Warta River Mouth National Park

Warta River Mouth National Park is the youngest of Poland’s 23 National Parks. Warta River Marshes received the highest form of nature’s protection in 2001. The Park’s area is approx. 8000 ha, where 682ha are under strict protection. The buffer zone around the Park covers area 10,500ha.

Riparian forests and willow shrubland formed along Warta’s riverbed, hark back to the original character of the flora. Existing at the moment in the Park plant communities are typical for the valleys of large lowland rivers. 26 species of bryophytes, 94 lichens species and about 570 species of vascular plants have been found so far in this area. Among the species covered by strict protection in Poland we have here: floating watermoss (Salvinia natans) and adder's-tongue (Ophioglossum vulgatum). To species covered by a partial protection belong, among others garden angelica (Angelica archangelica), early marsh orchid (Dactylorhiza incarnata), Listera ovata, white nenuphar (Nymphaea alba), Dianthus arenarius L.. For other valuable species of flora, rare in the country which are classified as threatened or endangered on a regional scale are: wild pea (Lathyrus palustris), marsh spurge (Euphorbia palustris), Senecio paludosus L., Kadenia dubia and common in the area longleaf speedwell (Veronica longifolia).

National Park "Warta Mouth" is one of the most valuable ornithological areas in the country. Unique wetlands, vast meadows and pastures are one of the most important Polish refuges water and marsh birds. At the Park has been found so far 280 bird species, of which more than 170 are breeding species. Usually nest in the area 4 species of grebes, 8 species of ducks, 5-6 species of rallidae, 4-5 species of gulls and terns, 6 species of waders. For many birds it is one of the most important nesting sites in Poland. These include Shelduck, Gadwall, Oystercatcher, Grebe, Greylag and heron. Many species nesting in the Park belong to one of the rare or endangered species in Europe, eg. the aquatic warbler, corncrake, spotted crake, black tern and whiskered tern. Area Park plays an important role for the birds also outside the breeding season. In the summer ducks feather in the area (eg. mallard, common teal), graylag geese, mute swans, coots and cranes. During migration a huge number of birds stops at Warta backwaters. In late autumn the Park becomes the kingdom of arctic geese (bean goose and White-fronted goose), where concentrations may exceed 100 thousand of individuals (maximum observed there were 200 thousand.). Bean goose, that is dominating among them, became a symbol of the Park. Warta Mouth is also an important wintering area for whooper swans (up to 3000 individuals) and mute swans, bald eagles, rough-legged-buzzards, ducks and geese. Among the other groups of animals in the Park there are 43 species of mammals, including i.e. otter, stoat, badger, beaver, wild boar, doe and other species of the world: american mink, raccoon dog, muskrat and raccoon. Amphibians are represented by two species of toads, 5 species of frogs, fire-bellied toad, spadefoot, newts: ordinary and newt. Among reptiles we have here only: grass snake, sand lizard and slow worm. The Park waters are very rich in fish; there were found up to 35 species. Carp fish are common here i.e. bream, silver bream, roach, rudd and Prussian carp. Numerous are also rapacious representatives of other families: pike, perch, zander and the largest domestic species of fish - catfish. To species that deserve special attention belong: bitterling, eel, spined loach and asp. Salmon and sea trout use the water of Warta river as a migrate way to the spawning grounds, which are located in the basin of the Drava river.
One of the major problems the Park is facing is the prevention from adverse changes in habitat. They consist mainly of overgrowing of meadows and pastures in the way of secondary succession, and are mainly due to omission of their use. The consequence of this is the shrinking of open habitats, which are nesting and feeding site of many threatened and endangered species of birds. In order to prevent it, the Park has been using the mowing meadows, as well as grazing cattle and horses for many years. Natural, scenic and cultural features of the National Park "Warta Mouth" make it the perfect place to practice various forms of ecotourism. Warta river backwaters are particularly frequented by bird watchers and other nature lovers. Due to the relatively low volume of tourist traffic, this area also attracts amateurs of vast space, peace and quietness.

Park can be visited throughout the whole year, from dawn to dusk, only at available for this purpose trails. Some of them are open to the traffic, the other ones are only for walking and cycling.

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