The Birds Sanctuary in Karsiborska Kępa
THE BIRDS SANCTUARY IN KARSIBORSKA KĘPA
All nature lovers would probably like to encounter the Northern shoveller, or the strangely-looking Ruff or black stork. While in Świnoujście, when making your own ornithological discoveries, you only need a pair of wellingtons and a set of good field-glasses. What will make this experience truly special is the fact that the Świnoujście islands are not only home to a wide variety of rare bird species, but it is also the location of a major fly-way. For this reason, each Spring and Autumn, from the Świna delta and Szczecińskie Lake, right to the Baltic seaside, you can see innumerable flocks of migratory birds flying above your head. According to expert estimates, while exploring the Świnoujście islands, you can see as many as several hundred different species. Ornithological observations can also be made while strolling around the beach, or along the banks of the Świna. However, the best location for bird-watching is definitely the sanctuary administered by the Polish Society for the Protection of Birds, www.otop.org.pl/obserwacje/rezerwaty-otop/rezerwat-karsiborska-kepa, situated in Karsiborska Kępa, one of the largest islands in the Świna delta. For dozens of years, this island, located to the north of Karsibór, was the venue for cattle and horse grazing, which gave rise to the formation of boggy pastures, providing a convenient habitat for waders (shorebirds), including the rapidly-moving thin-legged Dunlin. The real gem of Karsiborska Kępa is the Aquatic Warbler, a globally endangered species, the rarest singing bird of passage in Europe. According to the sanctuary guardians, this place is also the permanent home of over 140 species of nesting birds. What is more, it attracts a number of other bird species passing by in the Spring or Autumn, or wintering-over on the Isle.
Yet the “Karsiborska Kępa” Sanctuary, is not just for birders. Here, the Polish Society for the Protection of Birds breeds Polish Primitive Horses (referred to as Konik polski) which are grazed on pastures throughout the year. The herd of horses comprises six mares and a few foals. This animal breed helps to naturally maintain the habitats of the Aquatic Warbler (Acrocephalus paludicola). The Polish Primitive Horses grave the young cane sprouts, inhibiting their expansion. As a result of this, low plant species are able to develop, creating suitable conditions for the nesting of the Aquatic Warbler.