Many people think of desert as of huge space of sands, terrible in its lifelessness, with constant hot temperatures, thirst and sand crunching in your mouth. Yes, it is true. But it is not always true. Spring is the best time to get acquainted with inhabitants of this wonderful world without any special problems. In spring the desert blooms. Everywhere “quick” plants are growing from sand – they are called ephemers. In two weeks they grow, bloom and have fruits. Other also quick, but perennial plants (those are called ephemeroids) grow from bulbs or rhizomes and in short vegetation period have time to accumulate nutritious substances necessary for a long period of aestivation period (which is the next spring).
And, of course, among all this “quick” vegetation you can find a good diversity of animals who try to reproduce and grow their offspring while the vegetation is actively growing.
For the first acquaintance one of the best places would be the desert at Akartobe. It is 140 km away from our base, it is about 2 hours of driving. Here there are so-called tussock sands. The basis of shrub vegetation is formed by Ammodendron argenteum and Calligonum caput medusa, and the basis of “tussock” is made by different ephemeral cereals (Poa, Bromus), Eremurus, Allium and other plants.
The most visible animals of sandy desert are reptiles. In morning hours (before the sun has not dried out the sand) you may observe Eremias velox, Phrynocephalus mystaceus, Agama inquenta, etc. From birds most often seen are Hippolais rama, Anthus, Oenanthe isabellinus and O. deserti and Emberiza bruniceps. When the sun heats the sand, all the animals, especially reptiles, get a huge doze of energy. They become so quick that it is hard to watch them. So, the visit to the sandy desert will leave an incredible impression.