Losiny Ostrov National Park
Losiny Ostrov is a place familiar to any Moscowite. And we are not surprised that mooses live in our terrirory… And, by the way, moose disappeared in most parts of Europe long time ago; Europeans take it for mammoth or woolly rhinoceros. And here it lives in Moscow and goes to Sokolniki, which is 8 km from the Kremlin!
Losiny Ostrov has been guarded for a long time, first as a place of royal and princely hunting , then as a park. This is Russia’s first national park (since 1983). Of course, deforestation was typical for the localities near Moscow, but in the immediate vicinity of Moscow wild places of nature resembling the thousand-year-old landscape have survived.
Let’s take a closer look at the inhabitants of Losiny Ostrov. By the way, they can be found in Moscow not only in Losiny Ostrov, but also in many other city parks. Look at the top shelf to the right, there is a bat sitting on a tree trunk with its head down – it is a noctule bat. Noctule bats control their bodies in such a way that they usually fly up to the hollow at full speed and slip inside it amain with wings folded, and then immediately slow down and hang down from the ceiling or the walls of the hollow. Therefore, they prefer hollows with a circular entrance. You can see an ermine in white winter fur to the right of it.
Long-eared owl is to the left of the noctule bat. It is worth of its name, since its real ears are very large, and skin folds edging them are well developed, and feathers on its head standing upright also look like ears. That one to the far left on the top shelf is a blackbird. It is an old male, entirely black, with a bright orange-yellow beak. You can hardly notice a blackbird in the woods, since it is very careful and doesn’t let the observer approach. But it likes squalling and marks its presence with various sounds.
And now look down, you’ll see a shrew just below the blackbird on the third shelf. These small animals are the most numerous mammals in the forests, and though we don’t see it, they do a great job of monitoring the number of insects in the forest cover, they eat beetles, earthworms, insect larvae.
A blue hare can be seen on the bottom shelf to the left – this is our indigenous species, a forest hare. It is perfectly adapted to deep snows; it has wide paws, like snowshoes. In the showcase, the hare is presented in the transition coat, during molting. Hares live in Moscow and almost reach the Kremlin. They are nocturnal and very cautious animals, so they are rarely seen, but they can be easily found by trails. They are included in the Red Book of Moscow, by the way, as well as a long-eared owl, ermine, and even a shrew. So few are the areas of wild life in Moscow! In addition to animals and birds, you can find many rare insects in the territory of Losiny Ostrov. Some of them can be seen in showcase No. 39.
Now, the biggest butterfly of our region – blue underwing – is in front of you, it is also the biggest owlet moth of the European part of Russia. It has survived only in those places where old bleeding trees, especially oaks, can be found. If you are lucky to find a rose underwing, then there must be goat willow or bleeding trees next to it.
Purple emperor lives in large tracts of broad-leaved and mixed coniferous-broad-leaved forests. Caterpillars and pupae of purple emperors are very sensitive to the level of environmental pollution.
And here are predatory beetles – ground beetles. Smooth ground beetle. This species was registered in the territory of Moscow only in Losiny Ostrov in 1997-2005. It lives in the spruce forest cover. The species of Carabus clathratus has probably disappeared in the Moscow territory. It is included in the Red Book of Moscow Region. It lives on the banks of rivers and water ponds, in swamp forests and bottomland meadows.
What do people do when they see a large beetle? Unfortunately, as a rule, they squash it. And a tanner is a very useful beetle (as well as all the rest). It occupies only dead trees (birch, maple, oak, spruce and others). The development takes place in the dead wood of the underground part of the stem and skeletal roots. First, the larvae make tunnels under the bark, and then in the wood. The development cycle is at least 2-3 years. Larvae of a tanner contribute to the enrichment of the soil with humus by disposing large amounts of dead wood.
Look at the map at the back of showcase No. 38. The Yauza heads in the center of Losiny Ostrov, as usual, from the swamps. Once there were swales and dark sticky alder forests. In the twentieth century, these places served for peat production, but in spite of this fact, fauna is still very interesting in these areas. This area is called Upper Yauza Swamps. Let’s get acquainted with their inhabitants. In order to do this, go to the right to showcase No. 40, please.