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Astrakhan Reserve


Region: Caspian plain 
Astrakhanskiy region, Kamizyaksky and Volodarsky raions

History
The Astrakhanskiy Reserve was established in 1919 for the conservation of unique natural complexes of the Volga delta. At present, the territory of the  Reserve consists of three areas: the western - Damchiksky part, the central - Trekhizibinsky part, and the eastern - Obzhorovsky part. The reserve covers an area of 63 000 ha. 

Features of natural environment
The relief is that of a lowland river valley, cut with a number of different channels. The part of the delta above water is the area of the Caspian Sea where the lowland Volga's silt accumulates. The Volga Delta is one of the most dynamic in the world, with a specific hydrological regime resulting from the interaction of the huge river with a closed sea basin.
The climate is moderately continental with hot summers and cold winters. The average temperature of January is -9 ºС. The average temperature of July is +27 ºС.

Flora and Fauna
Of special interest among the reserve’s flora is lotus which is called the Caspian rose. From the middle of July to September, when lotus is in bloom, pink flowers scent the air. The eastern peoples consider lotus to be a symbol of purity and nobility. 
The fauna comprises only 30 mammal species. Among them are wild boars, wolves, foxes, otters, field mice, harvest mice. 
With more than 250 avian species recorded in the reserve, the Astrakhansky reserve has earned its reputation as a sanctuary for birds. At different time of the year one can come across more than 250 bird species most of which may be found in the Red Data Book. They comprise white-tailed eagle, pink flamingo, osprey, spoonbill, mute swan, Dalmatian pelican, European white pelican, white crane, peregrine falcon and other species. The reserve is home to herons:  egrets, common herons, purple herons, pond herons and night herons. The Volga Delta is a crossroad of migration paths of many waterfowl species. 
The fish fauna includes 61 species: hausen, sturgeon, starred surgeon; Caspian shad, black-backed shad; roach, bream, carp, red-eye, asp, sabrefish, crucian carp, pike, zander, perch, stickleback and others. 

What to see
The reserve is a great place for viewing unique landscapes of the Volga River, smelling lotuses and watching birds.
The reserve offers many water tours. While making a tour, visitors are accompanied by highly-qualified guides who provide them with all necessary information. 


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