Monday, September 26, 2011

Just admiring the beauty...

I've noticed many times that when I post photos of edible mushrooms, especially Boletus edulis, I receive too many food-related comments, such as, "the soup must be good from those"...

How about just admire the beauty of mushrooms and nature around?

Originally posted by at А просто полюбоваться грибами?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Mornings on Nerussa river.

This is Nerussa river, that flows near my home in Bryansky forest. The forest is dense around, and there are a lot of snags in the river; that makes the mornings look like fairy-tale sometimes. Snags and tree branches are among my favorite photo-models, so don't be surprised if you see a lot of them in the future in the journal.

Originally posted by at О корягах.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Good morning from "Bryansky les" Nature Reserve!

My way home was fast and easy, it took me less than 24 hours to cross 8 time zones across most of Eurasia. As you can see from the map - Kronotsky Nature reserve is located at the very east of Russia, and Bryansky Forest Nature Reserve - on the very west, close to the border with Ukraine.

Now I enjoy eating Antonovka apples, that I pick directly from the tree that I planted myself around ten years ago.

Originally posted by at Доброе утро из заповедника "Брянский лес"!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

My rough Kamchatka, we will meet again....

Today I made it to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, the capital of Kamchatka region. Tomorrow, most likely, I will be flying towards Moscow and then back to my homeland, Bryansky Les. Thank you, my readers, for your support and warm words during this expedition. And we'll meet again soon!

And on the picture are the places that I left today: Krasheninnikov volcano on the foreground, then Kronotsky volcano and Kronotsky Lake. On the background there is steaming Kizimen Volcano and farther back, barely visible, there is Klyuchevskaya Sopka and other volcanoes in that group.

Good bye, Kamchatka!

Originally posted by at "Терпкая Камчатка, до свидания..."

Friday, September 16, 2011

Wind of change...

All my things are packed. Backpacks and boxes are stacked in the middle of the ranger station, that sudennly became empty. This small and simple cabin in the middle of unpopulated tundra in Kronotsky Nature Reserve was my home for over a year.

But local spirits are not in a hurry to let me go. They bring either storms, or heavy rains and fogs to prevent safe helicopter landing. But as soon as the weather permits I will be taken from here. This evening the wind calmed down and on the west the sky cleared out. There is a chance that tomorrow I will find myself in civilization after the longest and most productive expedition of my life.

Originally posted by at "Уж небо осенью дышало..."

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Kikhpinych Volcano.

There are 26 volcanos inside Kronotsky Nature Reserve, and 9 of them are active. Kikhpinych volcano that can be seen on the photo is amoung the active ones.
It has a relatively complicated structure with three summits: Zheltaya Sopka (1585m), Peak Summit (1600m) and Young Kikhpinych or Savich Cone (1552m). The last one, Savich Cone with recent lava flows, is in the center of the top photo.

At the footsteps of this volcano the famous Valley of Geysers and Valley of Death are hidden. And the bottom photo illustrates how Kikhpinych looked from my ranger station last November.

Originally posted by at Вулкан Кихпиныч.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Just kidding!

My neighbor, wild reindeer with majestic antlers, that I told you about on several occasions already, has completely changed his coat and got in shape over past several weeks. Any day now the reindeer mating season will start...

I'm sure this one will have no real rival - you can see for yourself how weak the others look:

Yesterday I decided to play a neighborly joke on him. As I was passing Mr. Majestic I put a huge tripod on my head upside-down with it's legs extended to the sky. And something unbelievable happened! The reindeer mistook me for a competitor and enthusiastically pranced towards me. It was very funny initially, but soon a strong animal was within 40 feet away from me I immediately threw my "antlers" away and begged him for forgiveness with human voice. It would be understandable to get injured from a bear in Kamchatka, not from a reindeer...

This time Mr. Majestic was very surprised to see that it is just a human in front of him and not a rival. He turned around very dissappointed and went his own way.

Originally posted by at Пошутил...

More mushrooms in tundra....

More mushrooms for those who like mushroom-picking:

Originally posted by at Еще здешние грибы, всем известные...

... and some more (these are Boletus edulis, commonly known as penny bun, porcino or cep):

Originally posted by at Боровики без бора.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Can you name these mushrooms?

These are the most abundant mushrooms in nearby tundra. Probably they are not toxic, but require special treatment before eating. I do not eat them, I prefer porcini that are also in season now. Last year I made an entry asking my readers for help identifying these mushrooms, but we could not find the answer. More than ten different names were proposed, and we concluded that additional information, such as bottom and cross-section views are needed for identification. Below I made photos of those features, so I hope that maybe this time we will find the true name?

//Translator's note: since the original posting yesterday, 250 comments were received, but still no solid conclusion about the species of these mushrooms. Some of the suggestions include Xerocomus, Suillus, Suillus ochraceoroseus, Suillus bovinus...

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

My morning visitor.

This is a picture that I made at daybreak on the backyard of my ranger station. Look how Alisa changed over past two weeks.

Finally, she completely changed her coat and gained some weight. These changes are happening because she stopped feeding her grown-up cubs and now she can take better care of herself and prepare for a long Kamchatka winter.

The temperature dropped 3 degrees Celsius below freezing (26.6F) this morning before sunrise and surrounding tundra colors are turning from green into fall red and orange. The autumn has started...

Originally posted by at Утренняя гостья.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Marmots that live on the volcano top.

This is how the cooled lava flows look like inside the Krasheninnikov caldera. On the background you can see the neighboring volcano, Kronotskaya Sopka (aka Kronotsky volcano). Last time Krasheninnikov erupted several hundred years ago, but even now there is not much of fauna in this harsh place. Lichens, bushes and grass only grows in low places, under the protection of lava fragments. Nevertheless black-capped marmots seem to enjoy living in this harsh place located around 3000 feet above the sea level. This area offers lots of hiding places from predators in the volcanic rocks, and the ground here drains well ensuring dry accommodations during long hibernation in a burrow. There are at least forty colonies of marmots in Kronotsky reserve, but the largest known on is located in this caldera. Zoologists knew about it even before WWII. From that time the population of marmots in this colony remained stable – approximately two hundred individuals.

I only spent two days in caldera, this time is not enough to photograph different aspects of marmots life. I have only taken several “random” shots of animals watching my movements from the tops of those volcanic “sculptures”.

And in the last photo two close relatives from squirrel family have been captured: a black-capped marmot and a ground squirrel.

Originally posted by at Сурки, живущие на вулкане.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Breakfast with the seals.

Good morning from Kronotsky Nature Reserve!

Large runs of salmon enter the Kronotskaya river for spawning every day. But at the very entrance, in the estuary their numbers are significantly reduced by several hundred seals living there. This is a breakfast of one of the seals.

Originally posted at Завтрак тюленя.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

On the top of Krasheninnikov volcano.

I just got back from Krasheninnikov volcano.

My shoulders and legs are sore from the overload of climbing up and down. But there, from a single point I could see half of Kamchatka peninsula: from volcanos near Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky in the south to Klyuchevskaya Sopka in the north. I will tell you later about marmots that live in the harsh climate of Krashennikov volcano caldera: to record their population was the main reason for this trip.

But for now, I wanted to share with you a view from the top of this volcano: behind the northern crater you can see Kronotsky lake with islands on its surface, and farther away, on the very horizon, Kizimen volcano continues its eruption.

Originally posted by at На вулкане Крашенинникова.