The Dranse delta: moving with the waterflow
Garden plants gone wild!
In this case we speak of invasive plants, growing to the detriment of the local flora and doing potentially harm to the fauna diversity! Humans are the main vector of these invasions. Asters CEN74, manager of the nature reserve, as well as the SIAC, in charge of river management, therefore carry out actions for the preservation of these ecosystems by limiting the invasion of some of these plants.
In compagny with tits
The tit family includes many species, 5 of which are present in the nature reserve of the Dranse delta: the Great Tit, the Blue Tit, the Long-tailed Tit, the Coal Tit and the Marsh Tit.
Insects and orchids, a true love story
The flowers have various morphologies, adapted to the type of the targeted insect: the production of nectar attracts butterflies while a short spur is more intended for bees and bumblebees. Some orchids are even more specialized, taking, by mimicry, the shape of a female insect. A male will try to mate with the flower, attracted by the shape but also by the smell, perfectly imitating the female pheromones!
From May to July, you may observe the Bumblebee Orchid (Ophrys fuciflora) which imitates bees, the Military Orchid (Orchis militaris) which attracts and guides insects and the Midge Orchid (Gymnadenia conopsea) which attracts butterflies!
Each bird has its season
Mallards, Eurasian Coots and Tufted Ducks can be seen all year round and are joined by other species depending on the season. In winter, the pond welcomes Northern Pintails, Green-winged Teals, Little Brebes and Great Cormorants. In spring new visitors arrive such as Night Herons, and more specifically the Black Kite. The population of this raptor at the the lake of Geneva is the largest in Europe!
During the summer, the pond of Saint-Disdille is the only nesting location for the Black-headed Gull in the area around the lake of Geneva (including Switzerland).
Alluvial forest, an ecological corridor
An alluvial or riparian forest (ripi = bank; sylve = forest) is located along the Dranse river. This kind of ecosystem grows on alluvium deposited here and there by the river according to the floods. It is in permanent connection with the river and its groundwater(different from the water table) and is present at shallow depth. Disturbances (floods, erosion, water table fluctuations) play an essential role in the distribution of plant species.
Closer to the river, willows, alders, birches, black poplars don't always have time to grow as they please!
What wood are our crates made of?
A pioneer species, demanding in terms of water and light, the Black Poplar grows very quickly and has a great longevity (up to 200 years). It grows among riparian vegetation (alluvial forest) and is closely linked to river dynamics.
Did you know that the packaging of certain cheeses and fruits as well as crates are made from cultivated poplar?
The Léman lake, between nature and human activity
This lake has affluents such as the Rhône river and... the Dranse river, which mouth is located here. The delta changes its appearance according to climat events, seasons, transport of sediment load and of course, the dams and other weirs upstream.
Did you know that lake of Geneva supplies drinking water to more than 850 000 people?
The Eurasian beaver: a protected species
It leaves its lodge preferentially at dusk, watching over its territory on both riverbanks. Water is indeed an essential element for beavers: to protect the entrance to its burrow, to flee danger, to transport the branches used for building and to feed on. The largest rodent in Europe, the beaver is perfectly equipped for swimming: it can stay underwater for up to 15 minutes without breathing, translucent eyelids protect his eyes as if it had diving goggles and its webbed feet on the hind legs and its flat tail provide respectively thrust and rudder abilities.
- Follow the main trail starting at the reserve information panel. Walk along the campsite on your right and the Port Ripaille on your left.
- At the first bifurcation, turn right to reach the bird observatory.
- Go back and continue straight forwards, leaving the car park path on your left. Stay on the main trail, ignoring the side tracks. Reach the mouth of the Dranse river.
- Take a trail on the left that winds through the vegetation along the lake of Geneva, and will lead you to a small pebble beach.
- The return to the car park in Saint-Disdille is by the same itinerary in the opposite direction.
Access and parking
At the Saint-Disdille roundabout, turn right, direction Port Ripaille, the entrance to the parking of the nature reserve is located a little further on the right, behind the nightclub "Le must".
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