Lebedinoye Lake in Altai

Not freezing lake at village Soviet. Wintering place for swans and ducks, equipped with viewing platforms.

Lake Lebedinoye is in the Soviet district of the Altai Territory, near the Urozhaynoye village. The lake is a natural monument, it is unique in its kind. It established the state natural complex reserve «Lebedinyy» in order to preserve the unique Altai wintering whooper swan.

The reserve is located on the plain near Prealtay meadow steppes of the North Altai and Katun ancient terraces. Its area – 38.2 thousand hectares.. On the territory of natural complex there are specially protected water bodies – river channel Katun from the mouth of the river Talitsy up with village Srostki like spawning sturgeon. Besides Lake Lebedinoye, the reserve has 3 natural monument of regional significance: Talitsky hill, a spring in the hills Zmeinoy (Snake) and Zmeinaya (Snake) Sopka.

In Russia, are only two of the reserve, where the winters whooper swans: Anadyr district of the Chukotka Autonomous District and the Soviet district of the Altai Territory on Lake Lebedinoye. The lake water is clean and clear throughout the entire depth, hence the second name – Bright. Because of the abundance of the springs, hitting the bottom of the pond and feeding with warm water, the lake does not freeze in winter. Even in the 40-degree cold – water temperature does not fall below +5-6 C.

Every year in December, the snow-white swan sanctuary flies flock and left to winter on the not freezing lake, hence the name of the lake – Lebedinoye (Swan). The first swans appeared in these places in 1967 – with only 15 birds, now about 400-450 and more than 2 thousand wild ducks and common merganser, and they are becoming more and more every year. In March, the swans fly nesting in the polar regions, as well as northern lakes completely covered with ice, once again returned to the lake since the young offspring.

The uniqueness of the lake is also in the fact that the population of inhabit here swans is isolated. It was found that this population spends the summer in Salekhard tundra.

Guard Reserve carries Regional state budget institution “Altai nature.” He also carried out feeding the birds that live here. Every year purchased 25 tons of grain.

Whooper swan are very cautious birds. They want silence and to not bother them the people’s access is restricted. For all who want to watch the birds were built a viewing platform of 10 meters high, overlooking the picturesque panorama of the lake and the swans. In order to not scare them, people at the site, from the side which is closer to the lake are admiring them only through small special windows left for that. You can watch the process of feeding the swans from the fixed to the surface of the water rafts-feeders, allowing a closer look at these beautiful birds.

The population of swans that live here, is unique in that practically isolated from the others. Local villagers tried never scare the swans and always tried to feed them, they could. The inhabitants of the surrounding villages have become already accustomed to the swan songs and the lake is became a local landmark.

Still there is a belief – where live and winters birds – there are good people, who will always have love and happiness. It is also believed that swans bring good luck.

how-to-get to Lebedinoye Lake
How to get to Lebedinoye Lake

The main landmark – The Sovietskoe village, the administrative center of the Soviet district of the Altai Territory. Moving from the Biysk, Altai turn right into the village, continue on the main road on to Urozhayne village. After passing through the village  at the exit turn right on the label “Reserve Lebedinoye.” More 2 km. About 250 meters you need to walk from the parking lot to the lake for “Swan trail.”

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