I can’t believe I am leaving already! But I hope that soon I will be back.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
These first two pictures are the
This was the house I stayed in at the reserve. There are a 10-15 little houses like this just inside the reserve, and many reserve staff live here (about 15 staff of 30ish total). It's almost like a big family. Of course, they must go in to town for groceries, supplies, anything -- here there is nothing but their houses, firewood, and some chickens they keep -- with hills and the zapovednik on all sides. It is literally a little village in the middle of nowhere. Perhaps a quaint idea, but also hard. And there's also a banya here, of course. Baths on Saturdays!
Here is my room in the house. I stayed in the so-called "Aquatic Ecologists' House," because aquatic ecologists from the Institute of Biology and Soil Sciences of the Russian Academy of Sciences stay here when they conduct research in the reserve. Until fall of 2006 Kedrovaya Pad was part of the
Reserve office and library.
Another house and firewood shed.
The little dots on this blue wall are ladybugs. Like my visit to Khingansky Zapovednik will probably always be associated with the caterpillars that crawled all over me and Slava during our first hike, my visit to Kedrovaya Pad will always be associated with ladybugs. They were everywhere! Actually in the days after I took this picture even more appeared. I found it very amusing when one day, sitting in the reserve office reading some scientific literature, I came across a paragraph that began, "Visitors to the reserve in the late fall will be amazed at the number of ladybugs."
Frost on the leaves in the morning. We could feel that fall is almost over here. Although it would warm up by around 11 or noon in the daytime, at night and in the morning it was usually pretty chilly.
Although most trees in
The staff at the reserve were really wonderful, which seems to be a trend in the zapovednik system. Recently in my research on the Russian nature reserve system I came across a quote that I really liked. Since Kedrovaya Pad was the last reserve I will visit while on the Fulbright, I'll give that quote here, as a summary of sorts:
In view of the recent past it would not be appropriate to propose an extravagant toast to our present 'great and mighty' zapovednik system; yet in it labours a multitude of remarkable people who are enthusiastic about nature protection -- and that is the main thing. (Feliks Shtilmark, A History of Russian Zapovedniks, 1895-1995)
In my experience this could not be more true.
One of the reserve's scientists, Vadim, took me on my first hike in Kedrovaya Pad. We climbed up one hill for a view of the
On the hike with Vadim we also saw a great stone birch. Its wood is so heavy it sinks in water; it does not float like almost all (or perhaps all) other trees.
The science director at Kedrovaya Pad, Yuliya, studies bats (among other things that she is even more specialized in). Here I am holding one of her subjects, who is a little lethargic after a very chilly night.
It's hard to photograph bats. Yuliya's husband Denis is quite the photographer, and here is one of his pictures of a bat, for a better view. Kedrovaya Pad is home to 9 species of bats, which is considered not very many. Maybe Yuliya will discover some more.
Yuliya and Denis took me on a good hike to a cabin in the middle of the zapovedik. (It's 7 km away from the little village where the staff all live.) Reserve scientists and rangers sometimes take a break here for tea or even spend the night if on long hikes through the reserve. Here are Yuliya and her and Denis's 8-month-old son, Seva, at the beginning of the hike. Seva is a very cute and happy baby. When he wasn't sleeping on the hike, he talked to us almost nonstop.
Seva and Yuliya are picking barberries (барбарис) to make tea with.
The white on the bottom of this stem is ice! I have no idea how it forms this way. These fragile wisps of ice were on lots of plant stems.
Denis is trying to get a better shot.
Although I didn't see any leopard tracks in the reserve, we saw plenty of signs of bears and tigers. There used to be a beehive in the trunk of this tree, until an Asiatic black bear (гималайский медведь) got hungry.
A tiger made this hole in the leaves -- he pawed the ground here after taking care of some business. We saw a lot of these marks, called poskryoby in Russian. The were at least a foot and a half long.
The scratches (задыры) on this tree trunk were made by an Amur tiger about 3 weeks before I took this picture. I'd estimate they were a little over 2 meters up. Either the tiger was marking his territory, or just expressing his emotions (for real).
More tiger scratches, but these are older. This tree really got laid into. There are no tigers living permanently on the territory of Kedrovaya Pad Zapovednik (it's too small for them -- tigers have big territories), but they do pass through. They compete with leopards for food. If prey is abundant and there are enough deer and wild boar for both cats, they can live together in the same area. If not, the larger tiger will push out the leopard. (Leopards weigh only 30-50 kg, while tigers weigh 100 (females) - 200 (males).) Leopards are also territorial, but the territories they occupy are smaller. Kedrovaya Pad is big enough for one adult male leopard and two adult females, plus cubs.
A tigress and her cubs scratched up this tree at all levels. The white stuff is sap or resin (I forget which).
Very funny. I'm being a tiger.
These scratches are already really old, made by a bear or tiger. Ok, yes, obviously I thought all these scratches were really cool, as you've guessed by the number of pictures.
Denis estimated that this fir tree (пихта) is 600 years old. About 13% of the
Pretty view of the Kedrovaya River.
Here's the hut where we took a break for a snack and tea. In the 1970s a local journalist came here with a reserve inspector. She really wanted to see a leopard, so the reserve joked that sure, of course she would see one -- never believing it themselves. After all, there were only about 30-40 leopards in the wild at this time, and leopards are not animals that like to show themselves. But at the hut they in fact did see a leopard! Except that the journalist got so scared she locked herself in the hut and did not come out for hours, even after the leopard was long gone. Oh well.
We also made an interesting trip to a nearby stream, about 1 km long, that flows into the
Nikolai is explaining his work and goals to Anatoly.
Anatoly estimates about 200 chum salmon were in this 1 km stream when we were there. We saw plenty of them -- but they get scared when they see people and swim away very fast (so I couldn't get any good pictures).