Talan Island & Zavyalov Island,
Researchers occasionally visit Talan to monitor the seabirds here including Steller’s Sea Eagles, Parakeet Auklets, Ancient Murrelets and Spectacled Guillemots. The breeding seabirds on the island have been counted for nearly 30 consecutive years. The counts have revealed that the number of Tufted Puffins has increased. At last tally 120,000 were breeding on Talan. In addition, Horned Puffin populations are stable at 80,000 individuals. However, the results are not always encouraging. Originally 1.5 million Crested Auklets were found breeding on Talan, and lately that number has been halved. Although they feed on puffins, red foxes that take advantage of the ice to come over from the mainland for the breeding season are unlikely to be responsible for such a large drop in numbers. The foxes return to the mainland each winter once the birds have left and the ice has grown thick enough to support their weight. Zavyalov Island is a large island in the northern portion of the Sea of Okhotsk. Visits to the island are only realistic in the summer months. During the long, dark Siberian winter it is likely that Zavyalov is iced in for months at a time. Zavyalov is mountainous and vegetated by Siberian dwarf pine and dwarf birch. Both are hardy species that can endure the bitter winters and short summers. The diminutive vegetation offers little shelter for brown bears that can be seen grazing the island’s shores in search of berries, roots, and feasting at low-tide on the shellfish at the shoreline. The coasts of Zavyalov also support breeding populations of Steller’s sea lions.