32 From the Mutukhe River to Seokhobe
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323 From the Mutukhe River to Seokhobe The Mutukhe River. Some Lingering Migratory Birds. A Steller Sea Lion Haulout. Misuse of Firearms. The Fire. The Search for Camp. Smoke and Cold Mornings. The Lake near the Seokhobe River. Unsustainable Resource Use by the Chinese. Dersu was up at dawn, before anyone else. I got up next, and the rest followed. The sun had only just risen, with its rays barely gilding the mountain tops. Immediately across from camp, at a distance of about two hundred paces, there was another bear. It was digging in one spot and probably would have continued doing so for a while if not spooked off by Murzin. The Cossack shot his rifle in the air, causing the bear to spin around in our direction before briskly disappearing into the forest. We had a bite to eat then packed up our things and started moving. We located the spot where N. A. Palchevsky had camped by the sea, and, based on the letter left for me in a bottle tied to a stick, I learned that he hadbeenworkingfromthatsitejustafewdaysprior.Hehadthenheaded north, with his final destination indicated as Terney Bay. The Mutukhe River (or Tsaugi in Udege) flows into Oprichnik [“guardsman”] Bay (44°26'59" north latitude, 136°00'35" east longitude), which is completely exposed to wind and thus not suitable for anchorage . The deep river backwaters, the broad valley by the river mouth, and the soggy wetlands close to the coast point to the fact that here too was once a bay, a fairly deep one that went inland. Creeping Daurian juniper 32 324 The 1906 Expedition grew along coastal cliffs right by the bay, and shrub birch, which has membrane-winged nutlets, grew in the wetlands. The name Mutukhe is a distortion of the Chinese Mu-Chzhu-Khe, which is derived from mugu, meaning “female,” chzhu, meaning “wild boar,” and khe, meaning “river.” Therefore, its name means “the river of wildboar.”Itflowsparalleltothecoastthroughatectonicvalleyand,not counting some small mountain streams, takes on three tributaries on its right side. As these rivers were as-of-yet unnamed, I christened them. I calledthefirstoneOlenya[“deer”],thesecondMedvezhya[“bear”],and the third one Zverovaya [“wild animal”].1 There was a small fanza sheltered under the ridge where the Olenya and Medvezhya River valleys merge. It was empty. Dersu looked it over and stated that it had been occupied by four Korean sable trappers who had recently left for the winter trapping season. We encountered some migratory birds here and there along the rivers , in the wetlands, and on the sandy beach. But based on the small numbers of individuals and species alike, I gathered that there was not a sizable bird migration along the coast.2 A few curlews strutted elegantly in the grass. The birds paused on our approach, watching, and then took to the air with harsh cries. They landed after flying off a short distance but remained wary. There was a white-fronted goose on the other side of us, by the water.3 At first I thought it was some other species as it seemed largerthanitreallywas.Murzinapproachedthroughthebushesandshot it.Therewereanumberofsmalltealthatkepttostreamsovergrownwith alder and shrubs.4 They did not fly away, even when I approached them very closely; they merely swam off a short distance. Apparently they are not afraid of humans. 1. These names were apparently not accepted by future cartographers. Contemporary maps show these rivers are called Pervaya, Vtoraya, and Tretya, respectively, meaning “first,” “second,” and “third” in Russian. 2. The Primorye coast in an important migratory route for shorebirds and some other species, but Arsenyev is correct that the route pales in terms of avian quantity when compared to the flyway along the Ussuri River and past Lake Khanka, which he described in chapter 5. 3. Probably greater white-fronted goose (Anser albifrons), which as of 2014 is the most common goose species migrating along Primorye’s coast. 4. Probably Eurasian teal (Anas crecca). From the Mutukhe River to Seokhobe 325 AtrailwentuptheMutukheRiverfromtheKoreans’hut.Itfollowed the right bank for most of the way and only switched to the left bank in the river’s upper reaches. The mountains that border the Mutukhe valley consist mostly of quartz porphyry. There are broad river terraces (some 20 meters high) located between the Olenya, Medvezhya, and Zverovaya Rivers. The forest on the river’s left bank was coniferous and mixed, whereas on its right bank there was larch. The Mutukhe River is the closest place to the coast with sawlog-quality Korean...



Subject Headings

  • Ussuri River Valley (Russia and China) -- Description and travel.
  • Natural history -- Ussuri River Valley (Russia and China).
  • Dersu Uzala.
  • Arsenʹev, V. K. (Vladimir Klavdievich), 1872-1930 -- Travel -- Ussuri River Valley (Russia and China).
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