Minsk is a really interesting city. It was levelled during the war and rebuilt to be the perfect soviet city with wide boulevards, loads of parks and lots of monuments. A small army of orange clad people scour the streets for every last peice of litter so it is amazingly clean. The crime rate is very low... could be something to do with all the soldiers, poilce and plain clothes police that are present. Oh and the KGB HQ opposite the presidents gaff.
We left Minsk for our first assignment with APB Belarus (The Bridlife partner in Belarus). We were to go to Turov Meadow - a flooded meadow leased by APB for the purposes of nature conservation. This is the first private nature reserve in Belarus and we were to be its first wardens - and wow, what a place!!! This picture is the house owned by APB. It had no furniture and had been unoccupied (except for mice) for a year but its all about location, location, location!!!
One careful former resident...
We built a table and a bench and a bed.
...and improvised for washing... occasionally... when we REALLY needed it.
The loo with the vieeeeeeeew!
Running water and mega muscle workout combined (see fig 1a - big biceps).
Terek sandpiper taking a bath with whiskered terns.
A terek sandpiper nest (infront of the car in foreground of picture). They seem to like building their nests fron rubbish.
Worst nest in the world competition: 1st prize to Black tern who basically lay their eggs on floating grass - good one guys.
Great Snipe lek here too
White winged terns, blck terns, whiskered terns and little terns all nest here.
A good way to get about on the reserve
...and the wrong way to get about on the reserve!
Its also a good place to be a fish and the shallow water teems with fry.
...its also a good place to be a midge, mosquito, blackfly or any other blood sucking insect!
Some more pictures from around the reserve:
Some areas of the reserve have not been grazed properly in recent years and the grass has grown long which makes it unfavourable habitat for nesting waders... APB is on the case and has arranged grazing of the area with the local cooperative farm.
The town of Turov - city hall.
Russian Orthodox Church
In Turov there is a small museum showing some of the special natural history of the area... the taxidermy is amusingly bad... here is a better example.
Belarus is truely the land of 1000 uses for plastic bottles - here is a good design of drainpipe. . The old tradition of throwing your waste into the river remains but the materials have changed and the reserve has quite a lot of plastic litter lying around.
Belarussians live close to the land and have a deep understanding of its ecology. Turov kids fishing with willow poles.
...and fishing and swimming on a hot day.