Our ornitology friends are still at work developing the birding idea. Now they are busy putting together tours for birdwatchers, checking out the best observation points, mostly within protected territories and natural monuments of the Kola Peninsula. As they progress we’ll report on promising places to watch birds and on species you are likely to meet there.
The first one of these places is quite close to the city and is easily accessible any time.
Lupche Islands area
The Lupche river outlet of White Sea’s Kandalaksha Bay is the most easily accessed area of the Kola Peninsula for ornithological observation. A diversity of sea and coastal birds can be seen near one of larger port towns beyond the Arctic Circle. Part of the territory is within the city of Kandalaksha, 20 min. walk from its center, and another part is on the Lupche Islands and in the sea adjacent to the Kandalaksha Nature Reserve.
The uniqueness of the ornitofauna of the place has been recognized by the Ramsar Convention. The water and swamp habitat “Kandalaksha Bay” was included in the list of the Ramsar Convention in 1975.
The area is important for the migration of coastal birds, many of which, after resting here in the spring, go further north for nesting.
Over 70 species of birds can be found here. Often met are sea gulls, terns; ducks: Common and Siberian Eider, mergansers, scaup and tufted duck, goldeneye, mallard duck, pintail; sandpipers: oystercatcher, ruff; passerines: snow bunting, dipper, redpolls, or tits. More rare are red-breasted goose, black-winged scoter, smew, long-tailed duck, velvet scoter, red-throated and black-throated diver, curlew and whimbrel, spotted Redshank, white-tailed eagle, rough-legged buzzard, merlin, kestrel. Rarely encountered are bean geese and even gray crane. Species atypical for the area have been observed: redshank, lapwing, shoveler, little gull and broad-billed sandpiper. The area of the estuary attracts forest waders such as snipe or Jack snipe, marsh sandpipers (wood sandpiper, curlew, godwit), as well as dabbling ducks.
All birds come in small groups or as single representatives. Because of lack of regular searsonal observations the numbers of specific species of birds during various seasons has not been established.