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Sara Cernich and Domen Stanič

Abstract

The Middle Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos medius is a highly specialised woodpecker inhabiting mature deciduous forests. The presence of large mature oaks Quercus sp. is a very important factor determining the species' presence and distribution. In Slovenia it is more common in the eastern part, where it inhabits mainly lowland flood-plain oak forests. In other parts of the country it is more localised, as is the case in western Slovenia, where small isolated populations were recently discovered. In this paper we present the currently known observations of Middle Spotted Woodpecker in the Karst region (W Slovenia), the results of the first systematic survey and the first documented breeding of the species in this area. The survey was carried out on the 20 of March 2016 in the wooded hills between the villages of Senožeče and Veliko polje. Using playback method we recorded a total of 8 territorial woodpeckers, confirming our initial expectations about the species' abundance in that area. Breeding was also confirmed in the hills of Senožeče, an active nest-hole was found on 23 Apr 2017. On 18 May 2017 at least 3 juveniles successfully left the nest. Middle Spotted Woodpeckers have recently been observed also in other oak woodlands across the Karst and nearby areas, especially outside the breeding season. These areas include Lipica, Bazovica, the Brkini hills and the Gorica Karst. From summer 2016 onwards several observations of Middle Spotted Woodpeckers have been reported from Lipica, involving up to four different individuals. Repeated sightings in this area and the presence of suitable habitat suggest a probable breeding. The increased number of data in western Slovenia during the last decade might be a consequence of more frequent field visits by ornithologists. Moreover, the presence of the Middle Spotted Woodpecker in this part of the country might be linked to the gradual spreading of forests and the maturing of oak stands already present here. In the above-mentioned areas, further investigations and systematic censuses are therefore needed in the coming springs.

Open access

Domen Stanič, Primož Kmecl, Jernej Figelj and Andrej Sovinc

Abstract

In this work we investigated the historical and present breeding range of the Ortolan Bunting in Slovenia and studied one of its last remaining breeding grounds in the country. Its range has suffered a marked decline in the last few decades, bringing the species on the brink of extinction in Slovenia. Firstly, we gathered all the available data and field records regarding the species in Slovenia and created several distribution maps outlining the status of the Ortolan Bunting in Slovenia. Thus we were able to confirm the drastic reduction in the species range, now confined to only two larger breeding grounds on the Karst (Kras). Field work was then concentrated on studying and monitoring one of the two last known populations of Ortolan Buntings in Slovenia. We paid special attention to the study of the males’ singing territories. Our main discovery was the presence of a lek in the central part of the study area, where several different male Ortolan Buntings shared their song-posts. In 2013 we counted a total of 18 Ortolan Buntings and found 5 nests, whereas in 2014 we counted 16 individuals, with 4 pairs probably breeding there. The number of breeding pairs is thus significantly lower than the total number of males holding territory. In the period from 2005 to 2016, the population of Ortolan Bunting in Slovenia was in steep decline.