NEWS ARCHIVE: NOVEMBER 2013

November 26, 2013 Website "BirdWatch.by" A List of Birds of Belarus to change due to an error in determining


A picture of Gavia immer from Canada, made by Alexander Vintchevski
On last Sunday, a group of birdwatchers from Grodno observed three Gavia birds 30 km far from Grodno. Two of them had no problem to be identified by voice and appearance as Gavia arctica. But the third bird, which was clearly larger, has also been recognized as Gavia arctica (on the Svisloch water reservoir + VIDEO. It helped add a new species to a List of Birds of Belarus.

We had a suspicion that it may be Gavia immer, a new species of birds for Belarus.

The case started with a comment by Nikolai Cherkas, who with surprise noted that Gavia immer cannot be the new species for our country, as it is stuffed for many years at the Museum of Nature in the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha".

When we checked this information in the published literature, it showed an amazing thing - indeed, the first known registration of species was made in 1972, when one bird was hunted by local ornithologist Vladimir Datskevich (1928 - 2010) on a pond at the Lyadskie village. Next registration was two years later, when one more bird Gavia immer was shot down at Vygonovskoe Lake (Brest region) 10/20/1974. That stuffed bird is still in the Museum of the National Park and Nikolai Cherkas said about it.


Vladimir Datskevich. Photo from bp21.org.by

These data were published (only) in 1998, when Vladimir Datskevich was able to return to the main book of his life. It is entitled "Historical Sketch and Some Results of Ornithological Studies in Belovezhskaya Pushcha (1945-1985)."


A book cover by Vladimir Datskevich (Vitebsk, 1998). Photo from bp21.org.by

Once again, this information appeared in the article by Andrei Abramchuk and Nikolai Cherkas "Birds of Belovezhskaya Pushcha: a Systematic List" (Subbuteo - 10-2011, pp.18 - 31) referring to the Datskevich's book. Therefore it is difficult to say why Gavia immer was not included into the List of Birds of Belarus neither after the first publication in 1998, nor after the second one in 2011.

Now there's a reason to correct the error. After the Belarusian Commission on Ornithological Fauna officially add the species into the List of Birds of Belarus, it may be the fourth new species for our country since the beginning of 2013.

Thus, our ornithological fauna totals 327 species.

Gavia immer is the second largest Gavia bird species. This is the tundra species that, except in the north of North America, also has a small amount of the populations and is breeding in Iceland, Greenland and the Bear Island. During migration, it flies to other European countries, as well as sometimes overwinters in the Baltic and the North Sea. For example, it was registered 41 times in Poland from the XIX century until 2001. There were 16 registrations until 1950, 6 registrations from 1950 to 1980 and 17 registrations to 2001 (Tomialojc, Stawarczyk, 2003).

Prepared by Dmitry Vintchevski for www.birdwatch.by
November 23, 2013 "Komsomolskaya Pravda" (The Komsomol Truth) newspaper Russian Father Frost went to the pre-Christmas trip

He will come back to his residence in Great Ustyug only on December 31.

A hot time has come for Father Frost. That means the New Year is not far off! On Saturday, the 23 November, the traditional New Year's Eve journey of Father Frost started.

The route began in Kazan, where the children's favorite character came on Saturday. He will meet with the Tatar "colleague" Shoo-Babai there. After he will go to Olonec in Karelia. Also, Father Frost will visit Belovezhskaya Pushcha. Then, Father Frost will meet Youllupukki on the border between Russia and Finland. In all, the magician is going to visit about three dozen cities in Russia, including Khanty-Mansiysk, Izhevsk, Yekaterinburg, Moscow, Riga, Moscow and St. Petersburg. Before the New Year the winter wizard, as usual, will come to the Mission Control Center in Korolev to greet ISS astronauts. On December 31, he will return to the Great Ustyug.

By Anastasia Novikova
Photo by Marina Voloseviches
November 20, 2013 Website "BelTA" Tourists from Africa to be interested in Belovezhskaya Pushcha

Tourists from Africa are being interested in Belovezhskaya Pushcha. The chief forester of the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" Mikhail Chichko told today about it to a BelTA's reporter.

"Of course, tourists from Russia and Ukraine take the first place in number. Many tourists come from Poland. Belovezhskaya Pushcha is also visited by people from Germany, France and Canada. Now there is a trend that many guests from Africa and Arab countries come here," Mikhail Chichko said.

"Value for Belarusian and foreign tourists who visit Belovezhskaya Pushcha differs in different months. New Year's holidays are of particularly affect to it. More than half of the tourists are the Russians for these days," he added.

According to Mikhail Chichko, more than a million tourists from 120 countries visited the Manor of Belarusian Father Frost in Belovezhskaya Pushcha for 10 years. "The Manor of Father Frost is known not only in our country but also far beyond its borders. This place has become one of the leading travel brands in Belarus," he stressed. Almost 70% of all tourists who come to Belovezhskaya Pushcha visited the Father Frost's Estate.

In addition, the National Park attracts visitors through the eco-tourism. Green trails are developed on its territory. Tourists are offered to walking, cycling and bus routes. "In terms of tourism, the southern part of Pushcha within the Brest region was developed more, then others. So, we are now working in the area of the Grodno region to create the necessary conditions. Belovezhskaya Pushcha is a unique forest. Many tourists come primarily to look at strictly protected sites and untouched nature. Such forests as Pushcha are not many in Europe and throughout the world," the chief forester of the National Park said.

The National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" is one of the oldest nature reserves in the world. Belovezhskaya Pushcha was inscribed on a UNESCO's World Heritage List in 1992. In 1993, the National Park was given a status of Biosphere Reserve. In 1997, for outstanding achievements in the conservation of wildlife, the Belovezhskaya Pushcha National Park was awarded a European Diploma.

Flora and fauna of Belovezhskaya Pushcha features a great variety. White fir, spruce , pine, hornbeam, more than a thousand oak trees of the age from 300 to 700 years, 450-year-old ash trees, 220- year-old pines, 150-year-old cedars grow here. Belovezhskaya Pushcha is home for bison, red deer, wolf, wild boar, lynx and other animals. All natural ecosystems are preserved in their natural state. This is largely due to the State Program for Development of Protected Areas for 2008 to 2014 adopted in Belarus. In the Park there is an international tourist transition "Pererov - Bialowieza". Hotels and holiday houses are available for tourist accommodation.

The most visited object in Belovezhskaya Pushcha is the Estate of Belarusian Grandfather Frost. The Estate served first visitors in December 2003. The Estate is situated deep in the Forest on a clearing where bison come to feed in the winter season. The Estate covers the total area of 15 hectares. The carved towers of Pushcha's magician and his granddaughter Snow Maiden, Twelve Months meadow, Treasury, Magic Mill and other fabulous facilities are also there.
November 20, 2013 Website "Real Brest" Father Frost from Belovezhskaya Pushcha talked about the most expensive gifts for him

"We have recently started a ritual - we present the magic bells for visitors who come to the Estate for the second and more times. The bells are made in the workshop of Mother Winter. We kindly request the guests to tie them to the branches of the Christmas tree fulfilled dreams as a sign for the fulfillment of the desire made by a guest when once being in the Estate in the past.

Each bell that we tie this tree is the greatest gift for me," the magician said to the BelTA's reporter. "This year, the Christmas more than 400 of these bells has appeared of the tree."

"People come to the Estate for fairy tales and faith in a miracle. Apparently, something fabulous earlier said is impacting to the every person coming to us and the bells are the confirmation of this," Father Frost says.

All letters and gifts that come to the residence of the wizard are carefully kept in the Estate. "Children's letters, of course, are one of the dearest gifts to the heart of Father Frost, because they add him magical powers. The more people who believe in Father Frost, the stronger is his magic. There are many letters coming and they are all stunning and incredible. Perhaps, there is nothing more wonderful than the words that are written in", the Mother Winter's workshop owner Alena shared her impressions. Every year children send unusual gifts to the wizard. So, a doll of tale keeper Puschik in full size recently appeared in the Estate.

The Estate of Belarusian Grandfather Frost is the most visited object in Belovezhskaya Pushcha. It served its first visitors in December 2003. The Estate is situated deep in the Forest on a clearing where bison come to feed in the winter season. The Estate covers the total area of 15 hectares. The carved towers of Pushcha's magician and his granddaughter Snow Maiden, Twelve Months meadow, Treasury, Magic Mill and other fabulous facilities are also there.

http://www.tio.by/
Photo from http://rebenok.by
November 15, 2013 Website "The National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha"" The Father Frost's Manor is preparing for anniversary

The Belarusian Grandfather Frost's Manor, which opened in 2003, is the most visited object in Belovezhskaya Pushcha.

More than 6,000 people visited the Manor only for the period of the autumn vacation. Nearly a million people already visited the Manor for a 10-year period since its existence.

Now the preparation for the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Manor is going on. The celebration will be held from December 13 to 15, 2013. Different objects will be upgraded and built by this time. Christmas tree will be adorned with new attire. Fabulous towers will be illuminated brighter. There will be more illumination around. The population of the Manor will also be increased in number in addition to Father Frost, Baba Kargota will find her own house, Mother Winter and Snow Maiden will return to the Manor for the winter season.

Father Frost waits his colleagues - Santa Clauses, and many other mythical figures for the holiday. They will participate in various activities and animation programs.

On the first day of the anniversary celebrations, December 13, the Mother Winter's workshop and Ice Life Museum will be opened. Visitors will meet Father Frost, Snow Maiden, Mother Winter, Nastienka from a 12 Months tale, Baba Kargota, Severe Cold, Blizzard, Metelitsa, Janko, as well as fairytale characters from other places who will come to the celebration.

Since the anniversary coincides with the 150th anniversary of a Christmas tree growing in the Manor, there will be congratulations to the evergreen beauty this day as well. In honor of it, a song "A Small Spruce Tree was born in the Forest" will be performed at the Manor in the Belarusian language for the first time. Everyone who wishes can bring New Year's toys and ornaments as birthday's gifts to the Christmas tree.

On December 14, there will be a procession of fairy tale characters (from Kamenyuki village to the gate of the National Park). It will be headed by a brass band of Santa Clauses and a group of New Years Jubilee characters. Other fabulous characters arrived to the holiday will also be participating in the procession, and everyone who wishes can join it. "Agreement on the Establishment of a Fabulous Union of Russia and Belarus" will be signed in the Manor. It will be affixed by magical seals of good magicians. A "Fabulous Mile" will be opened. A first fabulous road sign will be set and an "Avenue of Glory Fabulous" will be laid.

On December 15, Father Frost will get congratulations on the anniversary of the Manor. As expected, the ceremony will be opened from the "official part". It will include performances by fairy tales characters, the dramatized show, speeches of officials and awarding the winners of various competitions. The celebration will be completed with the concert program "Jubilee Frosty Tale", with the participation of artists from Youth Variety Theatre.

Every day during the festival will be accompanied by songs and dances from constantly changing groups and performers. Altogether about 500 artists will be involved. A Masters' City will work. Chefs of the National Park will try to surprise guests with a variety of dishes that everyone can choose the food to his liking. And, of course, everyone can be photographed with a variety of fairy tale characters.
November 15, 2013 Website "Charter'97" Joulupukki and Shoo-Babai travel to Belarus

Finnish Santa Claus is going to come to Belarus to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Belarusian Grandfather Frost's Estate in Belovezhskaya Pushcha.

This was reported in the tourism department of the National Park. Fabulous festivities will be held in the Estate of the winter wizard from 13 to 15 December, as BelTA informs.

Finnish Santa Claus previously confirmed his participation in the celebration. Russian Grandfather Frost from Veliky Ustyug is also ready to travel to Belovezhskaya Pushcha. Besides them, the Belarusian magician is waiting for World Cossack Guards Santa Claus, Snow Maiden from Kostroma, Tatar Santa Claus Shoo-Babai , Karelian Santa Claus Pakkaine and Yakut Chyskhaan. Baba Yaga from Kukoboya, Ilya Muromets, Vasilisa Very-Wise, Ivan-Tsarevich, Water King, Glinyshek and other characters are also invited to the fabulous celebrations.

The Estate of Belarusian Grandfather Frost, which opened December 16, 2003, is the most visited object in Belovezhskaya Pushcha. Since its opening, nearly a million people have visited it. The total area of the residence is 15 hectares. The carved towers of the Pushcha's magician and his granddaughter Snegurochka (Snow Maiden), Twelfth Month Glade, Treasury, Magic Mill and other fabulous facilities are placed there.
November 14, 2013 Website "Virtual Brest" A project to create a barrier-free environment in Belovezhskaya Pushcha

"People with disabilities do not need reservations. Just give them the opportunity to live like everyone else". These are the words of former Member of the German Parliament Ilya Seifert, wheelchair-bound invalid and fighter for the rights of persons with disabilities in his country. He visited Belarus in December last year to launch a new joint Project "Inclusive Social Space for the Benefit of All". The reporter of the Republic newspaper learned details from Sergei Drozdovskiy, Coordinator of the Office for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

"It is not to be confused the creation of an inclusive space with the arrangement of barrier-free environment. The second case deals with only the availability, while the inclusion makes a broader concept," as Sergei Drozdovskiy explains.

According to him, the barrier-free environment requires only availability. That is the physical capability of the disabled person to get into a particular building or premise. Inclusion also involves the full integration of the disabled person into society. The additional devices designed for this purpose are not a privilege but the satisfaction of their legitimate needs.

"Inclusion is only one of the tools of the social integration of disabled people into society, but it is unthinkable to do it without providing full accessibility," as Sergey Drozdovskiy said. "We together with our German colleagues decided to apply this principle, because it is, unfortunately, implemented insufficiently in our reality."

Since Germany has a pretty rich experience in creating inclusive spaces for tourist facilities, it was decided to take the village of Kamenyuki, Kamenetz district. That is the place where tourists get to the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha", one of the most hyped tourist brands in Belarus.

"Visiting the Reserve is always meaningful, as many tourist activities are presents there. All this attracted us and project managers found the first point of the force application in that village. So, we started the assessment of the objects placed on the territory of Belovezhskaya Pushcha," Sergey says. "The priority attention was given to accessibility, as it is one of the most important components of inclusion in general."

Specialists carried out monitoring by using a special "Tool for Definition of Barrier-Free Environment", developed by the Office of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. It is a questionnaire that is filled at the object under study.

"The evaluation starts not from the threshold of the building, but much earlier - from the nearest public transport stop or disembarking places," Sergei Drozdovskiy explains. "Then, the building entrance structure is examined - the porch and ramp, no threshold or its height, width of the doorway."

The interior is the following for the study.

"Only that building or premises can be recognized, which has items "plus" for each of the evaluation," the Office Coordinator emphasizes. "If there is one "minus", the object is automatically getting into the category inaccessible. It is needed to understand that if someone cannot get access into the building, so it is not accessible for everyone."

The recommendations given by experts at the end of monitoring, will help improve the quality of stay of people with disabilities, for example, in the National Park's Hotel.

Today the fourth building of the hotel in Kamenyuki is almost 100% available for the disabled and allows them to engage in the National Park's activities.

"That is the goal we are pursuing - not just to ensure the availability, but make the stay of the disabled person in the facility as comfortable as for the average person," Sergey explains. "That is, simply speaking, the disabled person should be able to not only get into the hall of the hotel, but also to fully live there - use the bar, bathroom and all the services provided there. However, there are some flaws, but they are easy to handle.

As for the cultural program of visits in Belovezhskaya Pushcha, an attempt of the inclusion of the disabled into it revealed some nasty trifles. However, all comments are set out in the recommendations, and they have been accepted in the District Executive Committee. According to Sergei Drozdovskiy , the authorities decided to allocate funds to correct deficiencies. However, the Executive Committee cannot cover all the expenses; so, other organizations will be invited to finance them.

"Starting with the major defects, we will move further to get each element of the availability complete into the full inclusion," he says. "And then, suddenly, others will pay attention to the first precedent."

Information Source by Artem Kiryanov, Respublika
November 12, 2013 Website "The National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha"" Polish colleagues to held the Scientific Council's session

On November 08, 2013, the Bialowieza National Park (Poland) organized the regular meeting of the Scientific Council, which was attended by researchers from the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha". The meeting discussed issues on the current activities of the BNP, the works on its protection and the environmental action plan for 2014. Information about the visit of experts from UNESCO / IUCN to Belarusian and Polish sides of the Forest in September of 2013 was of a particular interest. The visit regards changes in the status (due to the additional criteria for nomination) and in expansion of the area of the Belarusian-Polish Trans-boundary World Heritage "Bialowieza Forest / Belovezhskaya Pushcha" (up to 140,000 hectares). A presentation regarding the Biosphere Reserve on the Polish side of the Bialowieza Forest, which includes the National Park and the historic territory of the State Forests of the Bialowieza Forest was also made.
November 08, 2013 Website "The National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha"" Seminar on restoration of hydrological conditions

On November 5, the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" served a working meeting organized by the NGO "APB BirdLife Motherland" to discuss environmental projects to optimize the hydrological conditions of the territory in accordance with the priorities of the directive part of the Management Plan. The results of the scientific programms "Development of Scientific Basis for Restoration of the Hydrological Conditions of Drained Bogs "Wild Nikor" and "Zubritsa" (executed by SSI "Institute of Experimental Botany") and "Development of Scientific Basis for Restoration of the Hydrological Conditions of Small and Ephemeral Streams in the Historical Part of Belovezhskaya Pushcha (executed by SNPE "The National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha"). The results of the researches will be further considered by the Scientific and Technical Council of the National Park, which will make a decision on the feasibility and methods of conducting further works on the rehabilitation of disturbed wetland ecosystems of data on the basis of preparation of the technical projects.

November 06, 2013 Website "Holiday.by" The anniversary of the highest spruce tree in Europe will be celebrated In Belovezhskaya Pushcha


The highest Christmas tree in Europe
This year the most "prominent" in Europe spruce tree-beauty is 150 years of age. It grows close to the Manor of Belarusian Father Frost. By the way, the Manor will celebrate its 10th anniversary. To mark these two great events is possible in the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" from December 13 to 15.

Traditionally, the birthday of the highest Christmas tree of Europe is celebrated in the New Year's Eve and it attracts thousands of tourists from different countries. At this time, Russian Father Frost, Finnish Joulupukki, Tatar Shoo-Babayan, Yakut Chyskhaan and so on, who are "colleagues" of the Belarusian New Year's magician, will be among the invited guests at the event. Famous fairy-tale characters -Baba Yaga from Kukoboy , Ilya Muromets from Murom, Ivan Tsarevich from Kirov and many others from different countries will also come.

During the festivities, each fabulous guest will decorate the 43-meter Christmas tree with an own toy, while the visitors will be able to dance in a ring around this tree and learn a Belarusian-language version of the song "A Small Spruce Tree was born in the Forest." In addition, the Belovezhskaya Pushcha National Park will provide the world's first "Avenue of Glory Fabulous", where prints of hands and mittens of the magical characters will be done instead of Hollywood stars. Also an agreement on the establishment of a fabulous union of Belarus and Russia will be signed at the Manor and the International "Fabulous Mile" will be founded, which will indicate the direction and distance to homes of heroes of fairy tales and legends. Guests of the event will also be offered to collect all the cones near the Christmas tree - hero of the day, because, according to legend, they are performing the most wishing needs.

The program of the events is available on the website of the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha". During the celebrations, the cost of attendance will be Br110,000 for adults and Br90,000 for children.

By Anna Gridyiushko
November 04, 2013 Website "wild Nature" An art exhibition in the Museum of Nature of the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha"

The Museum of the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha" continues its exhibition of paintings on themes from nature. Recently, works of Belarusian artist Tatiana Navosha were added to the paintings of Polish artists Slawomir Rybakov and Mateusz Rybakov, according to the National Park's website.

In their stories, painters are specialized in landscapes and are turning mainly to the forest theme by reflecting the grandeur and beauty of the Pushcha's woods at any time of the year.

It is said if a person has talent, his talent covers everything. So, Slawomir Rybak also writes verses, and Tatiana Navosha also embroiders. Her work "Deer" embroidered in "cross" is presented at the exhibition.

The exhibition is demonstrated in the lobby of the ground floor of the Museum of Nature free of charge.

I.Shishkin's "Forest of the Evening" picture is in the photo
November 01, 2013 Website "The National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha"" "Night forest dwellers"

The traditional field school "Night forest dwellers" organized by the National Park "Belovezhskaya Pushcha", the Brest regional branch of the NGO "APB BirdLife Motherland" and the Agro-Farm "Zalessie" was in a very unconventional way this year. In the village of Zalessie, Pruzany district, the "owl theme" was used in various ways from 25 to 28 October. It was relevant not only for ornithologists but even for musicians and artists.

35 people participated in the annual field school - students, school children and nature lovers from all over Belarus and abroad.

There was lots of works. Ornithologists set spider nets in the vicinity of the village and caught different migratory and local birds every day. They went into the forest in the evening to "listen" to owls. There were presentations after dinner.

Belarus makes home for 13 species of owls. 9 of them nest in Belovezhskaya Pushcha. Therefore, the participants of the field school learned a lot of new about these amazing birds. They learned to distinguish them by morphological features and by voice. Special attention was paid to banding birds. It allows observing the areas where the feathered travelers fly during their migration, and the duration of their life. Through banding was found that owl is the most long-lived species of owls. The age of some birds of this kind can reach 27 years! The information on ringed birds should be submitted to the Belarusian Bird Ringing Centre.

During the presentations, it was possible to gain knowledge about how to construct artificial nests for owls. The process of making the house for sparrow owl was demonstrating during a master class.

The artist Eugene Kovek ruled the master class. He painted owls on a wall of one of the village houses.

Not all participants managed to get back dry from a swamp during the trip. However, three artificial nesting platforms for the great gray owl were repaired. One of them was used by owls for nesting in the last year and there were 5 chicks.

During the forest tour, participants were lucky to see a great gray owl in its natural habitat. The bird was sitting on a tree at the edge of a fen and was looking out for water voles scurrying beneath.