A long time ago I noticed that Spring makes most of its progress in the battle against Winter during rainy days. Not during the shiny sunny days, but under the spring rain. It has been raining here, in my ranger statin, continuosly for almost 72 hours. The rain has melted the leftover snow from taiga around, washed away the gray volcanic ash from bushes and grass, and nature is shining again with clean early spring colors. After five months of Kisimen Volcano erupting with abundant ashfall I almost forgot how beautiful it can be. Now if I walk outside I won't leave a trail of ash behind me. Can you imagine how easy is it to breathe now? The snowdrifts are only left in deep gullys and under steep river banks.
Animals feel the relief too! Today my intern, Alexy, and I were working inside with the computer and plotter preparing the photographs for the summer exhibitions in the Reserve, but even from our windows we saw four different foxes, two wolverines and two bears passing by. And all of them were galloping or at a trot as if in great excitement.
Only a female deer with a young one is grazing within 200 yards of our porch, so we try to go outside as little as possible not to disturb them. But near our windows we have a little "ring" now. It is a molting male white partiridge; whenever a larger animal comes near he anxiously starts his courtship ritual song, which alarms us, so the only thing left for us is to look outside and enjoy the view of a new visitor.
The spring and even summer has already started all around the northern hemisphere now, so most of my photographer-naturalist friends are sharing photos of the new leaves, spring flowers, singing birds... I don't have anything like that to show you yet. However during the rain the buds on the bird cherry trees have swollen, and the first singing skylarks appeared in the tundra sky. In Kronotsky reserve the spring will first come to my station, since it's located in the warmest spot - at sea level. In the mountains this rain has fallen in a form of snow, covering all the stations and tourist places with a thick white and cold blanket.
Original post is by Igor Shpilenok (both text & images) in Russian here.