In Podlaskie, forest is always at the grabs. No matter where you are in the region, it will take you at most 15 minutes by car to find yourself in the woods or in a primaeval forest. The unparalleled, rich and diverse forested areas of Podlaskie are unique on national scale. Such woodlands are to be found nowhere else in Western Europe.
Bustling with an abundance of wildlife, the forests in Podlaskie are full of deer, elks, foxes, and hares. Watching these wild animals in their natural habitat is an amazing experience. You can boost your chances of meeting forest creatures by following a set of simple rules.
Magda and Piotr, who have been running the “Forest Inside Us” / “Las w nas” project in the heart of the Knyszyn Primaeval Forest for several months, share some useful tips and tricks with us.
WHERE AND WHEN?
Forest trips are a great idea at any time of day… and year! If you want to watch animals, leave at dawn or before sunset. To increase your chances of meeting animals in the open, choose windless and rainless days. Animals, just like us, rarely leave their shelters in thick woods when the weather is bad.
You are likely to meet wild animals even by a forest road. But the adventure begins when you decide to go deeper into the woods. We recommend using detailed forest maps, which can be found in the Forest Data Bank. Download them to your phone or print and take them with you. In the heart of the wilderness, it is easier to find wildlife than your phone signal!
GRAY CLOTHES AND WELLINGTONS
When going into the forest, your outfit is of key importance. If you plan to go deeper into thick woods, wear long sleeves and trousers, a hat and wellingtons. All this will minimise the risk of getting a tick bite. Remember, however, that regardless of your outfit, you should always do a thorough body check when returning home from the forest.
If you want to meet those larger forest inhabitants, do not choose colourful sports clothes, which gleam and rustle with every move. To put it in a nutshell – try to blend in with the surroundings.
TAKE A PAIR OF BINOCULARS
Just walking among the trees, you will probably not get lucky enough to see wildlife. On the contrary, you will probably scare animals away. Deer and roe deer often feed on forest clearings. Stay at the edge of the forest, be careful and keep the right distance. Then “scan” a clearing or a glade with your binoculars. There is a good chance that after a while you will notice some forest inhabitants. Keep quiet and stay still so as not to scare the object of your observations.
LISTEN TO THE FOREST
Whether you want to approach the animals or just take a stroll – do not raise your voice. Take in the natural sounds of the forest. Adjust your hearing to other frequencies than in a city. Seemingly silent, the forest resounds with humming trees, knocking woodpeckers and bark-scratching squirrels.
Meeting forest mammals requires a bit of luck. Forest insects and other “little dwellers” on the other hand, can be observed with ease. Apart from ticks and gnats, this is a pretty peaceful bunch! An incredible universe pulsates with life in the forest floor, moss, bark and rotting tree trunks. Stop for a while and take a closer look.
You can find detailed information on everyday forest life at
@las_w_nas on Instagram.
Learn more about the forest and its inhabitants at the “Piotr Horzela Presents” YouTube channel.
If you found this article inspiring to get outdoors to meet forest wildlife, this film will help you prepare your outing: