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…

Istria

Mid July 2018 The Kamenjak  peninsula to the south of Pula is renowned for its orchid diversity in spring with 22 species recorded and a wide range of other plants characteristic of the coastal makija or maquis of low scrub and grasslands.  In high summer, the flowers and grasses have withered under the unceasing Adriatic sun and…

Farewell Virpazar

On a chill morning in early March a fisherman puts out not long after dawn to set his nets, baling the icy water from the small boat as he meanders the flooded channel. Fishing is tough and incessant with scant rewards outside  of the short, summer tourist season. The fishermen work alongside herons, cormorants, grebes and egrets…

Orjen Mountain and Boka Kotorska

On the far side of Boka Kotorska (the Bay of Kotor) running up behind the town of Herceg Novi sits the largely unexplored massif known as Orjen. This lies adjacent to Bosnia-Herzegovina and the thin slice of coastal Croatia that is now labelled the Dubrovnik riviera.  I thought I would fit in a visit to these remote…

Lovćen Mountain

Lovćen is a mountain within the heart of Montenegro’s coastal range, rising abruptly from the dark maquis and olive-clad hills between the coastal towns of Kotor and Budva to descend more gently inland to the old capital of Cetinje. The mountain is the most accessible of them all, as there is a road running round the base…

Žabljak Crnojevića Emperors

If Freyer’s purple emperor (Apatura metis), or FPE for short, is abundant around Lake Skadar as I think it maybe, having found a handful of territories at Vranjina and knowing that its food plant, white willow (Salix alba), is very commonly distributed around the wetter areas of the lake, then an easy test is to go…

Ascent of Rumija 2

Above the dark green, ancient sweet chestnut (Castanea sativa) woodland near Livari, the hay is neatly stacked in the corner of a small field with a protective plastic sheet, like a skull cap, and weighted with old tyres and water-filled plastic bottles. The crops in the field, onions, potatoes and courgette, are all well advanced…

Lake Skadar’s Emperor

The weather the other morning at Vranjina was sunny, clear and warm. The squacco herons now joined by a couple of little egrets rushed from the water’s edge as usual, some perching motionless in the nearby trees.  A little bittern flew across the road; this is a much more reserved heron species and only seen…

Orahavo and Kucka Korita

The village of Orahavo with its small, grass high, hay meadows is enveloped by the shrubby hornbeam forest that is characteristic of the low limestone hills. Above, by the side of the winding road to Kucka Korita, there are small glades in the woodland full of plants and butterflies. The breeding birds are quieter now…