Thursday, April 22, 2010

Mid-April Part 2

Well as I mentioned in my post several days ago, the idea of spring has finally hit the region! But the real sign of change came in seeing our first blooming flower!
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.

We acquired a new creature for education - A patterned ratsnake (Elaphe dione). This is a snake common to the forested areas in the southern part of the Amur Region, however it is not found in the park (no reptiles are found in the Park due to lack of wintering sites). The snake was a hit with the school children who visited the Park for Earth Day.

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