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Reed bed

Reed bed is a vegetation community dominated by common reed (Phragmites australis). Reeds need a constant contact with water to grow well. The most characteristic bird species found here are Great Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus arundinaceus), Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus scirpaceus) and Little Bittern (Ixobrychus minutus), immitating the reeds with its long beak turned in an upright position.

Freshwater reed bed in Škocjanski zatok is well developed and represents an important habitat for many animals, providing feeding and breeding ground as well as an excellent shelter. The largest stand of freshwater reed bed is located in the northern-most part of the reserve at Bertoški bonifika and along water channels in its southern part. The largest rodent in Škocjanski zatok – Nutria (Myocastor coypus) can be observed here. This is a non-native species that in Slovenia used to be cultivated for fur but nowadays they live freely in nature. The signs of their presence are typical slides, where they descend from the tops of embankments to the ditches.

Brackish reed bed differs from the freshwater one – it grows in brackish water and therefore the halophytes appear in its undergrowth. Such reed bed abundantly overgrows the edge of the Škocjanski zatok lagoon. In highly saline conditions, it doesn’t grow as high as in fresh water and remains particularly low at drier ground. This is a habitat of seaside arrowgrass (Triglochin maritimum), a rare perrenial halophyte with narrow leaves and small flowers in spiky inflorescence. Its last recording in Škocjanski zatok goes twenty years back, which was the last observation in Slovenia as well. It must be “hidden” among the reeds, and it should just be found.

Photo: Mirko Kastelic