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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The March-Auen

A year ago I described the woodland flood plain that borders the River Danube between Vienna and the Slovakian border near Bratislava, known as the Donau Auen. There is another river, the River March, that flows south along the border of Slovakia and Austria that feeds into the Danube near Hainburg, a little upstream from Bratislava. This river similarly has a forested flood plain, known as the March-Auen, which I was able to visit recently.

The River March near the village of Marchegg;
Slovakia is on the far bank and Austria the near bank

Much of the March-Auen is conservation area, in particular the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) reserve just north of the village of Marchegg. At this point the River March regularly floods its banks, inundating the surrounding meadows and forests creating what is more typically eastern European marsh landscape. The area is enormously rich in birds and other wildlife, with many species of raptors, both species of stork, River Warbler, woodpeckers, owls and Kingfisher. The reserve at Marchegg is one of the top priorities for wildlife tour groups visiting the area.

The White Stork colony at Marchegg is one of the largest tree-nesting colonies in Europe

The Au-forest is inter-laced with wet pools, a rich habitat for wildlife

The retreat of recent flooding leaves a tangle of fallen trees, assisted by the work of beavers

Research along the River March - the bird-ringing station near Hohenau an der March

Wildlife of the March-Auen includes the Red Squirrel...

...the Suslik (Ziesel) which can be found on higher, drier ground...

...and deer may be surprised as they graze in the meadows between the forest groves

Birds of the region include the blue-headed form of the Yellow Wagtail

And as a rare special treat, an Imperial Eagle soars over the March-Auen forests


Blogger lorenzothellama said...

That little yellow bird was pretty! Also my favourites, the storks

9:13 pm  
Blogger simon said...

Yellow wagtail- I think I have seen one! I must check my list.

Would you say the wildlife is abundant mate?

10:49 pm  
Blogger Tortoiseshell said...

Nice blog.

Less birds, more borders and boundaries please!

3:51 am  
Blogger Charles Gramlich said...

Gorgeous pics. Love the red squirrel. We have a squirrel called a red squirrel that looks somewhat similar but with different color on the fur. Not nearly as rusty red.

6:30 am  
Blogger Maalie said...

Thanks for comments!

Lorenzo: Yes, tree-nesting storks are not so common as they adopt buildings and pylons.

Simon: You will have seen the Grey Wagtail (also yellow but with grey back); the Yellow Wagtail is quite a rarity in England now.

Tortoisehell: Well, I did do Offa's Dyke! But will bear it in mind!

Charles: There is considerable natural variation in fur colour, even in Europe.

8:21 am  
Blogger Badger said...

Lovee the Suslik

7:44 pm  
Blogger Cloudia said...

Saw you at Charles' Razored Zen and very glad I came here. Funny & synchronous, that I wrote about being "royalty" today...then I saw you in your kayak (I've got mine).

I'm hooked on your whole sensibility here.

You are invited to visit with
Aloha from Waikiki

Comfort Spiral

8:25 pm  
Blogger Lana Gramlich said...

Very cool! Oh, to visit somewhere like that someday!

6:01 am  
Blogger Ellee Seymour said...

I walked along some lovely Suffolk rivers last weekend, you can see them on my EveryTrail links on my blog.
Again, you show us beautiful pictures and give me itchy feet for travels and adventure, and nature trails.
Have a good weekend.

10:00 am  

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