A Helluva Fight over the Forest

Kozler’s forest is the largest remnant of once extensive forest bogs of Ljubljana Marshes. It’s a beautiful and kinda mysterious place, and with the vast fields around it it’s a great kite flying and kite aerial photography spot.

When, of course, the wind isnt’ that crazy.

The wind was strong that sunny autimn afternoon, but it seemed manageable – just bend the Rokkaku more and move the tow point forward for more stability and less pull, right? Cool!

The line being completely straight, the Rokkaku veering to the side and its stiff form should tell that maybe – maybe! – the wind is too much for this kite that performs so beautifully in gentle breezes. But no – let’s go higher, let’s fly into this magnificent river of wind!

Spot the Rok!

And when the kite soared above the tree tops, all hell broke loose. The venerable Rokkaku caught the 45 km/h wind and went berserk; the kite line started to crush fingers and it became impossible to hold the kite level, much less to pull it down … the only way to reduce the tension was to let the kite go higher (!) and find something to attach the line to – and soon. A hay bale to the rescue!

Bales make excellent kite anchors!

While all this drama was unfolding, the kite aerial photography rig tangled upon itself due to crazy dancing of the kite, and the camera was now pointing into god knows what direction. But there was a more pressing problem – nevermind the photos, how do we get the damn kite back down! It was impossible to pull the line – not even to walk it down! – and the only viable solution was found after someone tried to sit on the line: put all your weight on the line, walk awkwardly around the hay bale with the line under your butt, stuck the line and let go. And repeat – a hundred times or so …

A kite line goes round and round … 50 more times to go! (Note how the line forced itself into the firmly packed hay)

It worked. After an hour the kite was finally safely on the ground, the Picavet was untangled and the kite aerial photos of Kozler’s forest were recovered.

The eagle has landed!

The mess of the picavet rig (see how the line is straight even with the rig and the camera pulling it down)

And now – the Forest from above!

Kozler’s forest is a mature forest bog; the last step – or, the next-to-last if you count the humans cutting it down – in a long geological and ecological evolution of Ljubljana Marshes.

When the Ljubljana basin was formed in Pliocene, some 3 million years ago, the rivers rushed into it’s southern part and filled it to the brim (over 300 m in some places) with sediments. The flat plain was prone to flooding and in late pleistocene a large shallow lake formed that soon started to turn into a vast marsh.

Mosses and other plants were overgrowing the shallow lake, dying and slowly decaying in anoxic conditions … their remains formed a thick layer called histosol, and histosol slowly turned into peat.

The bog was growing, rising above the underground water level and the thick, nutrient poor soil allowed some shrubs to grow. Thus formed the raised bog – and more favourable conditions allowed for an occasional tree to grow roots here and there.

Finally, the bog was overgrown with trees and tadaa – a forest bog! Once these forests covered most of Ljubljana Marshes, but cutting for fuel and field clearance destroyed the vast majority of them. Kozler’s forest – named after its last owners – is the largest remnant of bog forests here and is a strictly protected natural reserve.

Birches and poplars, ashes and alders, oaks and willows grow on a wet, often bogged land, covered in heather and moss. An uninviting ecosystem best viewed from the air! 😉

Kozler’s forest lies a couple of kilometers from Ljubljana centre and it is a great place to visit. While you stand on the dried land converted into fields, you can imagine how the whole Ljubljana Marshes looked thousands of years ago …

Kite aerial photos shot with Canon A810 on a Rokkaku kite.

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