Monday 19 December 2016

Marbled Trout & river birds

Marbled Trout Salmo marmoratus, Hubelj river near Ajdovščina, 17th December 2016. An endemic species of fish (regarded as a subspecies by some) only found in a few rivers in Slovenia's Adriatic basin and north-east Italy. Lives in clean mountain rivers and has suffered a steep decline in recent decades. The main threats to this rare trout are hybridization with other introduced trouts (for angling purposes), water extraction and water pollution. Hubelj is a spawning site for a few Marbled Trouts, which spawn there right at this time of year.
Hybrid Brown Trout x Marbled Trout Salmo trutta x Salmo marmoratus, Hubelj river (Ajdovščina), 17th December 2016. Hybrids such as this are common and represent a threat to genetically pure Marbled Trout populations, which in Slovenia are confined to seven locations in remote streams of the Soča river basin. More on the subject here.
Soča river in the Trenta valley, January 2016 & August 2015. This fast-flowing mountain river, along with its tributaries, is one of the native habitats of the Marbled Trout Salmo marmoratus
Dipper Cinclus cinclus, Soča river in the Trenta valley, January 2016 (by Sara Cernich). Another characteristic inhabitant of fast-flowing mountain streams.
Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea, Reka river, March 2015. A common bird on every kind of stream or flowing water. Has a wider niche than Dipper and is usually present also in streams not appropriate for the latter.
Kingfisher Alcedo atthis, Vipava river, December 2016. This species frequently shares the habitat with Grey Wagtail and Dipper (especially in winter), but needs sandy riverbanks for excavating its nest. Therefore is also found along lowland, slow-flowing rivers. The lower course of the Vipava, with its sandy banks is a favourite breeding site.