Saturday, April 18, 2009

Week of April 12-19, 2009

The unpredictability of the weather here at the park really showed itself this week: it began like one would imagine a typical spring, sunny but brisk, but then took a turn for the worst! during mid-week we were hit with a snowstorm and temperatures well below freezing! However, as the week progressed -the weather improved-so much so that today is so hot you do not need a coat!

Despite the sporadic weather conditions, the plants and animals are still behaving in spring fashion. More migrants are arriving from their wintering grounds and the soft cooing of turtle-doves fill the air. Buds are appearing on the trees and I imagine that soon enough, the trees will be green again.

Although the first butterflies began to appear last week, the diversity and numbers have really increased during the latter half of the week.

In addition to butterflies, other insects have also begun to emerge. Some, I feel, will become more of a nuisance as spring turns into summer.

The warm weather coupled with the water in the wetlands beginning to thaw, has brought out a whole new class of animals as well this week - Frogs!! The first sleepy and cold Rana amurensis was located at the beginning of the week at the edge of the wetlands....

The list of migrants that have arrived thus far, joining those hardy species that stay all year long like this long -tailed rosefinch, is growing everyday. I have included a list of all the migrants seen to date at the park for 2009:

Great Cormorant
Gray Heron
Oriental White Stork
White-fronted Goose
Bean Goose
Green-winged Teal
Baikal Teal
Falcated Teal
European Wigeon
Northern Pintail
Tufted Duck
Common Goldeneye
Black Kite
Northern Harrier
Upland Buzzard
Common Buzzard
Greater Spotted Eagle
Common Kestrel
Japanese Quail
Red-crowned Crane
White-naped Crane
Hooded Crane
Northern Lapwing
Far-eastern Curlew
Rufous Turtle Dove
Long-eared Owl
Short-eared Owl
White Wagtail
Chinese Great Gray Shrike
White-cheeked Starling
Common Starling
Daurian Jackdaw
Eurasian Rook
Jungle Crow
Carrion Crow
Siberian Accentor
Red-flanked Bluetail
Naumann’s Thrush
Pallas’s Reed Bunting
Rustic Bunting
Snow Bunting
Yellow-throated bunting

I also guess it is worth mentioning that the warm weather has woken up another little denizen of the forest...the siberian chipmunk.

In closing, I would like to wish everyone a happy Easter! Yes you read correctly - Happy Easter! Easter was celebrated today (April 19, 2009) in Far-Eastern Russia; a week later than Easter in the United States.

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