The summer bloom was in full force while we were in Primorye. These Chinese Globe Flowers (Trollius chinensis) were commonly bloomers in the Ketrovaya Phad National park.
Campion (Lychnis fulgens)
We trekked for hours in the trail-Less wilderness of Lazovsky Zapovyednik. While we were blazing our way through the mainly fern undergrowth, we were picking up dozens of lovely ticks. Luckily they were not pathogenic that time of year.
During our miles of treks in Lazovsky Zapovyednik, we came across numerous reptiles and amphibians. This spectacular Patterned Chicken Snake was seen along the Lazovsky River edge. Roman's dog, Beem, was instrumental in finding this herps!
The Amur Long-tailed Lizard measured in excess of a foot! At first, it was very difficult to see him in the brush but I finally trained my eyes on the beautiful reptile long enough to snap a few images.
As we were in Lazovsky in the middle of the peak of the rainy season, we had a lot of rivers to cross. I knew we were in for a bit of a wet expedition when our 4X4 van drove directly through a flooded river and the water was streaming in to the vehicle and quickly rising above our feet! Luckily I was fast enough to grab our bags quickly enough to prevent them from becoming too wet! Here is Roman helping Cokie across a submerged suspension bridge. Som and I found it easier to strip down and wade across. The cool water felt good anyway. What a wonderful place to spend a few days!
Cokie being helped across another flooded river in Ketrovaya Phad Zapovyednik by the park's superintendent, Irina Maslova. We were extremely fortunate to have her as our own personal guide during our stay at Ketrovaya Phad! She was needless to say an expert in all areas of the reserve's natural history. She was an accomplished entomologist as well.
The park superintendent, Irina Maslova and our guide, Ekaterina (Katya) Nenya, resting after a long trek up the side of a mountain to get some excellent views of the Ketrovaya Phad. While on this hike, we were able to see several Amur Leopard kills and some dens, as well as some fairly recent sign.
The Oriental Fire-bellied Toad of Ketrovaya Phad
While on our treks throughout the region, we came across large numbers of thess massive Far-eastern Common Toads. They were sometimes difficult to see in the forest debris. But once they moved, they were pretty much in your face!
This Siberian Common Frog was nearly missed until it moved. This is perhaps the most well camouflaged critter we came across in the field!
The stunning hardwood forest of Ketrovaya Phad. I loved this view, and while I was there, I constantly thought of the 34 or wild Amur Leopards that were still precariously roaming this beautiful forest gallery.
Another recent paw print left earlier that day by one of the 34 remaining Amur Leopards.
A few hairs left by a resting Siberian Tiger who had left his bed literally minutes prior to our arrival! You just don't get close than this!
A spectacular Lake Khanka sunset. The mountains in the background are in China!
Som enjoying a splended Lake Khanka sunset.
We were basically cutting new ground for the tourist industry when we somehow worked out a trip in to an off-limits bird sanctuary near the China border. We had a local "Capitan" take us severa miles in to the remote areas of Lake Khanka. And then we located a ranger who was deep in to the wetlands reserve and bribed him to take us deeper. For the next several hours we motor-boated around a spectacular wetland to do some world-class birding in a slowly sinking rusty old boat. We had to stop every so often to bail the water from the rusty boat. All in all, we had a blast! Cokie loved the several spots where we had to dismount the boat and trek through the muddy bogs.
A beautiful Great White Egret taking flight upon our approach in Lake Khanka.
Be sure to visit our Russia Galleries!
Primorye Landscapes Gallery
Russia Species Lists