After my first photo safari trip in Hutovo blato described in the first part of my wildlife blog, two more trips followed, second one in the summer of 2021 and the third one in the May 2022.
During my second visit to Hutovo in the summer of 2021, there were no similar activities and events compared to the summer of 2018. The water level was low and the atmosphere calmer, as if all the inhabitants of Hutovo instinctively hid in the bushes in anticipation of a storm. I realized that Hutovo Blato was susceptible to various natural and human induced actions that change the character and behaviour of the one of the most important bird reserves in Europe. Frequent changes in water levels and frequent fires are the factors which destabilize this area and creates challenges for the existing management, NGO and government. The highlight of the second visit was certainly a squacco heron that fluttered on the branches in the Krupa canals and the exotic beekeeper in the hunt for bees. What a genius hunter!
In front of the motel in Hutovo nature park, I had the opportunity to talk to a married couple, birdwatchers from the Netherlands, who came to Hutovo in search of bird species on the recommendation of a guide from Dubrovnik. We had a pleasant conversation about the birds I photographed on my trip, about other natural beauties of BiH and the Netherlands, and at the end, to their delight, I gave them a copy of my book, the English edition, on the long-eared owl- „Urban lady- the phenomenon of the long eared-owl wintering grounds in the cities of northern Bosnia and Herzegovina“, with a wish to demonstrate traditional Bosnian hospitality. After Hutovo, they would continue their journey to the Una-Bihać National Park.
During the third, recent visit of Hutovo in May of this year, my camera worked non-stop, yes! 😊. Passing through the channels of Krupa, a common cuckoo jumped out of vegetation, making few circular flights between the banks, giving me opportunity for a couple of good photos. Otherwise, cuckoos are secretive, mysterious birds that are very difficult to notice. Although they represent real forest birds, they have settled in sufficient vegetation in the heart of the swampy Hutovo. A fantastic bird, it overcomes huge distances during migration from Asia, South Africa to Europe.
Then, to my surprise, a flock around 10 night herons rested on a tree nearby. Although it is a nocturnal bird, active mainly before the night, I was able to observe this flock during the day. It looks like a miniature version of the grey heron but is much more stable in flight and, with its distinctive red eye calibrated for night life, night heron presents an exotic migratory species.
Moving on further by the boat, I noticed one convenient berth and asked the driver to get off at this point and continue on foot. My instinct did not deceive me. Next to the pier there is an embankment separating the water surface of the swamp from the fertile large fields where the remains of corn from last year’s stork were stored. I have noticed a beautiful predator Montagu’s harrier circled over these fields, looking for the prey, further along on the field there was Eurasian spoonbill scattered for breakfast, which is nice to watch as she moves with her big beak-scoop, then a little egret, lapwing in flight and black-winged stilt. But the real surprise happened at the end of the tour when a flock of dazzling glossy Ibis flew over my head. Glossy ibis is a bird whose emerald-colored wings resemble the beautiful Neretva river and which, combined with a dark red-colored carcass, makes this bird a real exotic beauty. Our shining glossy Ibis has found its place in our natural treasure- Hutovo blato.
If you are truly a nature lover, nothing will prevent you from visiting Hutovo just to feel the atmosphere of this unique eco-system.
If you want to treat yourself and your children with a piece of the Bosnian-Herzegovinian Amazon, visit Hutovo, and you will find something for yourself.
As for the wildlife photographers, Hutovo is a must.
We anyway love the call of the wild 😊