Through birdwatching you will be discovering new species, learn about the natural processes and get acquainted with the problems that occur in nature, because the birds are a very good indicator of environmental change. Finally, birdwatching in the wild is also great fun and relaxation.
Most of the birds is active in the morning, before sunrise and another two to three hours, and in evening – at sunset. During the day, particularly when it’s hot, they are less active.
Some birds can be observed only at certain times of the day. Such are the various nocturnal birds, such as Woodcock (Scolopax rusticola), Nightjar (Caprimulgus europaeus) and a variety of owls, which are normally not even noticed during the day. These birds are observed during the night, mostly in the late evening or early morning hours.
Most of the birds are most wulnerable to disturbance during the breeding period, in particular from April to August, because at that time they are almost exclusively dedicated to protecting and feeding the chicks. Some birds nest in colonies, while others chose a territory and defends it against intruders. In particular, males often indicate the limits of their territory by singing and displaying which helps the ornithologists to assess the number of breeding birds in the area.
Migratory birds occur in spring and autumn in larger or smaller flocks, making several stops during their migration to rest and feed. Škocjanski zatok is one of those areas where big flocks of passerines, waders and waterfowl can be observed. Particularly in rainy or cloudy weather rare and interesting birds are stopped here by the bad weather.
The biggest concentrations of birds can be observed near the water bodies (sea-shore, salines, lakes, large ponds and rivers) with a telescope required for observing them. In the woods, the birds are harder to see than to hear, so we mainly listen to them. At the meadows, the main tools for birdwatching are binoculars and a telescope.
In Škocjanski zatok, the birds and other wildlife can be observed from observation points where hidden behind the screening walls the visitors don’t disturb them and scare them away. The birds can get very close to the observation points and visitors sometimes can get a good look of them with naked eye. Observation points are placed to provide the good views of all habitats of the reserve. Through the openings in the walls, visitors can observe as well as take photos of the wildlife and habitats. Climbing onto screening embankements is therefore neither necessary nor appropriate, since it both scares away all the wildlife and prevents other visitors from observing the wildlife of the reserve.
Binoculars with seven- to ten-fold magnification are the most important piece of birdwatching equipment. For observation of waterfowl, waders and more distant birds the telescope with greater magnification (between 20-fold and 30-fold) is recommended. An important tool is also a pictorial guide for bird identification – big range is available to choose from at your booksellers. When birdwatching in the wild, the unobtrusive clothing is recommended to minimize disturbance of the animals. It is also important not to create noise by walking and talking.