Bird migration is the regular seasonal movement, often north and south along a flyway between breeding and wintering grounds, undertaken by many species of birds. Migration, which carries high costs in predation and mortality, including from hunting by humans, is driven primarily by availability of food. Migration occurs mainly in the Northern Hemisphere where birds are funnelled on to specific routes by natural barriers such as the Mediterranean Sea.
Historically, migration has been recorded as much as 3,000 years ago by Ancient Greek authors including Homer and Aristotle, and in the Book of Job, for species such as storks, Turtle Doves, and swallows. More recently, Johannes Leche began recording dates of arrivals of spring migrants in Finland in 1749, and scientific studies have used techniques including bird ringing and satellite tracking.
The timing of migration is controlled primarily by changes in day length. Migrating birds navigate using celestial cues from the sun and stars, the earth’s magnetic field, and probably also mental maps. Migration has developed independently in different groups of birds and does not appear to require genetic change; some birds have acquired migratory behaviour since the last ice age.
The Senné depression, as well as lowlands of Medzibodrožie were regularly flooded in the past on spring, economic activities were limited on catching of fish and pastoralism, arable land was situated only on better soils, mainly at slightly higher positions of the lowlands. Often flooded lowlands were also habitats for waterfowl as long as the rivers were not regulated and lowlands were not drained by a network of melioration canals in the 1960-ies and 70-ies, which completely changed the whole landscape. Oxbows were cut off the rivers and in wet parts of the lowlands large tracts of land were dried up and groundwater levels dropped down. But recently it has become more and more visible, that most of these originally wet areas are not suitable for intensive agriculture because of permanently rewetted soils. But a number of valuable wetlands and marshes, once being habitats for waterfowl, already disappeared. Meadows and pastures are wet only in the spring, but during summer they are already dry and a number of wetlands, once giving home to birds is slowly disappearing.
Part of the Protected Bird Area Medzibodrožie has been already in year 1990 declared as Protected Landscape Area Latorica. It is a very diverse area, unique by a number of oxbows around river Latorica, by wet meadows, pastures and former pastures, floodplain forests, marshes, and also by arable land. The area is important for its diverse wild fauna and flora. It belongs to most important sites in Slovakia for several threatened bird species, especially of waterfowl, but also for some other species, preferring dryer habitats, including sand dunes.
The Senné SPA was designated in year 2009. Senné SPA is situated in western part of the Senné depression, among villages Senné, Iňačovce, Blatná Polianka, Blatné Remety with area 2668 ha.
Part of the SPA is a National Nature Reserve Senné fish ponds with area 213,3 ha and with a buffer zone 211,2 ha. The NNR is composed by a non- productive fish-pond. Area of the NNR has been in year 1990 included to the list of Ramsar sites as a wetland of international importance and it was designated also as a Special Area of Conservation (as a site protected by the Habitats Directive) under code SKUEV 020 Senianske rybníky. More than 300 flowering plant species grow here, some of them belong to rare and threatened species (Guinea-hen flower, Summer snowflake, flowering rush). In the 70th and 80th years of the last century a system of 26 productive fish-ponds was built there, which contains a number of different habitats: open water, reedbeds, vegetation of floating, emerged and submerged water-plants. The fish-ponds are surrounded by wet meadows. Thanks to diverse habitats the area is occupied by a plenty of bird species. Diverse habitats of this SPA occupy also several species of insects (e. g. the Southern Festoon, the Scarce Swallowtail, the Large Copper, the Scarce Large Blue, the European Mantis), amphibians, reptiles and fishes. We can mention the Fire-bellied toad, the rare Danu- be Crested Newt, the European pond turtle and from fish species the Weather Loach. From mammals is noteworthy occurrence of the European Otter and very recently also of the Eurasian Beaver. Meadows with fragments of marshes, former pastures with fragments of marshes and scattered trees take up two thirds of the SPA area.
The Latorica Protected Landscape Area is a part of the Medzibodrožie SPA (33 754 ha). An axis of the area is the Latorica river, which together with the Laborec and Ondava rivers make up the Bodrog river. The space between flood-protection dykes of the Latorica river was designated as a ramsar site (4 358 ha). The whole area is characterised by a diver- se mosaic of habitats – meadows, oxbows, floodplain forests, marshes, fields, sand dunes and xerothermic habitats. Rare flora of marshes is represented by the European White Water lily, the Yellow Water-lily, the Floating Fern, the Four Leaf Clover, flora of wet meadows by the Lax- flowered Orchid, the Meadow Violet, the Mouse Garlic and many other species.
Important is representation of amphibians, e. g. the Edible Frog, the Moor Frog, the Marsh Frog, the European tree frog, the Danube Crested Newt and the Smooth Newt. The Grass snake, the Dice snake and the Smooth snake occur here and the NNR Tajba is known a permanent reproduction site of the European pond turtle. From 42 species of fish occurring in the area as many as 11 belong to species of European importance. Along the Latorica River already a number of fragments of original floodplain forests remained as an important habitat for several animal species. Some unique species of mammals were found here, as the Mo-ose, the Jackal, the Raccoon Dog, the Wild Cat and the European Otter. From beatles also some interesting species occur here, as the Stag Beatle and the Greater Capricorn Beatle, from butterflies the Large Copper, the Clouded Apollo, the Southern Festoon, or the Large Blue. The project area, selected for meeting the LIFE project objectives and its activities in Medzibodrožie SPA is situated in Northern part of the area, to the North of the Latorica River, in historical area of Použie, in so-called Beša polder in Beša municipal area and in neighbouring area at village Čičarovce. The area is characterised by a number of marshes and ox- bows, providing habitat for target species of the project. This area was heavily effected by several unfavourable factors limiting their breeding in the area: first of all this is a construction of the polder – an occasional accumulation area for floodwaters of Latorica and Laborec rivers. The polder is surrounded by dykes and this factor lead to drying up the area, abandonment of meadows lead to their succession by bushes.
Detailed program and locations by email in case of interest.
Level of Fitness: Easy