The last week or so has been quite good weather and wildlife-wise.
I'll go through it describing the different locations I've been to. First of
all, let's start with the highlights!
Today I returned to the
location of the MIDDLE SPOTTED WOODPECKERS Dendrocopos medius
both birds were present (pair), but most importantly, I saw copulation
taking place. An undeniable sign of breeding!
Needless to say, the area
was as usual full of woodpeckers in breeding activity, song, drumming
ect. Also two Tawny Owls Strix aluco
were heard - a male in the afternoon and a female in the evening.
The woodland floor is getting really colorful and today the botany highlight was Erythronium dens-canis
- a common, but very nice-looking flower with up-twisted pinkish petals and green patchy leaves.
|Erythronium dens-canis, with Scilla bifolia in the first pic.|
more interesting, was the fact that in the evening I heard a female URAL OWL Strix
calling in the forest where I had two in October 2014. Since
then I returned to the place several times, but failed to contact the
birds. Today after I "sang" a male Ural Owl (an ability I'm quite proud
of), the female answered nearby, calling back at me for some minutes. It
was of course a very welcome answer as this means the Ural Owl is resident
in the area. And this is probably the only known pair on the Karst.
|Ural Owl Strix uralensis from Septermber 2014.|
I took part in the yearly Eagle Owl census organised by DOPPS on the
Karst in Slovenia. The beginning of March is the best time of the year to track down the
territories of these
birds, because the males are most vocal and pairs are in the process of
formation. The species has something like +100 pairs in Slovenia and is
considered a rare and potentially threatened bird. It is mostly confined
to large cliff areas or rocky slopes and it also found in some active
and abandoned quarries. The population's stronghold is on the Karst.
and my group were lucky enough as a singing male EAGLE OWL Bubo
flew a few metres above our heads and perched on the top of a pine
tree, some 10 metres away from us. The overall scene looked a bit like the photo
below (taken some years ago). The spectacle lasted for a few seconds
only, before the bird flew away.
|Eagle Owl Bubo bubo on top of a pine.|
Yesterday before the census I also checked the river Reka, near Škocjanske jame where a Dipper Cinclus cinclus
and Grey Wagtails Motacilla cinerea
were of note. The former is apparently nesting somewhere in the canyon. The riverbanks were full of colorful wildflowers.
|Dipper Cinclus cinclus on the Reka river.|
|Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea - male (note the black throat).|
|Scilla bifolia with Galanthus nivalis|
|Hepatica nobilis (left) and Corydalis solida (right)|
|Corydalis cava - note different shape of the leaves under the flowers.|
|Trio: Scilla bifolia, Gagea lutea, Galanthus nivalis|
During last week I also checked
with some friends a location for Eagle Owl near Trieste. On one occasion
we saw both birds sitting together: one on a rock, the other on a pine,
thus suggesting the pair is still there and probably doing well.
happy news of breeding comes from the Glinščica/Val Rosandra valley, on
the outskirts of Trieste, where a pair of Peregrines Falco peregrinus
has decided to nest in a limestone cliff. The first breeding for the
area in recent times was in 2008 and since then, the pair has bred
irregularly. Luckily the cliff where the nest is located is now closed
to rock-climbers and general public, until the end of June.
|Peregrine Falco peregrinus guarding the nest.|
|This picture of mine taken some years ago made the headlines today on the local newspaper of Trieste - adorning an article about the breeding of the Peregrine in Val Rosandra.|
|Potentilla tommasiniana - one of the typical wildflowers of the area of Trieste.|
|Raven Corvus corax on the nest.|
A cliff in the Peregrine's neighbourhood is also hosting a nest of Ravens Corvus corax
. Two Crag Martins
were also present nearby where I was there. Two individuals of the latter
were also seen around the cliffs of Monte Grisa, close to my home,
where the air is now filled with the smell of Euphorbia wulfenii
plant with a Balkanic distribution, found along the coastal cliffs
around Trieste. To add a bit of Mediterranean touch to the area, a
female Sardinian Warbler Sylvia melanocephala
was also present the other
|Euphorbia wulfenii and the Adriatic sea (Gulf of Trieste).|
|Polypodium australe - a fern of southern and western Europe; in this case, inhabiting south-facing limestone cliffs.|