Rangers of the nature reserve returned after a two-day patrol along the eastern coast of Bering Island. On snowmobiles, Yuri Parfyonov and Yulia Murina covered 140 kilometers from the village of Nikolskoye to Nepropuskova Bay, having carried out phenological observations and counts of the Commander Islands animals and birds.
A city dweller can travel 140 kilometers in a couple of hours by car. Of course, if you don't get stuck in traffic. However, the Bering Island off-road route at any time of the year becomes a test for both technology and people.
“There are two especially difficult stretches on the eastern shore - at the bays of Slastnaya and Nepropuskova. There are no terraces - elevations that protect from the surf. We made our way literally along the edge of the sea, where it would have been impossible to drive through during a storm”, said Yuri Parfyonov.
Ranger Yuri Parfyonov while patrolling the territory. Photo: Julia Murina
This year the river estuaries did not freeze, so often we had to stop and, choosing the smallest section, cross it at high speed. On the way, the rangers discovered remains of two walruses. The first was washed ashore in Polovina Bay, the second was noticed in Nepropuskovaya.
Arctic foxes are saved by these marine emissions from a hungry winter as they “feasted” on the remains. In total, the rangers counted 34 polar foxes. The animals were unhappy when Yuri and Julia drove up to take skin and adipose tissue samples from walruses to transfer the samples for analysis to the scientific department later. Arctic foxes ran to the top of the hill and waited to return to the "table". Only a few individuals ignored people and continued lunch.
Little beach warden at work. Photo: Julia Murina
Herds of reindeer with a total number of about 1000 animals were found along the entire route. The largest - at least 250 animals - were spotted on the Starogavansky pass. It is noteworthy that groups of ungulates become less shy at a considerable distance from the village.
A herd of reindeer. Photo: Julia Murina
For example, not far from the Old Harbor (24 kilometers from Nikolskoye), the deer allowed them to come 300 meters close and then rushed to the tundra. And at Komandor Bay (66 kilometers from the village), animals felt safe as close as 50 meters from the snowmobile.
Sea otters on the eastern shore of Bering Island. Photo: Julia Murina
Along the coast from the Komandor Bay to the Nepropuskaya the rangers regularly noticed sea otter groups - from three to six individuals in each. As for ornithological observations, unusually large flocks of nimble snow buntings from the order of passeriformes birds of 20 to 30 birds are often found this winter.