Species

 

The creek and its surroundings

The eastern limit of the Falcon Stone N. R. is the forest road and the southern limit is the Raven creek. The encounter of the creek and the forest road is the starting place of the thematic path. At summer months (July-August) we can admire along the clean water of the creek the Telekia speciosa, which can reach about 2 meters height. It is like a decoration of the mountain waterfronts, a native landscape feature of the Carpathians and the Balkan mountains. The beauty of the flower increases with the fact that many butterflies decorate its sunflower-like inflorescence. The most commonly seen butterflies at the reserve limits are: the Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta), the Comma (Polygonia c-album), the Large White (Pieris brassicae), the Small Tortoiseshell (Nymphalis urticae), the Silver-washed Fritillary (Argynnis paphia), the European Peacock (Inachis io), the Ringlet (Aphantopus hyperantus). After rainy periods, at the brooks of the Craven creek can be seen amphibians (Amphibia) like the Yellow-Bellied Toad (Bombina variegata). A large variety of insects (Insecta) are present near the waterside vegetation and in the dense undergrowth: the Beautiful Demoiselle (Calopteryx virgo), the Dor Beetle (Geotrupes stercorarius), the Wood Ant (Formica rufa), the Velvet Ant (Mutilla europaea), the Seven-Spot Ladybird (Coccinella septempunctata), the Forest Bug (Pentatoma rufipes) or the Common Scorpionfly (Panorpa communis).

Evergreen trills

Perching birds or passerine (Passeriformes) represent the most abundant order of the birds class (Aves). Species belonging to this order (almost 60% of the world's bird species) have a common feature: they all possess the lower epiglottis (syrinx), which helps to produce a wide range of trills and other vocalizations. In the surrounding woods of the Falcon Stone there are many perching birds which can be admired. Some of them prefer coniferous trees but they also nest elsewhere, for example the Coal Tit (Periparus ater), which is one of the most agile tit (it searches for seeds, insects, spiders at the top of the trees and at the external branches). We can also see throughout the year the Eurasian Siskin (Carduelis spinus), the Crested Tit (Lophophanes cristatus), the Willow Tit (Poecile montanus) or the Spotted Nutcracker (Nucifraga caryocatactes). These species also can be seen in the orchards or in the backyards looking for seeds.

The eyes of the night

The presence of old and hollow trees in the reserve is important for the nocturnal birds of prey because they nests in these hollows. Such nocturnal bird of prey is the Ural Owl (Strix uralensis), which nests in the hollows of old beech trees or in abandoned nests of other birds of prey. He feeds with wood mice, frogs or other birds (even owls). In the Falcon Stone surrounding forest can be observed other owls, like Long-eared Owl (Asio otus), Eurasian Eagle-owl (Bubo bubo) and Tawny Owl (Strix aluco). Owls feed primarily on small rodents, songbirds and greater arthropods. The indigestible parts of the prey (bones, feather, hair, chitin armour) are dropped out in a solid shape, called pellet. Every owl species has his own pellet shape and size, so it can be determined the specie without to observe the bird itself. During the examination of the pellets it can be determined the composition of the owl prey.

The voice of the mixed forest

The forest around the Falcon Stone is a lively mixed forest (hardwood and conifers) with a rich fauna. In the early morning the treetops are loud of perching birds (Passeriformes). Some of them can be seen throughout the year, others migrate south. One of the constant species in the reserve is the Great Tit (Parus major), which is common in the gardens, in the parks, close to the people on the bird feeders. Similar constant species are: the Eurasian Nuthatch (Sitta europaea), the Bullfinch (Pyrrhula pyrrhula) or the Eurasian Jay (Garrulus glandarius). Others, like the European Robin (Erithacus rubecula), the Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs), the European Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis) or the Common Redstart (Phoenicurus phoenicurus), can only be seen in the nesting period. We can also hear the characteristic sound of the Common Cuckoo (Cuculus canorus), which lays its eggs in the nests of other bird species (brood parasite). The most common bird species from the Piciformes order are: the Black Woodpecker (Dryocopus martius), the Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major) or the Three-toed Woodpecker (Picoides tridactylus).

Reptiles and amphibians

In the forest are hiding cold-blooded animals, who are not able to regulate their body temperature, therefore they depend on the ambient temperature (poikilotherm). They are the reptiles (Reptilia), which can be seen heating their bodies in the sun in cool weather. Most of them lay eggs (oviparity), but there are reptiles, which gives birth to live offspring (viviparity). This means the birth of offspring without the development of calcified eggs (the viviparous lizard - Lacerta vivipara). In the dense undergrowth can be seen the Slow Worm (Anguis fragilis), which is a lizard specie with no legs. Other present reptiles: the European Green Lizard (Lacerta viridis), the Sand Lizard (Lacerta agilis) or the Aesculapian Snake (Elaphe longissima) and the Grass Snake (Natrix natrix) which are harmless to humans. Another group is the amphibians (Amphibia), of which reproduction depends upon the presence of fresh water (outside fertilization – laying eggs). The most frequent amphibians around the Falcon Stone: the Yellow-Bellied Toad (Bombina variegata), the Common Toad (Bufo bufo) or Fire Salamander (Salamandra salamandra).

Colourful autumn leaves

Due to the temperature inversion the deciduous forest, accustomed to warmer climates, is situated above the coniferous forest, which is accustomed to colder climates. The Falcon Stone emerge from the landscape by having a deciduous forest layer around the rock and the whole phenomenon is in wide coniferous forest. Many common species can be seen here, typical for this altitude: the Common Hornbeam (Carpinus betulus), the Common Hazel (Corylus avellana), the Common Beech (Fagus sylvatica), the Sycamore Maple (Acer pseudoplatanus), the Common Aspen (Populus tremula), the Pedunculate Oak (Quercus robur), the Silver Birch (Betula pendula) or the Wych Elm (Ulmus glabra). The deciduous forest ensures feeding place for many bird and mammal species and plays an important role in the material cycle. For this type of forest is typical the shrub and the enriched undergrowth with flowering plants.

The voice of the deciduous forest

Perching birds or passerine (Passeriformes) is the most abundant order of the birds class (Aves). Species belonging to this order have a common property: they all possess the lower epiglottis (syrinx), the use of which helps producing a wide range of trills and other vocalizations. In the surrounding woods of the Falcon Stone many perching birds can be admired. Some of them prefer deciduous trees but they also nest elsewhere. One of the birds nesting in deciduous trees which can be seen here is the Marsh Tit (Poecile palustris) which can be seen throughout the year and also on bird feeders. We can also observe throughout the year the Winter Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes) and the Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus). Some species chose this area only in the nesting period, for the winter they migrate south. Such migratory bird from this area is the Song Thrush (Turdus philomelos) and the Common Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita). These species also can be seen in the orchards or in the backyards looking for seeds.

Mammals

Species in the class of the mammals (Mammalia) are rarely seen inhabitants of the forest. As a result of their lifestyle and behaviour most of them are hidden or nocturnal in order to avoid the human presence. Frequently seen mammals in the forest surrounding the Falcon Stone: the Red Squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris), the Edible Dormouse (Glis glis), the Northern White-Breasted Hedgehog (Erinaceus roumanicus), the Common Shrew (Sorex araneus), the Wood Mouse (Apodemus sylvaticus), the European Roe Deer (Capreolus capreolus), the Wild Boar (Sus scrofa) or the Greater Mouse-Eared Bat (Myotis myotis), which can be seen after sunset. Species from the order of the carnivores (Carnivoria) are perhaps the rarest seen species, since most of them hunt at night and avoid the presence of human. Such is the Wildcat (Felis silvestris), the European Badger (Meles meles), the Least Weasel (Mustela nivalis), the Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes) and the omnivorous Brown Bear (Ursus arctos), or the less frequently detected Eurasian Lynx (Lynx lynx) and the Grey Wolf (Canis lupus).

In the air

Among the perching birds nesting in the forest, birds of prey can be also seen around the Falcon Stone. The most commonly seen of all is the Common Buzzard (Buteo buteo) but there are others like the Eurasian Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus), the Common Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus), the Northern Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis) or occasionally the Lesser Spotted Eagle (Aquila pomarina).