Saturday 8 March 2014

Eagle Owl census on the Karst

Eagle Owl plate at the Škocjan caves
Cliff birds of the Škocjan caves
Velika Dolina (karstic sinkhole) with the river Reka on the bottom
Potentilla tommasiniana
Yesterday I attended the traditional, yearly Eagle Owl census on the Karst, organised by DOPPS - BirdLife Slovenia. With a couple of friends we checked a census point which was unfortunately owl-less, although we had some Grey Herons migrating overhead. Nevertheless a good sunny day spent roving around the Slovenian Karst. Some birding earlier in the day produced a Great Grey Shrike, 3 Lapwings on migration and a Peregrine (with prey) at the airfield of Divača, plus another Peregrine later at Škocjanske jame (Škocjan caves). Also commoner birds like Woodlark, Raven, Rock Bunting, Green Woodpecker were seen. More interesting was the botany front with Bear's Ear (Primula auricula) seen in flower at two of the known locations on the Karst (see this post) - one is the massive sinkhole Velika dolina at the Škocjan caves. Also good to see the first flowering Potentilla tommasiniana (karstic endemism) and the first early sprouts of Pulsatilla montana.
The day was rounded up with a singing Tawny Owl in the evening.