Birds of Arctic - Lena Delta
Great Siberian Lena river flows into the Arctic Ocean and formes the largest delta in Russia, which area is more than 32 thousand square km. The delta lays in tundra zone and plays an important role for migrating birds. Various plants formations, aboundance of the nutritious basins attract great number of waterfowl. Most of them nest here, others move to the west along the coast or to the north to Novosibirskie islands.
Each year in early summer many thousands of geese, ducks, swans, different pipers (Charadriiformes), gulls and terns concentrate at the nesting sites. In total the area counts over 100 bird species major part of which is nesting here. The rarest species are the Siberian white crane, lesser swan, snow goose, cuneate-tailed gull.
The birds fly into delta from South and South-East Asia, Australia, America, Africa, and Europe - Bewick's Swan Cygnus bewickii, Whooper Swan Cygnus cygnus, Brent Goose Branta bernicla, Lesser White-fronted Goose Anser erythropus, Steller's Eider Polysticta stelleri, King Eider Somateria spectabilis, Gyrfalcon Falco rusticolus, Peregrine Falco peregrinus, Golden Eagle Aquila chrysaetos, Ross' Gull Rhodostethia rosea and Sabine's Gull Xema sabini. Siberian White Crane Grus leucogeranus and Snow Goose Chen caerulescens.
The Lena Delta In the delta area one can find marine mammals like white whale, narwhal, three seal species and also the laptev walrus (the disappearing subspecie). Concerning the terrestrial mammals (about 30 species) of special notice are polar bear, wild reindeer, bighorn sheep, Kamchatka marmot, Arctic fox and lemming. The Lena mouth forms the most favorable conditions for wintering, fattening and spawning shoals formation of valuable industrial fish species - nelma, muksun, Siberian and Arctic cisco and many others. In total 36 fish species were noted.
The climate of the region is rather severe, marine, polar. The territory lies far above the Polar circle, thus the sun shine all day long in summer and it's the kingdom of the polar night in winter. The best time for the tour -end of June, July, nevertheless, all the participants should be prepared for the severe weather and be equiped accordingly.
Trip report 2016
Photogallery of tour:
16:00 Arrival in Tiksi. Accommodation in a hotel, acclimatization. Free time. Dinner in a cafe on your own.
Breakfast in a hotel. Border zone formalities arrangement. Transfer by boats to Bykovsky channel of the Lena delta, near former Nordensheld biostation. Camping. Food on fire.
4 full days on Bykovsky channel, near former Nordensheld biological station which is located in the southern part of the Delta. The Kharaulakh Mountains (northern part of the Verkhoyansky Ridge) get close to the Lena River here. There is a nice Lena tributary where one can see a range of flora and fauna ranging from that of the plain tundra to that of the mountain tundra Rufous-necked Sandpiper Calidris ruficollis, Dunlin Calidris alpina, Pectoral Sandpiper Calidris melanotos, American Golden Plover Pluvialis dominica and other sandpipers lead their nestlings down by the river. Willow Ptarmigan Lagopus lagopus and Rock Ptarmigan Lagopus mutus guide their fledgling here as well. Arctic Redpoll Acanthis hornemanni nest in the mountains and in the osier-beds; Buff-bellied Pipit Anthus rubescens, Red-throated Pipit Anthus cervinus and Lapland Bunting Calcarius lapponicus hatch their nestlings in the mountain tundra. Only in Lena Delta can could observe Black-capped Marmot Marmota ramtschatica, one of the most rare and largest if rodents. They are fat and large (like a medium-sized dog) and the males like to observe surroundings from the high slopes.
Transfer by boats to the north of the Lena delta. If the group is lucky, camping on the Bobrovsky island. The Bobrovsy island area is the northernmost part of the delta. Here, arctic tundra plains are interspersed with many lakes.
5 full days in the Bobrovsky island area – We will visit the neighbouring islands by boat. Bobrovy Island and the neighbouring islands are located almost on the most northern edge of the Lena Delta Lena. The landscape here is typical flat arctic tundra with a lot of lakes. All the main Eastern-Siberian arctic tundra bird species can be found here (see the checklist). Special birds of the area are the colonies of Sabine's Gulls Xema sabini and Ross' Gulls Rhodostethia rosea, Brent Geese Branta bernicla and King Eider Somateria spectabilis. There are also many tundra birds, Sandpipers are especially numerous and allow close views and good photo opportunities. Courtship display, egg-laying and brooding occurs at its height at this time. The sun shines around the clock. We should also get acquainted with the delightful Siberian Lemming Lemmus sibiricus. It’s a typical tundra inhabitant – fat, trusting and cute. You may see Arctic Fox Alopex lagopus and Reindeer Rangifer tarandus too. There is also a unique chance to taste Siberian fish.
Boat trip to Tiksi. Accommodation in hotel. Meals on your own.
Free time. 17:00 Flight Tiksi - Yakutsk.
Accommodation, meals, boat rent, guide from the biological station, border zone permission.
Aviatickets to Tiksi and back (from 70 000 RUB with change in Yakutsk), personal expences, alcoholic bevareges.