Just outside Koper there's a nature reserve where you can truly admire nature in its best, the rich flora and fauna which boasts a number of rare or endangered species. The Škocjan Nature Reserve is the largest brackish (where freshwater and sea water mix) wetland in Slovenia. It consists of brackish lagoon surrounded by reed beds and freshwater marsh.
The area was severely damaged back in 1980s, when the local authorities intended to fill up the brackish lagoon completely for purposes of developing an industrial and commercial zone. (I know, unbelievable!) In 1993 BirdLife Slovenia initiated a public campaign to protect the area. After five years of dedicated and persistent work the area was officially declared a nature reserve by Slovene government. Legal protection put a stop to degradation and the restoration of the wetland to conditions prior to degradation was completed in 2007 to ensure its long-term protection.(source: http://www.skocjanski-zatok.org/)
Just a few facts from their website:
- 221 bird species were recorded, including 45 breeders
- Skocjan Nature reserve is located in the most Northern parts of Mediterranean
- a circular path takes you around the freshwater marsh but the animals are not affected by visitors as they can only be observed from observations sites, otherwise are protected by the reeds beds
- two Camargue horses have been introduced to the reserve so they can help with the "maintenance"
- Istrian cattle breed Boškarin was introduced as well to graze and prevent the meadows from overgrowing
- they have plans on bringing donkeys as well :)
Here are a few pics from several of our visits.
|The Camargue mares|
|Observation deck (and yes, me:) )|
|A family of swans spends the winter at the reserve|
|Grdalin-the Slovenian name for this beautiful bird|
|Boškarin - the Istrian cattle breed|
|The Swan family|
|me and the reeds bed|
|through the observation "hole"|