#ARCTIC. #SIBERIA. THIS IS TAIMYR. Almost 90 percent of Norilsk birds are migratory, flying to warmer climes in the winter. Snow buntings are the first to return to the North. Violetta Strekalovskaya, a senior researcher at the Taimyr Reserves directorate, told about this.
The snow bunting arrival time, which is often called the harbingers of spring, begins in the period April 14–24. They are the very first to go to the Far North to breed.
“Their mass arrival in spring is very extended and depends on the weather and snowiness of winter. They arrive at nesting sites, depending on the flight route, from mid-March – early April to the end of May – early June. Males arrive earlier than females for one to three weeks, or even a month, occupy the territory, change the color of their plumage to the breeding attire. With the females arrival, pairs are formed. These birds begin to nest at the end of May, and the chicks hatch in early June”, explains Violetta Strekalovskaya.
The end of April is the time of corvids – the raven and the gray crow – arrival. These birds are one of the very first to start mating games and equip their nests. Corvids lay their first eggs in the vicinity of Norilsk in April, and by May 10 the first chicks appear. By June 15–20, they begin to try flying.
The birds of prey arrival – buzzards, white-tailed eagles, gyrfalcons – begins shortly before the complete melting of snow. Near Norilsk they can be seen at the very beginning of May.
“Herring gulls start arriving in small groups long before the snow melts. In the vicinity of Norilsk, the first birds are observed around May 5–11. Mass arrival is noted 10-15 days after the first birds appearance. These birds most often occupy the city technical lake Dolgoye. And after thawing of water bodies, they are distributed among nesting habitats”, the senior researcher noted.
Together with the warming and the beginning of the snow melting, the first insects appear: bumblebees, mosquitoes. At this time, the appearance of various small species of insectivorous birds, such as wagtail, warbler, bluethroat, can be noted.
Following the wagtails, fieldfares fly in. They begin nest building almost immediately after arrival, so their sharp, low warning crackling sounds often become audible in the forest.
“A little later, with the appearance of rims on water bodies, along the banks you can see small high-legged birds with long beaks – waders that run in shallow water, collecting various invertebrates”, says Violetta Strekalovskaya.
The last to arrive in the first days of June are swallows – these are the funnel and the shore. They are waiting for the heat, when more insects appear in the air, which form the basis of their diet.
Previously, Taimyr Reserves directorate talked about bighorns and polar bears. We also reported that in Taimyr they managed to photograph one of the rarest and most beautiful birds in Russia – the kloktun duck. And in November last year, the Norilsk people were worried about a lone swan that did not fly away with its flock and lived in the city on Dolgoye lake.
Text: Angelica Stepanova, Photo: Olga Alexandrova and Taimyr Reserves directorate