Tuesday 29 May 2018

Brown Bear weekend with BBC Wildlife Magazine

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.

Purple-edged Copper Lycaena hippothoe (female) - in a meadow at lake Cerknica.

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).