|Helleborus niger (with Galanthus nivalis in the 2nd pic)|
|Middle Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos medius - a pair found holding territory and building the nest on the Karst.|
|Snowdrop Galanthus nivalis - symbol of spring|
|Corylus avellana - male flowers|
|Crocus vernus ssp. albiflorus|
|Female Bullfinch Pyrrhula pyrrhula|
|Erythronium dens-canis - early sprout|
|Male Black Woodpecker Dryocopus martius|
Spring is here. The woodlands are finally coming to life and the last few days have been really warm and sunny. Lots of butterflies around - especially Brimstone Gonepteryx rhamni & Large Tortoiseshell Nymphalis polychloros.
Out and about on the Slovenian Karst - woodpeckers everywhere and very vocal. The highlight was finding a pair of territorial MIDDLE SPOTTED WOODPECKERS Dendrocopos medius excavating a nesthole. Probably the first case of almost-confirmed breeding on the Karst. I'll need to re-check.
Also amazing to have a stream of +500 noisy Fieldfares Turdus pilaris & Redwings Turdus iliacus flying to roost above your head, while watching a flock of 14 CRANES Grus grus migrating above the Karst. These days are also full of migrants, especially geese, ducks and large waterbirds. From home I saw flocks of Pintails Anas acuta, Shelducks Tadorna tadorna (2nd record for the area) and Wigeon Anas penelope. And at sunset large skeins of waterbirds can be seen migrating north-eastwards to their breeding quarters. An exciting time of year really.
Yet, there are still lots of winter birds around. Yesterday I had a quick visit of Trboje and Zbilje lakes in northern Slovenia and saw the overwintering female LONG-TAILED DUCK Clangula hyemalis, as well as +10 smart Goosanders Mergus merganser, 12 Goldeneyes Bucephala clangula and large flocks of Tufted Ducks Aythya fuligula and Pochards Aythya ferina. A touch of spring was provided by the year's first Garganey Anas querquedula - a male.