PNRP 42(1)


Diet composition of the barn owl Tyto alba in Goniądz and Wizna at the edge
of the Biebrza and Narew valleys


Diet composition of the barn owl Tyto alba was studied in two localities on the border between peatbogs of the Biebrza and Narew valleys and higher plains. Total material contained 1,416 vertebrate prey items (Table 1): in Wizna (249) collected in 1985, in Goniądz (1,167) collected in years 2008-2017. Mammals clearly dominated the diet of Tyto alba in the study area (97.2-99.4%). Owls captured 16 species of small mammals from the taxa: Soricomorpha (3), Chiroptera (1) and Rodentia (12). Soricomorphs were important components of barn owls’ diet (62.3% in Wizna, 44,3% in Goniądz). Species associated with wet habitats (Neomys fodiens, Arvicola amphibius, Microtus oeconomus, Sicista betulina) as well as those from arable fields, pastures and meadows (Microtus arvalis, Mus musculus, Apodemus agrarius) were components of the diet. Bats represented by one species (Eptesicus serotinus) were found only in Goniądz. Birds and amphibians were rather scarce prey (respectively 2.0-7.6% and 0-1.6%). House sparrow was the most frequent avian prey. Its share in Wizna was higher (6.4%) than in Goniądz (1.4%). Sorex araneus, M. musculus and M. arvalis were captured more frequently, and M. oeconomus less frequently as compared to the structure of small mammal community in open wet habitats of the Biebrza Valley (Fig. 1). Hunting territories of barn owls at both sites covered a mosaic of habitats, including peatbogs (close to Goniądz located in the Biebrza National Park), arable fields and pastures, and also a vicinity of human settlements.


Protected species of aquatic molluscs in the river-lake system
of the Krutynia River (Masurian Lakeland)


Krutynia is one of the most important rivers of the Masurian Lakeland. It is 100 km long and flows through 19 lakes, forming a characteristic river-lake system typical for the lakeland landscape of northern Poland. A relatively well-known group of organisms in Krutynia River are molluscs, whose history has been studied for over 100 years. The aim of the study was to investigate the situation of protected aquatic molluscs in the conditions of strong human impact on the Krutynia river-lake system at the beginning of the 21st century. Studies were carried out in 2005-2015 (in selected sites also earlier and later), analyzing the occurrence of molluscs in all lakes of the Krutynia system and in ten river sections from the source to the outlet. The collected material includes five protected species of molluscs. They were three species of bivalves of the family Unionidae: Unio crassus, Anodonta cygnea and Pseudanodonta complanata, as well as fingernail clam Sphaerium rivicola and snail Borysthenia naticina. The most common protected species in the Krutynia system was A. cygnea, recorded in most lakes and in almost half of the studied river sections. Its highest density (10 indiv./m2) was found in Lake Zyzdrój Wielki in the middle of the system. In the river (in the upper part), there was a maximum of 6 ind./m2. The length of the largest individuals exceeded 10 cm (maximum 11.3 cm). The age of the oldest bivalves was estimated at 9-10 years. U. crassus and S. rivicola were found only in the river sections. They reached a density of 1-2 ind./m2. The length of U. crassus was 17-64 mm, and its age was up to 6 years. Live P. complanata were found only in the outlet section of the Krutynia River, although empty shells of this species were also recorded in the middle part of the river and in Lake Lampasz in the upper part of the system. Only in one lake (Zyzdrój Mały) the presence of the snail B. naticina was confirmed, but these were only empty shells. Old literature data from 100 years ago prove that the species composition of the molluscs of the Krutynia system is still similar, which may indicate the persistence of environmental conditions there. Hopefully, despite the considerable tourist pressure, Krutynia River will also remain a refuge for protected species.


Dragonflies (Odonata) of the “Bagno Pogorzel” Nature Reserve (east-central Poland)


The aim of the study was to determine the species composition of dragonflies (Odonata) of the “Bagno Pogorzel” Nature Reserve (east-central Poland), comprising, i.a., complex of Sphagnum bogs and dystrophic lakes. The study was conducted in 2021-2022 and consisted of the observation of imagines and the collection of exuviae.
A total of 31 species of dragonflies were found (41.9% of the Polish odonate fauna), 23 of which were classified as autochthonous or probably autochthonous. The species found were mostly eurytopes, although there was also a significant proportion of tyrphobionts and tyrphophiles. The most abundant species were Libellula quadrimaculata, Coenagrion pulchellum and C. puella. Five species protected by law in Poland were recorded: Nehalennia speciosa, Sympecma paedisca, Aeshna subarctica, Leucorrhinia albifrons and L. pectoralis. The endangered Nehalennia speciosa is the most interesting of the recorded species due to its severely fragmented extent and relict and fairly rare occurrence in Poland. It was observed in the ecotone zone between a Pinus sylvestris forest and an open peatland or dystrophic lake. Six species classified as umbrella species for Sphagnum bogs were recorded: Nehalennia speciosa, Aeshna subarctica, A. juncea, Leucorrhinia albifrons, L. dubia and L. pectoralis.
Value of biocenosis naturalness qualitative index (Wns) for Sphagnum bogs was 3.65. In light of the literature data, this value is at most moderate, suggesting the disturbed naturalness of the boggy complex.
The reserve is one of the Poland’s important refuges of “special concern” dragonfly species. Threats to the local dragonfly populations have been identified in the reserve: some forms of human impact and drying out of the peatland. There is a need to prepare a conservation plan for the reserve, taking into account the conservation policy towards dragonflies.


Flora of vascular plants of the Liwiec river valley (Mazovia)


In the study area 544 vascular plant species were found. The identified species belong to 99 families. The most abundant are: Asteraceae – 69 species, Poaceae – 56 sp., Rosaceae – 38 sp., Fabaceae – 29 sp., Caryophyllaceae – 25 sp. Others are: 51 families with 2 to 20 species and 36 families with only one representative recorded. The study area 9 protected species have been found: two species under strict protection Jovibarba sobolifera, Dianthus superbus and seven species under partial protection Centaurium erythraea, Epipactis helleborine, Helichrysum arenarium, Lycopodium annotinum, Allium angulosum, Matteuccia struthiopteris, Taxus baccata.
Some of the identified species are very rare and listed in "Polish red list of pteridophytes and flowering plants". Vulnerable are Dianthus superbus (one stand on peat bog), Anthemis cotula (alluvial terraces), Scutellaria hastifolia (one stand on meadow), Jovibarba sobolifera (one stand on xerothermic turf), ; near threatened Agrostemma githago (one stand on roadside), Carex umbrosa (few stands on ecotone), Silene tatarica (one stand, river escarpment), Leersia oryzoides (quite common on river rushes and alluvial terraces), Gnaphalium luteo-album (few stands on alluvial terraces); data deficient species Callitriche verna (few stands on oxbow lakes), Ranunculus serpens ssp. nemorosus (few stands on meadows), Veronica agrestis (few stands on disturbed areas).
The floristic list contains 132 species (24.3%) non-native and invasive plant species. Some species threatening the local flora, occupying the habitats of native species e.g. Acer negundo, Symphoricarpos albus, Reynoutria japonica (riparian forests); Padus serotina, Robinia pseudoacacia, Impatiens parviflora (forests), Echinocystis lobata (riparian tall herb fringe communities); Solidago canadensis, Solidago gigantea (meadows). Non-native and invasive plants are divided into geohistorical groups: kenophytes 70 sp. (53.0%), archaeophytes 49 sp. (37.1%), ergasiophigophytes 12 sp. (9.1%) and 1 sp. of unknown status (0.8%). A single site of Erechtites hieracifolia was recorded, a species that has recently been invading Poland.
Compared to the studies of river valleys by other authors on the Vistula, Liwiec, Wda and Kłodnica rivers, no major differences were noted. Among the listed plant species, according to the division of Raunkiaer, the following types of life forms were found: hemicryptophytes 265 sp. (48.8%), therophytes 108 sp. (19.9%), nano phanerophytes 45 sp. (8.3%), mega phanerophytes 38 sp. (6.8%), geophytes 41 sp. (7.6 %), hydrophytes 24 sp. (4.4%), chamaephytes 23 sp. (4.2%).
Despite the fact that species on a regional and national scale are not so categorized, in the Liwiec valley their natural habitats are degraded or appear fragmentarily. This applies in particular to plants found in oak-hornbeam species (Campanula trachelium), coniferous forests (Calluna vulgaris) and peat bogs (Eriophorum angustifolium, Vaccinium uliginosum). Species associated with river valleys have numerous populations and a complete species composition in individual communities. Some taxa that are common in the Bug valley have not been recorded e.g. Cuscuta lupuliformis, Senecio paludosus, Hierochloe odorata, Limosella aquatica, Silene otites. This is probably due to the small width of the Liwiec valley, the lack of contact between the meadows of the Bug River and their total area, as well as the fairly large area of synanthropic areas crossing the valley. One site of the rare Phleum hubbardii has been found on a sunny roadside and several sites of Ribes alpinum on the edge of wet hornbeam forests. The presence of Wolffia arrhiza in two oxbow lakes is noteworthy. In one of them (the largest in the research area, 0.36 ha), the only sites are Stratiotes aloides and Nuphar lutea.
The most valuable areas in terms of species diversity in the valley of the lower Liwiec are: the vicinity of Pusty Łąki and Koszelanka (wet oak-hornbeam forests and oxbow lakes in the former channels of the anastomosing river), Rafa near Kamieńczyk (variably wet meadows in the zone of the mouth of the Bug), the vicinity of Julin, Loretto and Barchów (riparian forests) and the vicinity of Strachów (peat bogs in former riverbeds). The results were compared with the results of studies in other river valleys. The valley of the lower Liwiec does not differ much in terms of species composition and frequency of plant occurrence from similar valleys in the Polish lowlands. The share of life forms is also typical for river valleys. There is a large share of native species, which proves the high degree of naturalness of the valley's flora, this share is also the largest compared to other analyzed valleys.




The Sites of the Water Chestnut Trapa natans L. in the nature reserve
“Stawy Milickie” in 2013-2022


In Poland, the Water Chestnut is considered a rare and endangered species, the maintenance of which requires active protection. Until recently, populations of this species were found only in the immediate vicinity of the Vistula, Odra and San rivers, as well as in the Sandomierz, Oświęcim and Śląska valleys. However, in recent years, the Water Chestnut has been returning to historical positions and found in completely new locations. An example can be the area of Milicz Ponds, where the Water Chestnut began to appear in 2013. In the Barycz valley, the water nut Water Chestnut has never been recorded before. The sites described above are the only ones known in the entire area of Milicz Ponds and indicate the recent and gradual settlement of the local reservoirs. Until 2022, 10 sites of this species were recorded, of which only 3 sites proved to be sufficiently stable for the species to survive here - in the Wilczy Mały Pond and Mieszko Górny Pond. Monitoring in the described area should be continued, which will allow to observe the spreading process of the Water Chestnut in the conditions of extensive fishing management.


The Moss Amblyodon dealbatus (Meesiaceae) in the Tatra National Park.


Amblyodon dealbatus (HEDW.) BRUCH ET SCHIMP. is one of the rarest species of mosses in the flora of Poland, under strict protection and endangered, placed in category E. It was recorded most of all from the northern and western parts of the country, mainly in the 19th and the first half of the 20th century. In the Polish part of the Carpathians, it was known only from one long-unconfirmed site on Giewont in the Tatra Mountains. During botanical research conducted in 2022, the second site of this species was found here. It is located on the north-western slopes of Upłaziańska Kopa, in a patch of spring vegetation of the Montio-Cardaminetea class. The paper contains a description of the new site, its location, a short physical and chemical characteristics of the habitat and the floristic composition of the plant community where A. dealbatus was found.




European bison and Białowieża Primeval Forest in Leon Zienkowicz’s book
Les costumes du peuple polonais


In 1841, the book “Les costumes du peuple polonais: suivis d'une description exacte de ses moeurs, de ses usages et de ses habitudes: ouvrage pittoresque” was published in France and Germany. This work contains illustrations depicting inhabitants of Białowieża Primeval Forest, along with descriptions of the forest and European bison. Our article analyses this information in the context of publications of Polish emigration after the fall of the November Uprising, as well as popularisation of knowledge in that era. The figure of Leon Zienkowicz, writer, publisher, scholar and democratic political activist, is also recalled. The article contains the Polish translation of the French original.