5 May 2014

5 May 14 - Birds Of The Croatian Hills

It was another early start to get up to the Velji Do road in the hills above Cavtat, Croatia to get the most out of our long weekend there. We dropped Ken & Gav at the viewpoint to walk along the road as the rest of us headed to the small village of Velji Do. This gave me some time for general photography around the village, while the Andy & Edge heading off in various directions for some general birding.
There are a few great trees by Velji Do village
Wood Warbler 
Subalpine Warbler: Male of the Eastern albistriata subspecies. Ironically, one reappeared at Portland Bill on the day we left for Croatia
Subalpine Warbler: Female
Subalpine Warbler: Female
Spotted Flycatcher: They were fairly commonly encountered
Black-eared Wheatear: Male. This is the Eastern melanoleuca subspecies
Black-eared Wheatear: Female. There was a pair around the village, but it took some time to get close to them
Cirl Bunting: Male. This is the nominate cirlus subspecies which occurs from the UK to the Mediterranean & North Africa, but is replaced by nigrostriata on Corsica & Sardinia
Dalmatian Wall Lizard: Mating pair. They looked superficially similar to Sand Lizards (which also occurs in the same habitat on the Adriatic coast). Males have a green mottled back and this intense orange throat
When we all met up, we decided that as it was much colder & windier than the previous morning, we would drop down to explore the valley bottom next to the airport. This proved to be a good decision as it was a lot more sheltered & pleasant there. We found a small minor road crossing the valley bottom & made a number of stops along that road.
The minor road across the valley bottom
The hills above Cavtat: The Velji Do area is further to the left & off the photo
Yellow-legged Gull: Adult. The nominate michahellis subspecies breeds on the islands in the bay
Spotted Flycatcher
Golden Oriole: Male. Despite being commonly heard, this was the only one that showed itself long enough for a photo
Spanish Sparrow: Male
Heading back into Cavtat for a late breakfast, I spotted a party of Alpine Swifts hawking over the hillside next to a block of flats, on the edge of town. Having dropped the others at the accommodation, I headed back for an impromptu photo session.
Alpine Swift: This is the nominate melba subspecies
Alpine Swift
After a late breakfast, we quickly packed & moved all the bags into one room, which we were allowed to keep until the evening. Again another sign of how helpful Antun & Natasha were. We then headed into Dubrovnik for early afternoon to do the tourist thing.