Less than five kilometers from the urban core of Ulcinj is an oasis of nature – a paradise for birds.
It is the Solana “Bajo Sekulić”, a nature park where an unusual type of “recreation” is practiced – bird watching. Ulcinj’s “Solana”, one of the most attractive bird habitats, is located on the famous Adriatic corridor for migratory migration.
Since its inception, in the thirties of the last century, the destiny of “Solana” has been tied to birds. The inhabitants of the swamp, the lagoon, inhabited the area before the product of the sea, sun and wind – sea salt – was created here. For birds, “Solana” is an important biodiversity: both for migrants and for those for whom the salt lake is a habitat throughout the year.
Autumn is the time of migration of many birds. How do birds prepare for a demanding migration, a flight across the Adriatic that is measured from Ulcinj to the coast of Italy with a length of 200 kilometers? How do they gather strength for a migration on which they cannot stand above the sea? What happens in the spring when millions of birds from Africa come by an exhausting section across the Mediterranean Sea and in Ulcinj’s “Solana” renew their strength, replenish their energy for a further flight to Europe? The answers to these and many other questions are in the kingdom of birds, in this Nature Park.
It is interesting to note that more than 350 bird gardens have been registered in Montenegro, of which about 250 have found habitat in “Solana”, which occupies an area of 1,492 hectares. There are about 500 species of birds in Europe, which means that half of the bird world lives right on the site of Ulcinj’s “Solana”, which is a sufficient reason to visit Ulcinj’s “Solana”.
The best conditions for bird watching are during migration, from March to June and from the second half of August to the end of November. Experts claim that no matter how many times someone visits “Solana”, they will see certain species for the first time, which means that every return to this area is a new experience.
For many visitors to the Nature Park in Ulcinj, the most beautiful experience is watching flamingos – birds that are a symbol of Ulcinj’s “Solana”. Precisely because of the flamingos, the Montenegrin travel agencies are organizing “Birdwatching” tours in “Solana”. This is the only nesting place for flamingos on the east coast of the Adriatic, and the birds stay here for all 12 months.
The Center for the Protection of Birds conducts monthly monitoring. According to their data, there will be up to 2,500 flamingos in Solana. These charismatic birds live in flocks.
When the peculiarities of this species are mentioned, among other things, it is bird’s milk, which is a symbol of luxury in the human world. Flamingos really do look gorgeous. This is the first impression when you observe a colony of flamingos through the lens of binoculars or a telescope. The “Novosti” reporter in this Nature Park was convinced of that. Unusual birds with long legs, thin necks, have feathers from the lightest to pinkish shades. Their feather color takes on pink hues because they feed on aquatic animals, a type of crab, and this diet is rich in beta-carotene. It is interesting that males have more expressive feather colors, even to shades of red.
Flamingos are also known for almost always standing on one leg. Some scientists claim that in this way they store body heat because with one foot they lose much less body heat in water than if they were in it with both. However, these birds do not have to use muscles at all to stand on one limb. Research has confirmed that flamingos are actually easier to stand on their own on one leg.
This, as well as many other interesting facts about beautiful birds, can be heard during the “Flamingos tour in Ulcinj’s Solana”. The guide will also explain that flamingos live in pairs, what attracts females, and what skill they use to catch food with their upper beak.
NATIONAL SPORT IN BRITAIN
It is estimated that there are more than six million bird lovers in EU countries, and as many as 50 million people in the United States. In Great Britain, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds was formed in 1889, the first of its kind, while today there are about three million associations that study birds. Ornithologists say that bird watching in Great Britain is a “national sport”.
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