Saturday, 1 March 2008
Destinations: Triglav National Park - Slovenia
At the heart of this upland national park in the Slovenian part of the Julian Alps is Mount Triglav (at 2864m the highest peak in all Slovenia). This is real Alpine terrain with glacial valleys, boulder dotted plateaux, scree, grassy pastures, meadows. This is the home of Ptarmigan, Water Pipit, Alpine Accentor, Alpine Chough and Wallcreeper. Be prepared for hiking and bring the right clothing and gear. Areas to try for the above species include Mount Triglav itself, the karst of Dolina Triglavskih Jezer and Kriski Podi, a rugged plateau with sinkholes and tarns. The Vrsic Pass (the highest road in Slovenia), Mount Mangart (2678 m) and the Predil Pass, on the Italian border in the very north-west of the NP, are other good areas. At lower elevations there are forests of spruce, mountain pine and larch and then mixed conifer-beech with resident Capercaillie, Hazel and Black Grouse, Ural Owl, Black, Three-toed and Grey-headed Woodpeckers, Ring Ouzel and Nutcracker. In the north-west the spruce forests on Ciprnik have many of these species as does the forested Trenta Valley south-west of Trenta village. In the south the forests of the Bohinj Basin have Hazel and Black Grouse and Nutcracker. The village of Stara Fuzina, to the north-east of the reservoir, is a good starting point for birding the Voje Valley and Mostnica Gorge. The Pokljuka plateau is blanketed with old spruce forests and there are pastures at Rudno polje and Velo polje. Hazel Grouse, Three-toed Woodpecker and Ural, Tengmalm's and Pygmy Owls are possible here. Roads from Bled and Bohinj are kept snow-free even in winter. In the north-east the forested slopes of Mežakla tower over the passing motorway and host the same species, but this is a more difficult area to work, being steeper and lacking good roads. Rock Partridge and Rock Thrush tend to occur at lower elevations on the warmer western and southern slopes. Raptors include Goshawk, Peregrine and Golden Eagle. Fieldfare, Grey Wagtail, Alpine Swift, Crag Martin, Black Redstart, Goldcrest, Willow, Crested and Coal Tits, Siskin and Common Crossbill are often around settlements. Many "good" birds are here all year round, though it is particularly tough going in winter. This beautiful region is very popular with tourists so visit off-peak .