Krasnoyarsk Krai

The bird kingdom at the mouth of the Yenisei

A hundred bird species on Arctic islands near the beginning of Taimyr

23.06.2022// Taimyr Peninsula is known for its harsh and rich nature. Previously, it was available to only a limited circle of people — to travel to the Putorana Plateau or the Yenisei delta, special equipment, devices and a willingness to risk their lives were required. Capricious Arctic weather, treacherous ice or tundra, laid on the lack of communication, could fail at the most inopportune moment. Today everyone can reach the Arctic shores of the Krasnoyarsk Region.

Not far from the village of Karaul in the southwestern part of the Taymyr Peninsula, in the middle of the Yenisei delta, there is a group of about 50 small river islands. They are designated as the Brekhovskiye Islands Nature Reserve. The islands are no higher than 10 metres above sea level, rife with lakes and marshes.

The island group owes its name to the Brekhovs. This family was involved in fishing and trading on the Yenisey River in the 18th century. In 1994, the Brekhovskiye Islands came under the Ramsar Convention. This treaty protects such areas across the world from human impact and has been acceded to by 170 countries. The main purpose of the convention is to protect and study waterfowl and rare animals.

The Brekhovskiye Islands are home to a total of over a hundred species of birds, making them a birdwatching haven. The sanctuary is home to the yellow-billed loon, peregrine falcon, Bewick's swan, and many other birds. The rare white-tailed sea eagle also occasionally appears on the islands. The flora here is sparse, which is typical of the Transpolar tundra. In addition to looking at and photographing birds, you can go fishing on the Brekhovskiye Islands. There are 29 species of fish, including Siberian sturgeon, sterlet, nelma, pike and in the floodplain lakes — peled. Depending on the season, there are different restrictions on fishing, so the time of the visit should be chosen in advance.

The area is also interesting from an ethnographic point of view. It is home to the indigenous peoples of Taymyr — the Enets, Nenets and Dolgans — who still herd reindeer, pick berries and fish here, just as their ancestors did centuries ago.

Tourists can go to the Brekhovskiye Islands only in an organised group. Usually, their visit is part of the tour around the Taymir, which lasts about two weeks. Travellers are taken to the islands by boat, and after the tour, they are returned to the ship.

The rules for visiting the bird kingdom are simple — you cannot disturb its owners. Hunting, destroying clutches and nests, as well as collecting flowers and rare plant species on the Brekhovskiye Islands is strictly prohibited. This damages the fragile ecosystem of the reserve. But you can go fishing, picking mushrooms and berries.

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