Croatia Day 9, 14th May '17, Veliko Rujno Revisited

Hoopoe threat display, Zaton Holiday Camp
14 May -  It's back up the Veliko Rujno today, using the same route as I did on the 8th. However, I did have a look around the camp car park, There was a group of 4 Hoopoe's making the most appalling noise and doing all things territorial. The fights were spectacular!

Territorial Hoopoe's
Also present were some new Red-backed Shrikes, a Wryneck, Spotted Flycatcher and Golden Orioles.

Red-backed Shrikes, fresh in today
I eventually made it to Veliko Rujno but only made one stop on the way to the car park at the end of the tarmac road. I pulled over at the large wooded depression that has several working bee hives and had a walk around for a while. Lots of birds today including Blue Rock Thrush, Honey Buzzard, Eastern Black-eared Wheatear, Eastern Orphean Warbler and Whitethroat. Butterflies were well represented by Dingy and Red Underwing Skippers, Wall Brown, Scarce Swallowtail, and either Berger's or Mountain Clouded Yellow. Western Green Lizard and Dalmatian Wall Lizard added some variety.
Dingy Skipper (m)

Dalmatian Wall Lizard (m)

Honey Buzzard

Red Underwing Skipper

Scarce Swallowtail

Violet Carpenter Bees in need of a private room- Enormous beasts!

Western Green Lizard
Wall Brown
Once at the car park I spent a while searching through the boulders and scoping the mountain sides. Two Rock Partridge appeared briefly and a male Lesser Kestrel flew through the valley. Short-toed Lark was a good find, alongside a Woodlark. The cliffs north of the road between the car park and the highest point of the tarmac road were supposedly a stake out for Western Rock Nuthatch but none appeared. I retraced the road back to its highest point and studied the Southern cliffs instead. Here I had a fine male Western Rock Nuthatch singing from various perches. I had my only Lesser Grey Shrike of the trip whilst watching the Nuthatch. A female Barred Warbler also made a stealthy appearance. Two buntings attracted my attention while they seemed to be collecting food and taking it back to a nest. Finally I had one perched close by and a new life tick bit the dust. There were a pair of Rock Buntings taking food back to nest with 3 quite well grown chicks. What a result.
Eastern Subalpine Warbler (m)
The only Nightingale photograph I managed to get!

Rock Bunting (f)

Rock Bunting (m).
 It's a little known fact that ID of Rock Bunting is incorrect in several publications. It does in fact have a bright green Zapata moustache (as above). ;-)
Stops  at the lowest view points gave more Eastern Orpheans and Eastern Black-eared Wheatears. I also almost stood on 5 Rock Partridge before they lost their bottle and flew off.
All too soon it was time to head back, via Nin salt pans of course. It was here that I caught up with my first photographable snake that wasn't a smear on the road. This Balkan Whip Snake was doing what it does best...hunting and catching Crickets and Grasshoppers. I found a few Italian Wall Lizards close by.

Balkan Whip Snake eating a cricket.

Italian Wall Lizards
On the saltpans there was Wood Sandpiper, Kentish Plover and 4 Glossy Ibis.
Two moths (both extinct in Norfolk) were found flying in the Sun; Four-spotted and Spotted Sulphur.

Kentish Plovers
Spotted Sulphur

The day ended with Scops Owl, Tawny Owl and European Nightjar.
Scops Owl. I'm sure it's there, just haven't found it yet.