Wednesday 3 July 2024

Spring season review

Hello again on this blog! Due to a complete lack of time to post on a regular basis, here is (at least) a review of the exciting field season we had this year (February-June). As you will see, we still like to keep it very local: most of the sites mentioned in this blog are all within an hour drive from home, but usually much closer. Most of the bird counts carried out this year were in the Karst and at Škocjanski zatok NR, plus a few visits to the Dinaric forests of Snežnik (where among others, we had some pretty close encounter with a Brown Bear and a pair of copulating Pygmy Owls!). The photos below are, as usual, arranged in a chronological order and (probably) feature the usual wildlife you see from us every year. But we don't really care, because we like it so much! ;-) Enjoy.

Middle Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocoptes medius, Karst, February. Like every season, this was one of our target research species in the early part of spring.
Triglavca cave in the Karst near Divača, February. A magical place we visit on a regular basis.
Mums censusing Eagle Owls, while dads stay at home with their babies, Karst, March.
Eagle Owl Bubo bubo incubating the eggs on the Karst edge (Kraški rob), March.
Bear's-ear Primula auricula, Škocjanske jame, March.
March evening on the limestone cliffs of a collapse dolina in the Karst.
Dog's-tooth Violet Erythronium dens-canis, Karst around Divača, March.
Hacquetia Hacquetia epipactis, Karst around Divača, March.
Spring Heath Erica carnea, flysch hills at the edge of the Karst, March.
Black Woodpecker Dryocopus martius going to roost, flysch hills at the edge of the Karst, March.
Golden Eagle Aquila chrysaetos above the Karst near Komen, March.
Orange Tip Anthocharis cardamines, Karst, March.
Southern Festoon Zerynthia polyxena, Karst, March.
Early spring present from the mother forest - Red Deer's antler, Karst, March.
A train of Short-toed Eagles Circaetus gallicus, Karst around Divača, April.
Short-toed Eagle Circaetus gallicus, Karst around Divača, April.
Mountain Pasqueflower Pulsatilla montana, Karst around Divača, April.
Trieste's Spring Gentian Gentiana verna subsp. tergestina, Karst, April.
Pale-flowered Orchid Orchis pallens, Karst around Divača, April.
Three-toed Woodpecker Picoides tridactylus, Snežnik plateau, April. VIDEO.
Food exchange between male & female Pygmy Owl Glaucidium passerinum, Snežnik plateau, April. Minutes earlier we also witnessed copulation and several other prey-exchanges from a very close distance.
Pygmy Owl Glaucidium passerinum, Snežnik plateau, April.
Ural Owl Strix uralensis, Snežnik plateau, April.
Footprint of Brown Bear Ursus arctos, Snežnik plateau, April.
Blue-eyed Mary Omphalodes verna, Snežnik plateau, April.
Birding in a mature oak stand in the Karst around Divača, April.
Black Woodpecker Dryocopus martius, Karst around Divača, April.
Ramsons/Wild Garlic Allium ursinum in a dolina near Divača, April.
Cave on the bottom of a dolina in the Karst around Divača, April.
Hoopoe Upupa epops, Karst, April.
Poet's Narcissus Narcissus poeticus subsp. radiiflorus, Karst, April.
Spring arrives to the Brkini hills, April.
Velika Dolina sinkhole with the river Reka at Škocjanske jame regional park, April.
New field outfit for rainy days (when not working), Škocjanske jame, April.
Fully equipped to combine birding with a family excursion, Cerkniško jezero, April. We just keep on adding weight on the back...
Otter Lutra lutra resting on a patch of reeds at Cerkniško jezero, April.
Spring colours on the slopes of Javorniki above Cerkniško jezero, April.
Skylark Alauda arvensis, Karst edge (Kraški rob), April.
Rock Thrush Monticola saxatilis (female), Karst edge (Kraški rob), April.
Alpine Mezereon Daphne alpina, Risnik collapse dolina, Karst, April.
Searching for Middle Spotted Woodpecker's nests in the Karst around Divača, May.
Middle Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocoptes medius, Karst around Divača, April. One of species' three nests we found this year. This one was only 15 minutes walk from home.
Common Peony Paeonia officinalis, Karst around Divača, May.
Lily of the valley Convallaria majalis, Karst around Divača, May.
Narrow-leaved Helleborine Cephalanthera longifolia & Common Peony Paeonia officinalis, Karst around Divača, May.
Grass-leaved Iris Iris graminea, Karst around Divača, May.
Monkey Orchid Orchis simia, Karst around Divača, May. Once very rare but now increasingly present in the Karst.
Brown Bear Ursus arctos (young female, spotted from the car), Snežnik plateau, May.
Lilford's White-backed Woodpecker Dendrocopos leucotos ssp. lilfordi, Snežnik plateau, May.
Ural Owl Strix uralensis, Snežnik plateau, May.
Forest bird transect census in the Karst, May. My favourite transect of all!
Collared Flycatcher Ficedula albicollis, flysch hills at the edge of the Karst, May. Rare but annual species in this area of SW Slovenia.
Beech Longhorn Beetle Morimus funereus, Karst, May.
The first fresh leaves of Beech Fagus sylvatica are something amazing (Snežnik plateau, May).
Ural Owl Strix uralensis, Snežnik plateau, May.
Three-toed Woodpecker Picoides tridactylus, Snežnik plateau, May.
Grey-headed Woodpecker Picus canus (male) peeking from the nest hole, Snežnik plateau, May.
Mountain beech forest with a carpet of Wild Garlic Allium ursinum in the Javorniki mountains, May.
Cuckoo Cuculus canorus, Karst around Divača, May. This year we also saw two brown/red-morph females (quite rare in Slovenia).
Another one of our local caves on the bottom of a dolina, in the Karst around Divača.
Red-backed Shrike Lanius collurio, Karst around Divača, May.
Hoopoe Upupa epops, Karst around Divača, May.
Dorcadion arenarium, mt. Vremščica, May. A rapidly declining Cerambycid, in Slovenia only found on dry limestone grasslands in the Karst.
Turtle Dove Streptopelia turtur, Karst near Komen, May.
Wild Asparagus Asparagus acutifolius - the joy of spring bird censuses in the Karst, May.
One of the few "lowland" Carniolan Lilies Lilium carniolicum near Divača, May.
Loose-flowered Orchid Anacamptis laxiflora, Karst edge (Kraški rob), May.
Botanising at Pivka seasonal lakes (Pivška presihajoča jezera), May.
Barred Warbler Sylvia nisoria, Pivka seasonal lakes, May.
Solitary Clematis Clematis integrifolia, Pivka seasonal lakes, May. A very rare plant of wet meadows in Slovenia.
Fly Orchid Ophrys insectifera, Karst around Divača, May.
Dry limestone grasslands with White Asphodel Asphodelus albus, Snežnik plateau, June.
The endemic Kojnik's Iris Iris sibirica subsp. erirrhiza, Snežnik plateau, June.
Lady's-slipper Orchid Cypripedium calceolus, Snežnik plateau, June. The only known site in S Slovenia with cca. 15 flowering plants.
Adriatic Lizard Orchid Himantoglossum adriaticum, Karst around Divača, June. Very rare in the Karst until a decade ago, now found almost everywhere along roadsides.
European Green Lizard Lacerta viridis, Karst around Divača, June.
Marsh Fritillary Euphydryas aurinia, Karst around Divača, May.
Fragrant Orchid Gymnadenia conopsea, Karst, May.
Bee Orchid Ophrys apifera & yellow rattle Rhinanthus sp., Karst near Divača, May.
Dry limestone grassland covered with Freyn's Yellow Rattle Rhinanthus freynii, Karst, May. Plenty of spring rain meant yellow rattle was amazingly abundant and lush this year.
Dittany Dictamnus albus, Karst, May.
Dropwort Filipendula vulgaris & Freyn's Yellow Rattle Rhinanthus freynii, Karst, May.
Corn Bunting Emberiza calandra, Karst, May.
Roe Deer Capreolus capreolus, Karst around Divača, May.
Pygmy Cormorant Microcarbo pygmaeus sitting on the nest, Škocjanski zatok NR, May. The first breeding of the species in Slovenia, discovered from my office window!
Kentish Plover Charadrius alexandrinus, Škocjanski zatok NR, May.
Common Tern Sterna hirundo (with Kentish Plovers), Škocjanski zatok NR, May. A record number of 139 breeding pairs of Common & 26 pairs of Little Tern at the reserve this year.
Little Tern Sternula albifrons, Škocjanski zatok NR, June.
Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus nest during a nest count, Škocjanski zatok NR, May.
Little Bittern Ixobrychus minutus (male & female), Škocjanski zatok NR, June.
Shelduck Tadorna tadorna, Škocjanski zatok NR, June. First confirmed breeding for the site and only one of three nesting localities in Slovenia.
Woodlark Lullula arborea (fresh juvenile), Karst around Divača, June.
Yellowhammer Emberiza citrinella, Karst around Divača, June.
Cirl Bunting Emberiza cirlus, Karst around Divača, June.
European Smoke Bush Cotinus coggygria in flower, Karst around Divača, June.
Chrysopogon gryllus, Karst, June. One of the basic builders of dry limestone grasslands in the Karst.
Carniolan Burnet Zygaena carniolica, Karst around Divača, June.
Twin-spot Fritillary Brenthis hecate, Karst around Divača, June.
Carniolan Lily Lilium carniolicum ("classical" & yellow form), mt. Vremščica, June.
Illyrian Gladiolus Gladiolus illyricus, mt. Vremščica, June.
Fragrant Orchid Gymnadenia conopsea, mt. Vremščica, June.
Clouded Apollo Parnassius mnemosyne, mt. Vremščica, June.
Skylark Alauda arvensis, mt. Vremščica, June.
Footprint of Brown Bear Ursus arctos, mt. Vremščica, June.
Golden Oriole Oriolus oriolus (male & female/1st winter), Karst around Divača, June.
Orange Lily Lilium bulbiferum, Karst around Divača, June.
Goat's Beard Aruncus dioicus, Karst around Divača, June. More of a mountain species in Slovenia, in the Karst found only in the coldest spots (like a cave entrance in this case).
Yellow Foxglove Digitalis grandiflora, Karst around Divača, June.
River Reka in the Mala Dolina within Škocjanske jame cave system, June.
Cirl Bunting Emberiza cirlus, Karst around Divača, June.
Melodious Warbler Hippolais polyglotta, Karst around Divača, June.
Red-backed Shrike Lanius collurio, Karst edge (Kraški rob), June.
Rock Bunting Emberiza cia, Karst edge (Kraški rob), June.
Turtle Dove Streptopelia turtur, Karst edge (Kraški rob), June.
Hoopoe Upupa epops in the middle of the village of Črnotiče, June.
Roe Deer Capreolus capreolus, Karst edge (Kraški rob), June.
Lesser Spotted Fritillary Melitaea trivia, Karst edge (Kraški rob), June.
Dry limestone grasslands above the Karst edge (Kraški rob) in mid June.
Rock Knapweed Centaurea rupestris, Karst edge (Kraški rob), June.
Aberrant High Brown Fritillary Argynnis adippe, mt. Vremščica, June.
Geranium Argus Aricia eumedon, mt. Vremščica, June.
Chestnut Heath Coenonympha glycerion, mt. Vremščica, June.
Great Yellow Gentian Gentiana lutea subsp. symphyandra, mt. Vremščica, June.
In a sea of Dropwort Filipendula vulgaris on mt. Vremščica in late June.
Species-rich dry grasslands on mount Vremščica in late June.
Nightjar Caprimulgus europaeus, Karst around Divača, June.
Owlfly Libelloides macaronius, Karst, June.
Short-toed Eagle Circaetus gallicus, Karst, June. Chick on the nest, found on the last working day before summer vacation - now we can really relax!