Slovenia witnessed a stunning natural spectacle this winter as a huge flock of Bramblings migrated from the north to roost. Thanks to captivating photos and videos shared by nature and wildlife photographers, I learned about the event and traveled with my dad to the small village of Bočna to witness it. Check out the photos and videos below to see the awe-inspiring experience we had.
Bramblings or Pinože (Slovenian)
The Brambling (Fringilla montifringilla) is a small migratory bird that breeds in northern parts of Eurasia. It winters in southern Europe, North Africa, and Asia. The male Brambling has a striking plumage, with a black head, white belly, and orange breast, while the female is more subdued with brown and gray feathers. Bramblings are social birds that form large flocks outside of breeding season and often mix with other finch species. They primarily feed on seeds, including those from birch, alder, and conifer trees, and will occasionally eat insects. Bramblings are known for their long-distance migrations and are a common sight in many parts of Europe during the winter months.
Finding Bramblings’ Winter Roost
Armed with only a rough idea of where to find Bramblings, my father and I set out for the village of Bočna. There, we stopped by the local pub Pri Urški to warm up with a hot tea and šnops and to ask the friendly locals for tips. They eagerly shared their photos and videos of Bramblings, even pointing out a group of Czech birdwatchers who had traveled all the way to Slovenia just to see these migratory birds.
When we arrived at the location, we found that many others had the same idea as us. With an hour to go until sunset, we readied our cameras and eagerly awaited the Bramblings’ arrival. First, they appeared in small flocks that gradually merged into larger groups. We also observed some birds of prey, including a Common Buzzard, a Peregrine Falcon, and a Sparrow Hawk, as they swooped in for a feast. Though there were a few Ravens and Kestrels present as well, we suspected they were not there to hunt. As the sun set, more and more Bramblings gathered, making for a truly mesmerizing sight.
Photos and video of Bramblings in Slovenia
My camera setup consisted of a Nikon Z9 camera, a 100-400mm S lens, and a 1.4 teleconverter. In addition, I used a small microphone to record the sounds. Unfortunately, the sun disappeared behind the mountain well before sunset, making photography difficult, and some of the photos were taken at ISO 25000. Despite these challenges, I managed to capture enough good shots and some decent video clips of the amazing natural spectacle. You can see the edited video below, which beautifully showcases this breathtaking event.
Seeing the stunning photos and videos of the super flock (not sure how to call it) of Bramblings that migrated to Slovenia this winter, it’s clear that this is a one-of-a-kind natural spectacle. I feel incredibly grateful to have witnessed it in person and to have shared the experience with my dad. One of the downsides of being in close proximity to the birds was being covered in bird poo. Luckily, my dad had warned me, and I came prepared with old, used clothes. Have you had the chance to witness a natural spectacle like this before? Thank you for reading, and I look forward to connecting with you again soon!