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Kamchatka Krai

Merlin Falco columbarius ©Nigel Blake Website

The Kamchatka Peninsular consists of the 'Oblast' of Kamchatka and the Autonomous 'Okrog' of Koryakia.

Kamchatsky peninsula is the land of volcanoes and geysers. Most of the region is occupied by light Erman’s birch and larch forests. Mountainsides are covered with cedar elfin woods and lichens. It’s possible to find high-grass meadows. The western part of peninsula is typical tundra.

Along the entire region runs the Sredinny mountain ridge. Snow occupies its peaks throughout the year. Its sea-shore serves as a breeding site for birds, which adapt themselves to hard conditions, such as Pelagic Cormorant and Steller’s Sea Eagle. Rocky banks and numerous islands are rookeries, where it’s possible to find Ancient Auks, Puffins, Sooty Guillemots and other interesting species.

Top Sites

Komandorskie Islands

Satellite View

This site includes four large islands, more than 60 small islands and the water adjacent to them. Large islands, such as Medny and Beringa, are hilly with lichens tundra on the top. Along rivers and streams there are grasslands and bushes. Small islands have rookeries. You can see here such birds as Aleutian Tern, Crested Auk, Whiskered Auk, Puffin, Guillemot, Common Guillemot, Leach’s Petrel, Fork-tailed Petrel, Pelagic Cormorant, Red-faced Cormorant and Kittiwake.

Kronotsky Reserve

Website

Satellite View

The most attractive sites for birdwatcher are the rookeries. The latest investigations has discovered 69 colonies of sea birds, which include nine species: Slaty-Backed Gull, Puffin, Pelagic Cormorant, Pigeon Guillemot, Horned Puffin, Common Guillemot, Thick-billed Guillemot, Glaucous Gull and Fulmar. The northern part of the reserve is tundra zone. Not only sea birds live here, but also Steller’s Sea Eagles, Peregrines, Merlins, Tundra Grouse and Siberian Ground-linnet Finches make their nests on the rocks. Moreover, it should be noted, that most of the passerines on the peninsula are endemic races. The most common species of the mountain forests and bushes are Rustic Bunting, Indian Tree Pipit, Arctic Warbler, Ruby-throat and Scarlet Grosbeak. It’s possible here to also see Chinese Greenfinch and special Pallid Thrush. Along the rivers you can find Harlequin Duck, Golden-eye, Red-breasted Merganser, Goosander, Scaup, Siberian Gray-rumped Sandpiper, White & Grey Wagtails.

Contributor

Olga Batova

Ornithologist

Ecological Travel Center - Moscow

info@ecotravel.ru

http://www.ecotravel.ru

Useful Reading

A Field Guide to Birds of Russia and Adjacent Territories

V. Flint, R. Boehme, Y. Kostin, A. Kuznetsov Paperback - 440 pages (December 1983) Princeton University Press

ISBN: 0691024308

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Where to Watch Birds in Europe & Russia

Nigel Wheatly Paperback - 416 pages (28 April, 2000) Christopher Helm

ISBN: 0713648708

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Guides & Tour Operators

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Ecological Travel Centre - Kamchatka Birding Tour

Tour Operator

Kamchatka and Commander's islands, situated on the north-east from the peninsula in the Pacific, are recognised as one of the most exciting regions of Russia. Its nature and wildlife are astonishing. Here, over 390 bird species are registered, around 800 plant species and over 200 seaweeds species. There are approximately 400 fish species in the seas of the region…

Trip Reports

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CloudBirders

Trip Report Repository

CloudBirders was created by a group of Belgian world birding enthusiasts and went live on 21st of March 2013. They provide a large and growing database of birding trip reports, complemented with extensive search, voting and statistical features.

2006 [10 October] - Birding wonderland - Commanders & Kamchatka

Report

Kamchatka and Commander's islands, situated on the north-east from the peninsula in the Pacific, are recognised as one of the most exciting regions of Russia. Its nature and wildlife are astonishing. Here, over 390 bird species are registered, around 800 plant species and over 200 seaweeds species. There are approximately 400 fish species in the seas of the region…

2014 [07 July] - Robert Ulph

Report

...A lot of the birds around Petropavlovsk are familiar to UK birders with Great and Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers, Black-headed Gulls and a Reed Bunting. But harder searching, particularly in the woods, reveals the more interesting ones such as a Siberian Rubythroat, Rustic Buntings, Pechora Pipits and what I think was a Dark-sided Flycatcher (see photo). Also lots of Red-breasted/Taiga Flycatchers and Arctic Warblers....

2016 [06 June] - Lisle Gwynn - Russia's Ring of Fire

PDF Report

...Even before we’d stepped foot on the ship we were blown away by Kamchatka with the mythical Black-billed Capercaillie giving walk-away views, and a superb supporting cast of Siberian breeders like Eye-browed Thrush, Siberian Rubythroat and Kamchatka Leaf Warbler....

2016 [06 June] - Lisle Gwynn - Sea of Okhotsk

PDF Report

... Our first stop was at Piltun Bay where we cruised alongside Gray Whales and bobbed below flocks of Aleutian Terns, whilst in the Shantar Archipelago we faced thick ice that held hundreds of ‘Arctic seals’ like Ringed, Largha, Bearded and the most beautiful of all pinnipeds, and a Russian Far East speciality, Ribbon Seal. We also enjoyed watching Steller’s Sea Eagles hunting fish in their icy homeland...