The Viennese section of the Donau-Auen National Park is an area through which the Danube formerly flowed. After river regulation commenced at the end of the 19th century, however, it was all but cut off from surface water inflow. Yet there are still traces of where these bodies of water once were. Even local place names such as "Häufl" (vernacular for alluvial island) and the damp basins in the landscape are indicators for where islands and river branches used to be found.
In the spots where gravel could no longer be carried away by the current, so-called xeric habitats evolved. With thorny vegetation and diverse animal species which thrive in dry habitats, such extremely dry environments are reminiscent of African savannahs.
There is considerable alluvial build-up in the backwaters of the Lobau, but such places form the ideal habitat for certain bird species. Though they can be clearly heard, such birds are nearly invisible when swimming or moving about the reeds.
Discovering the wonders of the Lobau requires patience and careful observation in order to glimpse its many hidden inhabitants.
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