One of the spectacular sights of Aktau: hundreds of black and white swans bathing in the Caspian and playing on the snow-covered beaches.
There is a spot on the City Embankment, where you can see a lot of birds - seagulls, pigeons, swans and even flamingos. But the spot is dominated by the large number of swans. These swans are already a symbol of Aktau, and their arrival is traditionally marks the New Year. Almost all celebrations in this city are connected with this place on the Embankment when people come here to feed these birds.
The swans settled here 50 years ago when the artificial lake of Karakol was created due to MAEK-Kazatomprom operations. The lake serves as the nesting, wintering and resting place for thousands of various birds during migration.
At times there are up to 80 species here, of which 20 are listed in Red Book of Endangered Species of Kazakhstan, and several others in the international Red Bok.
Birds are provided with additional forage, because their main natural food - benthos and zooplancton - has become scarce in the last years.
“More than 20,000 birds fly over Karakol in a year. We spotted 9,000 swans and 10,000 ducks here in the past years,” says Zhaskairat Nurmukhambetov, an ornithologist of the state Ustyurt Nature Reserve.
Swans come to Aktau from Siberia and in March they fly to Iran and India.
By Zinaida Urynbassarova
December 29 2012, 16:02