Plitvice Lakes National Park
Please accept my apologies for the lack of photographs. Some Jackass forgot to charge the battery last night! Of all the days!
Plitvice Lakes National Park (Croatian: Nacionalni park Plitvička jezera, colloquial Plitvice, pronounced [plîtʋitse]) is one of the oldest national parks in Southeast Europe and the largest national park in Croatia. In 1979, Plitvice Lakes National Park was added to the UNESCO World Heritage register.
The national park was founded in 1949 and is situated in the mountainous karst area of central Croatia, at the border to Bosnia and Herzegovina. The important north-south road connection, which passes through the national park area, connects the Croatian inland with the Adriatic coastal region.
The protected area extends over 296.85 square kilometres (73,350 acres).
Each year, more than 1 million visitors are recorded. Entrance is subject to variable charges, up to 180 kuna or around €24 per adult in peak season. (wiki).
The area of the national park is home to an extremely wide variety of animal and bird species. Rare fauna such as the European brown bear, wolf, eagle, owl, lynx, wild cat, and Capercaillie can be found there, along with many more common species.
The wider area of the national park is one of the last areas in Europe, in which a great number of wild brown bears and wolves can be found. Currently, in the Park, there exist about 50 species of mammals, 76 different kinds of butterflies, 245 moth species, 12 species of amphibian and 18 species of reptile.
It's best to park at Entrance 2 as the park transport is closer. Parking is not included in the entrance fee. Once you sort yourself out and cross over the main road (bridge) it's only a short walk to either the large electric tour boats or the bus-train. I had a pair of Collared Flycatchers and views of White-backed Woodpecker here. I can't talk about the boat as I never used it but the bus-train is excellent. There used to be 4 stops on the route but now there are 3 due to subsidence and land slips. A large black bird flying through the forest, from the train, was probably Black Woodpecker, certainly they were drumming loudly further into the park.
I got off at station 3 along with, it seems, 100 other people. Plitvice is very popular with Croatians and tourists alike, even mid week, and rightly so, it's absolutely beautiful. So many people, arriving every 30 minutes however, does have a detrimental effect on the birding.
As I said earlier, birding was quite poor but some good stuff none the less. I took the road up to the old station 4. Collared Flycatcher was quite common and at least 5 pairs were seen. Also seen were Eurasian Nuthatch, Willow Tit, Marsh Tit and Coal Tit.
Collared Flycatchers, Plitvice
Chaffinch's are very common here and very frustrating because of their call. At the end of every song the Chaffinch's make a "pink" call like a Woodpecker contact note. They had me looking in all directions!
As I continued up the road I found a Coal Tit making trips to and from a ridiculously small nest hole, seemingly unconcerned about me. While watching this I also had a pair of Fieldfare with young, Blackcap, Garden Warbler, Chiffchaff and some great Eastern Bonnelli's Warblers calling away in the canopy.
Coal Tit, Plitvice
I also found 2 newly fledged Eurasian Treecreepers clinging to the side of a tree while their parents fed them.
Eurasian Treecreeper, Plitvice
Alas my camera battery finally gave up. I will kick the chief battery charger to ensure it is fully charged tomorrow.
On my way back down to meet the train I had a fly past Grey-headed Woodpecker, Wood Warbler and a surprise Little Crake on the lake side. Overhead were White-tailed Eagle (adult), Black Kite, White Stork and 3 large Sparrowhawks which may well have been Levant Sparrowhawk. Hawfinches were plentiful. Strangely I saw no reptiles but I did see a couple of vibrantly marked Fire Salamanders.
I'm afraid that's it for today. If you ever visit Croatia then Plitvice Lakes has to be the number 1 place to visit.