|Male White-backed Woodpecker Dendrocopos leucotos|
The highlight of the past week was the census of WHITE-BACKED WOODPECKER Dendrocopos leucotos
in the Kočevje forests in southern Slovenia. I only had one individual of my target species but the day proved very exciting because of some other encounters. While driving on a forest road I saw a WILDCAT Felis silvestris
running away from the road in the middle of the day. I stopped the car and ran out to have a look around, but despite the forest being really open and without much undergrowth, the cat was simply vanished in a few seconds. This was my second ever wildcat and the first in its main stronghold - the Dinaric forests. Below a picture of my previous encounter in 2013.
|Wildcat Felis silvestris|
As I was getting back to the car, I noticed a "woodpecker movement" in the canopies, looked up and saw a Middle Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopus medius
. It was actually the third Middle Spot of the day. I didn't expected they were so common and easy to get in the Kočevje forests.
|Middle Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos medius|
During my census I also had other species of woodpeckers, including Great Spotted D. major
, Lesser Spotted D. minor
, Grey-headed Picus canus
, Black Dryocopus martius
and Green Picus viridis
. March is a great time of year for woodpeckers because they are very vocal and territorial and easily observed through the canopies (the trees are still leave-less).
The same day I also had close daytime encounters with about 10 Red Deers Cervus elaphus
(including 2 males) and a Red Fox Vulpes vulpes
. Of the other birds the most interesting was the presence of both Short-toed Certhia brachydactyla
and Eurasian Treecreeper C. familiaris
and a good movement of Woodpigeons Columba palumbus
in various flocks.
|A forest-road sign in Kočevje - the kingdom of bears!|
As usual in this time of year, every new flower that sprouts is a little joy. In the photos you can see the newly emerged flowers of a typical Slovenian spring taken on different locations.
|Hacquetia epipactis with Scilla bifolia (on the left); Slovenian Karst.|
|Erythronium dens-canis (top one) with the first Anemone nemorosa of the year; Slovenian Karst.|
|Omphalodes verna - a typical flower of the Dinaric forests, giving the name to the association Omphalodo-Fagetum (Dinaric forest of beech and silver fir); Ljubljansko barje.|
|Euphorbia amygdaloides, Ljubljansko barje.|
|Leucojum vernum, Kočevje.|
|Punkish Middle Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos medius; Slovenian Karst.|