• Swans overwintering
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Swans overwintering

Swans overwintering

In autumn, many birds migrate to the south through the territory of the Altai Territory.And only a small part stays here for the winter. Feathered "kings" of the cold season in Altai -white swans... Separate pairs and small groups of these birds can be found already from mid-October in different reservoirs of the region, but their triumphant mass return to winter usually happens duringsecond decade of November... In the continental part of Russia, Altai is consideredthe only wintering place for swans, and the largest and, what is important, safe and hospitable "airfield" for them became the surrounding areaSvetloye lakeand the river Koksha in the Soviet region. In 1955, hunting for swans was banned here, and in 1973 they foundedreserve "Swan"where birds are protected and fed. And therefore, every year more and more of them flock to the "Altai wintering".

The guests of the reserve call it a “fabulous place”: noble birds swim close and are not afraid of people. They trumpet gutturally, gracefully swim and take off swiftly, flap their wings and "bow", be tender or lightly push. Couples and their cubs keep close, males from time to time sort things out with rivals, demonstrating power and readiness to fight. On frosty days, fog rises over the reservoir, and birds glide along the surface of the lake like mysterious figures in a shadow theater. In calm weather, a fabulous snow-white "coat" of frost freezes on the surrounding trees and bushes, giving rise to fantastically beautiful pictures in the rays of sunset and sunrise.

The more calm and restrained the tourists behave in the Swan Sanctuary, the more different stories they will see, the authors remindphoto album "Winter Tales of Swan Lake". Best time for bird watchingon Lake Svetly - early morning, when the swans are active: they clean their feathers and move a lot, - and in the pre-sunset time, when whoopers flock to the lake for feeding and spending the night. And by noon the lake empties: most of the swan families fly away to rest in the surrounding fields, away from people.

Since mid-March, swans have been scattering around the surroundings, spending more and more time in the fields and thawed lakes. They circle and watch from a height as winter recedes northward. Their farewell departure is almost imperceptible. As soon as large rivers open up, the birds will leave the reserve to return here again in the fall. They have been faithfully loyal to the Altai Territory for more than half a century.

Photo: Ruslan Olinchuk, Angelina Averina