Friday, September 2, 2016

August 7: Talan and theStanykevicha - Onatsevicha coast

August 7: Talan and the Stanykevicha - Onatsevicha coast

Long-term monitoring of the largest sea bird colony in the Tauy Bay occurs on Talan Island. We were greeted at the Institutes of Biological Problems of the North's research station by Helena Golubova. She was alone at the island and was going to stay alone there "till the end of the field season". Helena was also telling us that there was a major theft of food/equipment from the station in the winter by somebody who was catching crabs. What a disgrace....

There were only 2 active eagle nests on the island, one with 2 chicks, the other with 1.  Previous counts of the sea birds around Talan reached over 1 million, but Helena says numbers are down. The days when there were 3 eagle pairs nested on Talan island seem to be.

In the early morning we set off at low tide, so we can survey the stretch between the Cape Gavantsa and the Onatsevicha. The weather was perfect when we set off, so we had a splendid view of Talan's bird colonies.

We circumnavigated the island, but as soon as we set course to the Gavantsa Cape, we noticed a wall of fog. It was approaching very fast and that we would be unable to survey.
In twenty minutes we were surrounded by the thick fog but decided to continue, thinking that the heat rising from the land might keep the fog away from the coast.

We arrived to the Gavantsa Cape in thick fog, but nonetheless were able to see one chick at a spectacular nest on top of a seastack.

Further up, along the coast the fog was kept at bay by a thin corridor of the warm air. From here we could look back at Talan Island and see the wall of fog that separated us.

On the way back along the coast we coveredthe nests which we were intentionally skipping on the way out. These were the nests within view of Balagannoe village.  We did have a surprise at the Onatsevicha nest. On the way in we considered (I have to admit, in a rush) that there were no chicks in the nest, however when we were coming back we did see one chick there.

The remaining coast overlooking the Tauy estuary returned 5 chicks in 4 nests. Unfortunately, there was no nest within close proximity of the Balagannoe, on the banks of the Tauy river. The two adults were present, though.

By late night we were already ashore, packing up, and in the darkness of the advancing night we departed for Magadan.

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