The Váh River’s By-pass Artery

Free time / Nature / The Váh River’s By-pass Artery

The by-pass artery, otherwise known as the Dead or Warm artery, runs along the eastern border of the Spa Island and the town of Piešťany. It is located on the left side of the Vah River, stretching from the Upper spillway dam all the way to the County Bridge. The by-passartery's most important natural resource are its thermal springs and sulphuric mud. These are the two pillars upon which the Piešťany Spa was founded and built. Despite the daily bustle which reigns along the by-pass artery such as people taking walks, riding bikes, and, insome places, even driving cars, many interesting plants and animal species still call this ecosystem home. Fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals, molluscs, spiders, insects, and many other organisms all can be found living here. The still waters are rich in fish (carp, perch, bream, roach, crucian carp, chub, tench, as well as catfish). Here we can also find dense, overgrown yellow water lilies, hear frogs croaking in the mud along the river bank and see snakes, turtles, water birds (swans, herons, great egrets, seagulls, sea swallows, kingfi shers, redshanks, coots, moor-hens, and ducks), muskrats, and snails moving along the grassy banks, as well as dragonflies and butterflies. Here people can just relax and commune with nature.

The Yellow Water-Lily species

(Nuphar lutea)

From the Nymphaeaceae family, with its leaves floatingin the water and flowers protruding above the surface. On the by-passartery they bloom in May and June, sometimes even later, creating adense overgrowth.

The Large Copper Butterfly

(Lycaena dispar)

This butterfly comes from the Lycaenidae family. This vulnerable species has two generations, from May to June and from July to September. They appear around grassy areas and scattered along the banks of the by-pass artery.

The White-Legged Damselfly

(Platycnemis pennipes)

A smaller dragonfly from the Platycnemididae family. The adults can be seen flying from May to September. They are quite abundant along the banks of the by-pass artery.

The Grass Snake

(Natrix natrix)

From the Colubridae family. It is our most widespread snake growing up to 120 cm and longer. It is a good swimmer and stays mainly along the banks of the by-pass artery, where it feeds onfrogs and fish.

The Green Frog

(Pelophylax kl. esculenta)

From the Ranidae family. It is a hybrid - across between a Marsh frog and a Pool frog. A large population can be found living in the by-pass artery.

The Red-eared Slider

(Trachemys scripta elegans)

Belongs to the Trachemys family. This species comes from America. In our case it is an invasive species, which has pervaded our natural surroundings and is damaging the natural ecosystems. The by-pass artery is overpopulated with them.

The Mute Swan

(Cygnus olor)

From the Anatidae family, the Anseriformes order, is our largest water bird. Several pairs have been seen nesting along the by-pass artery where they raise their young and spend the winters.

The Little Egret

(Egretta garzetta)

A wading bird from the Ardeidae family. It is smaller than the Great Egret and has a dark bill with long black legsand yellow feet. It hunts fish along the by-pass artery. A small group of 1-3 birds was observed in August and September.

The Grey Heron

(Ardea cinerea)

A big, thin and shy wading bird that comes from the Ardeidae family. It can be found hunting fish as well as frogs and insects in the shallow waters of the by-pass artery. They tend to congregate in the nearby fields.

The Mallard

(Anas platyrhynchos)

Comes from the Anatidae family, the Anseriformes order. The male is brightly coloured with a green head and yellow bill while the female is brown with a dark grey to almost brown bill. They are abundant in the by-pass artery where they nest along the river bank in the grass or bushes.

The Great Egret

(Egretta alba) belongs to the Ardeidae family. It has an orange-yellow bill and dark legs. It is about as big as a Grey Heron. It hunts fi sh along the by-pass artery and can be found in small groups with grey herons in the nearby fields.

The Common Moorhen

(Gallinula chloropus)

Belongs to the Rallidae family. It has a dark colour with yellow-green legs and a red-yellow bill. It seldom flies preferring to walk through the mud and water plants. It is not so widespread or common in the by-pass artery, but can be found regularly nesting here.

Text and photo: Roman Tibenský