Area in hectares: 1,492
Altitude: 0-3 m
Conservation status: IBA since 1989 and the first private Nature Park in Montenegro since 2004 (unprotected at the local and national level); Emerald site under the Bern Convention
Coordinates: 19°18’5,71”E, 41°55’25,14”N
Solana is located on the southeast coast of the Adriatic Sea, in the outermost southeast part of the country. It is located 1 km of air distance from the city of Ulcinj and the same distance from the border with Albania. The Ulcinj Salina was built by draining of former lagoon Zogaj mudflats that was turned into salt pans in 1926. As “zog” means “bird” in Albanian, it is clear enough what kind of swamp was it. The Salina is located in the region with the greatest insolation in the Adriatic – 2,567 hours of sun. Today it is in a “sandwich” between the most important ornithological sites in the Adriatic Sea, and beyond: Velika plaža, Ada Bojana, Šasko and Skadar lakes and Velipolje in Albania. The Salina is filled with sea water. Strong pumps (3,000 l/sec) draw sea organisms and water from the sea. The water is pumped into shallow basins, with an average depth of 20-30 cm and under the influence of the sun and wind it evaporates.
The Salina is today the most important migration, wintering, breeding and feeding station for birds on the entire east coast of the Adriatic. Until today, 240 species of birds has been registered at the Salina, 55 of which are breeding: Tadorna tadorna, Botaurus Stellaris, Accipiter brevipes (along the Salina channel), Falco tinnunculus, Phasianus colchicus, Rallus aquaticus, Gallinula chloriopus, Himantupus himantopus, Haematopus ostralegus, Recurvirostra avosetta, Burhinus oedicnemus, Charadrius dubius, C. alexandrinus, Glareola pratincola, Tringa totanus, Sterna hirundo, S. albifrons, Larus cachinnans, L. genei Streptopelia turtur, Clamator glandarius, Athene noctua, Merops apiaster, Coracias garrulous, Upupa epops, Galerida cristata, Calandrella brachydactyla, Hirundo rustica, H. daurica, Delichon urbica, Motacilla alba, M. flava, Luscinia megarhynchos, Phoenicurus ochruros, Oenanthe oeananthe O. hispanica, Turdus merula, Acrocephalus arundinaceus, A. scirpaceus, Hippolais pallida, Sylvia atricapilla, S. communis, Muscicapa striata, Lanius senator, L. minor, Sturnus vulgaris, Oriolus oriolus, Pica pica, Corvus corone cornix, Passer Montanus, P. domesticus, P. hispaniolensis, Carduelis canabina, Emberiza calandra, E. melanocephala. At the Salina, there are many other species registered, whose census exceeds 1% of the European population: Phalacrocorax pygmeus, Pelecanus crispus 3%, Egretta garzetta 1.5%, Ardea alba, Platalea leucorodia, Charadrius alexandrinus, Pluvialis squatarola, Calidris alpina, Tadorna tadorna, Himantopus himantopus, Limosa limosa 3%, Numenius tenuirostris, Tringa erythropus 1.5%, Tringa stagnatilis 1.5%. Almost 3% of the total population of the northwestern population of endangered pelicans, Pelecanus crispus, visits the Salina after the breeding season, in the period August – November, due to low intensity of harassment, big size of the habitat and good feeding. The numbers are impressive even in the spring: hundreds and thousands of water birds have been registered that stop at the Salina to rest and get food (e.g. the garganey, orthe small duck, Anas querquedula, comes in frequency of 1,200 birds/hour). Numerous species gather at the Salina during the spring migration in great numbers, like O. oriolus, Saxicola rubetra, M. flava, Muscicapa striata, Ficedula sp, etc. and the flocks reach thousands and thousands per day.
114 plant species have been registered so far in salty basins and embankments. The dominant ones are Salicornia herbacea, Phragmition communis. The grassy area covers 122.1 ha (dams and coastal embankments), halophytes congregation 60.2 ha (basin area), canes 8 ha (basin area and channels), Tamarix and lower trees 13 ha and 55 ha of pioneer vegetation (mainly the coastal embankments). Embankments are used for livestock grazing or are being burnt during the summer. In the waters of the Salina basins there were 24 fish species registered and 12 species of amphibians, 28 species of reptiles and 33 species of mammals on the embankments.
PROTECTION MEASURES – VULNERABILITY OF HABITATS AND SPECIES
Illegal hunting had negative consequences on breeding and stay of birds in previous years. The management has banned hunting since 2003, which has immediately reflected on the presence of birds. Out of maximum of 56 pelicans during the winter, the number has risen to 96 in 2004. Hunting and rapid development of tourism on the coast (Velika plaža, Štoj), may have an impact on the overall evaluation of landscape quality throughout the Bojana River Delta. Pollution from settlements (sewage, industry) can affect the quality of sea water, which is pumped from the sea into the Salina, and modify the composition of food for birds at the basins. The Salina has been recognised as the area of international importance for the stay of birds (IBA). Ulcinj Salina has been proposed to be part of the cross-border biosphere reserve “Skadar Lake and Bojana River Delta” (it has already been established at the Albanian side). The Salina has been establishes as the first private nature park in Montenegro since 2004, and soon will be included on the Ramsar list. Beside the Centre for the Protection and Research of Birds of Montenegro, an important role in the preservation of birds in this area, have the European Nature Heritage Fund – Euronatur, and the Institute for Nature Protection of Montenegro as well. The Salina has been zoned today, with complete infrastructure for visitors who want to watch birds or learn about the production of salt in the traditional environment friendly way.
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