One of the nicest things about living in the Slovenian countryside is all the wildlife that we regularly see. And that without having to put in any effort :). In recent years we have already seen a lot of wildlife in the area and occasionally we were able to capture them on photo or film. Like last winter for instance, when I was able to film five deer that crossed the road :).
Especially deer we see a lot, but also red deer. Roe deer are a lot smaller than deer and live more on the edge of forests and fields, while deer like to dwell deeper in the forest. In Slovene, a roebuck (male) is called »Snrjak« and the roe goat (female) is called »Srna«. The male has antlers that fall off every year around November/December, after which new ones grow. The females have no antlers. This also applies to red deer. The stags (males) however have much larger antlers than a buck. A stag is called »Jelen«, a doe (female deer) is called »Košuta«.
In the little valley below our house, we regularly see deer grazing when we sit on our terrace. But also closer to the house sometimes, even in the garden. Especially in winter, they come closer, looking for rotten apples in the snow :).
Even this morning a deer suddenly walked on the field past our house :). Larsen was just able to film her a bit. You have to look closely ;).
We occasionally see red deer when we drive around somewhere in the area and they just happen to cross the road. A while ago I saw a full grown stag with big antlers for the first time. He jumped onto the road a few yards in front of the car. Luckily we didn’t drive fast. What a beautiful beast!
The best thing we have experienced with roe deer was when we went for a walk outside our village. Our dog Ivy ran loose and suddenly she darted into the woods barking because she smelled a roe deer. We stopped and saw a fawn walking out of the forest about 30 meters in front of us. The mother had run away from Ivy, of course, and the fawn didn’t know where to go. Bine and I stood dead still and the fawn looked at us. Suddenly she began to walk slowly towards us, probably thinking that one of us might be her mother. She walked within a meter or two of me when she noticed something wasn’t right and then turned and fled back into the woods. A wonderful moment for us, but of course not for the fawn and her mother. We now mainly keep Ivy on the leash.
Other wild animals that we see a lot are foxes. Just yesterday we had a pretty special encounter. We were driving to friends of ours in a village 10 km away when we saw something reddish-brown in the tall grass along the road. Bine started driving more slowly and then we saw that it was a beautiful big fox! The special thing was that she was really right on the road and when Bine stopped the car right next to her, she waited for a few seconds before she ran into the woods so we could get a good look at her. I have never seen a fox this close! Unfortunately, it went too fast to take a picture. I do have a recording of last winter, again under our house :).
We did see a young fox up close once, just outside the village on the field, about 5 meters from the car.
And even one in our kitchen! But it looked like she was sick because she had a bad coat :(. She had probably come through the open door in search of food.
Other »wild animals« are the birds of prey that we see a lot, especially buzzards but also falcons and owls. I always love the sounds they make.
The largest wild animal that is occasionally spotted here is of course the brown bear. Unfortunately, still not by us, but by almost every other resident in the village. A neighbor was able to take a picture a few years ago when a bear with a cub crossed the road he was driving, just before the next village. He then quickly stopped the car, got out and was able to take a picture of the pair heading into the woods.
The only time a bear was spotted in the valley below our house, about four years ago, was a day that we weren’t home :(. But they are there for sure. Just last week, Bine took a picture of a paw print in the mud when he took a short walk to the forest below our house :). We keep hoping……