Saturday 12 September 2020

Forests of Notranjska & Karst

Ural Owl Strix uralensis, Mt. Snežnik.
Three-toed Woodpecker Picoides tridactylus, Mt. Snežnik.
Forest reserve on Mt. Snežnik.
Brown Bear Ursus arctos was here, Mt. Snežnik.
Red Deer Cervus elaphus, Mt. Snežnik.
Brown Hare Lepus europaeus, Mt. Snežnik.
Common Toad Bufo bufo, Cerkniško jezero.
Apricot Jelly Guepinia helvelloides, Mt. Snežnik.
Earthstar Geastrum sp., Mt. Snežnik.
Beech Fagus sylvatica having a super productive season, Mt. Snežnik.
Fly Honeysuckle Lonicera xylosteum, Mt. Snežnik.
Gure, the extensive mountain pastures on Snežnik's SW slopes.
The temporary lake of Cerknica (Cerkniško jezero) is full of water once again.
Buckwheat Fagopyrum esculentum, Cerkniško jezero.
Whinchat Saxicola rubetra, Cerkniško jezero.
Red-backed Shrike Lanius collurio, Cerkniško jezero.

With Touty, checking the new hides at Cerkniško jezero.

Extensive dry limestone meadows on Mt. Vremščica.
Short-toed Eagle Circaetus gallicus, Mt. Vremščica.
The Nanos massif from Mt. Vremščica.
The plain of Senožeče (with Trnovski gozd in the distance) from Mt. Vremščica.
Liburnian Savory Satureja subspicata ssp. liburnica, Mt. Vremščica.
Austrian Gentian Gentianella austriaca, Mt. Vremščica.
Whitebeam Sorbus aria, Mt. Vremščica.
Rowan Sorbus aucuparia, Mt. Vremščica.
Crag Martin Ptyonoprogne rupestris, Sežana.
Hoopoe Upupa epops, Strunjan.


As summer fades into autumn we find ourselves more often in the forest, wandering the expanses of the Notranjska region on a regular basis. In a forest reserve on mount Snežnik we came across two pairs of Ural Owls Strix uralensis, of which only one male gave short but excellent views. In an old conifer stand we managed to track down a pair of stunning Three-toed Woodpeckers Picoides tridactylus, feeding together on the same trees. On two separate visits to the Snežnik-Javorniki forest complex we were very lucky with sightings of Brown Bear Ursus arctos: once we spotted a male yearling from a forest road in the late afternoon, while the second time we "flushed" two mid-sized individuals from a road in the evening. Both encounters were too brief to take any photos. The rutting season of Red Deer Cervus elaphus has just began and stags' calls echoe across the forests. Waiting darkness at a forest glade we also spotted a herd of hungry Wild Boars Sus scrofa. An afternoon visit to lake Cerknica in the company of Paul produced several waterbirds including Black Stork Ciconia nigra, Garganey Anas querquedula, Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola, Greenshank Tringa nebularia, Snipe Gallinago gallinago, Water Rail Rallus aquaticus, while other migrants included Bee-eaters Merops apiaster, Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus, Whinchat Saxicola rubetra and Red-backed Shrike Lanius collurio. An afternoon walk to the dry upland grasslands of mount Vremščica (near Divača) produced a hunting Short-toed Eagle Circaetus gallicus as well as a good migratory passage of Marsh Harriers Circus aeruginosus. Latest sightings from the Karst around Sežana include a singing Eagle Owl Bubo bubo heard from our house, Hobby Falco subbuteo on migration and an odd flock of Crag Martins Ptyonoprogne rupestris circling over the garden on a daily basis. Tree Pipits Anthus trivialis now seem to be everywhere. Sara also had a migrant Hoopoe Upupa epops at Strunjan recently - probably the last for the season.