Saturday 12 December 2015

Brown Bear in Trnovski gozd!

Brown Bear Ursus arctos (Kočevje, 2014).
A view on some conifer stands in the heart of Trnovski gozd, W Slovenia.
Black Woodpecker Dryocopus martius - female. Video here (the call can be heard).
Black Woodpecker's artwork on a (still living) Norway spruce Picea abies. The largest holes were interconnected, so the base of the trunk was completely hollow! These long, oval holes (especially when seen in conifers) are a characteristic sign of Black Woodpecker's feeding.

Another day in the Trnovo forest (Trnovski gozd) that will be long remembered in my memory. Bird-wise it was calm, but the walk through the forest was it was the day's ending. In the evening, while driving back home, a BROWN BEAR Ursus arctos materialised on the forest road about 50 metres in front of the car! It walked away slowly, on the slope above the road, where it hid in a dense stand of young conifers. We approached and from the car we could hear it moving through the forest (heavy steps on the leaf-covered floor). Then with the aim of my small torch, we spotted it again and watched it for some more minutes as it slowly moved away from us. When we lost it, we turned off the torch and followed its movements through the forest by listening to the noisy steps, until it was far in the distance. A few seconds later, a look at the night sky revealed a shooting star. But there was no need to make a wish!
Brown Bears are known to inhabit Trnovski gozd, but in smaller numbers than in southern Slovenia. Slovenia's population is divided by the main motorway connecting the coast to Ljubljana and represents a barrier for migrant large carnivores. North of the motorway, although there is suitable habitat, densities are much lower than in the south (for more info about the species in Slovenia check this site). Seeing a Bear in Trnovski gozd was a truly special experience for me. Surely one of the highlights this place has to offer.

As I mentioned before, during the day, we only had a few common forest species like Willow Poecie montanus and Crested Tits Lophophanes cristatus, Treecreeper Certhia familiaris, Black Woodpecker Dryocopus martius ect. The most interesting was a Tengmalm's Owl Aegolius funereus calling in the evening. But at the moment the birdlife in these upland forests is becoming pretty scarce due to the incoming winter period.

I'm glad to announce I have a new addition to my blog list - Birding Ljubljansko barje - a diary from a team of young birders, who concentrate on the Ljubljana marsh, on the outskirts of Slovenia's capital city. You also find the link on the Blog List bar to the right. Have a look!