Early Marsh-orchid (Dactylorhiza incarnata)

Orchids and birding in Western Slovenia

It’s a long time that I’m in love with Slovenia: a very low population density (only 101.8/km2 ), a rich forestal cover, a clean and ordinated appearence, an amazing biodiversity with the presence of most of great European carnivores. I started more than 15 years ago to visit the Cerknica lake (“Cerknisko Jezero“) for birdwatching and I’ve never stop to go there regularly almost every year. This time I was particularly interested in orchids.

Around the lake the season was still behind, with just Early Marsh-orchid (Dactylorhiza incarnata), Green-winged Orchid (Anacamtis morio) and Military orchid (Orchis militaris). I’ve found also some other interesting flowers like Hacquetia epipactis, Summer Snowflake (Leucojum aestivum) or Pheasant’s Eye (Narcissus poeticus).

Birdwatching was great, with the observation of 1 Great Bittern (Botaurus stellaris), 1 White Stork (Ciconia ciconia), 1 very dark Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus), 1-2 Montagu’s Harriers (Circus pygargus), 150+ Red-footed Falcons (Falco vespertinus), 3-4 Corn Crakes (Crex crex), 1 Ural Owl (Strix uralensis), 1 Black Woodpecker (Dryocopus martius), 2 Grey-headed Woodpeckers (Picus canus), 2 Wrynecks (Jynx torquilla), some Ashy-headed Yellow Wagtails (Motacilla flava cinereocapilla), 3-4 Sedge Warblers (Acrocepalus schoenobaenus), 1 Icterine Warbler (Hippolais icterina), some Crested Tit (Lophophanes cristatus), 1 Common Bullfinch (Pyrrhula pyrrhula), 1 Hawfinch (Coccothraustes coccothraustes) and some Yellowhammers (Emberiza citrinella)

Also some other creatures were observed, including Roe Deer (Capreolus capreolus), Northern White-breasted Hedgehog (Erinaceus roumanicus), Slow Worm (Anguis fragilis), Common Toad (Bufo bufo), European Green Toad (Bufo viridis) and Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni).

On the way back to Italy, unfortunately under the rain, I stopped a couple of times on some very interesting meadows, where I found some more orchids: Three-toothed Orchid (Neotinea tridentata), Burnt Orchid (Neotinea ustulata) and Narrow-leaved Helleborine (Cephalanthera longifolia).

Luca Boscain

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