Fauna of Brzeg

Brzeg is one of the richest towns in Lower Silesia in terms of vertebrates’ fauna. Brzeg’s characteristic feature is its large area of parks (aprox. 90 ha) and other green areas (aprox. 33 ha) where we can find around 150 species of trees and bushes not only of European origin but also coming from Asia and North America. Due to the large area of municipal parks as well as the existence of numerous old trees, animals widely regarded as the typically forest ones can be found here.

They include Stock Dove nesting in the hollows, Woodpeckers: Grey- headed, White, and Middle Spotted, Robin, Wood Warber, Chiffchaff, Goldcrest, Tits – Marsh and Coal, Tree-creeper. Other numerous species include: Wood Dove, Collared Pigeon, Blackbird, Blackcap, Chaffinch, Greenfinch and Serin. One can also see squirrels, hares, Stone Martens and Weasels, and since not long ago foxes. Bohemian Waxwings, Mistle Thrushes and Bullfinches can all be seen in Brzeg’s parks from the late autumn till the early spring.
The River Odra flowing through the town and the town moat as well as a few headings that are flooded make up favourable conditions for the animals related with water. In the town section of the river Mallards and Blackheaded Gull can easily be seen. The species that have been observed throughout the year also include Cormorant, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Tufted Duck, Goldeneye, Gooseander, Coot, and Common and Herring Gulls as well as Kingfisher.

Late spring and summer is the best time for watching a couple of marvellously coloured dragonfly species sitting on tall blades of grass growing on the River Odra banks.

From autumn till spring the River Odra in Brzeg is a place where Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Pochard and Moorhen can be spotted. Other animals that can be seen in the town’s section of the river include Muskrat and American Mink. Small fragments of flooded town moat are the habitat of some interesting amphibians such as Common Newt, and Green Toad. Mallars and domesticated Mute Swans are the water birds that are found here. The headings located in the southern part of the town are characterized by the diversity of nature.

We can find there a few species of dragonfly, and Red-eared Slider coming from North America that was incautiously released from the terrarium. The mammals seen in the headings include Muskrat, European Water Vole and American Mink. However, the most visible animal group in the headings are birds. Great Crested Grebe, Little Bittern, Mute Swan, Tufted Duck, Moorhen, as well as Great Reed Warber, Reed Warber, Penduline Tit all nest there.

During the time of spring and autumn migrations Red-necked Grebe, ducks-Wigeon, Gadwall, Garganey, Pintail, Ferruginosus Duck, Marsh Harier, Osprey, Water Rail can all be seen in the headings.

Another equally interesting environment is created by allotments – a home to Grey Toad, Syrian Woodpecker, Redstart and Hare. Old brick buildings are characterized by some specific fauna – they are a home to Kestrels, Barn Owls and Bats.

 

Flora of Brzeg
The broadleaved forests are the natural type of flora in the Brzeg area. The riparian forests of willow and poplar, and elm and ash could be found in the areas of river floodings. On the other hand, the areas situated higher and not reached by the River Odra floodings were grown over by broadleaved forests with the stands dominated by Oaks, Limes, Maples, and Hornbeams.

The natural fauna was devastated by the centuries long human activity. At present the riparian forests are preserved in a vestigial form by the River Odra while the stands of a broadleaved forest type can be found mainly in some parts of the Wolnosci Park.

In some fragments of the town moat one can find tree stands similar to the Alder forest with the domination of Black Alder and Ash riverine forest dominated by Ash. The vast majority of tree-covered areas in Brzeg are the tree formations considerably diverging from the natural riverine and broadleaved formations. Currently, in the town administrative limits 150 species of trees and bushes can be found. Besides the local species, the trees and bushes coming from another parts of Europe as well as from Asia and North America can be found here.

The parks take up approximately 81 ha, green areas about 12.5 ha, and the urban geenery 20 ha. In the town center there are three parks in the area of the moat – the Central Park (6 ha), the Park by the Moat (4.3 ha) and the River Odra Park (4.6 ha). The Ptasi Park (1.3 ha) is a small park situated between 1-Maja Street and the Westerplatte housing estate.

The largest of the parks – the Wolnosci Park (aprox. 65 ha) is situated in the south-western boundaries of the town and is a typical suburban forest. Apart from that in the western part of the town in the area of the so-called “Zielonka” – there is a several hectares’ Poplar monoculture.

The most interesting species growing in Brzeg include Chinese Redwood – an original coniferous tree that loses its needles for the winter period and Japanese Cranberry – a bush that now can be found only in the garden growing (nowadays no records of natural positions in Japan).

Among another interesting species there are the Katsura Tree, Indian Bean Tree, Chinese Catalpa, Yellow-Wood. Good habitat and climate conditions in the town area made some of the trees reach impressive size and some were qualified to be the natural features of historic importance. They include such species as Yew, Swamp Cypress, Pedunculate Oak, Common Beech, Plane Tree and Tulip Tree.

Marek Stajszczyk
Ecological Education Instructor
The Brzeg Culture Centre