Medvedce reservoir – IBA Črete

Area description
Reservoir Medvedce is the third largest water surface in the Pannonian part of Slovenia. It was built in 1990 for flood regulation and farmland irrigation purposes and is today used for fish farming. Due to its great importance for bird protection, the reservoir and the nearby flood forest gained the status of an important bird area (IBA Črete). Aquatic plant species dominate the surface of the reservoir, whereas rare flood meadows and forests can be found on some of its edges. The area is crisscrossed by several drainage ditches that get flooded in times of heavy rain and attract many waders, which feed in them. Many rare bird species nest in the bulrush and reed that cover the western part of the reservoir. The reservoir is emptied in autumn for the fish harvest, and the remaining water often freezes in winter time.

The reservoir is situated 4 kilometres south of the settlement Pragersko (which has very good train connections) and can be reached on foot (in 1 h) or by bicycle (in 15 min) with ease. At the beginning, we follow the signs for the international shooting range. At the crossroad by the regional landfill, we continue straight ahead, towards south. The asphalt road then leads us past meadows, forests and stream Polskava. We soon arrive to the next crossroad; here we turn to the side road and continue straight to the south. After about 400 metres, we gaze upon a bridge that stands before a sharp left turn. Before the bridge we take a left turn onto a dirt road, which leads us along a small channel and straight to the embankment of the reservoir.

Trail description
A wide trail on the embankment leads around the whole reservoir, whose scope is approximately 6 kilometres.

The area of the reservoir is of exceptional importance for nesting and migrating birds. Several water birds that are rare elsewhere in the country, like the gadwall, garganey, ferruginous duck and the shoveler, regularly nest here. Vast reed patches create good nesting conditions for some mysterious and lesser known birds, such as the bittern, numerous crakes, western marsh harrier and purple heron. For the latter, the reservoir is the only known nesting place in Slovenia. Most birds occur during migration. Flocks of several thousand water birds, that are regaining their strength at the reservoir, can be seen at once. Bigger flocks of gulls, terns, harriers, northern lapwings and ruffs can be observed overflying. Lately the short-eared owl appears here on a regular basis as well. The glossy ibis, kites, Caspian tern and different waders are among the rare migrating bird species that stop in the area. The main attraction during the winter migration is the great egret, which in night time gathers in groups of hundreds in the middle of the reservoir to rest. So far 265 different bird species (among them 57 are nesting) have been observed on reservoir Medvedce and in its surroundings. Most of these birds are important protected species.

Other plants and animals
Among animals the moor frog and the large cooper are most notable. The most common aquatic plants in the reservoir are water caltrop and ponweed. The European water clover can be observed here as well.

Interesting links
Improtant Bird Area (IBA) Črete