The end of March and the very beginning of April is the climax period of blooming of F. meleagris, so this plant adds a touch of colour to the otherwise bleak, late-winter countryside.
Even on Ljubljansko barje, the species is not abundant everywhere, but it is becoming localised, mainly because of habitat loss. Marsh drainage and the heavy use of fertilizers are the two main causes of decline, to which the species is very sensible. So I was quite glad to see such nice numbers the other day.
|Quite abundant on some patches of wet meadow.|
But also on the bird front, my short visit was very productive. When I finished to take pictures of the flowers, I noticed a bird of prey in the sky. I immediately realised it was a RED KITE Milvus milvus. Two minutes later it landed on a tree, where another Red Kite was already sitting! They both sometimes took off, disturbed by Crows, but then always landed back to the same tree. It was almost sunset time, so the birds went probably to roost. I was happy with my 3rd Red Kite ever (or something), because these birds are far from common to see here. In general, between north-east Italy and Slovenia the species is a regular but scarce migrant, with only a couple of birds reported every year. It's one of those species never guaranteed on a trip and it was actually still considered a rarity, until recently. Below are two of the few shots I managed to get. In the second pic you can see both birds together: one in flight and one perched on the tree (also a Hoodie Corvus corone cornix in flight).
|Red Kite Milvus milvus|
Also worth reporting is my first HOUSE MARTIN Delichon urbicum of the year, flying over my house on the first day of spring - 21st March. No better day to see a hirundine!