Birdwatching competitions were held in the Kiparisny camp park and on the seashore. Birding, an intellectual sport, is very popular all over Europe, and its competitions attract thousands of fans in Moscow.
Young ornithologists spent their camp session birdwatching and eventually called on their comrades from Kiparisny to take part in a quest – spot as many birds as possible and identify them with the use of a reference book. The children easily recognized crows, laughing gulls and wood pigeons. Some saw hoopoes and other rarer birds.
“It is more than an outdoor fitness activity – the competition and other ornithological pursuits make one take notice of small things, and one’s eyes open up to wildlife,” says Yana Pleshkova, an eighth-grader from the Altai Territory.
Nikita Chukhlov, a seventh-grader also from the Altai, was one of the quest organizers. Birdwatching has been his hobby for two years. The Artek session spectacularly increased his bird erudition: “I have learned a lot about the birds of the Crimean south coast. They are quite different from what I saw at home. Today, for instance, I saw a dunbird. We spotted a sparrow hawk living on the Genoese Rock. The Adalary rocks are nesting grounds of ravens, rock pigeons and black-throated loons. There is a shag colony there, too. I also learned that there are owls on the Adalary – eagle owls, tawny owls, horned owls, and scops-owls. This is especially interesting for me as owls are my specialty as an ornithologist. Scientists told us that Crimean birds are unique. Some of them are not to be seen anywhere else in Europe.”
Katya Konovalenko has been photographing wild ducks for several years. “We observed and also called birds, and took their photos with scientists in Gartvis Park and in the Ayu-Dag foothills. Ornithology is a very complex and important science,” says the eighth-grader from the Novgorod Region.
Birdwatching competitions were among the final events of the Artek environmental program organized by the Your Nature center for children and teenagers.