Water lilyes on an oxbow lake in the Narew River Valley

in Spring 2018 and 2019

May 16 to June 10 in 2018
April 13 to May 05 in 2019

Upper Narew River Valley and
The neighbouring Villages in the "Land of Open Shutters" in Podlachia (Podlaskie)

View to the main branch of river Narew and a tributary as seen from the bridge at Stabla.
The valley has a rather winterly appearance on April 17, 2019.

The region which I visited on my fototours in autumn, winter and spring is not as well known as the neighbouring nationalparks. The Narew-River runs from Belarus along the northern border of the Białowieża National Park. This Nationalpark is well known for its wolfs and european bisons.

The upper valley of the Narew river ends at the smaller Narew National Park. Some kilometers downstream the river enters the Biebrza National Park famous as resting place for thousends of migrating waterbirds.

The upper Narew River Valley is under protection as a "Natura 2000" Site.

The villages Trześcianka, Soce and Puchły are the best known among a few similar villages on the northern bank of the river. They invented the name "The Land of Open Shutters". to become better known as tourist destination.

The River

The calm waters along the main branch and in the oxbow lakes are covered with different floating plants which are habitat of various rare animals.

Narew river at Strękowa Góra
(at the south end of the Biebrza National Park)
May 18, 2018

Areas covered with reed are found along the river and in wetlands spred all over the valley.

There are different plant communities in the valley which is flooded periodically: Reed, sedge marshes, willow scrub, pastures and meadows.

Valley of Narew river at Stabla bridge.
May 25, 2018

The white-winged tern lives at oxbow lakes covered with floating plants.

The rosefinch is common in the valley.

The sedge warbler is a persistent singer in the reeds.

The many dragonflies are splendid appearances over the waters.

Frogs are cautious ...

...Storks wich have to feed several hungry youngs are never far away.

A large oxbow lake at a summer evening

Water lilyes flower on calm waters.

The valley of the upper Narew is a landscape formed by nature and by traditional agriculture.

Pastures and meadows

Beavers had damed a creek ...

... So an upstream pasture became flooded, an ideal habitat for hundreds of marsh marigolds.

April 15, 2018



Iris covers large areas on the wet soil in the valley.

May 17, 2018

The meadow on the left hand side grows on the rim of the valley.
On the wet soil of the valley bottom grows a varied plant community. (middle and right hand side)

June 4, 2018

A ditch runs threw a wetland meadow.

May 16, 2018

In a side valley there is a large meadow with Bistort as main species (Bistorta officinalis, Wiesenknöterich).

Bistort (Bistorta officinalis, Wiesenknöterich)

Infructescence of water avens, (Geum rivale, Bach-Nelkenwurz)

Western marsh orchid,(Dactylorhiza majalis, Breitblättriges Knabenkraut)

Marguerite meadow

Sooty Copper (Lycaena tityrus, Brauner Feuerfalter)

Oak spider (Aculepeira ceropegia, Eichblatt-Radpinne)

Meadow dominated by ragged robin (Kuckuck-Lichtnelke)

A wet meadow with cotton grass, robins and buttercups

A flat sandy hill somewhere in the valley is above the flood level
and it is therefore covered with dry grassland with two typical species:
Sorrel (Rumex acetosa, Sauerampfer), purple crown vetch (Securigera varia, Bunte Kronwicke)

May 25, 2018
First thunderstorms draw together above the Narew river valley.

May 25, 2018

Rainbow over a field with storks

Horses in the early mornig fog

The grass has grown considerably until the last days of May.

At the end of May the grass will be cut, a feast for the storks

The small roads lead me threw nice open landscape.





The forest in the south east of the Narew river valley is a section of the big Białowieża forest.
A few forest mires () are found between mostly dry areas.

wood anemones

A spruce killed by bark beetles


Wood sorrel on a fallen tree trunk

Cotton wool in a section of the forest with wet soil

Lilies of the valley are frequent in the forest.


The Villages

One of the nicest wooden houses of Soce is situated at the eastern entrance to the village. ()

The villages and the houses are very nice in autumn and in winter. I showed them in those seasons in the previous site of this homepage. However the decoration with flowers, fresh green everywhere and flowering fruit trees make their appearance spectacular.





This well preserved traditional house is situated in the village



This is a tiled stove as it can be found in the middle of many wooden houses in the kitchen.

I was allowed to photograph the process of bread baking in such a tiled stove.

The fire was lit in the oven.

Some 45 minutes later the loaf pans were placed between the smoldering ashes.

The loaves were taken out approximately one hour later.
The freshly-baked bread tasted great.

Stork nests are commen in all these villages. This one is greeting the visitor at the eastern entrance to Ciełuszki.



The main road of Soce is paved with cobblestone.



There is a draw well in almost every garden.

The draw well is used to water the animals.

In many gardes there are free-range chickens.




Sparrows live in the farms.



Horses are bred in some farms.



A large lime tree grows at the southern entry to the village Ciełuszki.
A farmer with his horse is just passing by.

Working with the horse in the field is rarely seen even in Podlasia.



A summer picture of Ciełuszki behind a branch of the river Narew.

There are many nice places and villages along the upper Narew River which wait to be discovered.
The last picture of this series shows the village Koźliki on the south bank of the Narew River at moonrise.
Come and see!