Sunday, 23 March 2008
Destinations: Hostynske Hills - Czech Republic
These heavily forested hills (in Czech Hostynske vrchy) are one of the Czech Republic's least birded upland areas, but this is not because they lack good species. On the contrary most of the typical birds that inhabit Central European mixed forest are here. Areas of mature fir-beech are dotted around the hills and these are the best places to look for White-backed Woodpecker. Black, Grey-headed, Lesser Spotted and Middle Spotted are also resident. Stream valleys have Kingfisher, Dipper and Grey Wagtail. Red-breasted and Collared Flycatchers, Wood Warbler and Hawfinch are quite common in areas with mature deciduous forest. There is little mature conifer but birds like Firecrest, Crested Tit, Siskin, Common Crossbill and Nutcracker can be found in older plantations. There's also a chance of Hazel Grouse, though this species is not easy. Raptors include Goshawk and Honey Buzzard which are both fairly common. At 865m Kelecský Javorník is the highest peak but it is not necessary to go this high to look for the key birds. The hills lie to the north of Zl¡n in Central Moravia towards the border with Slovakia. Brno is around 90 km to the west. A road from Bystrice p. Hostynem in the north-west to Jablunka in the east cuts through the heart of the hills. Parts of the hills are protected as a Nature Park but are of mostly open and easy access via an extensive network of colour-coded marked footpaths and cross-country skiing routes.