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Kamchatka: Starichkov Island
July 27, 2014 16:37


The small rocky Starichkov Island is a reserve in Avachinsky Gulf where 44 breeding colonies of 11 species of seabirds are registered.

Pacific gull, kittiwake, thick-billed and common murre, hatchet and horned puffin and others live here. According to some estimates, the total number of birds living here makes up more than 50 thousand. The majority of birds on the island are hatchets and murrelets who make their nests in holes in the ground. The rare species of birds are red-faced cormorant, sooty guillemot and murrelet.

The name of this bird (“starik” in Russian) gave the name to the island. Red-faced cormorant and murrelet are listed in the Red Book of Russia and in the Red Book of Kamchatka. A pair of Steller's sea eagles - rare birds listed in the Red Book of Russia - annually bring chicks on Karaulny stack (a stack is a columnar or conical rock of natural origin).

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Coastal reefs around the island are the rookeries of bay seal (motley seal) and insular seal. Killer whales and dolphins can often be seen in adjacent waters.

Marine animals and birds feed mainly in the three-mile zone around the island, the majority of the animals in the winter go further away. Vegetation of the island is typical for the East coast of Kamchatka, but there are only few species. It is typical for islands hosting bird colonies.

A total of about 70 species of plants are found on the island, including: large pearlwort which grows only on the Kamchatka Peninsula on Starichkov and Toporkov islands. The Water Reserve “Starichkov Island” was created in 1981.

It was declared a monument of nature to help create the conditions for colonies of seabirds for their peaceful nesting and reproduction. In addition to natural monument status Starichkov Island has a navigational importance. It indicates the proximity of Avachinskaya Bay when navigating from the south. The island area is about 0.5 square kilometers. The Northwestern part is raised, the top is flat. The shores descend to the ocean in steep hills and cliffs.

There is a small sandy beach on the western side. There is a belief: when a person gets the touch of the bird’s droppings on Starichkov Island, he/she will have a great success. So some even try to catch this “success”. If the visit to Starichkov Island is one of the purposes of your travel to Kamchatka, you’d better come between June and September-October (depending on weather). Boat trips are not held in other months. 



Author: Anna Dorozhkina

Tags: Starichkov Island Avachinsky Gulf Red Book Kamchatka  

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