Wildlife calendar

General information about the wildlife that can be observed in the different seasons. 

 

Complete bird check-list at the end of the page.

Spring

Weather

In March the days are frequently sunny and warm, although some days can still be wintry. The first flowers start to emerge, but the landscape is predominantly grey. The first Barn Swallows Hirundo rustica appear on the coast by mid-month

April is the turnover month with most of the vegetation turning green by the end of the month. The weather is quite variable with both sunny and warm periods alternating with rain showers. May is quite similar but usually more pleasant that April. By June it can already get really hot and summer kicks in quite rapidly.

Things to see

This is certainly the most exciting time of year. In early spring (March-April) you can witness a good passage of waterbirds, while forests come to life with all the territorial woodpeckers and owls. The forest floor becomes a carpet of spring flowers and different plant specialities can be seen. In April migration really gets going and birds like Hoopoe Upupa epops and other charismatic migrants begin to arrive. By mid May most of the summer migrants have returned to their breeding grounds and you can observe all the different warblers, flycatchers, shrikes and so forth.

May and June are usually very good for the later migrants, so most of Slovenia's specialities should be here at this time of year.

In spring several mammal species become active again after the winter season. Brown Bears Ursus arctos have their cubs and encounters are rare but always possible in the vast Dinaric forests.

Summer

Weather

Summers in Slovenia are mostly hot and dry, except for the mountainous region where showers are common in any month in most years. Temperatures are frequently around 30° C, but rarely rise above 35° C. However the air can get very hot, especially in the western part of the country, close to the sea or in the lowland east. Mountains and forested areas generally have a cooler and more pleasant climate. Some parts of the Dinaric Alps remain quite cool even at fairly low altitudes. The town of Babno Polje at 760m a.s.l in the south-central Notrajnska Region bordering Croatia is famously Slovenia’s coldest town with an average July temperature of just 18.3°C and an average maximum of just 23.4°C!

Things to see

Summer is the perfect time to enjoy wildlife in the mountains. Alpine flora is at its best between the end of June and the beginning of August, with hundreds of colourful species adorning the Slovenian mountains, including several specialties and endemic plants.

Birds to look for in summer include a nice selection of mountain species such as Ptarmigan Lagopus muta, Snowfinch Montifringilla nivalis, Ring Ouzel Turdus torquatus and Wallcreeper Tichodroma muraria.

Among mammals Alpine Ibex Capra ibex, Alpine Chamois Rupicapra rupicapra and Alpine Marmot Marmota marmota are the species to look for in the Alps.

From June to the beginning of August you can still enjoy a variety of summer migrants that breed in Slovenia. June and July are also the best months for butterflies & dragonflies although high daytime temperatures sometimes mean you may need to get up early to make the best of the day.

From August onwards migration is obvious and birding is usually more productive at wetland sites, particularly at dawn and dusk.

Autumn

Weather

September is a pleasant month with both sunny weather and rainy periods. In October most of the vegetation begins to turn to its beautiful autumn colours and by November trees have shed their leaves. One exception is the Karst. Here the best colours come later and are reserved for the first ten days of November, particularly the areas close to the Italian border with extensive areas of Smokebush Cotinus coggygria which turn spectacular shades of red, brown, yellow and orange, particularly in sunny autumns. November is usually wet and foggy and the first snow can fall at the end of the month.

Things to see

This season is again good for enjoying some of the forest specialities. Woodpeckers and other forest birds such as Ural Owl Strix uralensis become easier to observe once again when the leaves fall from the trees. Hazel Grouse Bonasa bonasia become territorial in autumn and hearing its song is possible in mixed mountain forests.

In September the forests resound with roars of rutting of Red Deer Cervus elaphus. At this time of year Brown Bears Ursus arctos prepare for the winter and are more frequently observed out of the forest, often feeding in orchards close to villages.

From October the first overwintering birds make their way to Slovenia. Wetlands at this time of year fill with wildfowl and by the end of the season overwintering birds like divers and grebes have settled on the sea.

Winter

Weather

Winters in Slovenia are mostly cold and dry. The coldest and snowiest months are January and February. Typical for western Slovenia is a very strong and cold northeasterly wind called the burja (or bora), that frequently reaches a speed of 130 km/h. Temperatures in winter regularly drop to -10 C, but values around zero are more the norm.

Things to see

A true winter speciality is the Wallcreeper Tichodroma muraria which overwinters on limestone cliffs in the Karst region of western Slovenia where it is easy to observe at certain sites. From January on, Eagle Owls Bubo bubo sing in their breeding territories and are  not difficult to hear and see.

The greatest variety of birds is in the wetlands and surrounding agricultural areas. The lakes and continental reservoirs are usually full of wildfowl, including scarce species such as Smew Mergellus albellus. White-tailed Eagles Haliaeetus albicilla can be also observed near wetlands. The coast and sea in winter host divers and all European species of grebes.

As days lengthen, the later part of the winter is also a very good time for woodpeckers and owls which become territorially active again from February onwards.

When snow falls, the Dinaric mountains offer excellent opportunities to go snow-tracking for Brown Bear Ursus arctos, Wolf Canis lupus and Lynx Lynx lynx.

Bird calendar check-list

This check-list will give you an idea about when is the best time to observe the treated species. It only includes Slovenia's most interesting birds - those that people visiting Slovenia would more like to see. Click on the PDF to view.

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