Barycz is a river which starts south of Ostrów Wielkopolski in the marshes. It is the right tributary of the river Odra, flowing into it nearby Głogów. In its entire length (around 140 kilometers) it is not a uniform river but rather a system of three watercourses which cross each other repeatedly, creating a vast marshy area. Barycz and its distributaries flow lazily, which is perfect for rafting or kayaking.
The most valuable in the Barycz Valley are the huge pond clusters. The history of the ponds goes back as far as the 13th century. The ponds, marshes and peat bogs under international protection attract over 200 species of birds, including many rare or strictly protected aquatic and mud species – this whole area is simply a bird lover’s paradise. The red kite, the white-tailed eagle, the black stok and even the Dalmatian pelican can be spotted here. Also reptile enthusiasts favor the Barycz valley for a chance to observe the endangered European pond turtle – the only endemic turtle species in Poland. The vegetation of the region is also quite unique, including very rare species such as the royal fern, the yellow and white water lilies, the broad-leaved helleborine or the floating fern.
Another attraction is definitely the fact that the ponds are still used as fish breeding ponds. When buying the traditional carp fish for Christmas Eve dinner, there is a large probability that very fish comes from a breeding pond in the Barycz valley.
The „Dolina Baryczy” landscape park was established in 1996. Its majority is situated in the dolnośląskie voivodeship, and its smaller part in the vicinity of Ostrów Wielkopolski in the wielkopolskie voivodeship. Near the Przygodzickie ponds in the village of Przygodzice there is a white stork nest – one of the most prominent nests in Europe. As the nest is equipped with a permanently placed camera which allows direct broadcast via the Internet, the life and mating rituals of these unique birds can be viewed from anywhere in the world.
Text: Jacek Y. Łuczak
Translation: Kaja Kurczewska
Photo: Karol Budziński