Saturday, September 12, 2009

New Yamaha outboard

Boat at the Nagaeva Bay

Low Tide, Odyan Bay

Dr. Irina Utekhina in loaded boat

By mid-June the new outboard Yamaha-30 hp, purchased thanks to the funds of the San-Diego Zoo was broke into full extend. Break-in period required to ride the outboard on "not-very heavy" boat with half-trottle. Both conditions are difficult to meet.  In addition the gas/petrol has to contain double amount of 2-stroke oil. After the Odyan trip it was time to reduce the oil to the normal level. From now on we are ready for 'full throttle ride' in the sea!

The old Mariner 30Hp with damaged low gear unit was converted to a Jet outboard and await to be deployed in rivers. The engine head (now 10 years old) is still firing on all cylinders.

Thank you San Diego Zoo!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Odyan trip, day 2

Day 2 (July 23)

This day was dedicated to surveying the Odyan Bay proper, including the Melkovodnaya Bay. We set off early in the morning at rising tide, so that we would reach the Melkovodnaya Bay with the high tide. The weather was calm, sunny, there were hardly any waves.

We passed one unoccupied territory before we saw our fist pair with one chick at the nest. It was the nest Odyan-3 with 1 chick. The chick was laying flat in the nest, so it was not easy to spot it. One adult was at the nest at the time we passed it.

The next two nests Odyan-4 and Odyan-5 were empty, but the presence of an adult at both nests lead us to categorize these nests as 'occupied'. Next nest, Odyan-6, has disappeared, but there were 2 adult eagles present in this territory.

The nest Odyan-7 was shifted some 200 m along the coast and had 1 chick. The old nest was also noticeable, but had partially collapsed.

This was the last nest with a chick that we saw at the Odyan bay. The other 3 known nests were empty, including the one at the Umara island. On the bright side we managed to see a group of 12 adult and 6 immature eagles a shallow bay east from the Kalkuty bay.

At the eastern side of the bay we say a great number of Spectacled Guillemots, Crested Auklets and Ancient Murrelet, and many weak-looking Horned Puffins- it was a strange place for these birds....

On the way to the Umara island we encountered a very stiff headwind, to the extent that we had to stop and wait it out for some hours. A few hours before dawn we managed to resume the move to the Umara island, which we circumnavigated running against the time.

At the crossing from the Umara island to the Naydenaya bay we once again hit the storm, but the waves were coming from the side. Dr. Larisa Zelenskaya created lot of noise while crossing.

Nobody get seasick.

Thus, between the Ola and Umara Island we count 11 occupied territories producing 6 chicks.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Odyan trip, day 1

Odyan Bay trip.


Day 1.

We have started from the Ola village lagoon on July 22 immediately after the high tide time. We were accompanied by another boat manned by my close friends who wanted to go out of town for few days. Our plan was to reach the Naydenaya bay, and set a camp there. From the camp we planned to make few trips to cover the Odyan Bay up to the Umara Island.

            The weather was perfect: calm sea, sun chining and superb visibility in all directions since the sun did not warm up the air to the haze point.

            We went slowly, as my companion in this trip was Dr. Larisa Zelenskaya, who wanted to count all shore-bird colonies along the coast. Immediately we bumped into a huge cormorant/Slaty-backed gull colony at the Habriz Cape, some 20 min of drive from the lagoon, and stuck there for some time.

            Slowly going along the shore-line we found a new (and rather unusual) nest of the Steller's Sea Eagle. It was on a 5 m high pinnacle in the mountain tundra, some 150 m above the sea level. One chick was looking at us from the heights of the nest together with an adult.

            Next occupied nest was on a larch tree at the Rechnoy Bay. This nest is known for its steady productivity. This year it has 2 chicks ready to fledge soon.

            Close to the evening we were approaching the Naydenaya Bay in anticipation to set up a camp in a view of the Steller's Sea Eagle nest. Unfortunately, this pair did not breed: both nests within their territory were not refurbished, but both adults were present at the nest.

            So, out of 5 territories, 4 were occupied and only 2 had chicks.

            We set the camp in a comfortable bay of Naydenaya at very low tide. The shore was full of starfish and mussels exposed by this low tide so we had an opportunity to get enough mollusks for supper.


we are on TV!

Meanwhile the TV crew who accompanied us on the Zavyalova/Koni trip came up with some aired clips. They all are on the internet here: