The trail begins at the central ranger post on the reserve’s Damchik site. Tourists board long motorized boats, reminiscent of “budarka” fishing boats which have been used in the Volga delta since ancient times.
The central ranger station in the Damchik area is located on the banks of the Bystraya Canal, the channel of the Old Volga. From here visitors can access the place where the Volga flows into the Caspian Sea!
The first part of the route passes along picturesque Volga channels, among reed beds and gallery willow forests. Visitors who look ahead, or to the sides and deep into the coastal thickets, will see much of interest.
Closer to the water, egrets, herons and kingfishers usually sit on tree branches and snags, and the reigning bird of the delta, the white-tailed eagle, perches proudly on tall treetops. Birds of prey soar high in the sky, but experienced guides can discern them and relate interesting facts about the lives of eagles, red-fronted falcons, European hobby and ospreys.
Lucky visitors may be treated to an unforgettable scene of a white-tailed eagle snatching a fish out of the water. This iconic bird often accompanies sightseeing boats as if keeping them under observation. The Volga delta boasts the largest population of white-tailed eagles in Europe, so it is possible to get excellent photos of this rare bird even during a short boat excursion.
After several kilometers by water the boat docks at the wooden platform which marks the beginning of the ecological trail, hidden in one of the meandering eriks branching from the main channel.