Sunday 23 July 2017

River valley, south of Botanic Gardens, Minsk

On my second day in Minsk, I chose to bird an area which has not history of birding in the e-bird database. This compared with the day before's Botanic Gardens which is listed as a hotspot.

My chosen area was the river valley just south of the Botanic Gardens.  It was risk but in the end I actually saw slightly more species than the day before.

Theret was gloomy start so the pictures at first were not good quality.

My first two extra species were jackdaw and starling. Both were seen on the way to the river valley as I walked past the wall of the Botanic gardens.


The river had attracted a black-headed gull and later I observed a common tern too.

black-headed gull

As I walked down a path on one side of the river, I met two common redstart in front of me.

common redstart

On a wire next to where I had to cross a main road was a resting barn swallow. In Bulgaria there has been a very large drop in barn swallow over the past two years with a concurrent rise in house martin numbers. Even in Minsk there were more house martin than barn swallow. I had seen one of the latter the day before.

barn swallow

With the exception of the house martin, all the species I have mentioned in the blog so far were not seen in the Botanic Gardens the day before.

great spotted woodpecker

The run of good luck continued as I came across four great spotted woodpecker. Two were out in the open and mostly feeding off the grass. They were remarkably tame.


Also feeding in the grass were several fieldfare.


Both hawfinch and goldfinch were foraging on the forest edge which got quite close to the river in places.

female great spotted woodpecker

I couldn't make any of the great spotted woodpecker into white-backed woodpecker which would have been a lifer.

However I met four treecreeper which was a lifer. I had seen short-toed treecreeper in Bulgaria and Albania but this was a first. It was my only lifer in Minsk.

young siskin

Near-by the first two treecreeper, I spotted a single siskin just I had seen a single one the day before. It was very loosely associating with the more numerous goldfinch.

the river

Back in the forest area, I had a much better view of a local jay than the day before.


There were also a pair of very large and well-fed hare.

local hare

My Belarussian list is a basic 37 now. If I ever return it is something to build on.

Species seen in the river valley, south of the Botanic Gardens, Minsk
Black-headed Gull  
Common Tern  
Feral Pigeon  
Common Swift  
Great Spotted Woodpecker  
Eurasian Jackdaw  
Hooded Crow 
Barn Swallow  
Great Tit  
Eurasian Treecreeper  
Willow Warbler  
Eurasian Blackcap  
Spotted Flycatcher  
European Robin  
Thrush Nightingale 
Common Redstart  
Eurasian Blackbird  
Mistle Thrush  
European Starling  
White Wagtail 
Common Chaffinch  
Eurasian Siskin  
European Goldfinch  
Eurasian Tree Sparrow  

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