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© Photo credit: http://depositphotos.com/
October, 26, 2017

Kabansky Game Reserve: Ornithologists’ Paradise

We continue the series of articles dedicated to the specially protected areas of the wild nature of Baikal. And the main character of today’s article is Kabansky Game Reserve. Its territory is a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site and is protected as a unique wetland by the Ramsar Convention.

Some official data

The federal game reserve was established on the territory of Kabansky District of the Republic of Buryatia (on the Eastern coast of Lake Baikal) in 1974. It is situated in the middle of the delta of the Selenga River and occupies almost a quarter of its entire area - more than 12 hectares. In 1985 the game reserve became the official structural subdivision of the Baikal Biosphere Reserve.

The main goals of the game reserve

- protection of wild animals, waterfowl and semiaquatic birds, rare plants, as well as their habitat and growing environment;
- improvement of the conditions for the life, growth and reproduction of all species of animals, birds and plants;
- preservation of fish stock and biological resources of the delta of the Selenga River;
dissemination of information on the value of the flora and fauna of the game reserve.

The following things are strictly forbidden on the territory of Kabansky Game Reserve:

- hunting all species of animals and birds;
- mowing grass and cattle grazing;
- use of any chemical pesticides;
- traffic of any vehicles;
- artificial changes in the level of water reservoirs and soil quality.

The construction of any structures that are not related to the activities of the Baikal Nature Reserve and the game reserve itself is also prohibited within the territory of the game reserve.

Now let’s talk about the most interesting things: the unique fauna and flora of Kabansky Game Reserve.

Birds

Пернатые Байкала: каких птиц можно встретить на озере@Пернатые Байкала: каких птиц можно встретить на озере
Пернатые Байкала: каких птиц можно встретить на озере
Saker Falcon is a large falcon having a variable coloration: from dark brown to rusty gray ©Photo: http://depositphotos.com/
Saker Falcon is a large falcon having a variable coloration: from dark brown to rusty gray ©Photo: http://depositphotos.com/
In fact, Caspian tern is not a large bird, it is only a little larger than a crow. It differs from other terns in its massive red beak. It feeds mainly on fish. You can see the bird on Lake Baikal from May to October. ©Photo: http://depositphotos.com/
In fact, Caspian tern is not a large bird, it is only a little larger than a crow. It differs from other terns in its massive red beak. It feeds mainly on fish. You can see the bird on Lake Baikal from May to October. ©Photo: http://depositphotos.com/
You can meet an elegant Baikal teal on the lake. The Baikal teal differs from other ducks in the peculiar voice of the he-duck - “cackling” ©Photo: http://depositphotos.com/
You can meet an elegant Baikal teal on the lake. The Baikal teal differs from other ducks in the peculiar voice of the he-duck - “cackling” ©Photo: http://depositphotos.com/
One of the largest birds in Russia. An adult swan can weigh up to 10-12 kg. Unlike the mute swan, the whooper swan has a straight neck, not a curved one. The bird received its name for loud whooping sounds that are especially often uttered during the flight. ©Photo:http://depositphotos.com/
One of the largest birds in Russia. An adult swan can weigh up to 10-12 kg. Unlike the mute swan, the whooper swan has a straight neck, not a curved one. The bird received its name for loud whooping sounds that are especially often uttered during the flight. ©Photo:http://depositphotos.com/
White-tailed eagle is one of the largest predatory birds of the Eurasian continent, it most often settles in the Kabansky Game Reserve, near the Selenga River. ©Photo: http://depositphotos.com/
White-tailed eagle is one of the largest predatory birds of the Eurasian continent, it most often settles in the Kabansky Game Reserve, near the Selenga River. ©Photo: http://depositphotos.com/
Common tern is a bright bird of the size similar to a starling. Its general color is light gray, the cap is black, the beak is red-black, the legs are red. The bird’s nest can be constructed in the form of a simple pit or a sufficiently large structure made of dry grass. ©Photo: http://depositphotos.com/
Common tern is a bright bird of the size similar to a starling. Its general color is light gray, the cap is black, the beak is red-black, the legs are red. The bird’s nest can be constructed in the form of a simple pit or a sufficiently large structure made of dry grass. ©Photo: http://depositphotos.com/

Kabansky Game Reserve is a real paradise for ornithologists. It is the largest place of concentration of waterfowl in the entire Eastern Siberia, as well as the key ornithological territory in Asia.

At least 300 species of birds live on its territory. 37 of them are listed in the Red Book of the Republic of Buryatia, and 18 species are listed on the Red Book of the Russian Federation. These include: Caspian tern;  Falcated duck; Swan goose; Baikal teal; Eurasian bittern; Spotbill duck; Whooping swan; White-tailed eagle; Lonnberg’s gull; Asian dowitcher.

The territory of the reserve is also a habitat for black-headed and herring gulls, gray herons, terns, grebs (podiceps). These birds create colonial settlements on the coast of Lake Baikal.

Other common birds include pintail, northern shoveler and red-headed scup. These species of waterfowl are particularly numerous within Kabansky Game Reserve.

The amazing diversity of the world of birds attracts tourists and photographers from all over the world. The game reserve is equipped with special houses for watching the birds. Moreover, tourists can go on interesting water tours along the canals of Selenga and Baikal. Thus travelers receive an opportunity to get acquainted with the unique beauty of the region as closely as possible.

And if you like active leisure time out of doors, but do not know where to go, be sure to visit Kabansky Game Reserve. Take warm clothes and a photo camera, then go! You will learn a lot of new things about the Baikal nature, revive your energy and get positive emotions for a long time.

Animals

The mammals of Kabansky Game Reserve that can be met most often include: Siberian roe deer, badger, fox and muskrat. The territory is also home to blue hare, ermine, weasel, Siberian weasel, rodents, shrews and even bats.

If you visit the game reserve in the summer (from mid-July to the end of August), you have a great opportunity to admire the roe deer. At the same time boat tours along the Selenga River make it possible to observe the muskrat.

Fishes

The fish fauna of the Kabansky Game Reserve is no less diverse. The water reservoirs are the habitat for roach, ide, pike and perch. The following species are also met quite often: European carp, catfish, burbot, minnow, crucian carp, grayling and others. Even the famous Baikal omul comes to water reservoirs of the game reserve during the spawning period.

In addition, two species of amphibians are found on the territory of the game reserves: moor frogs and Siberian frogs.

Plants

There are many trees and shrubs on the holophytic meadows overgrown with tall willows. Briar, hawthorn, black currant and Siberian apple tree are quite common in Kabansky District. Pines and larches grow in some places.

Since the territory is marshy and peaty, many species of sedge, fescue, horsetail, melilot, eyebright, foxtail grass and others grow on it. Mossy and valley sedge marshes are also widespread on the territory of the game reserve.

Interesting places of Kabansky District

In addition to the educational routes and fascinating photo tours around the Kabansky Game Reserve, you can also visit a number of other natural monuments of the Baikal region. For example, Proval Gulf, Enkhaluk Terrace, the “Bely Kamen” (“White Stone”) Rock, as well as the picturesque “Skazka” (“Fairy-tale”) waterfall located on the Krasnaya River. The waterfall’s name fully justifies itself.

We recommend you to have a walk in the vicinity of Tolsty Cape, visit the curative spring of Arshan. Besides, there are a lot of other no less interesting places on the territory of the Kabansky District and the entire Baikal Biosphere Reserve. Familiarize yourself with the history and nature of the Baikal region, combining this activity with exciting excursions and hikes.

 

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