Breksiza Wetland near Athens: Turtles!

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Breksiza Wetland near Athens: Turtles!

Brexiza Wetlands: Turtles!

The former US military base at Brexit was demolished after the end of the Cold War. No naturalist knows that a small swamp lurks inside! Then the local authorities, etc. turning this precious open land into a dump; Then, during the 2004 Olympics, at least 1.6 million euros were paid for the work to protect the facility from floods. It's disgusting: I come here with big funny holes and high-quality concrete channels, etc. It doesn't show - "flood protection public works" is a completely baseless statement. There are no flooded mountain ranges, no river valleys, only karst springs... *

Okay, now turtles.

Many people love turtles, especially if you see them in clear spring water with little "fish" and you can throw popcorn or bread at them. You get the idea... this kind of "summer fun" takes place in the swamps of Brexis behind the beach of Nea Makri (about 35 kilometers east of Athens).

I responded to the call to go and see if the turtles are dying in the polluted waters of Brexit. My neighbor found me on a mobile phone. So my son Dimitri, a 17 year old macho fisherman, and I went to Nia Makri this afternoon. Well then.

Here are our observations and photos from the 15-minute turtle observation:
  •   The turtles actually seemed to be a little smaller (two years ago we counted at least a few dozen - but maybe that's just the time of our visit - they sometimes escape into the atmosphere in very hot summers...). But the composition is the same as before: we count 10 Mauremys rivulata (naked turtles), 3 Trachemys scripi ( red-eared turtle - an American invasive animal sold in all pet stores) and one Emys orbicularis (European pond turtle ). ). All this in a small pool of fresh spring water flowing from large pools that fill the spring upstream from the "Sanctuary of the Egyptian Gods" north of Nea Makra.
  •      Native tortoises - both species - are local wildlife, protected by EU rules and Greek law, for those who don't know better; Please do not feed these animals; Please do not send pets (usually sick non-native captive species such as aquarium turtles). Turtles are very smart (!!!), they get used to food, but they also find a way to get food. I saw them picking grapes from the vineyards in the marshes of Caristas during a dry drought. The swamps of Brexit will be wiped off the face of the earth...
  •       There were very few bubbles in the Brexit channel. This may be due to the soap used to wash clothes when many gypsy families sit in a vacant lot near the beach. So "boiling water" probably refers to that.
  •           Turtles are very resistant to water pollution; And the water still flows strongly, and even enters the sea a few meters below the main one (...super waterline, paid by EU taxpayers!!!).
  •  We also made some serious fish observations. Two age groups of mullets ( Lisa sp.) and, surprisingly, predatory fish pursued them... there was a group of about 10 cm (see below). According to my son, this is a very rare fish ( Dicentrarchus punctatus ) found in Greek fresh waters. I think that in the swamps of Attica this is mentioned for the first time (to be honest, it did not seem difficult to us ...).
In the end, my son got a little mad at me, insisting that I stay and "photograph" the turtles, but we didn't fight about it. During the day the sun shines with a temperature of about 38 degrees.

Thank you for calling my ecologist friend and asking me to see the turtle. We'll be back soon.

* This place has always been a natural wetland - it is also sacred to the Egyptian water gods, they have a sanctuary! ( See ). This marvel of pure water is a small source of contrast. It was almost completely destroyed in 1923, when Makra settlers from Asia Minor landed here, and then, I think, the Americans. So, please, why 1.6 million euros for flood protection? A beautiful wetland can become a natural park. How many of us resent this missed Brexit opportunity?

One of the two spring "brooks" of the Brexis swamps. Agrilliki Hill at the foot of Mount Penteli in the background.
The mouth of the stream above the entrance to Marathon Bay looks southwest towards the nearby Shinya National Park.
Preliminary estimate of 1.6 million euros for flood protection and drying of Brexit gypsy clothes.

Dimitri follows the Savannah class in gear (right). The Agrillic Hill in the background is a piece of "wild Attica". What an opportunity for NATURE Park. (get up!!!!).
Fence on the territory of the former US military base Neo Makri. Thanks America.
The pond turtle is longer (a rare species that requires clean environmental conditions) and more robust striped turtle. Both local turtles need protection.
Beautiful exotic pet shop, red-eared slider, American brexis breed. Only large adults were observed. Please do not leave your pets.
To my surprise, the turtles were looking for food stalls!!! Just in Florida. Well then. not good.
European turtle. Rare in Attica; Species listed in the Red Book of Greece are "critically endangered", the number in this country is declining.

Young striped turtle. Also "dangerous" in the Red Book of Greece. Both species are protected by the Habitats Directive. Now you know the names... memorize them**
what is this

The fish in the upper left corner is a spotted fish. Lots of dots. Dimitris says it's definitely Dicentrarchus punctatus . The rest are Mugilids ( Lisa sp.).
You can see fish (bream) and turtles. The game!

** Turtle names in Ελληνικά:

Naked turtle = Ποταμοχελόνα (ή Γρμμοτή Νεροχελόνα)
pond turtle
Red-eared slider = Κοκκινολαιμη Νεροχελόνα

Thank you students for your attention!

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