Friday 6 March 2015

Spring wake up

Helleborus niger (with Galanthus nivalis in the 2nd pic)

Middle Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos medius - a pair found holding territory and building the nest on the Karst.

Snowdrop Galanthus nivalis - symbol of spring

Nymphalis polychloros

Hepatica nobilis

Vanessa atalanta

Pulmonaria officinalis

Corylus avellana - male flowers
Crocus reticulatus
Crocus vernus ssp. albiflorus

Female Bullfinch Pyrrhula pyrrhula
Erythronium dens-canis - early sprout

Male Black Woodpecker Dryocopus martius

Spring is here. The woodlands are finally coming to life and the last few days have been really warm and sunny. Lots of butterflies around - especially Brimstone Gonepteryx rhamni & Large Tortoiseshell Nymphalis polychloros.
Out and about on the Slovenian Karst - woodpeckers everywhere and very vocal. The highlight was finding a pair of territorial MIDDLE SPOTTED WOODPECKERS Dendrocopos medius excavating a nesthole. Probably the first case of almost-confirmed breeding on the Karst. I'll need to re-check.
Also amazing to have a stream of +500 noisy Fieldfares Turdus pilaris & Redwings Turdus iliacus flying to roost above your head, while watching a flock of 14 CRANES Grus grus migrating above the Karst. These days are also full of migrants, especially geese, ducks and large waterbirds. From home I saw flocks of Pintails Anas acuta, Shelducks Tadorna tadorna (2nd record for the area) and Wigeon Anas penelope. And at sunset large skeins of waterbirds can be seen migrating north-eastwards to their breeding quarters. An exciting time of year really.

Yet, there are still lots of winter birds around. Yesterday I had a quick visit of Trboje and Zbilje lakes in northern Slovenia and saw the overwintering female LONG-TAILED DUCK Clangula hyemalis, as well as +10 smart Goosanders Mergus merganser, 12 Goldeneyes Bucephala clangula and large flocks of Tufted Ducks Aythya fuligula and Pochards Aythya ferina. A touch of spring was provided by the year's first Garganey Anas querquedula - a male.