Monday 24 November 2014

Snežnik delights

Ural Owl Strix uralensis
Spending Sundays in the Dinaric forests seems the best way to enjoy the autumn season while it lasts (before the arrival of snow). Yesterday, after two weeks, I was roving again around the Snežnik plateau with some friends. Despite the clear weather and bright sunshine we decided to stay in the forest and try to find some forest specialties. As almost usual in these places, several species appeared in front of us "as if by magic". In the morning I stopped the car almost randomly in a coniferous forest and after a small walk around we found at least 3 different female THREE-TOED WOODPECKERS Picoides tridactylus, feeding quietly on dead spruces. They all allowed very close views and didn't really care the presence of 4 people under their feeding tree. Three-toed is probably one of the most confiding birds I know.
This is how a Three-toed Woodpecker looks like from below, if you're hugging the tree where it's feeding.
Three-toed Woodpecker Picoides tridactylus - female
A Black Woodpecker Dryocopus martius was also nearby, sometimes flushing the Three-toeds away when landing on their feeding trees.
Later in the morning we spotted a URAL OWL Strix uralensis which was hunting by a forest road. A bit of patience produced about half and hour of great views, mostly from the car.
Ural Owl Strix uralensis
The third lucky stop was in the afternoon, in a pure beech forest, where we first heard and then also saw a female WHITE-BACKED WOODPECKER Dendrocopos leucotos. I have now seen more White-backs in a year, than ever before in my life!
White-backed Woodpecker Dendrocopos leucotos - female
On the woodpecker list of the day goes also a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos minor, heard at the edge of the forests, earlier in the day. Otherwise we didn't see or heard many other species of birds. The forest is getting very quiet now. A few tit species, Treecreepers Certhia familiaris and Siskins Carduelis spinus were present as usual. Mammals were represented only by two Red Deers Cervus elaphus.
All in all another excellent day in the kingdom of forests.