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Bog remnant (Photo:  R. Hofrichter)Peat cutting by hand  (Photo: Archiv Torferneuerungsverein)Lakes and Ponds (Photo: A. Ausobsky)The Weidmoos in winter (Photo: R. Hofrichter)Lakes and ponds (Photo: R. Hofrichter)

The emergence of a new habitat

Nature has returned astonishingly quickly to the land which was left disused when peat cutting ended. A mosaic of ponds, reed-beds and willow bushes has developed. What has emerged is a fascinating regenerated landscape which has – within a few years after the end of peat mining – become home to many rare species of birds.

Pioneer vegetation

Even today, very little vegetation has grown up in those areas where a relatively thick layer of peat remained when peat cutting ended. These places which are almost devoid of vegetation are often subject to extreme temperature fluctuations. Nevertheless, they provide an important habitat for a range of birds such as the little ringed plover and the stonechat.

Lakes and ponds

An important feature of the Weidmoos is its many areas of standing water. Dam-building work that has been undertaken as part of the LIFE project has further increased both the size and variety of these areas. This is an ideal environment for a range of water birds such as little grebes and gargeny. The water edges and mudflats are important feeding grounds for migrating waders.

Reed-beds

The extensive reed-beds of the Weidmoos are a breeding area for marsh harriers. They also provide a perfect environment for a variety of warblers and water birds, as well as being an important part of the bluethroat’s habitat. Great white egrets which overwinter in the Weidmoos hunt for food in the reed thickets.

Remaining bog

In the south of the Weidmoos is the only small remnant of the former bog. The central part of this area still represents a typical bog. On the periphery, however, even this remnant of the bog has lost much of its character through drainage of the area.

Wetland meadows

The wetland meadows are an important habitat for many of the bird species found in the Weidmoos. Curlews which nest in the surrounding fields hunt for food here. The meadows provide an excellent breeding site for lapwings. Since the ending of peat cutting the wetland meadows have been regularly mown (once a year in autumn) in order to prevent them becoming overgrown.

Willow scrub

Since peat mining ended, both small and large thickets of willow have grown up, and these now form an important habitat for many bird species. Although bluethroats nest on the ground, the areas of willow interspersed with reeds form an important part of their habitat.


 

(c) B. Riehl
Pionier vegetation ...

 

(c) A. Ausobsky
Lakes and ponds ...

 

(c) A. Ausobsky
Reed-beds ...

 

(c) A. Ausobsky
Bog remnant ...

 

(c) B. Riehl
Wetland meadows ...

 

(c) A. Ausobsky
Willow scrubs ...