Wetlands are found in almost every region of the world and are considered the most biologically diverse of all ecosystems. They provide habitat for a great number of water and land species. They are also an important environment to many migratory bird species. Types of wetlands include swamps, bogs, marshes and estuaries. An overview of some the most important wetlands in the world.
The Camargue encompasses the Rhone River delta in the southeast of France. Approximately a third of the Camargue is either lakes or marshland. It is one of the best places in Europe for bird watching. Its brine ponds provide one of the few European habitats for the greater flamingo. It is also famous for the Camargue Bull and the Camargue Horse.
Wasur National Park is a massive wetland region in the Indonesian province of Papua, on the island of New Guinea. Dubbed the Serengeti of Papua owing to its incredible biodiversity, Wasur National Park maintains a large number of rare animals and birds. The best place for spotting wildlife in Wasur National Park is Rawa Biru Lake, which is part of the wetlands. There are many water fowl species and migrant birds here along with cassowaries and wallabies. Unfortunately the park natural flooded grassland systems are threatened by the invasion of alien species such as water hyacinth and mimosa pigra.
The iSimangaliso Wetland Park (previously known as Greater St. Lucia Wetlands Park), is one of the most diverse region in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province. iSimangaliso is well known for its extensive wetlands, sand dunes, beaches and coral reefs. Animals occurring on the park include elephants, leopard, black and white rhino, buffalo, and in the ocean, whales, dolphins, and marine turtles.
The Mekong Delta is the region in southern Vietnam where the Mekong River approaches and empties into the sea. It is a very rich and lush area, covered with rice fields, that produces about half of the total of Vietnam’s agricultural output. Subsequently, life in the Mekong Delta revolves much around the river, and all the villages are often accessible by river rather than by road.
Kakadu National Park is a diverse park about half the size of Switzerland located in the Northern Territory of Australia. The park’s wetlands provide one of the best wildlife viewing opportunities. The freshwater and saltwater crocodiles sleep on the banks of the many rivers and billabongs for most of the day but can also be seen floating or swimming in the water. One of Kakadu’s best known landmarks is the Yellow Water billabong. Located near the small settlement of Cooinda, Yellow Water is home to crocodiles, wild horses, buffalo and other wildlife. The billabong, which floods to join other waterways during the tropical season, also attracts millions of migratory birds each year.
The Kerala backwaters are a chain of lagoons and lakes lying parallel to the Arabian Sea coast in the Kerala state in southern India. The network includes five large lakes linked by canals, both manmade and natural, fed by 38 rivers. The backwaters are home to many unique species of aquatic life including crabs, frogs and mudskippers, water birds and animals such as otters and turtles. Today, houseboat tourism is the most popular activity in backwaters, with several large Kettuvallams (traditional rice boats, now converted into floating hotels)ply the waterways.
Located in the state of Florida, The Everglades are a vast, shallow, slow moving river of grass that extends from Lake Okeechobee to Florida Bay. During the dry season it dries up except for the deeper places. The region is home to over twenty different kinds of birds and hundreds of other species. Many pets have escaped or been released into the Everglades from the surrounding urban areas. Native to southern Asia, the Burmese python is now competing with the American Alligator, the largest reptile in North America, for the top of the food chain. In 2009 agents removed more than 1,200 Burmese pythons from the Everglades National Park.
The Okavango Delta in Botswana is one of the world’s great inland waterways. It is formed where the Okavango River empties onto a basin in the Kalahari Desert, where most of the water is lost to evaporation and transpiration instead of draining into the sea. The Okavango delta is famous for its wide variety of wildlife. Species include elephant, hippopotamus, giraffe, crocodile, lion, cheetah, rhinoceros and zebra. The majority of the estimated 200,000 large mammals in and around the delta are not year round residents. They leave with the summer rains and make their way back as winter approaches.
The Sundarbans is the largest littoral mangrove belt in the world spreading across Bangladesh and West Bengal in India. The name Sundarban can be literally translated as “beautiful jungle” in the Bengali language. Several predators dwell in the labyrinth of channels, branches and roots that make up the region including about 500 Bengal tigers. Unlike in other habitats, here tigers live and swim among the mangrove islands, where they hunt prey such as the Chital deer and Wild boar. The tigers do also regularly attack and kill humans who venture into the forest. Some of the reptiles are predators too, including two species of crocodile, the Saltwater Crocodile and Mugger crocodile.
The Pantanal is the world’s largest wetland of any kind, lying mostly in Western Brazil but extending into Bolivia and Paraguay as well. Famous for its wildlife, it is one of Brazil’s major tourist draw. Unlike many other biologically intense areas, in the Pantanal you are virtually guaranteed to actually see the wildlife. Capybara and the Yacare Caiman are present in the millions. Other mammals such as the endangered Giant River Otter are slightly harder to spot, but still much easier than in the Amazon. The Pantanal is also the best place in all of the Americas to spot a Jaguar in the wild, given the relatively small amount of thick rain forest cover.
A waterfall is one of the most amazing creations that nature has to offer. There is just something about the sight of thousands of tons of water flowing over a cliff and plunging into the river below. There are many beautiful waterfalls around the world but this list features the 10 greatest and most amazing waterfalls we were able to find.
Jog Falls, created by the River Sharavathi, falling from a height of 253 meters (829 feet), is the highest waterfalls in India. Before the rainy season Jog Falls is nearly unrecognizable with only a pair of thin streams of water trickling down the cliff. But during the monsoon season the waterfall comes to life and exceeds even Kaieteur Falls in Guyana in terms of height and volume.
Measuring 77.8 meters (255 feet) high and 101 meters (330 feet) wide, Huangguoshu is one of the largest waterfalls in Asia and part of a group of 18 waterfalls in the surrounding area. A 134 meter (440 foot) long naturally formed cave in the back of the Huangguoshu allows visitors to view the waterfall from a very close range and one can even touch the water.
Gullfoss (“Golden Falls”) is a magnificient 32 meter high double waterfall on the White River (Hvítá). It is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Iceland. The flow of the river from the regular rains and the glacial runoff, particularly in summer, makes it the largest volume falls in Europe.
The Detian Falls is situated on the border between China and Vietnam. It is, in fact, the fourth largest cross-border falls in the world after Niagara, Victoria and Iguazu. Due to the various border conflicts between the two countries the area has only recently been opened to tourism.
Known as Tis Issat (“smoking water”) in Amharic, the Blue Nile Falls are located on the Blue Nile river in northern Ethiopia. Although much of the water is now diverted to a power dam, it is still a beautiful sight and one of Ethiopia’s best known tourist attractions.
Kaieteur Falls is located on the Potaro River in the centre of Guyana’s rainforest. It is one of the most powerful waterfalls in the world, averaging 663 cubic meters per second (23,400 cubic feet per second). With a free fall height of 226 meters (741 feet) it is about five times higher than Niagara Falls and about two times the height of the Victoria Falls. While there are many higher falls, few have the combination of height and water volume.
Angel Falls or Salto Ángel is the world’s highest waterfall, dropping a total of 978 meter from the summit of the Auyan Tepuy, and with an 807meter uninterrupted drop. Because the falls are located in an isolated jungle region of Venezuela the only access to Canaima National Park, the gateway to Angel Falls, is by air.
Probably the most famous waterfall in the world, The Niagara Falls are located between the twin cities of Niagara Falls, Ontario, and Niagara Falls, New York. Niagara Falls is actually three different falls, the American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls and Horseshoe Falls. Horseshoe Falls is located on the Canadian side while the other are located in New York. With more than 14 million visitors each year it is one of the most visited tourist attraction in the world.
The Victoria Falls (indigenous name: Mosi-oa-Tunya meaning “The Smoke That Thunders”) are located on the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia. Victoria Falls is often called the largest waterfall in the world, although it is neither the highest nor the widest. It has a width of 1.7 kilometers (1 miles) and height of 108 meters (360 ft), roughly twice the height of North America’s Niagara Falls. In combined height and width Victoria Falls is rivaled only by South America’s Iguazu Falls.
One of the great natural wonders of the world, Iguaçu Falls is situated on the border between Brazil and Argentina. The waterfall system consists of 275 falls along the Iguazu River. The majority of the falls are about 64 metres (210 ft) in height. The most impressive of them all is the Devil’s Throat a U-shaped, 82 meter high (269 ft), 150 meter (492 ft) wide and 700 meter (2300 ft) long waterfall.
- See more at: http://www.touropia.com/greatest-waterfalls-in-the-world/#sthash.mx7ZRu6h.dpuf
When it comes to rainbows, most people think they’ve seen all there is to see. Certainly, we’ve all seen the simple rainbow – and even the most ordinary can be a stunning sight. But rainbows come in more than just one color: there are plenty of less common types of rainbows which can be even more beautiful than the usual kind. Check them out:
This is the rainbow we are all most familiar with. The primary rainbow is the single multi-colored arc that usually appears after a rainstorm. Primary rainbows are formed when refracted light is reflected through a water droplet. The intensity of the rainbow’s colors depends on how large the water droplets are.
If you have seen a primary rainbow, then chances are you have also seen a secondary rainbow. They are also known as double rainbows. A secondary rainbow forms behind the primary rainbow when the light in the water droplet is reflected twice instead of once. The secondary is about twice as wide as the primary rainbow, but is only one-tenth as intense. Its colors are also reversed.
Alexander’s Dark Band
Alexander’s Band is technically not a rainbow, but it is associated with the primary and secondary rainbows. An Alexander’s band is the area of sky between the primary and secondary rainbow and it is noticeably darker than the rest of the sky. The single reflected light of the primary brightens the sky inside and the double reflected light of the secondary brightens the sky outside of it. To our eyes, it appears that the sky is darker between the primary and secondary rainbows.
Supernumerary rainbows are also known as stacker rainbows, and occur rather infrequently. They consist of several faint rainbows on the inner side of the primary – and more rarely, they appear outside of the secondary. They are formed by small but similarly sized raindrops, and by the interference of light which reflects once, but travels along a different path inside the raindrop.
Red rainbows – also called monochrome rainbows – are formed after rainfall during sunrise or sunset. The shorter wavelengths of the spectrum, such as blue and green, are scattered by dust and air molecules. This leaves the remaining light to display the colors with the longest wavelengths, red and yellow, to finally form the red rainbow.
Cloud rainbows form from small water droplets in clouds and damp air, rather than from raindrops. They appear white because the water drops are very small in size (bigger water drops are more able to reflect the spectrum colours). Cloud rainbows are much broader than normal rainbows, and are most likely to form over water. They can also form over land, so long as the fog is thin enough for the sun’s rays to shrine through.
Twinned rainbows are not the same as the double rainbow – they’re actually very rare. They’re made up of two rainbow arcs that stem from a single base point, and they’re caused when a combination of small and large water droplets fall from the sky. The large drops are forced to flatten by air resistance, while the smaller drops are kept in shape by its surface tension. The water droplets then form their own rainbow, which may come together to form twinned rainbows.
Reflected and Reflection Rainbows
Reflected and reflection rainbows – which are not the same thing, despite their similar names – only form over water. A reflected rainbow is the most commonly seen: it appears when light is deflected off the water droplets and then reflected off the water before we have time to process the light with our eyes.
A reflection rainbow is what appears when light reflects off the water before it is deflected off the water droplets. Reflection rainbows are not nearly as visible as a reflected rainbow, because of the specific conditions they require.
Rainbow wheels are formed when dark clouds or dense rain showers prevent the light from reaching your eye. The shadowed raindrops do not allow you to see the colours of the rainbow. The result is a rainbow that can resemble a wagon wheel, with large spokes centered towards a specific point. If the clouds are moving quickly across the sky, then the rainbow wheel can appear to rotate.
Lunar rainbows are rainbows that are formed at night by moonlight. However, moonlight is very weak and lunar rainbows are very rarely seen. The best time to see them, logically, is on the night of a full moon while it’s raining. The sky must also be very dark, which means that lunar rainbows appear very dull or white because the colour of the night is not bright enough to activate the cone cells (colour receptors) in our eyes.