Migratory birds arrive in Gulf of Gorgan, Ashuradeh Island

November 10, 2019

TEHRAN – The Gulf of Gorgan, the largest Gulf in the Caspian Sea in northern Iran, is hosting flocks of migratory birds once again which have flown long distances to spend the cold season.

Covering an area of about 400 square kilometers, the Gulf of Gorgan also known as Gorgan Bay is the largest gulf in the Caspian Sea. It is located at the south-eastern shore of the Caspian Sea near the cities of Behshahr, Gorgan, and Sari and is separated from the main water body by the Miankaleh peninsula and extends until the Ashuradeh peninsula.

Although, during recent days a number of migratory birds such as Eurasian teal, cormorant, and Heron have landed in the Gulf of Gorgan and Ashuradeh Island (the only island of the Iranian coast of the Caspian Sea which stretches to 800 hectares).

Migration currently has reached its peak and the blue waters of the western Golestan province got colorful as flamingos, pelicans, mallard, grey heron and grebes are fluttering around.

Flocks of migratory birds, including, 200-300 flamingo, 50-100 cormorants, and 50 pelicans and smaller species are found in these unique habitats, IRNA news agency reported on Saturday.

They have migrated from Siberia and Eastern Europe to the country over a distance of 2,000 to 3,500 kilometers.

Ali Bayani, head of the department of environment (DOE) in Bandar Torkaman and Gomishan, said that as winter arrives, about one hundred different species of wintering birds migrate from the colder regions of Iran and other countries to the Gulf of Gorgan, Gomishan International Wetland, and Ashuradeh Island.

He also noted the region’s safety and sufficient food resources in the Golestan province's water reservoirs are the main reasons behind aquatic birds’ migration.

Mehdi Rezaei, head of Golestan province’s DOE, also said that hunting and alive capturing of migratory birds are prohibited while monitoring and control of habitats and wetlands is intensified, to keep the ecosystem safe for the valuable bird species.

“We need the support of local communities to preserve the natural habitat and biodiversity in protected areas, adding, environmental protection is a public duty and environment enthusiasts can report any possible violations to the DOE.”

Golestan province is home to thousands of migratory birds due to Ashuradeh Island, and four international wetlands of Gomishan, Alagol, Ajigol, and Almagol.

Gorgan Bay was designated as a Ramsar site (defined by the Ramsar Convention for the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands, recognizing the fundamental ecological functions of wetlands and their economic, cultural, scientific, and recreational value) along with Miankaleh Wetland.

The bay and its surrounding area are recognized as a valuable ecological complex in the world which had a direct impact on the livelihood of local communities in addition to conserving the marine life cycle.

Ashurada Island, which hosts a variety of native and migratory birds throughout the year, was also introduced and registered as one of the world's first biosphere zones in 1975.

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