Monday, February 6, 2012
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Migrant birds are still arriving on schedule such as this pipit.
The delay in the melting of the ice has left many of the waterfowl to find other bodies of water. Many ducks could be seen in ephemeral pools in farm fields. Two pairs of Mandarine Ducks have even been spotted in these pools, close to the road.
The pair of Storks have nearly completed their nest which they began constructing two weeks ago.
With the good that spring brings we have also noted our future demise. Millions of mosquito larvae have been seen twitching and writhing in all puddles.
At the beginning of the month we had our annual art contest to promote awareness of the problems wildfires have in the regions ecosystems.
Unfortunately, the message of wildfire prevention has not yet sunk in. At approximately 3:oo pm May 2nd smoke appeared on the horizon driven by strong winds.
The fire was heading in a north-eastern direction and had blazed across the majority of the west end of the Park. Then a shift in the winds caused the fire to change direction towards the Park headquarters. In a matter of minutes the fire had spread several kilometers and was literally at our doorstep. (Park headquarters marked in blue.)
We all struggled to control the fire and managed to subdue it within meters of the buildings.
By 6:30 pm the fire had been extinguished but left a devastating and grave aftermath.
From our best estimates 80-90% of the Park was severely burned.
Some of the heaviest tolls were two occupied stork nests, which were burned to the ground.
Although locations and numbers of crane nests were not available before the fire, we no doubt lost both White-naped and Red-crowned Crane nests. Given the severity of the burn it is unlikely that some, if any, pairs will be able to re-nest.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Thank you all for your continuing help.
Even with the warmer temperatures, all the lakes still remain frozen. The main lake near the headquarters has begun to thaw....albiet slow. It is still possible to walk on its surface and during the process it has created a beautiful, unique icy scene.
This spring shows alot of promise for the upcoming breeding season. The water level is much higher than last year and Sergei has remarked that he has not seen such a wet spring since 2000! We have been sinking waist high in some places when we are doing prescribed burning.
Migrants have been arriving more or less on schedule with last season's dates, but the numbers are lower. We have been able to band some of the early migrants like this red-flanked bluetail.
The last of the capitve birds (our four mandarin ducks) have been let outside and their exhibit prepared for the breeding season.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
There is a considerable about of water in the wetlands this spring and I believe that this will translate into a better breeding season for the cranes. We have spotted at least 6 pairs of White-naped cranes and 2 pairs of Red-crowned cranes at the Park thus far.