Poland: Mścichy reserve

Author Jarosław Krogulec

The Mścichy Reserve comprises about  435 ha of fen mire area west of the Biebrza National Park, between the border of the park and the Mścichy village. The area is dominated by communities with the Narrow Small-reed and small sedge flush, which are mown once per year, or twice per year in dry years. The south-eastern part of the Reserve borders with forest, and the prevailing habitat is reed beds and the Purple Small-reed. In spring, it is flooded by melting snow and rain, and water from the Biebrza river. Despite drainage, up to 2-metre deep peat layer is still present.

Author Jarosław Krogulec

In the past, the area was used as hay meadows by farmers from Mścichy, with the northern part of the Reserve used for peat excavation. Nowadays, only the parcels adjacent to the causeway and village buildings are mown. This has caused changes in the structure of the sedge fen that are unfavourable for the Aquatic Warbler (such as excessive growth of tussocks as well as Reed Sweet-grass and Reed Canary Grass swards).

Author Jarosław Krogulec

This site hosts the largest population of the Aquatic Warbler in the buffer zone of the Biebrza National Park, which is not protected by law. In 2007, there were about 65 singing males (2.5% of the Polish population). In  2011, a record number of Aquatic Warblers was recorded in Mścichy, 127! They nest on the patches that were under mowing management until recently but they avoid those that have been completely abandoned. Conservation activities are therefore indispensable to maintain the existing sites and enlarge the area of habitat suitable for the species.

Best site to observe Aquatic warblers – in the middle of the road between Mscichy village and biebrza National Park.

What can I see there?

Apart from the Aquatic Warbler, in Mścichy you will see breeding Garganeys, Corncrakes, Snipes, White-winged Terns, Spotted Crakes and Bluethroats.

Map where you can find all areas where you can find Aquatic warblers in Poland.

Information source: https://otop.org.pl/our-projects/we-protect/reserves-and-nature-trails/biebrza/?lang=en

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