|Some days ago, while looking for Three-toed Woodpeckers in the mixed forests of Javorniki mountains we stumbled upon this female White-backed Woodpecker Dendrocopos leucotos (ssp. lilfordi). We watched it for at least one hour during which it was observed repeatedly drumming and even excavating a nest-hole in a rotten beech Fagus sylvatica. From a distance we could also hear a second bird drumming...perhaps its mate? VIDEO (watch HD and listen out for the drumming). |
White-back is one of Slovenia's rarest breeding birds (estimated 100-150 pairs) and any nesting pair is potentially interesting. The species has a quite narrow ecological niche, being a broadleaved forest specialist, inhabiting only natural or semi-natural forests with large amounts of dead timber where it finds its main food (wood-boring beetle larvae). Thus it is nowadays rare over much of Europe.
|Habitat where the White-backed Woodpecker was found: a mixed Dinaric forest of beech Fagus sylvatica and silver fir Abies alba, with elements of Norway spruce Picea abies, on a steep hill (around 1000 above sea level) in the Javorniki mountains.|
|Fomes fomentarius - a common fungus in Slovenia's forests, usually found on beech Fagus sylvatica or other broadleaved trees.|
|Later on we were at last successful in our search as we found this stunning male Three-toed Woodpecker Picoides tridactylus (ssp. alpinus) feeding very close to the road on a dead silver fir Abies alba. As usual with this species, the bird proved very cooperative and allowed very close views, without any sign of fear. It even moved towards us a few times and wasn't even flushed by two passing cars. VIDEO. |
Three-toed Woodpecker inhabits mountain conifer and mixed forests with large amounts of dead or dying trees. It is an absolute conifer specialist and for feeding favours standing trees where wood-boring insects and its larvae are found.
|Mountain Dinaric forest of beech and silver fir (Abieti-Fagetum) - habitat of the Three-toed Woodpecker. In the Notranjska region the greenery is several weeks late in comparison to other, low-lying forests.|
|Omphalodes verna is a very common woodland flower in Dinaric forests and so important in this habitat that has also given the name to the forest association Omphalodo-Fagetum. To the left of it are the shiny leaves of Geranium nodosum.|
|A young silver fir Abies alba slowly making its way towards the light.|
|Hacquetia epipactis is a characteristic flower of early spring in Slovenian forests and woods.|
|Out of the forest - the village of Laze pri Gorenjem Jezeru by the lake Cerknica.|