Wednesday 14 July 2021

Mount Rodica, Southern Julian Alps

In the past weekend it was again time to head to the mountains, but this time to the "true" Alps. As we didn't have a lot of time, we decided to make a one-day hike to mount Rodica (1966 m a.s.l.), in the so-called "Lower Bohinj Mountains" (Spodnje Bohinjske gore), the southernmost chain in the Julian Alps, still within Triglav National Park. In previous years we have already visited other mountains in this range, including the botanically-famous Črna prst (1844 m) and Vogel (1922 m), as well as the mighty Krn (2244 m, well to the west), but also the mountains east of Črna prst like Lajnar and Slatnik. Therefore a climb on Rodica was now in order. As the ascent from the "sunny part", from Primorska seemed rather boring, we decided to work the mountain from its northern slopes, from Bohinj. It was a good decision as the northern slopes were very rich in terms of alpine flower blooms, also because of the delayed flowering season. There was a nice variety of typical alpine flowers and we also found some interesting species we haven't seen before or that are either rare or endemic. On the bird front the major highlights were some Ring Ouzels Turdus torquatus, including a noisy family with fledged juveniles (and parents collecting food near the path), several Wheatears Oenanthe oenanthe, Water Pipits Anthus spinoletta, a single Alpine Accentor Prunella collaris and a flock of 16 Alpine Choughs Pyrrhocorax graculus greeting us on the top of Rodica. There were also some interesting butterflies, including several species of ringlets Erebia sp. quartering the stony meadows around the top, among which the commonest were Dewy Ringlets Erebia pandrose and the very dark Silky Ringlets Erebia gorge.

The photos, as usual, chronologically and altitudinally arranged. Enjoy!

Planina Suha (1385 m) on Rodica's northern feet.

Hairy Alpenrose Rhododendron hirsutum
Sternberg's Pink Dianthus sternbergii
Scheuchzer's Bellflower Campanula scheuchzeri
Short-spurred Fragrant Orchid Gymnadenia odoratissima
Dragonmouth Horminum pyrenaicum - a rare species distributed in the Bohinj-Tolmin ranges of the Julian Alps, usually growing abundantly on some alpine pastures. In Slovenia it reaches the south-eastern edge of its distribution.
Oak Eggar Lasiocampa quercus (female) resting on Dragonmouth.
Mountain Green-veined White Pieris bryoniae
View on Planina Suha and the Bohinj valley below.
Sub-Alpine meadow around 1700 m a.s.l.
Mountain Avens Dryas octopetala with model.
Mountain Avens covering most of the sub-Alpine meadows on the northern slopes.
Verticillate Lousewort Pedicularis verticillata
Alpine Kidney-vetch Anthyllis vulneraria subsp. alpestris
Dwarf Alpenrose Rhodothamnus chamaecistus
Leafless-stemmed Globularia Globularia nudicaulis
Hybrid Buttercup Ranunculus hybridus
Mountain Pine Pinus mugo belt around 1700 m a.s.l.
Northern face of Mala Rodica (1901 m).
The mountain pastures of Lepa Suha.
Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe - male.
Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe - female.
Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe - juvenile.
Water Pipit Anthus spinoletta
Rocky meadows around Rodica's summit.
Alpine Kidney-vetch Anthyllis vulneraria subsp. alpestris
Trumpet Gentian Gentiana clusii & Moss Campion Silene acaulis
Beaked Lousewort Pedicularis rostratocapitata
Fragrant Orchid Gymnadenia conopsea
Shaggy Rock Jasmine Androsace villosa
Alpine meadow mix: Hieracium villosum, Leontopodium alpinum, Phyteuma sieberi, Saussurea pygmea.
Dwarf Saussurea Saussurea pygmea
Edelweiss Leontopodium alpinum & Dwarf Saussurea Saussurea pygmea
Edelweiss Leontopodium alpinum
Sieber's Rampion Phyteuma sieberi
Eastern Cinquefoil Potentilla clusiana
Triglav Gentian Gentiana terglouensis - a species of high-altitude rocky meadows, named by Balthasar Hacquet after mount Triglav (Slovenia's highest mountain), where he collected the first specimen.
Red Vanilla Orchid Nigritella miniata
Mountain Thrift Armeria alpina
View SW to Kneške Ravne and the mountains around Tolmin.
View south to the Bača valley, with the small villages of Grant and Rut.
Rocky slopes around Rodica's summit.
Close to the summit.
Alpine Chough Pyrrhocorax graculus - a flock of 16 was making us company, while waiting for scraps on the top of Rodica.
Steep southern slopes of the Rodica mountain range.
The crest extending from Rodica, eastwards, in the direction of Črna prst.
Views from Rodica westwards, following the "Lower Bohinj Mountains".
Mt. Šija (1800 m) with its distinctive limestone "slide".
Mt. Vogel (1922 m) - see post.
Northern slopes of Rodica.
Rodica and Lepa Suha pastures.
Dewy Ringlet Erebia pandrose - the commonest butterfly around the top of Rodica.
Silky Ringlet Erebia gorge (female above, male below).
Dolomite Saxifrage Saxifraga squarrosa showing an amazing root system, resembling a tree.
Wulfen's Primrose Primula wulfeniana - an endemic species of the Carnic, Karawanken and Julian Alps, named after F. X von Wulfen. A plant we haven't seen before (surprisingly), due to its early spring blooming.
Alpine Snowbell Soldanella alpina
Least Snowbell Soldanella minima
Ring Ouzel Turdus torquatus - male.
Ring Ouzel Turdus torquatus - juvenile.
Ring Ouzel Turdus torquatus - female.
Mt. Triglav, Slovenia's highest peak, emerging from the clouds after a rain shower.
Unpredictable mountain weather: sun on the summit & pouring rain in the forest.