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Join us in Moravia in spring 2005 to see some of this fantastic region's great birds: click here
If visiting South Moravia (the warmer wine growing region of the country in the very south-east) then Vienna Airport in Austria is often a better option than Prague as a point of arrival. Vienna is nearer to the best Moravian sites by road and has more flights from, for example, UK airports (see Where To Watch Birds in Eastern Europe).

It is feasible to see all ten European woodpecker species in Moravia, though of course not all in the same areas. Quality birding is available all year round in Moravia as many key species are resident. A good place to start is the Palava Biosphere Reserve in South Moravia: a real gem. An internationally important habitat here is floodplain forest (see photo above). There are also broadleaved woodland, meadows, vineyards and limestone hills, all in a quite compact area. White-tailed Eagle, Black & Red Kites and Peregrine and Saker Falcons breed. In most winters one or two Wallcreepers reside in the area's stone quarries. The adjacent Nove Mlyny Reservoirs are a series of three large waters along the River Dyje. The middle reservoir, with its islets, banks and trees, is arguably of most birding interest, and is part of the Palava reserve. Most of the wetland is frozen in winter though there are usually several, sometimes up to 50, White-tailed Eagles present amongst the lingering wildfowl. Breeding species include Red-crested Pochard, White-tailed Eagle, a few pairs of Mediterranean, Yellow-legged and Common Gulls and Peregrine Falcon. In autumn and winter there are thousands of Tundra Bean and White-fronted Geese, Goosander, Smew, Goldeneye and other ducks. Rarities found at Nove Mlyny include Cattle Egret, Sabine’s Gull and every year a few Red-breasted Goose winter. The landscaped gardens and ponds at nearby Lednice are easy to work and good for woodpeckers, breeding and passage ducks and a noted rarity site with species such as the Czech Republic's 5th Sociable Plover in September and October 1986, the only Czech Baird’s Sandpiper on 2nd September 1981 and the first Pectoral Sandpiper in September 1973. The Bile Karpaty (White Carpathians) bordering Slovakia rise to around 970 m. The mixed forests here host breeding Honey Buzzard, Hazel Grouse, White-backed Woodpecker and Barred Warbler amongst others.
In the very south-east corner of Moravia, nestling alongside the Austrian border is Soutok (see photograph to right) a wonderful area of flooded oak, ash, elm and poplar woodlands, ox-bows, pools, pastures and meadows where the Morava and Dyje Rivers meet. Until 1990 this area was very much out-of-bounds being right on the "Iron Curtain" as the concrete bunkers which dot the area bear witness to. This closed-off status contributed to Soutok becoming a haven for wildlife. Breeding birds include Black and 
White Storks, Red & Black Kites, Saker and Eastern Imperial Eagle, Middle Spotted, Black and Grey-headed  Woodpeckers, River and Barred Warblers, Collared Flycatcher and Short-toed Treecreeper. On passage there are more storks and kites, wildfowl and waders.
Iron Curtain at Soutok, South Moravia 1989
White-backed Woodpecker © Szabolcs Kókay In the north and east of Moravia montane areas like the Hostynske Hills
the BeskydyMountains and the Jeseniky Mountains (the highest range 
in Moravia) are blanketed in vast forests, with several areas of almost virgin habitat. Though the steep slopes strewn with fallen, rotting timber often
make it hard work, some areas of these uplands are home to raptors, grouse, warblers, flycatchers, White-backed Woodpecker and large mammals such as Lynx and sometimes Wolf. The varied wetland habitats in and around the Tovacovske Ponds (near the village of the same name, south of Olomouc) have become somethong of a passage and rarity hot-spot. Black-necked Grebe, Water Rail, Wryneck, and Great Reed and Barred Warblers breed, whilst various divers, herons, wildfowl, raptors, gulls, terns, waders and songbirds occur on spring and autumn migration.

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


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