NATURE RESERVE OUTSIDE THE WINDOW
Wildlife has become one-step closer to people living in the city of Turkmenbashi, on the eastern shore of the Caspian Sea. There emerged an artificial island that can be seen from the windows of residential houses of the first coastline.
This island is a by-product of human activity. It was built of coastal soil extracted during the construction of the International Sea Port. The island occupies 170 hectares. It is a fertile ground for plants such as tamarisk and glasswort that in some places form tugai thickets that are up to one and a half meters high. The current state of plants indicates that the ecosystem is developing steadily.
It was not for long that the island stayed uninhabited. Representatives of the large army of birds wintering in the Caspian Sea immediately spotted a huge and safe "landing area" in the warm waters of the Turkmenbashy Bay.
According to the winter stocktaking of birds in the Caspian Sea region that was conducted by Turkmen scientists and ornithologists from Finland, more than 306 thousand birds of 48 species were identified in the Turkmen lands. This region is of great interest to foreign experts because of weather anomalies that forced feathered wanderers from most of the countries of Western Europe, the Mediterranean and the Azov-Black Sea basins to actively change their usual wintering places and look for more favorable shelters.
Beautiful flamingos are the symbol of the Khazar nature reserve. At the time of stocktaking, there were more than 3.5 thousand of them. Yet, this number is clearly understated, as timid birds did not allow stock takers to come close for a more thorough count in a number of places. According to foreign ornithologists, flamingos did not arrive in Turkey for wintering and stayed in the Turkmenbashy Bay, where two flocks exceeding 6 thousand birds were recorded already in February.
Experts could not identify the species affiliation of more than 82 thousand waterfowl for objective reasons. The fact is that after the sea level rise in 1978-1995 and relative stabilization until 2005, there began a reverse process - sea regression, as a result of which hundreds of thousands of hectares of the coastal zone turn into swamps and become impassable for any type of transport. Wintering birds like to gather in such places where they feel completely safe.
The range of safe habitats for many species of birds that chose this cozy place both for wintering and permanent habitat has increased significantly owing to the emergence of an artificial island near the coastline.