Sunday 28 September 2014

Autumnal Karstlife

Black Woodpecker Dryocopus martius - male
Great Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos major - male
Hawfinch Coccothraustes coccothraustes
The first migrant Song Thrush Turdus philomelos
Hyssopus officinalis - a scarce plant on the Karst, but very abundant on a dry grassland in the Glinščica/Val Rosandra nature reserve. It is a medicinal plant with a lovely smell which attracts lots of insects...
...the grassland was buzzing with thousands of bees
Blue carpet
Also good for butterflies - a Swallowtail Papilio machaon
And good for crickets too
Sedum album
Amelanchier ovalis - usually blooming in May
Daphne alpina - another odd plant in flower now (usually blooming in April/May)
Asparagus tenuifolius with fruits
Praying Mantis Mantis religiosa on Allium senescens/montanum
Aster amellus
Salvia glutinosa found on the bottom of some fresh dolines
Beech Fagus sylvatica - on the Karst around Trieste only found as a planted tree from the 19th century - like the one above in Globoka dolina/Dolina degli Abeti.
Mt. Nanos from mt. Vremščiča
I've spent the last couple of days wandering the Karst (both Italy and Slovenia), mainly exploring new areas of woodland in search of good woodpecker habitat. No more luck with the Middle Spot, but I've had Black Woodpecker Dryocopus martius almost on a daily basis and Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers Dendrocopos minor seem to be doing well in many woodlands around the Karst (heard singing commonly). Not to mention the Great Spots Dendrocopos major that are "infesting" in some woodlands and Green Woodpeckers Picus viridis which are always common. Notable birds from this week included also: Tawny Owl Strix aluco (seen at a cave's entrance), Firecrest Regulus ignicapillus (good influx - now outnumbering Goldcrests R. regulus), Water Pipit Anthus spinoletta, Meadow Pipit Anthus pratensis, Tree Pipit Anthus trivialis, Crested Tit Lophophanes cristatus (common, also in the garden), Whinchat Saxicola rubetra, Stonechat Saxicola torquatus, Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe, Lesser Whitethroat Sylvia curruca (including one in the garden today), Hawfinch Coccothraustes coccothraustes (also overflies in the garden), House Martin Delichon urbicum (a few on passage), Swallow Hirundo rustica (last seen on Wednesday), Hobby Falco subbuteo, Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita, Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea (over the house), Coal Tit Periparus ater (small invasions; in the garden too), Crossbill Loxia curvirostra, Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata, Song Thrush Turdus philomelos (first migrants, today), Mistle Thrush Turdus viscivorus (forming autumn flocks of +30 birds), Rock Emberiza cia & Cirl Bunting E. cirlus and of course tons of Jays Garrulus glandarius (all carrying their lovely acorns).
Especially wonderful was the extensive flowering carpet of Hyssopus officinalis on mount Stena (Glinščica/Val Rosandra valley) this afternoon. Also still several species of common flowers having their last bloom before the winter... actually a sad time of year for botany lovers...