The owl only flew away after they spoke a bit too loudly, but not before Vesna was able to take some wonderful pics with her Olympus C740UZ.

The three photos above are shown in the order they were taken. The owl was so calm that not only did it wait patiently for Vesna to turn up, but it continued to watch while she set up her equipment, including a tripod! You can see too that it had the confidence to turn around between the first two pics to take a better look at what was going on down below. Amazing.

It was a close look at the facial feathers in the third pic (same as the big pic at top) that made me think this may be an old bird who's been around for quite some time. Maybe that's why he/she was so calm about the human intrusion into a private space. Who knows? But what a lovely creature.

Thank you Mladen and Vesna!


(July 2006: Moulted feathers, quite possibly from this owl, have been found nearby but the owl itself has not been sighted. A few more details, along with pellets and their contents, on Owl Gallery page 5).

August 2007

Vesna and Mladen now have two websites on the flora and fauna around the family holiday cottage in Vugrovec, and, although new ventures, both are already very impressive. The first, more general, site is Biodiversity of the Vugrovec area. Lavishly illustrated by Vesna's photographs, it's a feast for the eye and very informative. (The Croation version of the site is here: Bioraznolikost vugrovecke okolice)

Mladen's site, Snakes of Croatia (Zmije Hrvatske), is about the 16 species of snake found in Croatia. This is also illustrated by excellent, detailed photos, and European snake enthusiasts should find the text useful, entertaining and informative. There are 24, 28 or 34 species in Europe depending on who you consult, so Mladen's site covers a very respectable range. As a specialist website on an unusual topic it should attract a lot of interest. The text is in both English and Croatian.

Biodiversity of the Vugrovec area (click on pic to visit)

See the wonderful old owl under her canopy of acacia leaves on Vesna's own site on this page.

Mladen's Snakes of Croatia (click on pic to visit)

More of Mladen's snakes . . .

A quite recently hatched Grass Snake -- fits in the palm of your hand!

This must be about the fattest adult (Grass Snake!) I've ever seen. Maybe not the longest though. (200 kb)


September 2008

Vesna's Vugrovec site goes from strength to strength. Shown on the right is part of just one of a wonderful series of photos of dormice (Glis glis) recently added by Vesna. Click on the pic to go to the Dormouse page.

Also well worth seeing are the photo sets for polecat, hedgehog, wood mouse, and striped field mouse. Go to the Mammals page and follow the links.So cute!

Croatian owls continues with a story of fledglings from Hrsovo on the next page (4a)

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I LOVE THIS TAWNY from Vugrovec, near Zagreb in Croatia. The photographs were taken in June 2005 by Vesna Z., who has kindly allowed me to show them here.

What is remarkable about these photos is that the owl posed calmly and so close to the photographer. Vesna writes that it was her son, Mladen, who first found the bird near some abandoned buildings. She only turned up with her camera after he called her on his mobile and persuaded her to grab her gear and scramble up through orchards and vineyards to where he'd found the owl! It was a hot day -- over 30C. Maybe this contributed to the owl's reluctance to move, but my guess is that she's just a wise old lady who's seen it all before.

The sublime expression of a wise old owl

Another fine old tawny with a pale face -- she's well over ten years old. See page 6 for more examples of paler tawnies