Slovenia

New

Spring Flora & Fauna

Highlights

Wild Helleborines
Wild Crocuses
& other flowers
Birds & Wildlife
All set in wonderful scenery

Introduction

Slovenia is a small country and spring hints at the great diversity this land offers to those with an interest in natural history. The first signs of spring are Hazel and Christmas Rose flowering, Snowdrops appear in many places as genuine wild plants and inaugurate the beginning of a very intense season with the rapid change from winter. Just a few days can make a world of difference in the flowers you can find and which migratory birds are arriving, making this explosion of nature out of the grip of another Central European winter an exciting time.

Outline Itinerary

Day
1. Arrive Ljubljana
2. Explore Lake Cernika
3. Coastal exploration on the Mediterranean
4. Explore forests
5. Explore forests & uplands dependent on snow levels
6. Depart Slovenia

Note this itinerary can be readily tailored to your interests and either shortened or lengthed for a full week away.

Cost

Please request cost as it is dependent on the time of travel and specific itinerary.

Departure Dates

April & May, any departure date to your requirements.

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Description

Your nature holiday starts immediately with an interruption of the hour drive from the airport to the accommodation at some meadows, where for a brief period of about ten days, millions of Snake's-head Frittilaries appear! This impressive sight sets the tone for the rest of the tour.

The programme of our Spring tour is as intense as the season in which it takes place, so after dinner there is the opportunity to go out to listen for owls including Ural Owl, Boreal Owl and Tawny Owl. Early spring is the season when they are most active and there are possibilities to hear them calling.

Lake Cerknica
The water level of this lake changes immensely with the changing seasons. In Spring, the melting snow in the surrounding mountains fills underground streams and rivers. Many Karst limestone springs are rejuvenated and fill the lake. On a hike to one of the largest springs it is possible to encounter Christmas Roses, the largest of Slovenian spring flowers. When they start flowering in February and March, they are pure white. Later in the season, they turn to pink or green, depending on the amount of sun they receive. Primroses are ubiquitous too.

After a warm lunch the afternoon can be spent bird watching. Lake Cernika is an important bird area and is the best place in Slovenia for Red-necked Grebes with a few breeding pairs.

The Mediterranean
From a Central European climate you reach the sub-Mediterranean climate, unless the Burja wind is blowing from the mountains! The first stop is an excellent wetland which is an important stopover for migrant waders and ducks. It also has an excellent visitor centre and birdwatching hides, a bird watching tower and café. Closer to the Croatian border explore along a stream where you may expect tall Lady Orchids, Early Spider Orchid and Broad-leaved Anemone. In sunny weather, Wall and Ruin Lizards are out warming in the sun beside the river. Cirl Bunting are often seen here and this is a stronghold for Turtle Doves returning in April from Africa.

The Forest
Slovenia is a land of forests, and whilst approximately 60% of the country is covered with trees this rises to 85% in the south. Hidden in these forests are special nature reserves where the forest is unmanaged. Here, dead and wind felled trees remain where they are. This adds a whole different dimension their ecology. A dimension which is most appreciated by woodpeckers. After explorin for forest species end of the morning a small historic city, almost reminiscent of the middle-ages. Close by is Krakovski gozd which harbours one of the last flooded oak-forests in Europe and many of the oaks here are 200 or 300 years old. Snake's-head Frittilaries can found here too. This is also a place for the rare Lungwort, Pulmonaria dacica and the Moor Frog which turns sky-blue at this time of the year for breeding.

Woodpeckers & Bulbs Somewhere in the hills lies another hidden natural gem of Slovenia. Practically a primaeaval forest, this special area has an exceptional number of dead trees and of course is woodpecker country. It is best known for White-backed woodpeckers and it is possible to also encounter Green, Grey-headed, Greater Spotted, Middle Spotted, Lesser Spotted and Black Woodpecker.
Later, using a medieval castle as a starting point, a walk up to the open top of a low mountain brings you to a rich assemblage of early spring flowers. Somewhat dependent on the week of travel but you could find Snowdrops, Dog's-tooth Violet, Two-leaf Squill and Yellow Star-of-Bethlehem but by far the most remarkable is Helleborus atrorubens, a relative of the Christmas Rose with splendid violet-black flowers and likely to be on of the highlights of the week!

After this soujourn into a burgeoning spring it is time to depart and to consider returning to this beautiful country again in the summer when forest meadows are full of flowers and butterflies, grasshoppers and dragonflies abound.

Inspired? To read more about this itinerary, or for us to design your own unique holiday contact us …

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