In inner Carniola, nowadays known as the Notranjska region in Slovenia, it is still winter. Closer to the coast, however, spring advances. There, Snowdrops and Crocuses are already at the end of flowering. Time to go back and see what happens next, and to briefly escape winter at the same time. So, here is a blog post with More Spring Flowers!
Near the city of Nova Gorica and not far from Panovec hill there is a small forest. Compared to Panovec, which is almost a city park, this forest is quiet. It is also less managed, wilder. There are only small trees now, but in between there are decaying stumps of forest giants, indicating that this forest patch exists for a long time. And, there is a tiny stream which is entirely natural. In some places, even the small trees are being cut for firewood. Elsewhere, they were felled by a storm and block our way. How this forest is used, depends very much on the owners. And each small stretch is owned by someone else.
I am alone in this forest, but not far from civilisation. In fact, the motorway is so close that its noise is inescapable. That seems less important for animals though. Birds sing. First the resident European Blackbird, Wood Pigeon and Green Woodpecker. Then, a migratory Chiffchaff, which just returned from Africa. With loud flapping wings, a bird rushes away to the treetops: a Woodcock! Some steps further, a Roe Deer makes an even noisier escape. I do not like to disturb them, but it is a sign that I am at a place where few people go. And, I rarely see Woodcocks, so today is a good day out!
The small trees are not native: they are Black Locust, Robinia pseudoacacia: a North American species which is planted for its valuable timber and a rich harvest of honey. It is also a fast-growing species, which leaves little room for native trees. Locally, there is a dense understore of yet another alien plant: Japanese meadowsweet, Spiraea japonica, which has spread from gardens. But let’s forget about looking up to the trees for a moment. Instead, look down to the ground, where the wildflowers grow! Some weeks ago, there were thousands of Crocuses here, now we find the last few. It is time for the second part of the Flower Symphony of Spring!
I took all the pictures below in a small forest patch in the Vipava valley on 20 March 2018