BIRDING & WILDLIFE WATCHING 
IN SLOVENIA & NORTHEAST ITALY 
LOCAL GUIDING TO SEE THE AREA'S SPECIALTIES

Contact: stanicdomen@gmail.com



BIODIVERSITY HOTSPOT
The north Adriatic region comprises an extremely biodiversity-rich area where Italy, Slovenia and Croatia meet. The Mediterranean sea gives way to rocky limestone plateaus, rich of dry & wet meadows and extensive wild forests. Just 100 km away from the sea, the landscape changes completely with the Alps rising high up to 2800 meters a.s.l.. All this landscape diversity in a relatively small area makes this one of the most nature-diverse regions in Europe.
Here follows a short presentation for each of the most interesting habitats and wildlife that one can see in the treated area: Slovenia, Friuli Venezia Giulia region (Northeast Italy) & Istria (Croatia).


LIMESTONE CLIFFS
Limestone cliffs are a typical feature of the Karst, stretching between the Trieste area (in north-east Italy) and central Slovenia. A whole variety of interesting bird species can be observed in this habitat: Wallcreeper Tichodroma muraria (especially in winter), Eagle Owl Bubo bubo, Rock Thrush Monticola saxatilis, Blue Rock Thrush Monticola solitarius, Rock Bunting Emberiza cia, Alpine Swift Apus melba and Golden Eagle Aquila chrysaetos. Moreover this habitat is rich with reptiles, for example: Dalmatian Algyroides Algyroides nigropunctatus and Nose-horned Viper Vipera ammodytes.



FORESTS
Slovenia is the third most forested country in Europe, after Sweden and Finland. Thus, large parts of the country are covered in extensive forest that stretch into Croatia as well. All three big predators species are present in Slovenia: Brown Bear Ursus arctos (the commonest of the three), Wolf Canis lupus & Lynx Lynx lynx. Dinaric forests in the south and west of the country are particularly rich with birdlife. Ural Owl Strix uralensis is in many areas the commonest owl, while rarer species include Pygmy Owl Glaucidium passerinum & Tengmalm's Owl Aegolius funereus. Woodpeckers are well represented in Slovenia with 9 species. The most interesting are Three-toed Woodpecker Picoides tridactylus (ssp. alpinus), White-backed Woodpecker Dendrocopos leucotos (ssp. lilfordi), Middle Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos medius, Grey-headed Woodpecker Picus canus and Black Woodpecker Dryocopus martius. Forest grouse are also present, but they are much more difficult to observe (Capercaillie Tetrao urogallus & Hazel Grouse Bonasa bonasia). In some forests Collared Flycatcher Ficedula albicollis is very common and Red-breasted Flycatcher Ficedula parva can be also found with a bit of luck. Nutcracker Nucifraga caryocatactes is also found in mountain conifer forests. Woodland birds like Golden Oriole Oriolus oriolus, Hawfinch Coccothraustes coccothraustes, Crested Tit Lophophanes cristatus, Willow Tit Poecile montanus, Bullfinch Pyrrhula pyrrhula, Crossbill Loxia curvirostra and both Treecreepers Certhia spp. are very common.


MOUNTAINS - ALPS
The Southern Limestone Alps that stretch across north-east Italy and northern Slovenia are the perfect place where to look for high-altitude alpine birds, that include: Ptarmigan Lagopus muta, Snowfinch Montifringilla nivalis, Alpine Accentor Prunella collaris, Alpine Chough Pyrrhocorax graculus & Water Pipit Anthus spinoletta. Other species, like Ring Ouzel Turdus torquatus, Western Bonelli's Warbler Phylloscopus bonelli, Crag Martin Ptyonoprogne rupestris and Wallcreeper Tichodroma muraria can be found also at lower elevation. The Julian Alps host a good population of Griffon Vultures Gyps fulvus, which in some places are very easy to observe.
Moreover, the Alps in summer are a real must for botanists: high-mountain pastures are covered in thousands of colorful flowers. Many of them are endemic and/or are typical for this region.


MEDITERRANEAN
The northern part of the Adriatic sea, despite not having a truly Mediterranean climate, is the perfect place where to observe some colorful and amazing birds. These include sought-after species like Roller Coracias garrulus, Bee-eater Merops apiaster and Black-headed Bunting Emberiza melanocephala, but also commoner species like Sardinian Warbler Sylvia melanocephala, Subalpine Warbler Sylvia cantillans, Pallid Swift Apus pallidus, Scops Owl Otus scops, Red-rumped Swallow Cercopis daurica, Blue Rock Thrush Monticola solitarius and Spanish Sparrow Passer hispaniolensis.


KARST, OPEN MEADOWS & WET GRASSLANDS
The Karst plateau stretching between Trieste and western Slovenia is very rich with interesting animals and plants. Characteristic birds that one can observe here include Short-toed Eagle Circaetus gallicus, Ortolan Bunting Emberiza hortulana, Tawny Pipit Anthus campestris, Hoopoe Upupa epops, and Red-backed Shrike Lanius collurio. Agricultural lands and wet meadows in western Slovenia are also the home of Corncrake Crex crex, Barred Warbler Sylvia nisoria, Common Rosefinch Carpodacus erythrinus  and the now very rare Lesser Grey Shrike Lanius minor.


WETLANDS & ADRIATIC COAST
The north Adriatic sea is also rich with wetland habitats, lagoons, saltpans and estuaries. These hold a very rich birdlife community. Worth of mentioning are: Pygmy Cormorant Phalacrocorax pygmeus, Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca, Flamingo Phoenicopterus roseus, Fan-tailed Warbler Cisticola juncidis, Cetti's Warbler Cettia cetti, Moustached Warbler Acrocephalus melanopogon, Little Bittern Ixobrychus minutus, Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus, White-tailed Eagle Haliaeetus albicilla
The stretch of coast in the gulf of Trieste is also excellent for Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis ssp. desmarestii (Mediterranean Shag), Mediterranean Gull Larus melanocephalus & Common Eider Somateria mollissima.


WILD FLORA
Slovenia has an extremely diverse flora and a high number of endemic plants (around 190), thus is very interesting from the botanical point of view. Many different influences mix in this area: Alpine, Mediterranean, Illyric (Adriatic/western Balkanic) and central European. To mention just a few of the most interesting species: Scopolia carniolica, Gentiana pannonica, Arabis scopoliana, Arabis vochinensis, Primula carniolica, Campanula zoysii, Viola zoysii, Euphorbia wulfenii, Hacquetia epipactis, Aconitum angustifolium, Hladnikia pastinacifolia, Gentiana froelichii, Lilium carniolicum, Gladiolus illyricus, Daphne blagayana, Pedicularis friderici-augusti, Papaver ernesti-mayeri, Sempervivum juvanii, Nigritella lithopolitanica, Scilla litardierei.



CALENDAR
WHEN TO COME & WHAT TO SEE

SPRING - good for: Ural Owl, all woodpeckers, Pygmy Owl, Tengmalm's Owl, Collared Flycatcher, Red-breasted Flycatcher, Nutcracker, Golden Oriole, Red-backed Shrike, Lesser Grey Shrike, Tawny Pipit, Nightjar, Ortolan Bunting, Hoopoe, Short-toed Eagle, Rock Thrush, Blue Rock Thrush, Barred Warbler, Common Rosefinch, Corncrake, Alpine Swift, Eagle Owl, Golden Eagle, Griffon Vulture, Roller, Bee-eater, Sardinian Warbler, Subalpine Warbler, Black-headed Bunting, Scops Owl, Spanish Sparrow, Red-rumped Swallow, Melodious Warbler, Ferruginous Duck, Flamingo, White-tailed Eagle, Little Bittern, Red-necked Grebe, Black-winged Stilt, Fan-tailed Warbler, Mediterranean Gull.
ALSO: good for spring wildflowers, especially in the forest & on the coast.

SUMMER - good for: Snowfinch, Ptarmigan, Alpine Accentor, Alpine Chough, Ring Ouzel, Western Bonelli's Warbler, Tawny Pipit, Short-toed Eagle, Nightjar, Hoopoe, Red-backed Shrike, Lesser Grey Shrike, Corncrake, Ural Owl, Golden Oriole, Rock Thrush, Alpine Swift, Griffon Vulture, Golden Eagle, Wallcreeper, Roller, Bee-eater, Sardinian Warbler, Blue Rock Thrush, Black-headed Bunting, Scops Owl, Spanish Sparrow, Red-rumped Swallow, Little Bittern, Black-winged Stilt. 
ALSO: excellent time to catch up with the alpine and high-altitude flora.

AUTUMN - good for: Ural Owl, Three-toed Woodpecker, White-backed Woodpecker, Middle Spotted Woodpecker, Grey-headed Woodpecker, Black Woodpecker, Pygmy Owl, Pallid Swift, Great Grey Shrike, Red-throated Diver, Black-throated Diver, Red-necked Grebe.

WINTER - good for: Wallcreeper, Alpine Accentor, Great Grey Shrike, Eagle Owl, Common Crane, White-fronted Goose, Red-breasted Goose, Lesser White-fronted Goose, Red-throated Diver, Black-throated Diver, Red-necked Grebe, Slavonian Grebe.

ALL-YEAR ROUND: Ural Owl, Three-toed Woodpecker, Crested Tit, Hawfinch, Cirl Bunting, Rock Bunting, Golden Eagle, Pygmy Cormorant, White-tailed Eagle, Cetti's Warbler, Common Eider, Shag, Mediterranean Gull.



WILDLIFE GUIDING:
Custom trips to see the above species can be arranged in the treated area (Slovenia, Friuli Venezia Giulia & Istria).
Contact: stanicdomen@gmail.com