Učka Nature Park

19 July 2018

The minor road starts just before the Učka road tunnel and runs up in a series of hairpins through wooded hills with views of limestone crags  At the top, there are numerous marked paths that lead off into woodlands and a restaurant with a blue haze view to the south of Rijeka and the island of Cres. Here there are ancient forests of beech with glades where the sun traps butterflies and plants.

Ucka-35
Beech forest in Učka Nature Park

The path runs out into an uneven plateau of scrub and grassland.  A family of red-backed shrikes are noisy and sit on the tops of juniper bushes.  A single buzzard mews and woodlarks and linnets make brief appearances. The plants and butterflies are easier to see and abundant; simply dazzling in their diversity.  The Balkans were an important glacial refuge and remain a key biodiversity hotspot in Europe.

The limestone cliffs on the road to the satellite station are a rock garden of beautiful plants.  These hills need weeks to explore; today is a quick but wonderful splash in the pool.

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