Saturday 10 May 2014

Trnovski gozd: botano-gasm and ornitho-delights

Primula carniolica
Primula auricula
Pinguicula alpina
Gentiana clusii & Gentiana utriculosa
Erica carnea
Rhodothamnus chamaecistus
Exciting day spent in the Trnovo forest (Trnovski gozd) and its southern edge (Mt. Kucelj - 1237 m). The botany front was quite strong this time, but good birds were also always around the corner. From the above pics you can see that the most interesting plants were mainly Primula carniolica (a rare and endemic plant in Slovenia), Pinguicula alpina, Primula auricula, but also Paederota lutea, Gentiana clusii, Rhodothamnus chamaecistus, Primula veris and several others.
The highlight on the bird front was an unexpected THREE-TOED WOODPECKER that I found while taking pics of the primroses. I actually didn't even try to find one, it just appeared nearby while I was busy with the flowers. It showed on a spruce a few times and then began to drum and call.
Smrekova draga
Beech woodland
Mt. Kucelj (1237 m)
Also cool to see were two Golden Eagles being mobbed by a pair of Kestrels on the forest's southern slopes. A Black Kite passing several times above the top of mt. Kucelj was also of note. Otherwise pretty usual forest and upland birds like Cuckoo, Crossbill, Bullfinch, Grey-headed Woodpecker, Lesser Whitethroat, Northern Wheatear, Whinchat, Tree Pipit, Rock Bunting and Woodlark.
On the way out of the forest I also saved the life to an Aesculapian snake Zamenis longissimus (Elaphe longissima) crossing the main road.
Aesculapian snake Zamenis longissimus
Last highlight of the day were 2-3 LESSER GREY SHRIKES in the Vipava valley. Also this year they have returned to their usual breeding site. Good to see they're back.
Lesser Grey Shrike Lanius minor