Aksu Zhabagly Zapovednik, Nature Calendar, Autumn

Our Nature calendar is for travellers, naturalists, tourists, and nature lovers. Using our calendar, you can choose the most interesting natural events and the most convenient times for your travel to a wonderful corner of
South Kazakhstan, the Aksu Zhabagly Zapovednik (National Park). Get to know the most interesting seasonal happenings in the life of the Tien Shan Mountains.



The Autumn Bird Migration. It is always a little sad when, at the end of August, you hear the parting cries of cranes and see a flock, flying in V-formation. One of the main migration routes of birds, including cranes, crosses the Aksu Zhabagly Zapovednik. There is a long established ornithological ringing station close to Aksu Zhabagly Zapovednik. You can go there and see ornithologists using mist nets and hear many interesting details about birds. In the foothills around Zhabagly village, from August until the end of October, it is possible to see the migration of diurnal birds of prey like falcons and buzzards, and in bad weather, or when it is foggy, owls in migration remain on the steppe. Sometimes, in a two hour drive around the village it is possible to spot up to twenty short-eared and long-eared owls sitting on the ground. Also, in Autumn, it is possible to see members of the passeriformes family (sparrows) which are uncommon species, not typical of Asia and high mountain habitat. This is possible because Winter comes earlier high in the mountains and snow drives many animals and birds down to lower altitudes. In mountain valleys, rock buntings, redstarts and most unusually, red winged rockcreepers suddenly appear.

On Roaring. Once, early in Autumn, young scientific assistants of the zapovednik spent a night in the
mountains. The night was cold, dark and inhospitable. The men sat at a burnt out fire and told each other frightening stories about the Iron-nailed Woman who looks for lost travellers in the mountains. Suddenly, in the next gorge not far from their camp, they heard a loud, inhuman roar. Their hair stood on end and their blood froze but after a while their fear left them. The zoologists remembered that red deer (maral) roar like that in Autumn. From the end of August until the end of September is the rutting season for red deer. During this period, stags are roaring loudly, calling to dare each other to fight. They fight desperately, inflicting awful wounds, to win hinds away from their rivals. At this time, the maral lose their caution and move throughout the zapovednik. The usual habitat of red deer is in the upper reaches of the Zhabagly River, the Zhusaly Gorge and the Aksu Canyon. In these places, in September, it is possible to hear the roar of the maral and if you do, you can see this huge deer.

Mountain Harvest. Spring can excite us with its beautiful primroses and tulips and Summer with its sweet smells but the Autumn colours of Nature are not only pretty. Autumn is the time for fruits to ripen. Amidst the yellowed grass, one can pick out the blue grey fruits of barberries and blackberries. The quantities and kinds of fruits (hips) of the dog rose are amazing. You can see small branches of dog rose which are covered with small purple fruits and big branches with juicy blackish red hips amid the thorns. In the mountains there are wild apple trees with small sour fruit from which our domestic varieties were developed. It is forbidden to collect fruits in the Zapovednik but you can collect them in the buffer zone, the land which surrounds the Zapovednik. So, if you would like to eat fresh blackberries and make mountain tea from organic fruits of the dog rose, you are welcome here now!



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