Saturday 17 May 2014

Capercaillie on the Pokljuka plateau

Capercaillie Tetrao urogallus by Tomaž Velikonja
Capercaillie lekking habitat in Norway spruce Picea abies forest
I'm just back from a short birding trip to the Pokljuka plateau in the Triglav National Park (Slovenia). Today at dawn I visited a Capercaillie lek and was successful with one singing CAPERCAILLIE. It performed its song (only the initial part was audible) which was frequently interspersed with noisy wingbeats, from dawn until about 6.30. I didn't get to see the bird though, except for a glimpse of wingbeats in the conifers. Nevertheless it was a major success and it was one of those birds I really wanted to contact for a long time now. The above pics by Tomaž Velikonja are a great replacement for my "invisible" Capercaillie. They've been taken in the Trnovo forest, where only a few birds remain. In contrast, the Pokljuka plateau and the Alpine region of Slovenia holds good populations of the species. The site I visited is the lek for about 5 displaying males.
After the Capercaillie I had quite good views of a singing PYGMY OWL, which attracted the attention of a "cloud" of Chaffinches, tits, Treecreepers and Goldcrests. In the forest I also had the good variety of upland conifer birds like Nutcracker (1), Bullfinch, Siskin, Crossbill, Crested & Coal Tit and so on. Mammals included 2 Red Deer, 4 Roe Deer, 1 Brown Hare and 1 Red Squirrel.
Pygmy Owl Glaucidium passerinum - lovely as always!