Wetland by the Lake of Santa Croce
near Farra and Puos d’Alpago

L’ampio specchio lacustre rappresenta un habitat ideale per numerose specie ittiche, per alcuni interessanti molluschi e, nel mutare delle stagioni, ospita numerose specie di uccelli acquatici. (foto Dalfreddo)

      The trail encounters three principal habitats: water, woodland and reed beds.
      Many fish enact their life cycle in the waters of the Lake of Santa Croce: there are perch (Perca fluvialis), whitefish (Coregonus lavarellus), and “Sampierolo” (Leuciscus lapacinus), a native species. And for sweet water shellfish this lake, Santa Croce, is the best site in the province: in the lake waters and round its edges, counting both gastropods and bivalves, there are more than 20 living species of water molluscs. The most notable of these are the Anodonta anatine and Unio mancus (Cesare Dalfreddo). With seasonal variation the lake also gives sustenance to many birds: Great crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus) with 1/3 nesting pairs (Fossa) and Black Kite (Milvus migrans).
The woodland.
     Within the protected area between the mouths of the rivers Tesa and old Tesa, sometimes flooded by lake water, the following trees can be found: the White Willow (Salix alba), Common Ash (Fraxinus excelsior), and the Common Alder (Alnus glutinosa). Bushes include the Guelder Rose (Viburnum opulus), Dogrose (Rosa canina) and others. On the trunks of these trees throughout the year a bracket fungus (Daedaleopsis confragosa), typical of humid areas, can be seen.
      The woodland is an ideal habitat for many birds: the Great Tit (Parus major), the Great Spotted Woodpecker (Picoides major), the Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita) and the Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla). The wood also offers refuge to some mammals including the Badger (Meles meles) whose tracks can often be seen along the paths.
The reed beds.
     The reed bed is a delicate, constantly changing habitat, stretching in patches between the two river mouths of the Tesa and Old Tesa, with the marsh reed (Phragmites australis) the dominant species.
     In the water there are many kinds of algae, the most common belonging to the two groups, diatomee and cloroficee. Their presence is seasonal and those in the lake vary depending on its level.
      During the summer the song of the Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus scirpaceus) can often be heard as some pairs nest in the reed beds. Insects in the reed beds include the beetle Donacia vulgaris whose larva cycle develops on the stalks of the reeds. In the wetter areas reptiles like the Collared Snake (Natrix natrix) and amphibians like the Tree Frog (Hyla arborea) may be found.

Il limes, confine tra l’acqua e la terra, è l’ambiente più instabile nell’oasi di S. Croce, soggetto a variare grandemente anche in poche ore a causa delle necessità legate alla gestione delle acque, ospita meno specie di quante ci si aspetterebbe. (foto F. Padovan)