Autumn in the Dolomiti Friulane

The Parco Naturale delle Dolomiti Friulane is one of the wildest and less populated areas of North-eastern Italy: are mountains that in many cases can exceed the 2,000 m, far from big cities, covered by vast forests and often protected by high cliffs or steep slopes from the mass tourism. To hike in the area can be very hard, with long distances and big differences in level, so you need to be well trained to reach the best preserved sides. A low human presence and impact allow Dolomiti Friulane to maintain a rich fauna, depite the difficulties to observe it.

In autumn the landscapes are breath-taking, with the mix of species of trees that acquire an innumerable variety of tones, from light green and yellow of larches (Larix decidua), to orange and red of beeches (Fagus sylvatica), to the dark green of spruces (Picea abies).

To hike at dawn or very early in the morning can allow to encounter the most secretive unhabitants of these mountains like the Eurasian Pygmy Owl (Glaucidium passerinum).

Eurasian Pygmy Owl (Glaucidium passerinum)
Eurasian Pygmy Owl (Glaucidium passerinum), October 2017

But also mammals are abundant in the area, including Roe Deer (Capreolus capreolus), Red Deer (Cervus elaphus), Alpine Chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra) and Red Squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris).

The most interesting encounter during my visit was an incredibly cute Yellow-necked Field Mouse (Apodemus flavicollis), active in daylight.

Birdwatching can be very productive in the are, with the presence of rare birds like Golden Eagle, Hazel Grouse and Capercaillie. I was maybe not so lucky observing: 1 Black Woodpecker (Dryocopus martius), 3 Alpine Choughs (Pyrrhocorax graculus), 1 Brambling (Fringilla montifringilla), 2 Hawfinches (Coccothraustes coccothraustes) and 1 Lesser Redpoll (Carduelis cabaret), plus commoner species like Great Spotted Woodpecker, Dunnock, Black Redstart, Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, Chiffchaff, Goldcrest, Long-tailed Tit, Marsh Tit, Crested Tit, Willow Tit, Coal Tit, Common Treecreeper, Nutcracker, Raven, Siskin, Bullfinch and Crossbill.

Luca Boscain

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