish-pond © P.Machacek

The most westerly of the formerly so-called "eastern bloc" countries the Czech Republic is dominated by Bohemia, and its diverse habitats and landscapes. Bohemia is blessed with high mountains, rolliong hills, dense forests, mires, marshes, riverine woods and in particular numerous fish-ponds (see Where to Watch Birds in Eastern Europe). And, of course, there is the capital Prague which besides being one of Europe's most stunningly attractive and culture-rich cities is home to Black and Grey-headed Woodpeckers amongst others. The international airport here (Ruzyne) is 10 km north-west of the city and can be reached on direct flights from most major European and several North American cities. If visiting South Bohemia (home of fish-ponds dating from the Middle Ages) then Vienna airport in adjacent Austria is an option, too. With the possible exception of the harshest winter months (December & January) Bohemia is worth birding all year round, but as with most European countries spring is overall best. In April woodpeckers (all European species are present) and owls are still calling and by May migrant raptors, warblers and flycatchers have returned.

South Bohemian bird areas include the Sumava National Park, in the south-west on the border with Bavaria, where there are extensive peat-bogs and forests with Black Grouse leks, 7 species of woodpecker, Redwing, Ring Ouzel, Nutcracker, and Ural, Tawny, Tengmalm's and Pygmy Owls. The Trebon Basin where a rich range of ducks cover the wetlands in spring, Collared Flycatchers and Short-toed Treecreepers call from the tree-lined dykes and White Stork nests seem to grace most villages is another of our favourite areas. The area around Ceske Budejovice it littered with good fish-ponds often set in wooded landscapes. The most famous of these is arguably the Dehtar Pond (15 km west of Budejovice) where a good range of breeding and passage birds occur. Hazel Grouse © Szabolcs Kókay
In Central Bohemia Prague is a good place to start. Indeed being on the "city-break" tour circuit you may have no choice if you've been forced onto one of these by a non-birding partner (or are over briefly on business). If so, do not despair as some excellent birding is to be had in and around this beautiful capital. For example, the wooded bank of the Vltava at Troja (near the Zoo), Stromovka, Hvezda and Petrin (around the funicular) parks are all worth exploring. The scenic Sarka Gorge between the city and the airport is home to woodland birds including Black Woodpecker. In the south of the city the Komorany woodland includes some fine old beech stands and the mixed woodland of Kunraticky les where, for example, Grey-headed Woodpecker is quite common, is worth several visits. Some 30 km south-west of Prague are the wooded hills and valleys of the Krivoklatsko area with Black Stork, Red Kite, Honey Buzzard and flycatchers.The River Vltava in Prague has wildfowl in winter and has also turned up rarities for the country such as the first Sabine’s Gull (Larus sabini) in December 1985, an amazing record of 6 Black Guillemots (Cepphus grylle) in January 1986 and a Pallas’s Warbler (Phylloscopus proregulus) in October 1987.
In Northern Bohemia the Alpine and sub-Alpine habitats of the Krkonose Mountains, which lie on and indeed span the Polish border, are the home of breeding Hen Harrier, Merlin, Black Grouse, Corncrake, Black and Three-toed Woodpeckers, the red-spotted race of Bluethroat, Ring Ouzel, Alpine Accentor, Nutcracker, Common Rosefinch, Rock Pipit and a few pairs of Greenish Warbler. Set in forested landscapes the Brehynsky and Novozamecky fish-ponds date back to the 14th century. Adjacent hanbitats include reedbeds, fens and boggy conifer stands. Breeding birds include Common Bittern, White-tailed Eagle and the southernmost breeding Common Cranes in Europe. These ponds are also key stop-over sites for passage birds in spring and autumn. 

For information on birding in Bohemia email us: info@czechbirding.com

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