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East meets west in the sweeping landscapes of Central Asia, where the historic Silk Road allowed for the exchange of a variety of goods as well as political, cultural, and religious ideas between the civilizations of Europe and those of the Far East. Similarly, the region is also a crossroads of sorts for birds. Situated at the junction of two major migration flyways, the two countries we'll visit feature an interesting mix of species, with familiar European birds alongside those more typical of the Himalayas and points east. We may even see western species and their eastern counterparts at some of the same sites, including both Eurasian and Himalayan griffons and Eurasian and Indian golden orioles!

We'll start off in Uzbekistan, where the desert and semi-desert landscapes harbor enticing specialties like Hume's Lark, White-throated Robin, Finsch's and Variable wheatears, Asian Desert and Scrub warblers, and the very local Turkestan Ground-Jay, while wetland oases may offer up Marbled Teal, White-tailed Lapwing, Pygmy Cormorant, and Dalmatian Pelican, among many others. We'll also take time in the afternoons to explore the stunning ancient Silk Road cities of Samarkand and Bukhara, both of which have been designated as World Heritage sites for their cultural and historical significance. We'll cap off our stay in Uzbekistan in the eastern city of Tashkent, making our first foray into montane forests with White-winged Woodpecker, the local Rufous-naped Tit, the yellow-breasted form of Azure Tit (perhaps a good species), and White-capped Bunting in our sights before we move on to neighboring Kazakhstan.

We'll divide our time in Kazakhstan between a number of very different regions. First off we'll head to the rugged Charyn Canyon National Park, reminiscent of the US's Grand Canyon, where amidst the scenic backdrop of the canyon and surrounding arid landscapes we'll be on the lookout for Black-bellied and Pallas's sandgrouse, Red-tailed and Isabelline shrikes, Crimson-winged and Mongolian finches, and so much more. We'll then move on to the towering Tien Shan Mountains, where Himalayan Snowcock, Ibisbill, Himalayan Rubythroat, Rufous-backed Redstart, Altai and Black-throated accentors, Fire-fronted Serin, and the lovely, pastel White-browed Tit-Warbler will be high amongst our priorities. In the remote Taukum Desert, we'll camp in the manner of the nomadic peoples of the land, in traditional yurt tents, while searching for MacQueen's Bustard, Caspian Plover, Yellow-eyed Pigeon, Saxaul Sparrow, and other local specialties. Finally, we'll explore the sweeping steppe grasslands and bird-rich wetlands near the modern northern city of Nur-Sultan, where Sociable Lapwing, Demoiselle Crane, Pallid and Montagu's harriers, and both Black and White-winged larks will headline an impressive array of birds, making for an exciting ending to our time in this under-birded region of the world!

Select the KEY INFO tab or click here for our itinerary plus space requests, status, fees, limits, and guides for any departure.