Friday 18 April 2014

Three-toed Woodpecker

Three-toed Woodpecker Picoides tridactylus
Most of today's morning was spent in the extensive conifer forests of Mt. Snežnik plateau. I was successful with no less than 4 territorial THREE-TOED WOODPECKERS. The first sound I heard when I arrived on site was a drumming I could no identify for sure. Later I realised it was a Three-toed. Two of the four individuals heard drumming were also seen...really well I must say. They were quite tame and kept feeding for several minutes on the dead spruces above my head. Interesting to note that the most favourite drumming posts were the spruces broken by the ice this past winter. They sound quite differently from the dead and decaying ones.
The above photos are a documentation attempt, as always. Too much adrenaline to take proper pics.
Of the woodpeckers I also had a singing Grey-headed and a male Black Woodpecker (seen hammering a dead spruce).
Other birds in the forest were mainly the usual species like Bullfinch (3), Crested & Coal Tit, Goldcrest, Eurasian Treecreeper, Dunnock, Wren, Woodpigeon, Siskin. Also at least 3 singing Cuckoos.
Next on the plan was a quick round visit of Cerkniško jezero (Cerknica lake) which to my amazement was quite lively. The White Storks have returned on their nests in the village of Martinjak and one bird was also seen feeding on a wet meadow. The large water bodies were full of wildfowl, mostly Garganey (+120), Shoveler, Teal, Mallard, Wigeon (7), Pintail (5), Gadwall (3) and Ferruginous Duck (5). The highlight here was hearing a booming BITTERN, while watching a summer-plumaged RED-NECKED GREBE - a speciality of the lake (the only breeding site of the species in Slovenia). Other interesting birds included: Fieldfare (3), Wryneck (2), Yellow Wagtail, Marsh Harrier (1), Black-winged Stilt (8), Curlew (2) and some courting Great Crested Grebes.
The last stop of the day was at Planinsko polje, where I was surprised and thrilled to see an adult WHITE-TAILED EAGLE taking off from the fields. In peaceful flight it then flew south-west towards Postojna. Also here the local pair of White Storks was on the nest. A singing Tree Pipit was a new bird of the season for me and in the orchards there were several Corn Buntings, Yellowhammers and another Wryneck.
Omphalodes verna
Red-necked Grebe Podiceps grisegena
White Stork Ciconia ciconia