|Central coordinates||64o 32.12' East 40o 36.86' North|
|IBA criteria||A1, A3, A4i, A4iii|
|Altitude||150 - 260m|
|Year of IBA assessment||2011|
Summary Ayakagytma is a drainage lake about 11000 hectares and is located at the bottom of the Ayakagytma depression. The lake is surrounded by cliffs. Water is supplied through the drainage canal flowing into the lake from the south. The shoreline vegetation is poorly developed and consists of scattered patches of reed and tamarisk. There is intense fishery activity with 7 fishing teams. There is a small village Ayakagytma with 50 families. The local people are mainly engaged in animal husbandry and fisheries.The vegetation is very sparse and consists mainly of desert and semi-desert species. The climate is characterized by mild winters and very hot summer. Strong winds are frequent in February and June and are accompanied by dust and sand storms.
Ornithological information Due to having a rich food supply and remaining unfrozen in winter, Ayakagytma Lake is of international significance for wintering waterfowl (in accordance with the Ramsar criteria). According to the results of the winter aerial census by IWC on 10.01.2000, the lake held 23281 birds of 23 species. The extensive salt marshes adjacent to the lake attract many shorebirds. Together these make the lake of great value as a resting place for migratory wetland birds. Breeding species include Greylag Geese, Marsh Harriers, Mute Swans, Grey Herons, Red-crested Pochards, and several species of terns, gulls and waders. In 2006-2007 there were reports of Slender-billed Curlew Numenius tenuirostris. However, there is no reliable evidence to support these observations and a special survey in 2008 did not record this species.Surveys between 2000-2011 have recorded 197 bird species - 22 of them are included in the Red Data Book of Uzbekistan and 11 are globally threatened species.
Site description Ayakagytma is a drainage lake covering about 11000 hectares and is located at the bottom of the Ayakagytma depression to the south-east of the Kuljuktau ridge. The lake is surrounded by cliffs, up to 60 m high, which are closest to the shore in the north. Water is supplied through the drainage canal flowing into the lake from the south. The water level in the lake is not stable, the water is brackish and it does not freeze in winter. The shoreline vegetation is poorly developed and consists of scattered patches of reed and tamarisk. Macrophytes are most developed in the northwestern and southeastern parts of the lake (not far from the village) and at the canal mouth.The lake formed in the late 1980s. There is intense fishery activity with 7 fishing teams. There is a small village, Ayakagytma, on the shore of the lake, which is home to about 50 families. The local people are mainly engaged in animal husbandry and fisheries.The territory adjacent to the lake consists of extensive salt marshes in the west and east, and sandy desert with fixed dunes and clayey-gravelly desert in the east. The vegetation is very sparse and consists mainly of desert and semi-desert species. There are scattered groups of saxaul and Ammodendron canolyi, Calligonum bushes are common and sands are fixed by herbaceous vegetation such as Carex arenaria and meadow-grass. Most vegetation dies back by late May.The loess cliffs bordering the Ayakagytma depression are good for nesting birds of prey (Egyptian Vulture, Long-legged Buzzard, Common Kestrel, Saker Falcon, Eagle Owl, Little Owl) and other cliff-nesting species.The climate is characterized by mild winters with a predominance of cloudy weather. Winter daytime temperatures range from -1 to +5 °C and at night down to -5 °C (rarely to -15 °C). Precipitation usually falls as drizzle and sometimes snow, though the latter never settles. The summer is hot, very dry, with cloudy and clear weather. The air temperature during the day often rises to 40 °C and above and 20-25 °C at night. The summer heat is combined with very low humidity. Autumns are warm. Night frosts start in late October. Strong winds are frequent in February and June and are accompanied by dust and sand storms.
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|Red-crested Pochard Netta rufina||winter||2000||4,016 individuals||medium||A4i||Least Concern|
|White-headed Duck Oxyura leucocephala||winter||2009||4 individuals||medium||A1||Endangered|
|Great Egret Casmerodius albus||winter||2000||451 individuals||medium||A4i||Least Concern|
|Great White Pelican Pelecanus onocrotalus||passage||2011||28-452 individuals||medium||A4i||Least Concern|
|Dalmatian Pelican Pelecanus crispus||passage||2011||1-130 individuals||medium||A1, A4i||Vulnerable|
|Pygmy Cormorant Phalacrocorax pygmeus||winter||2000||827 individuals||medium||A4i||Least Concern|
|Saker Falcon Falco cherrug||breeding||2011||1 breeding pairs||good||Endangered|
|Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus||breeding||2011||3-4 breeding pairs||good||A1||Endangered|
|Greater Sand Plover Charadrius leschenaultii||breeding||2006-2011||4-35 individuals||medium||A3||Least Concern|
|Streaked Scrub-warbler Scotocerca inquieta||breeding||2011||min 1 individuals||poor||A3||Least Concern|
|Sykes's Warbler Hippolais rama||breeding||2006-2008||min 14 individuals||medium||A3||Least Concern|
|Desert Warbler Sylvia nana||breeding||2008||min 14 individuals||medium||A3||Least Concern|
|Desert Finch Rhodopechys obsoletus||breeding||2008-2011||3-23 individuals||medium||A3||Least Concern|
|A4iii Species group - waterbirds||winter||2000||23,281 individuals||medium||A4iii|
|IUCN habitat||Habitat detail||Extent (% of site)|
|Desert||Desert & semi-desert - clay; Desert & semi-desert - salty; Desert & semi-desert - sandy; Desert & semi-desert - stony||57%|
|Wetlands (inland)||Standing brackish & salt water||33%|
|Rocky areas||Inland cliffs||5%|
Land ownership the 7 fisheries teams take Ayakagytma lake under lease.
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
Other biodiversity Mammals recorded: Badger Meles meles, Fox Vulpes vulpes caragan, Tolai Hare Lepus tolai, Great Gerbil Rhombomys opimus, Yellow and Long-clawed Ground Squirrels Spermophilus fulvus and S. leptodactylus, Goitered Gazelle Gazella subgutturosa, etc. Reptiles: Desert Monitor Varanus griseus, Asian Tortoise Testudo (Agrionemys) horsfieldii, Sunwatcher Phrynocephalus helioscopus, Striped Racerunner Eremias lineolata and Rapid Fringetoed Lizard Eremias velox, Steppe Agama Trapelus sanguinolentus. In the western part of the shore the very rare Saxaul Haloxylon aphyllum occurs, with closer to the lake - Tamarisk Tamarix sp.
Management considerations The lake is supplied by drainage water; therefore one of the main threats is an unstable water regime especially in spring and autumn. There were cases of reed burning, started by shepherds to increase food resources for cattle. The reed burning is very dangerous for many birds nesting in the reeds.A serious threat to waterfowl and diving ducks are gill nets abandoned by fishermen. They accumulate mainly in shallow waters and diving ducks can become entangled and drown.Poaching (fishing is prohibited in April during spawning) is common here. In April 2011 all reed areas were literally surrounded by fishing nets. Poachers are mainly local people from the village Ayakagytma. They poach because of the absence of other sources of income. Another problem is the cutting of saxaul and shrubs by local people. This leads to the degradation of the desert plant associations and as a consequence the loss of biodiversity.Almost all of the available area is used for livestock grazing. In some places areas are overgrazed.
Protection status There is no protected area. It is recommended that a seasonal ornithological reserve, of national importance, be established.
Conservation response In 2000 an aerial census of wintering birds was carried out in the framework of the project "Conservation of Uzbekistan’s wetlands and their waterfowl" under the supervision of the Asia Pacific branch of Wetlands International and the Ramsar Convention. This confirmed the international importance of the lake for wintering waterfowl.Spring and summer ornithological surveys of the lake in 2006 and 2007 was conducted in the framework of the project "IBAs in Uzbekistan" and these identified the criteria for including the lake in the IBA list. In April 2008 a survey was conducted, supported by OSME and the RSPB, searching for Slender-billed Curlew. In April 2011 a survey was conducted within the framework of the SOS and CLP project "Survey of 3 potential IBAs in collaboration with students in Uzbekistan".
Acknowledgements This information was gathered in frames of CLP project "Survey of three potential IBAs in Uzbekistan in collaboration with students" and support from UzSPB.
References Zakhidov T.Z., Meklenburtsev R.N. Ed. 1969. Nature and wildlife of Central Asia. Vertebrates. Volume 1. "Ukituvchi". Tashkent. (in Russian)Mitropolskiy O.V., Mitropolskiy M.G. Slender-billed Curlew (Numenius tenuirostris): new records and problems of conservation. Ornithological studies in Northern Eurasia. XII International Ornithological Conference in Northern Eurasia. Abstracts (Stavropol, 31 January-5 February 2006). Stavropol, 2006. PP. 360-361. (in Russian)Atadjanov, A., Filatov, A., Lanovenko, Y., Zagrebin, S., Chernogaev, E., Khodjaev, J. Aerial Survey of Wetlands in Uzbekistan (winter 2000). Report of the project RSGF "Protection of Uzbekistan's Wetlands and their Waterfowl". Part 3. Tashkent, June 2001.Lanovenko E.N. Report on field research from 2 to 15 June 2006 within the framework of IBA Uzbekistan. Tashkent, 2006Lanovenko E.N. The results of the winter aerial census on Ayakagytma.Mitropolskiy M. Report UzSPB on field studies of lake Ayakagytma from 29 April to 5 May 2007 Tashkent, 2007Geoff Welch Bird observation on lake Ayaqaghitma, Report UzSPB. Uzbekistan – April/May 2008.Turaev M. Oral report on the record of stifftail in January 2010 on Ayakagytma.Ten A. Report on research on Ayakagytma Lake, April 2011. Tashkent 2011
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