The nearest Lake Baikal town from Irkutsk is not especially birdy, but there are forests in every direction, and the lake is right there.
7/16/2008: I arrived in Listvyanka by minibus, and I made my way to a lodge on the outskirt of town. From my window, I had a wonderful view of an old man gardening in his underwear. At least the hotel was able to validate my visa. It is a good thing too, as I learned that having your paperwork in order is very important in modern Russia.
In this part of summer, the days are still quite long, and I walked into town. Sorry to say, Listvyanka was far from interesting, and there were a lot of garbage piles around. I met a nice Russian couple who had learned English by watching American movies.
7/17/2008: By the magic of email, I was able to meet up with Fiona, one of my "eclipse friends." She immediately went on to tell me her story about Moscow which in many ways, was very similar to mine.
After dinner, I went off on my own hiking in the woods outside of town where I met two drunken knife-throwing woodsmen. They yelled a bunch of things, but really, they were quite friendly... unlike the dog that had its mind to kill me on the way back to the shack that I had checked into for that night.
The next morning, we took the ferry Bolshei Koty. We planned to have a quick lunch before I was to head back to Irkutsk, but, of course, we missed the return ferry and were trapped in Bolshie Koty for several hours. This is a good thing because that village was much more pleasant than Listvyanka.
We met some Russian army guys on the beach, and they invited us to drink vodka. After what seemed like a very short time, we had several empty bottles of vodka on the beach, and we were swimming in the very cold water of Baikal. They say swimming in the lake adds a year to your life. We were certain to catch the ferry the next time around, and I rode it all the way into Irkutsk.
Previous Visit (Moscow: 7/14/2008)
Next Visit (Irkutsk - Freeway Swamps: 7/19/2008)
Species Recorded (14)
Birds ( 14 )
Kites, Hawks, Eagles, and Allies ( Acciptridae )
Black Kite - Milvus migrans
Falcons and Allies ( Falconidae )
Eurasian Hobby - Falco subbuteo
Grouse, Turkeys, and Allies ( Phasianidae )
Hazel Grouse - Bonasa bonasia
Sandpipers and Allies ( Scolopacidae )
Common Sandpiper - Actitis hypoleucos
Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers ( Laridae )
Herring Gull - Larus argentatus
Swallows ( Hirundinidae )
Barn Swallow - Hirundo rustica
Chickadees and Titmice ( Paridae )
Great Tit - Parus major
Bushtits ( Aegithalidae )
Long-tailed Tit - Aegithalos caudatus
Nuthatches ( Sittidae )
Eurasian Nuthatch - Sitta europaea
Thrushes and Allies ( Turdidae )
Daurian Redstart - Phoenicurus auroreus
Wagtails and Pipits ( Motacillidae )
White Wagtail - Motacilla alba
Gray Wagtail - Motacilla cinerea
Brushfinches, Seedeaters, Sparrows, and Allies ( Emberizinae )
Rock Bunting - Emberiza cia
Cardueline Finches and Allies ( Fringillidae )
Common Rosefinch - Carpodacus erythrinus