|Ortolan Bunting Emberiza hortulana (male)|
In the last two days I had some really top quality birding on the Slovenian Karst. Yesterday was Ortolan Bunting day on Kraški rob, where the only remaining vital population for Slovenia remains. I was there with a small group of ornithologists and ringers to start a study on the species. At least 5 ORTOLAN BUNTINGS
were holding territories. We enjoyed the buntings for most of the morning, while trying to catch them for colour-ringing. But unfortunately none of them was successfully lured into the mist nets. Instead we managed to catch a female WOODCHAT SHRIKE
which was present on the karstic grassland for most of the day.
|Woodchat Shrike Lanius senator - still unringed...|
|...and later in the hand!|
Along with the very abundant Red-backed Shrikes we completed a shrike-trio with a superb male LESSER GREY SHRIKE
|Lesser Grey Shrike Lanius minor|
During the day we had a good entertainment with the shrikes plus with a local pair of Golden Eagles
, nesting in a cliff. Male and female were frequently seen on the nest, as well as in the air performing displays above the cliffs.
|Male Golden Eagle Aquila chrysaetos sitting on a pine, overwatching the nest|
The most abundant birds on the grasslands were Red-backed Shrikes, Woodlarks, Skylarks and Corn Buntings. Several Northern Bobwhites
were also present, advertising their territories all day long. The species has been introduced here as a game species for hunters.
Other birds recorded during the day included: Hoopoe
(+5), Cuckoo (+6), Cirl Bunting, Linnet, Hobby
(1 mobbing the Golden Eagle), Marsh Harrier (1 f), Hawfinch, Golden Oriole
, Alpine Swift, Raven, Tawny Pipit
(2), Northern Wheatear (1).
In the evening we rounded up with a chorus of singing Nightjars
(+3) and a Scops Owl.
On Monday instead I was out and about in search of BARRED WARBLERS
. Without too much effort I found 2 singing males - one of which showed really well on some hawthorn bushes by a local road (viewed from the car!). The same day I also heard my first singing Quail
of the year, Wryneck, Hoopoe, Black Woodpecker, Yellowhammer and the first Melodious Warbler
|Barred Warbler Sylvia nisoria (male)|