Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Arctic ground squirrel.

These creatures live in harsh cold conditions, in a places, where there can still be snow in the middle of June... So more than half of their live they spend in hibernation.

Read full story here:

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Collection of happy photographers in Kronotsky Nature Reserve.

Sweet morning dreams.

The days are the shortest nowadays, and every time I try to wake up my kids two hours before the sunrise for school - they refuse to wake up. Today I even removed their blankets, but they keep sleeping just curling up like this young bear was sleeping on the banks of the Kurile Lake in Kamchatka.

Let them sleep 10 more minutes, just enough for me to post this photo.

Open shpilenok.livejournal.com for Russian version of this blog.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Good morning from Bryansk Forest!

Here in Bryansk Forest.

Here at home I have a large household: a cat, a dog, a rooster, three horses and a goat. But I have to admit, all of them are quite "useless" in traditional sense. We don't ride horses for past 10 years, last time we milked the cow was around 6 years ago, the dog is too friendly to bark at people and the cat doesn't catch indoor mice, she is only interested in wild ones, and only the rooster has some "useful" functions - he is regularly pecking our guests' feet.

It wasn't always like that... The road that connects our village to civilization used to become unpasseable for any type of motorized vehicle in spring 7 years ago - so we used to rely on horses for transportation. At that time the goat was providing milk for my younger children. Ryska, the cat, was protecting my cabin from foxes in Kamchatka one winter. (Her efforts even got awarded - this photo won in BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year contest in 2009). And the dog, Nika, is very patient and has never bitten my sons, despite the fact that sometimes they deserve it when they torture her too much while playing (like all children do sometimes).

So these animals are truly a part of my family...

Saturday, December 8, 2012

News about Alisa-fox.

Many of my readers were asking how was Alisa doing - from my friends, who visited the ranger station near where she lives I know that she is doing well. Check out for yourself here: http://most-41rus.livejournal.com/20346.html and here: http://alex-perevozov.livejournal.com/9435.html. On the photo she is with on of her cubs in summer of 2011.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Little Fairy from Bryansk Forest Nature Reserve.

This is a new bison calf that was born in a reintroduced European bison herd in my homeland - Bryansk Forest - while I was gone to Kamchatka this fall. The little one is called Feya (Фея = Fairy in Russian).

Foxes' seasons.

For couple of months this journal was occupied by bears. Foxes were under heavy "discrimination"... Let's correct that!

Original post is here:

Cold Kamchatka wind. by Igor Shpilenok (shpilenok)) on 500px.com
Cold Kamchatka wind. by Igor Shpilenok

Friday, November 30, 2012

Back home already!

I made it home to the Bryansk forest finally. This is one of the last photos from my ranger station T Kurile Lake. It seems like this bear family came to say good-bye to me just before the helicopter came. The cubs played in the snow and then they all left. It was very touching moment. It left me wondering, why aren't they already in a warm den? It seems like they should be...

Good bye, lake Kurile! by Igor Shpilenok (shpilenok)) on 500px.com
Good bye, lake Kurile! by Igor Shpilenok

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

See you in spring, Masha... Sleep well!

During past week bear-mothers with cubs have dissappeared from the lake, they departed to their winter dens. It is about time, the temperature is And even most of pregnant female bears are gone now, including Masha. Adult males, especially older ones will remain on the banks of the lake and rivers until late December and even January fishing.

Meanwhile Misha seems to be very sad without his girlfriend. All through the fall they were playing like cubs while other bears were behaving rather boring. No wonder Misha is missing Masha... See their games below!

Originally posted at http://shpilenok.livejournal.com/138228.html and http://shpilenok.livejournal.com/136428.html

Several pictures of cape Tugumynk.

This is how cape Tugumynk (Russian: Мыс Тугумынк) looks like from my ranger station at cape Travyanoi in usual to these places rainy weather. Free kilometers of lake waters separates us. For most of last week I could not see it at all, the rain was too heavy.

Originally posted at http://shpilenok.livejournal.com/135912.html

Friday, November 9, 2012

Ready for winter!

This is a bear-mom with her nearly one-year-old cubs...

... and this is a male-bear, possibly, a father of the family above.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Misha and Masha.

Misha and Masha are the adult bears that live near my ranger station here at the Kurile Lake. I am watching them play and hunt together every day. Usually, adult males do not socialize with anyone. They are animals-egoists, animals-individualists. Misha is an exception. He is very friendly with all his neighbors; he is always the one to starts all the friendly animal games. And he is especially friendly with one female, Masha. They spend a lot of time together, even at rest. I am almost certain that these are my good acquaintances from four years ago: a brother and a sister.

A couple of bear cubs appeared near this ranger station in the summer of 2008. Most likely they just got separated from their mother. Other adult bears were scaring them off, so the children found protection near the humans. They were always together, even in their sleep they were cuddling up to each other. Since then I have only visited these places couple of times, and did not know how were they doing. Masha must have brought up one litter, and now she is pregnant again. Misha has mastered fishing and have grown to a very respectful size (males are larger than females, and they grow until age of ten). Their behavior, however, remained the same. They still sleep and play together right next to our ranger station. I can often see them play from my window or the porch.

Below are the photos of Misha and Masha from 2008.


Craving for snow...

It is amost beginning of winter here. The days are chilly and dark. Heavy clouds bring rain. But there is no snow yet. The nature is ready for snow. Even my little neigbor, ermine, is ready: he is almost completely white! And below is how he looked several days ago.

There are less and less bears around - they are gradually departing to their winter dens for hipernation... Hopefully it will snow tonight!