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MONGOLIA

Saturday 24th May - Wednesday 11th June 2014

Chris Kehoe

Mongolian Lark (Paul Matson)

Mongolian Lark (Paul Matson)

Our recent Birdquest tour to Mongolia took us in search of some of the Palaearctic’s least known yet most desired birds in a series of epic desert, mountain and steppe landscapes. After a flight south from Ulaanbaatar to Dalangzagdab in the heart of the Gobi Desert we embarked on a 2600km off-road odyssey back to the capital through the heart of the country. Particular highlights included superb views of exquisite Oriental Plovers, including a male in its rocking and winnowing display flight, numerous Pallas’s Sandgrouse, Altai Snowcocks at two sites, Altai, Brown, Alpine and the Mongolian breeding endemic Kozlov’s Accentors, Hodgson’s Bushchats, Güldenstädt’s, Eversmann’s and Daurian Redstarts, eight breeding plumaged Relict Gulls and large numbers of Mongolian and Pallas’s Gulls, Swan Geese, Red-throated Thrushes, stunning Azure Tits, Asian Dowitchers, White-crowned Penduline Tits, Asian Rosy Finch and Brandt’s Mountain Finches, Daurian Partridges, Pallas’s Reed, Meadow and Pine Buntings, Père David’s and White-winged Snowfinches, Stejneger’s Scoters, several White-naped and numerous Demoiselle Cranes, Mongolian Larks and Pallas’s Fish Eagles. Spring migration was in full swing with various Siberia-bound migrants encountered at wetlands and migrant hotspots. Those who undertook the extension to the Khentai National Park were rewarded with Black-billed Capercaillie and surprises such as Siberian Tit and Siberian Jay at the southernmost extremity of their range. The weather during the tour was mostly warm and sunny though we encountered our share of strong winds (and associated dust storms), some rain and even snow at times and overnight temperatures occasionally dipped to below freezing as spring made a tentative advance.

Mongolia certainly has some remarkable scenery (Chris Kehoe)

Mongolia certainly has some remarkable scenery (Chris Kehoe)