Sunday 1 September 2013

Early autumn on the Karst

The unmistakable silhouette of Mt. Nanos
It's been a calm couple of days with no particular "serious" birding being done. This afternoon and on Friday I visited the Glinščica valley (Val Rosandra) while accompanying a group of people. Not many birds were to be seen except 4 Blue Rock Thrushes, a few Wood Warblers in the trees, Alpine Swifts overhead, 1 Honey Buzzard and common woodland birds. White-clawed Crayfish (Austropotamobius pallipes) in the Glinščica stream were good to see though. 
Drypis spinosa ssp. jacquiniana - the most characteristic plant on limestone screes
Grasses on limestone scree in the Glinščica valley
White-clawed Crayfish Austropotamobium pallipes
Yesterday instead I went to look for Dotterels on mount Vremščica with a friend, but of course without success. A juvenile MONTAGU'S HARRIER was seen hunting over the grassy slopes and a few Wheatears and Whinchats were of note, along with this autumn's first Tree Pipits calling overhead. A juvenile Tawny Pipit and a family of Stonechats represented the local breeders. Also 2 Red-backed Shrikes, but not many around now. Spotted and Pied Flycatchers are common in wooded areas at the moment. Also the first migrating flocks of House Martins and Swallows are beginning to appear in the skies. Some parts of Vremščica's grassy slopes are now appearing purple-covered with flowering heather (Calluna vulgaris).

Local patch: a few days ago a Peregrine put on brief show when it appeared above the karstic ridge, mobbed by a female Sparrowhawk. The same day also 2 Honey Buzzards, Alpine Swifts, 2 Ravens, 1 female Golden Oriole, Nightingale, Swallows flying past and a good movement of migrant House Martins. Short-toed Treecreeper and Nuthatch now quite regularly heard from the house, while the sea holds a Med Gull or two.