Sunday 23 August 2015

Late summer - Karst and Trnovski gozd

Eryngium amethystinum - a very attractive, late-summer flower, typical of the Karst, where it is quite common. It grows on dry and rocky grasslands, frequently also at the side of roads. The flowers start to develop from the middle of July, but initially they look greenish and colourless. As the summer progresses, they gradually acquire the bright blue colouring. E. alpinum (see here) is a closer relative.
Allium senescens (A. montanum), Slovenian Karst. One of the two typical autumn Allium species. Common on dry Karstic grasslands.
Satureja subspicata ssp. liburnica, Slovenian Karst. One of the two Satureja to be found on the Karst in autumn. This is usually the commoner species and has also a greater altitudinal range than S. montana.
Satureja montana (S. variegata), Slovenian Karst. The white-coloured Satureja which frequently grows nearby S. subspicata. Some intermediate forms (with pinkish flowers) are quite frequent.
Echinops ritro ssp. ruthenicus, southern edge of Trnovski gozd. An odd-looking plant which I've usually found just singly or in small numbers on the Karst. On the high-Karst plateaus like Trnovski gozd instead, it is very abundant in certain areas.
Satureja subspicata & Echinops ritro, southern edge of Trnovski gozd. A classic August scene.
Artemisia nitida in flower on the southern edge of Trnovski gozd. One of the rarest species of this genus in Slovenia. It is a southern-alpine species and most of the known localities in Slovenia are in the alpine mountain range.
Scabiosa graminifolia, southern edge of Trnovski gozd. As the name suggests the leaves are "grass-shaped" - a distinctive feature, thus easily told from other species of the genus Scabiosa. Another quite localised species in Slovenia, with most of its population between Čaven and Nanos.
Centaurea rupestris, southern edge of Trnovski gozd.
Allium sphaerocephalon, southern edge of Trnovski gozd.
Micromeria thymifolia, southern edge of Trnovski gozd. Strongly aromatic plant and closer relative of Satureja, Thymus and Origanum species.
Leontopodium alpinum - found scarcely around mount Kucelj on the southern edge of Trnovski gozd. From its main alpine stronghold it stretches also into the Dinaric mountains (Trnovski gozd, Snežnik, and over to the Balkans).
Carduus defloratus & Buphtalmum salicifolium, southern edge of Trnovski gozd. Two common species covering the dry grasslands of Kucelj from mid to late summer.
Gentiana lutea ssp. symphyandra, southern edge of Trnovski gozd.
Golden Eagle Aquila chrysaetos, southern edge of Trnovski gozd. Two individuals (the local pair?) were seen together.
Although it's late summer and most of the grasslands are now dry and bleak, on the Karst you can still find some late-summer species of flowers which brighten up the meadows. The first four species in the selection above are all typical of this period and are fairly common on the Karst.
The beginning of autumn is also announced by the presence of a good influx of small migrants. Birds like Garden Warbler Sylvia borin, Lesser and Common Whitethroat Sylvia curruca & S. communis, Pied Flycatcher Ficedula hypoleuca, Nightingale Luscinia megarhynchos and Whinchat Saxicola rubetra are common to see these days.
Recently I was also in Trnovski gozd (Trnovo forest), precisely on its southern edge, from where most of the other photos originate.