Birds of the Sečovlje Saltpans

Anne and I took the bus from Ljubljana down to Piran, which is a beautiful old town on the east coast of the Adriatic Sea (Slovenia’s west coast), and this morning we visited the Sečovlje Saltpans Natural Park. The city bus doesn’t go all the way to the saltpans, so we had a nice little hike over a hill and through some orchards, where we met the friendliest European robin I’ve seen so far.

European robin

When we finally reached the saltpans, they did not disappoint. We noticed several small birds right away, but they were shy as heck, and I had a devil of a time getting even this image. It turns out to have been worth it for me, however, because that is a meadow pipit (Anthus pratensis), a close cousin of the American pipit we just saw on the Rio Grande in Texas, and yet another bird that I have never seen before.

Meadow pipit

Another little bird that I managed to capture is this white wagtail, just like the ones we’ve seen in the South Holland countryside.

White wagtail

Farther “afield”, there were many, I counted 94, striking black-and-white ducks, which turned out to be common shelducks, also like the ones we’ve seen in South Holland.

Common shelducks

Closer to shore, here’s a common sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos), whom I have glimpsed in South Holland but have failed to photograph until now.

Common sandpiper

Also foraging along the water’s edge with the sandpiper was this female black redstart (Phoenicurus ochruros) with just a hint of red near the top of her tail. I read that “the word “start” in this bird’s name comes from an Old English word for “tail,”” and, by fun coincidence, the Dutch word for tail is still “staart”.

Female black redstart

Finally, there were plenty of mallards, mute swans, great egrets, and gulls about, but I was thrilled to finally spot and photograph a little egret (Egretta garzetta), with a black bill and black legs and bright yellow feet.

Little egret

Slovenia has been quite a gem, and if you ever get the chance to visit, I hope you don’t pass it up.

Published by Andrew Dressel

Theoretical and Applied Bicycle Mechanic, and now, apparently, Amateur Naturalist. In any case, my day job is teaching mechanics at UWM.

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