It has been a tradition for the scientific department of the Berezinsky Biosphere Reserve to organize expeditions to remote areas in winter. This time of the year is the most suitable period for exploring floodplain and swamp biotopes. Ice and dense snow cover make it relatively easy to get to the most inaccessible nature boundaries. In the summer season, this is complicated because of the high water levels in such areas.
One of these expeditions, which lasted three days, was organized by our researchers at the end of February. The base for them was a house located in the natural boundary "Radoshino" on the shore of Lake Palik. Our scientists were assisted by the inspector of the Palik forestry. The total length of the routes covered in three days was about 35 km.
White-tailed eagles were observed − one bird on mating flight, which then sat on a nest that belonged to an osprey last year, was noted. To meet a lapwing, the pioneer of spring migration, was great surprise. Usually these birds appear here much later, when the snow is melted. A pair of whooper swans was noticed on the lake. At dusk, our ornithologists searched for the habitats of the pygmy owl.
Along the route, tracks of a wolf flock of 5-6 individuals, traces of the vital activity of elks were recorded.
Camera traps installed in the natural boundary “Bagun Island” back in September were also checked.
In addition, the badger burrow was examined. Badgers are still sleeping, but raccoon dogs actively use this settlement. Such cases of joint wintering of these animals are not uncommon. The winter sleep of raccoon dogs is not as strong as that of a badger (it may even be absent), so they leave their burrow earlier.
Near the village of Selets, a beaver dam and trees damaged by these rodents were examined.
In quarter 711a of the Palik forestry, a brown bear den was studied. The forester discovered it during the winter route counts that took place the day before. The bear dwelling is located in the bushes in the floodplain of the Berezina River. It looks like a "nest" on the ground covered with broken branches. The forester also reported on bear tracks found on January 25 on the road leading to the Radoshino natural boundary.
Since Lake Palik is located quite far from Domzheritsy village, it is more economical to carry out such multi-day expeditions there. At the same time, the results are quite significant.
Text: Alexander Springer, Yurii Bogutsky. Photos: Alexander Springer, Alexander Rak.