Řežabinec a Řežabinecké tůně National Nature Reserve

The Řežabinec fishpond lies 7 km to the south-west of the town of Písek and close to the confluence of the Otava and Blanice river in the Jihočeský kraj – South Bohemian Region. The Řežabinec a Řežabinecké tůně NNR with a territory of 110.67 ha protects an extensive complex of aquatic, littoral, marsh and other wetland communities, formed around a fishpond and the nearby pools. The locality is a significant nesting site and migration stopover for many species of water birds. The reserve was first declared in 1949 and extended in 1986. The reserve was declared an SPA – Bird Area within the Natura 2000 system in 2004. The western part of the reserved is nominated as a proposed Site of Community Importance to protect the rare hook moss Drepanocladus aduncus.

The water surface of the Řežabinec fishpond is surrounded by a wide belt of littoral growths which cover around 15 % of its surface area (in the past it was around 40 %). These growths are formed predominantly of common reed (Phragmites australis) with smaller areas of tall sedges. Species growing here also include greater spearwort (Ranunculus lingua) and tufted loosestrife (Naumburgia thyrsiflora). In the western section of the pond we can find a transition peatbog with sedge and moss communities, including the slender sedge (Carex lasiocarpa) and round-leaved sundew (Drosera rotundifolia). The surroundings of the fishpond are among the warmest and driest areas in south Bohemia. The Pikárna hill with growths of xerophilous and thermophilous plant species is also included in the reserve.

The fishpond is also one of the most significant ornithological localities in Bohemia. Protected bird species which regularly nest here include the little bittern (Ixobrychus minutus), little crake (Porzana parva), spotted crake (Porzana porzana), blue throat (Luscinia svecica), bearded tit (Panurus biarmicus), common tern (Sterna hirundo), Savi’s warbler (Locustella luscinioides) and great reed warbler (Acrocephalus arundinaceus). Many water bird species stop here on their spring and autumn migrations. At these times we can expect to see penduline tit (Remiz pendulinus), great crested grebe (Podiceps cristatus), cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo), great white egret (Egretta alba), marsh harrier (Circus aeruginosus) and grey-lag goose (Anser anser).

The locality has a long and interesting history. The banks of the wetland, which remained here as the remnants of a tertiary period lake, were settled by humans during the Paleolithic and Mesolithic periods. The nearby rivers with abundant fish populations, which included Atlantic salmon and the marshy terrain, which attracted large mammals and birds, provided these ancient inhabitants with plentiful food supplies. Archaeological research has shown the existence of flint working here in the form of stone blades and tools and raw materials used in their manufacture. The owner of the local estate Kryštof of Švamberk had a fishpond built on the site of the former lake in around 1530 A.D. and the pond was used for fish breeding until 1991. Today the locality is owned by the state and administered by the Agency for Nature Conservation and Landscape Protection of the Czech Republic.
 
The NNR territory is accessible along a public path which leads from the station in Ražice along the railway line to the fisherman’s cottage across the Pikárna hill to the fishpond dam wall. Between the fisherman’s cottage and the dam the path is complemented by 8 information panels informing visitors about the fishpond and the NNR territory. Visitors can see the whole territory from the wooden lookout tower which was built by the Prácheňské Museum in Písek.