Krkonose National Park (Mountains of the Giants) This area of wooded mountains lies northeast of Prague on the Polish border and can be reached by driving on the E14 from the capital. There are chair lifts and numerous trails and paths, the best known of which is the ridge trail running from Harrachov to Snezha along the border. The park’s administrative centre is at Vrchlabi, which is a good base from which to explore the area. The forests are good for woodland birds; above the tree line, species such as Alpine accentors can be found. These little birds, about 7 inches (18 cm) long, have mottled brown plumage over a grey background. Though not notably colourful or exciting in their habits they are among the mountain birds that birdwatchers are especially keen to see.
This mountain range lies east of the Krkonose Mountains on the Polish border, and is reached by driving east to Hradec Kralove and then northeast to Jesenik or Sumperk. There are marked paths and a road climbs almost to the summit of the highest peak, Praded. The forest here is largely unspoilt – beech, pine or spruce according to elevation -and there are also upland lakes and extensive areas above the tree line.
New Castle Pond
Lying near Ceska Lipa, north of Prague, this is a pond and wetland reserve. To reach it, drive north via Melnik and explore the wetlands to the south of the city along the way. Black-headed gulls have a large breeding colony in the area. Also look for red-crested pochards, males of which have an orange head and red bill.
This series of ponds and surrounding wetlands lie close to the Austrian border southeast of Prague. Take the El5 out of the capital towards Brno. From here, head south to Mikulov and then take the road to Breclav; at Lednice explore the ponds to the southwest using minor roads. Look for herons, white storks and numerous warblers. Black kites are common and can be told by their dark plumage and forked tail, which is flexed in flight.
Trebon is at the heart of another wetland area almost due south of Prague, close to the border with Austria. To reach it drive south on the El4 via Tabor; the best areas of ponds lie between Veseli n Luz” and ‘Reboil either side of the road. Many of the ponds are used to rear carp; some are now reserves. Birds of prey, herons and storks thrive on the abundant freshwater life.