My friend Paul Tout also wrote something about the inauguration of the reserve in his blog. Worth reading to get an overview of the past, present and future of Škocjanski zatok.
|The freshwater marsh, looking north towards the new visitor center, with Srmin hill in the background.
views on the new central observation tower, which allows to have a 360°
view over the whole reserve. It is located on a bank between the
freshwater marsh and the brackish lagoon. Its interiors (on 3 floors)
|Inside the observation tower - 3rd floor. All the hides are equipped with bird ID plates of every kind.
|Part of the freshwater marsh with a new screening (the port of Koper in the back).
|Freshwater marsh with the town of Koper in the background.
|Brackish marsh (the part of the reserve connected with the sea through a canal) and Koper's shopping centers in the back.
|The new visitor center at the edge of the reserve, overlooking the freshwater marsh. For a bit of geography: the highest mountain in the far back is Slavnik, rising high over tha Karst plateau (white "line").
|Entrance to the nature reserve - through a busy road by the industrial estate and port of Koper.
And now, as a tribute to this great nature reserve, a selection of some typical birds that can be observed at Škocjanski zatok in different seasons. The photos were taken between 2010 and 2014, while I used to carry out a regular (weekly) bird monitoring at the reserve. At the end also a few rarities.
|Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis - a few individuals are usually present at Škocjanski zatok throughout the year. This is the most reliable site to see Cattle Egret in Slovenia. Above, with the Istrian autochthonous breed of cattle - boškarin.
|Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus is a common summer breeding bird both at the freshwater marsh and in the brackish lagoon. More than 30 pairs nested in 2015.
|Kentish Plover Charadrius alexandrinus used to breed in the brackish lagoon until recently. Nowadays it has become just an occasional spring/summer passage bird.
|Little Tern Sternula albifrons - after several years of absence as a breeding bird, this small tern is now once again nesting with a few pairs in the brackish lagoon.
|Common Tern Sterna hirundo - the breeding population of this species at Škocjanski zatok has steeply increased in the last years. In 2015 more than 100 pairs nested.
|Pygmy Cormorant Phalacrocorax pygmeus - a constant, all-year-round presence at Škocjanski zatok. Numbers of this species have been increasing in the last years, although there was no sign of breeding on the reserve yet.
|Curlew Numenius arquata is perhaps the commonest wader, along with Greenshank Tringa nebularia. Both species are seen in almost all seasons, although they don't breed in Škocjanski zatok.
|Squacco Heron Ardeola ralloides - only a passage bird, usually seen in spring and early summer.
|Purple Heron Ardea purpurea - as with the previous, usually seen in spring and summer (non-breeder).
|Moustached Warbler Acrocephalus melanopogon. The reedbeds of Škocjanski zatok in March are an excellent site to catch up with this early Acro. Some birds are also seen in the autumn (and rarely in winter).
|Penduline Tit Remiz pendulinus - autumn and winter visitor (in small flocks) in the reserve's reedbeds.
|Great Reed Warbler Acrocephalus arundinaceus - the commonest breeding Acro in summer.
|Bearded Tit Panurus biarmicus - a rare winter visitor to Škocjanski zatok, usually in small numbers.
|Cetti's Warbler Cettia cetti is one of the commonest passerines at the reserve (all-year-round).
|Bluethroat Luscinia svecica - at the end of August and in early September this species can be seen quite frequently at reedbed edges in Škocjanski zatok.
|Garganey Anas querquedula - the real harbinger of spring in the wetlands (especially common in March).
|Jack Snipe Lymnocryptes minimus - the only one I've ever seen in Škocjanski zatok. This species is probably commoner than though, especially in winter.
|Little Crake Porzana parva (male) - regular passage bird in spring and autumn.
|Spotted Crake Porzana porzana - another regular migrant, especially in spring. It's not too unusual to see one in a water ditch by the reserve's main path.
|Merlin Falco columbarius - a scarce winter visitor, arriving especially in the harshest winters.
|Broad-billed Sandpiper Limicola falcinellus - another self-found rarity: the first for Škocjanski zatok (in September 2012).