Sunday 30 September 2018

Autumn birding in Štajerska

Osprey Pandion haliaetus
Large Copper Lycaena dispar (female)

This time a more concise post due to the lack of photos. In the past ten days we made two birding excursions to the Štajerska region in the north-east of Slovenia. On the first occasion we visited the Medvedce reservoir near Pragersko, the lake of Ptuj and the fishponds at Rače, while during the second trip (yesterday) we attended DOPPS's traditional bird race in the area of Ormož. Our team started quite late for the race, so wasn't too competitive (we arrived 6th), but in general, also due to the strong wind, birds were thin on the ground. However we managed to see a few interesting species in the form of two juvenile Little Crakes Porzana parva at the Ormož lagoons and the season's first Great Grey Shrike Lanius excubitor along a farmland road. Even more interesting was a pair of Large Coppers Lycaena dispar (male and female) at the Ormož lagoons - a quite common butterfly in these lowland wetlands, but rather scarce in western Slovenia.
During our previous visit, the most exciting encounter was a pair of Ospreys Pandion haliaetus fishing above the Medvedce reservoir, while supporting cast included Long-eared Owl Asio otus (1 at a traditional roost), Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca, Stock Dove Columba oenas (large flock in the fields), Black Tern Chlidonias niger, Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax (13 at Medvedce), White Stork Ciconia ciconia (on a nest in a local village), Hobby Falco subbuteo, Peregrine Falco peregrinus and a few of the last migrating Swallows Hirundo rustica.
While visiting these areas in northeastern Slovenia we always like to remember the most memorable birding day we've ever had in Slovenia - here's the old post from 2013 describing it - gives an idea about some of the species that can be seen on a good migration day in the Štajerska region.