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R.N.O.FOCE DEL FIUME BELICE E DUNE LIMITROFE

 
Nature reserve of the mouth of the river Belice and surrounding dunes

The reserve includes a large plain from which one ascends towards the interior through hilly ridges of tuff or limestone, to the border with the chalky terrain of the town of Salemi.
The hill system is furrowed by three rivers: Belice, Delia and Modione. The subterranean water resources are notable, due to the water under the river bed. It covers about 130 hectares. The beach zone that the Belice river flows into is of extraordinary beauty due to the sky blue colour of the dunes covered in a vegetation of a psammophilious kind which protects the sandy dunes from the wind. The halophyte plant life includes the European sea rocket, (Cakile marittima), the caltrop (Eringium maritimum), the sea daffodil (Pancratium maritimum), the santolina (Santolina chamaecyperissus), the sea medick (Medicago marina), the sea squill (Urginea maritima) and the yellow hornpoppy (Glaucium flavum), which has a generous amount of splendid, yellow flowers in the springtime. Ascending towards the interior, diverse areas follow one another, with the typical marshy vegetation in the bends of the river like the sharp rush, the common bulrush, and the common reed. Evergreen Mediterranean shrubs follow, primarily the mastic, the oleaster, the dwarf palm and carob.
The pools of water are home to a rich birdlife mostly made up of the kentish plover, the moorhen and the reed warbler. During the migration period, seasonal birds stay here, including: anatidae, herons, wader, the roller and the kingfisher.
The green frog and the green lizard live among the reeds, the more clayey areas are home to the toad; in the wettest areas the salamander can be found. Along the banks of the ponds there is the water snake  and the adder can be present anywhere. On the beach, periodically, marine turtles (Caretta caretta) can be seen depositing their eggs.

 

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