Saturday, June 29, 2013

Aesculapian snake(Zamenis longissimus)

Aesculapian snake(Zamenis longissimus)
In another article I have mentioned that the snakes, which are cold-blooded, like the heat of the rocks and especially the road, and often go there to get some energy. The road for being black still warmer than the rest of local rocks, with lighter colors.
This time this poor  Aesculapian snake  (Zamenis longissimus) was hit yesterday while  was sunbathing on Orotz Betelu(Navarre), a village near the Irati forest.

It was about 85 inches long, (Adults can reach 2 meters) and a wheel of a motorcycle, looking by the small size of the wound, was caught in the middle.
Usually eat mice, eggs, birds and reptiles, the same way as the famous Anaconda or Boa constrictor; drowning with his body.
A good page to know more about this type of snake (not poisonous) is this web of biodiversity of the Government of Navarra. not very full, but very clear
Belly of the  Aesculapian snake with crush injury

Note that in Navarre, only vipers snakes (much smaller)  can inoculate  venom  and they only will bite us in case of being cornered.
I have a friend who was bitten by a snake some years ago years in the forest, in another  nearby area of ​​Navarre when he went to sit down and he didn´t saw where he put his hand on the ground. He went to hospital and there,they gave him the antidote. In about three weeks I was recovered .If he had not laid the hand on the viper never had bitten, and he didn´t realized of his presence
An older woman in Bera (North Navarre) told me on another occasion that a reaper had been bitten at this time, when they was cutting the grass of the meadows  with the scythe.
. Be always careful where you put your hand or where you step, but not afraid. Only respect.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Carnivorous plants in the forest of Irati.The peatlands

Pinguícula/waterworts(Pinguícula grandiflora)
In the forest of Irati Aezkoa Valley, we have two kinds of carnivorous plants. The you see in the picture is the Pinguicula or waterworts (Pinguicula grandiflora) which is now in flower. The black dots on the green leaves are small insects that got stuck in the leaves due to a secretion of mucilage (a sticky substance also found in the fruits of mistletoe formerly used as glue underpowered).

When the unfortunate creature is stuck, begins to secrete a kind of enzymes that act as digestive system in the outside.
It's their way of   to get mainly nitrogen, in areas where the soil is very poor in it.
I always see in areas of runoff water or light build. Zones and PH very acid washed, such as bogs or bogs in formation areas, of which we have some in the Irati  of Aezkoa valley(Navarre)

Common sundew(Drosera Rotundifolia)

The other plant we have is more special, and spend more unnoticed. With less than 5 centimeters, is a little bit  like carnivorous plant that we have in mind, and which sold in stores a tropical species, bigger than ours.
It is the common sundew(Drosera rotundifolia). In Mediterranean areas as Izki Natural Park (Araba, Baasque country) can be found Great sundew(Drosera/anglica longuifolia) species, which as its latin name suggests, has longer leaves.

In the high-Azpegi, in the westernmost part of Irati have peaty ecosystems (peat forming) one of which recently closed with wooden fencing to prevent livestock can step flora before  flowering. The idea is that once this has happend, we can open three wickets for the free entrance of the cattle.

It so happens that cattle trampling those plants, is at the same time preventing the growth of others, such as Gorse (Ulex europaea) that could be cause problems in this ecosystem, but also is  the responsible to create small wells with their hooves in the mud, where they later leave the most interesting plants

Etzangio Board (Azpegi summit/ Aezkoa) in front the bog.
This is the panel explaining the pre-bog ecosystem, developed by us(Itarinatura) recently.
A peatland is a zone with constant supply of water where they grow mainly Sphagnum and other mosses, along with other plants associated with that ecosystem. Over time, new mosses grow on top of the dead, that having low oxygen just rot, and over the years we may have a depth of several meters of peat, which is the type of substrate that you can find in garden stores.

Almost all of Ireland or Scotland is full of such areas as well as large areas of the Pyrenees, where the soil remains waterlogged environment. In these countries cut peat in portions to use as fuel, because long time ago that the great forests disappeared, at least as to get firewood. Literally they burn the ground in fireplaces, and what's left later in these sites is the bedrock sterile because the peat is formed in a slow process of thousands of years.

Among other types of wildlife and vegetation can talk about dragonflies, spiders that eat dragonflies, others that they eat other spiders and dragonflies, if they can, ..
Typical of these ecosystems is the Common cotton grass (Eriphorum angustifolium), a type of rush Shaggy has not still taken the flower. Certain types of orchids and daffodils,mayflowers,gentians,..too.
Common cotton grass(Eriophorum angustifolium)

Spider eating a butterfly

At the peat bog are associated many amphibians like Common frog (Rana temporaria), the Salamander (Salamandra salamandra) webbed Triton (Lissotriton helveticus) or the common toad (Bufo bufo), which attract all kinds of predators. Difficult to see them, but not his tracks. In this way we see that badgers, foxes ,bobcats  and European polecat approached those sites to hunt.

Common frogs(Rana temporaria) matting
Salamander(Salamandra salamandra)

Budger tracks(Meles meles)
If you decide to visit this place, as always, be respectful (I know what you will, but you would not be on this page) with everything you see.