We spent the past weekend once again in the Notranjska and Kočevska forests of southern Slovenia, this time with some very special guests. A group of BBC Wildlife Magazine readers, escorted by one of the magazine's writers and our team, visited Slovenia, on a tour organised by Wildlife Worldwide with the cooperation of slovenianbears.com. We stayed as usual at the Mlakar guesthouse in Loška dolina, that also organised 3 sessions of Bear-watching from its purpose-built hides. Apart from several different Brown Bears Ursus arctos (up to 5 in one afternoon!), the participants could also enjoy great views of Ural Owl Strix uralensis, Three-toed Woodpecker Picoides tridactylus, Black Stork Ciconia nigra and a wide variety of birds in the wetland habitats of lake Cerknica, including Common Rosefinch Carpodacus erythrynus and Corncrake Crex crex. Among the most interesting mammals we managed to observe also: Pine Marten Martes martes, Red Squirrel Sciurus vulgaris & Red Deer Cervus elaphus. Enjoy the pics!
Brown Bear Ursus arctos - a total of 9 Bears was observed during the weekend, including 5 different individuals in one single afternoon (those in the above photos - all from the same hide).
Three-toed Woodpecker Picoides tridactylus - we found an occupied nest in the Javorniki mountains, with the female still incubating the eggs.
Ural Owl Strix uralensis - two birds were observed in the forests of Loška dolina.
Black Stork Ciconia nigra - one of two birds seen on a daily basis at lake Cerknica.
White Stork Ciconia ciconia - the nest at Gorenje Jezero had 5 chicks in it!
Cuckoo Cuculus canorus - a showy bird in front of the bear-hides.
Illyric Gladiolus Gladiolus illyricus - on the wet meadows of lake Cerknica.
Bog Orchid Anacamptis palustris - on the wet meadows of lake Cerknica.
Bird's-nest Orchid Neottia nidus-avis - very common in the Dinaric forests.
Meanwhile, in a beech forest in the Karst near Sežana, a pair of Black Woodpeckers Dryocopus martius is at the very end of its nesting cycle. Several days ago we could confirm the presence of 3 chicks in a nest. These were fed by the male, approximately once every hour and could be observed from a safe distance. More photos & videos of this interesting bird in the next posts...
Black Woodpecker Dryocopus martius
(video also available on Youtube).