Sometimes when I procrastinate while I should be grading large stacks of paper, it is fruitful. At least in my mind. Yesterday afternoon, I decided to research the little village everybody with my last name is supposed to be from, and there it is in the upper left quadrant of the map: Ciszewo. (The "z" was removed from our name so it would be, you know, easier. )
This is in the northeast part of Poland, a couple hours up from Warsaw, near Belarus.
It turns out that Biebrza National Park is the largest reserve in Europe. The parts that are green on the map are "primeval forests" that look like this:
And much of the rest is marshland about which I found this:
"Why not to come to Poland birdwatching?"
"Spring brings to north-east Poland an explosion of nature. Forests, meadows, ponds and pastures are once again alive with bird life. The rich and diverse habitats of Biebrza Marshes and Białowieża Primeval Forest make these two places, Poland's most internationally important bird refuges.
Many species that breed or stop over here are extinct or endangered elsewhere in Europe. Lesser Spotted, Greater Spotted and White Tailed Eagle, Great Snipe, Aquatic Warbler, White-winged Tern Eagle Owl, Pygmy and Tengmalm's Owl, Montagu's Harrier, Black Stork, Black Grouse, Corn Crake, Ruff, White-backed and Three-toed Woodpecker, Red-backed and Great Grey Shrike, Collared Flycatcher can still be found, amongst others. Some of them are numerous and easy to discover here."
In fact, you can take this 8 day trip!
Now, I know when I talk I might sound like this to some folks: "Birds birds birds. Polish Polish Polish. Blah blah blah..." That's why I put this info on my weblog, where it's easy to stop reading, instead of accosting everyone I know one by one and rambling on about it.
But you know I'm saving for this trip now. And I can't help but find it fascinating that this whole bird dealio of mine could be argued to be simply in my blood.