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We saw quite a few beautiful and delicate Demoiselle Cranes, and even found a nest at Khustai that contained two lovely eggs. Photo by guide Phil Gregory.
This was the inaugural Field Guides tour to Mongolia, with the aim to cover a number of the key sites and habitats in central, southern and northern Mongolia, including steppe, desert and boreal forest, and we succeeded very nicely. It was quite a dry spring here despite good snowfall over the winter, so water levels in the wetlands were low and some species were scarce, but breeding was certainly in full swing. Staying primarily in ger camps was fun, but you have to get used to the low doorways and starlit nocturnal treks to the bathroom.
Some of us came in early to get oriented, and also do a cultural tour, which included the National Museum, the brilliant UNESCO World Heritage lama temple at Choisin (with those wonderful metal 18th century sculptures by Zanabazar, the Mongolian Michelangelo), and a fantastic concert that included extraordinary throat singing, skilled musicians with horsehead fiddles, folk dancers and a contortionist, all well worth doing and recommended.
Most of us went to Green Lakes and some riparian habitat along the Tuul River on the first day (though some chose to go shopping), and here we saw the first of many Demoiselle Cranes, the fabulous Azure Tit and White-crowned Penduline Tit, as well as Long-tailed Rosefinch, Daurian Jackdaw and Azure-winged Magpie.
Next it was off to Khustai National Park, stopping en route to see some Steppe Eagles gathered where the steppe was being ploughed, and a colony of Mongolian Gerbils had been disturbed. These poor creatures were running about in confusion, and some took shelter between my shoes when we walked over to take a look! The striking Mongolian and much duller Asian Short-toed Larks were common as well.
Later that day we had a great experience watching the Przewalksi's Wild Horses (Takhi) in the park, a remarkable creature that has come back from near extinction and looks just like the cave paintings of those horses with erect manes. Beautiful pale buffy and blonde colouration too, a striking creature that is reintroduced here and looks to be doing quite well. Other good mammals here were pikas, Red Deer, Mongolian Gazelle and the wild sheep called the Argali. Birds included Daurian Partridge, Cinereous Vulture, Golden Eagle, Upland Buzzard, Saker Falcon, Rock Petronia and Meadow and Little Bunting, and it was fun getting used to living in a ger, the large circular felt tents so common in Mongolia.
Heading west, we stopped at Dasinchilen wetland and got lucky, as here the first gull we saw was the rare Relict Gull, in full breeding plumage too. Swan Goose and Bar-headed Goose showed well, also Red-crested Pochard and Falcated Duck, with White-naped and Common Crane as well. Passerines included Paddyfield Warbler and Pallas's Bunting, as well as Reed Bunting.
This was Daphne's sponsored birding day, and she got to some 66 species before a dust storm with strong winds blew in and finished off the birding as we travelled on to Ugii Lake.
Next day, the Ugii area gave us terrific views of the rare Pallas's Fish Eagle and White-tailed Eagle, Whooper Swans and a good selection of shorebirds including Red-necked Stint, Long-toed Stint and Broad-billed Sandpiper. A wetland later on produced the huge bonus of a Siberian White Crane, which seems fairly regular here at this time of the year. Also of great interest was a mixed colony of Sand Martins and Pale Sand Martins, the latter a very poorly known species.
The ancient Mongol capital of Kharkorin had a large temple complex which was home to displaying Blyth's Pipits, and some folks went for a ride on a Bactrian Camel later. A large wetland at Elsen Tasarkhai gave us breeding plumage Asian Dowitcher and Arctic Loon, a pair of White-naped Cranes with a small chick, both Swan and Bar-headed Geese with goslings, and several Eastern Marsh Harriers.
Back to Ulaanbaatar next day, then our large bags headed south with the vehicles to Dalanzadgad whilst we took the early morning Mongolian Airlines flight and met up with them next day for the Gobi - Altai sector of the trip.
Our ger camp had a nice valley behind it that gave us Chukar, Rufous-tailed Rock-thrush, Eastern Black Redstart, Mongolian Finch, Grey-necked (Gray-hooded) Bunting, Godlewski's Bunting and on a later visit, Pallas's Grasshopper Warbler. It was also quite nearby the gorgeous Altai Mountain valley of Yolyn Am (Lammergeier Valley), where we saw Lammergeier, as well as Cinereous and Himalayan Griffon Vulture, Saker, Mongolian (Kozlov's), Alpine and Brown Accentor, Himalayan Beautiful Rosefinch, Twite and many tame White-winged Snowfinch and Horned Larks. A few of us made the climb ("slippery for ladies") up to the lovely grassy ridgetops at 8000' feet in quest of Altai Snowcock, but drew a blank.
One of the lovely scenes in the Tuul River steppe in Khustai National Park. Photo by participant Daphne Gemmill.
Driving into the edge of the Gobi proper was about 120 km on a dusty corrugated road, and the birding en route gave us the remarkable Henderson's (Mongolian) Ground-Jay, Asian Desert Warbler for some and both Desert and Pied Wheatear. The ger camp was sited nearby to the great Khongor sand dunes, and the saxaul forest there gave us the rare and localized Saxaul Sparrow and Hill Pigeon next day, with terrific looks at Pallas's Sandgrouse along the river there. Here we also had a remarkable encounter with a small spring, which bubbled up with great enthusiasm every time someone sang or called to it, a really bizarre phenomenon!
A nocturnal mammal foray was successful as we had a fabulous Long-eared Hedgehog that took shelter between Saint's feet, then a nice look at a very fast Gobi Jerboa, remarkably like a diminutive kangaroo!
Back then to Dalanzadgad, seeing the rare Black-tailed or Goitered Gazelle en route, and another early morning flight back to UB, where we again met out vehicles and bags, and set off for the great boreal forest at Terelj. This was really beautiful Siberian larch and pine forest, with many lovely wildflowers like globeflower, grass of Parnassus and yellow pasque flower. Birds included two daytime Ural Owl, Great, Lesser Spotted and White-backed Woodpecker, Common and Himalayan (Oriental) Cuckoo, Pine and Black-faced Bunting, Red-throated Thrush, Nutcracker, Red Crossbill and Eurasian Siskin. Arriving near our ger camp we had a neat flyover from Eastern Buzzard, a dark phase Booted Eagle and a Northern Goshawk. A lovely walk in quest of Black-billed Capercaillie failed to find one, but we saw lots of other nice species and capped it off that afternoon with a very obliging Chinese Bush Warbler and a skulking Siberian Rubythroat.
Then it was time to head back to UB and a farewell dinner at a Mongolian barbecue restaurant. Birds of the trip were a varied assortment, with Pallas's Sandgrouse, Azure Tit and Ural Owl coming out as favourites, along with Relict Gull, Siberian White Crane, Pine Bunting, Nutcracker, Red-billed Chough, Cinereous Vulture, Pallas's Fish-Eagle, Steppe Eagle, Lammergeier, Saxaul Sparrow and Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, and not forgetting that delightful hedgehog as another favourite sighting.
Many thanks to our very hard working and careful drivers Tumruu, Bayraa and Bilgee, and to Gombo, our esteemed local guide and organizer who did a terrific job. He is a professor at the University in UB, and we are hoping his long-awaited book on Mongolian birds will be published in time for next year's trip. Our thanks to them for making the tour so memorable and for many small kindnesses to a demanding group. Also thanks to Sue and Rowan of Sicklebill Safaris who basically arranged things in Mongolia, and to Mandy and Sharon at Field Guides who co-ordinated the whole enterprise and did a great job.
Thanks also to the group for coming along, generally good humour, and some good spotting skills- especially Julia! Safe travels and I look forward to seeing you again on future trips.
Mongolia is a great trip for landscapes in a very unusual country, with some rare and seldom-seen birds, and an unexpectedly good selection of mammals- why not join us for another memorable adventure there in 2018?
Phil Gregory, UB and Kuranda, June 2017.
• Wed May 31 Arrival in Ulaanbaatar (UB) for those doing the cultural option. Khunnu Hotel overnight.
• Thursday Jun 1 Optional tour of Ulaanbaatar for early arrivals, including National Museum, Choisin Lama temple and the Mongolian culture troupe of singers, dancers and a contortionist. Highly recommended! Overnight Khunnu Hotel
• Fri Jun 2 Green Lakes and riparian habitat at Songino. Khunnu Hotel
• Sat Jun 3 Steppe areas en route to Khustai NP, overnight Khustai ger camp.
• Sun Jun 4 Khustai NP: Baishant area and Tuul River plain. Overnight Khustai ger camp.
• Mon Jun 5 Depart Khustai NP for Dashinchilen wetland, overnight Ugii Lake ger camp. Dust storm much of the afternoon.
• Tues Jun 6 Ugii Lake and wetlands, then to Kharkorin, overnight ger camp.
• Wed Jun 7 Kharkorin temple then to Elsen Tasarkhai and Hoyor Zagal ger camp.
• Thurs Jun 8 Elsen Tasarkhai to Ulaanbaatar via Tuul River bridge, over night UB Khunnu Hotel.
• Fri Jun 9 Mongolian Airlines flight to Dalanzadgad (1 hr.) then Khanbogd ger camp and Yol Am Valley
• Sat Jun 10 Yol Am valley to 2600m (8200’), overnight Khanbogd ger camp.
• Sun Jun 11 Khanbogd to Gobi Erdene, 120 km on dusty corrugated road, birding en route. Overnight Gobi Erdene ger camp.
• Mon Jun 12 Saxaul forest habitat and Khongor River and sand dunes. Overnight Gobi Erdene ger camp.
• Tues Jun 13 Gobi Erdene to Dalanzadgad, overnight
• Wed Jun 14 Mongolian Air from Dalanzadgad to UB, then 70 km drive to Terelj NP and Tumen Khaan ger camp.
• Thurs Jun 15 Tumen Khaan area, Terelj riverine woodlands. Overnight Tumen Khaan ger camp.
• Fri Jun 16 Slopes above Tumen Khaan to 1600m (6200’) till 1300, then Terelj river valley late pm. Overnight Tumen Khaan ger camp.
• Sat Jun 17 Terelj Valley and journey back to UB, overnight Khunnu Hotel.
• Sun Jun 18 Departures home.
KEYS FOR THIS LIST
One of the following keys may be shown in brackets for individual species as appropriate: * = heard only, I = introduced, E = endemic, N = nesting, a = austral migrant, b = boreal migrant
White-naped Cranes are rare, and we were very happy to see a few individuals, including a pair with a small chick at Elsen Tasarkhai wetland. Photo by participant Becky Hansen.
Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)
SWAN GOOSE (Anser cygnoides) [N]
GRAYLAG GOOSE (SIBERIAN) (Anser anser rubrirostris)
BAR-HEADED GOOSE (Anser indicus) [N]
MUTE SWAN (Cygnus olor)
WHOOPER SWAN (Cygnus cygnus)
RUDDY SHELDUCK (Tadorna ferruginea) [N]
COMMON SHELDUCK (Tadorna tadorna)
GADWALL (Anas strepera)
FALCATED DUCK (Anas falcata)
EURASIAN WIGEON (Anas penelope)
MALLARD (Anas platyrhynchos)
EASTERN SPOT-BILLED DUCK (Anas zonorhyncha)
NORTHERN SHOVELER (Anas clypeata)
NORTHERN PINTAIL (Anas acuta)
We had some very nice views of Saker Falcon; Mongolia may be the best place to see this highly prized falcon. Participant Becky Hansen captured this great flight shot.
GARGANEY (Anas querquedula)
GREEN-WINGED TEAL (EURASIAN) (Anas crecca crecca)
RED-CRESTED POCHARD (Netta rufina)
COMMON POCHARD (Aythya ferina)
TUFTED DUCK (Aythya fuligula)
WHITE-WINGED SCOTER (SIBERIAN) (Melanitta fusca stejnegeri)
COMMON GOLDENEYE (Bucephala clangula)
COMMON MERGANSER (Mergus merganser)
Phasianidae (Pheasants, Grouse, and Allies)
CHUKAR (Alectoris chukar)
DAURIAN PARTRIDGE (Perdix dauurica)
ARCTIC LOON (Gavia arctica)
LITTLE GREBE (LITTLE) (Tachybaptus ruficollis poggei)
GREAT CRESTED GREBE (Podiceps cristatus)
EARED GREBE (Podiceps nigricollis)
BLACK STORK (Ciconia nigra)
Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)
GREAT CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)
GRAY HERON (Ardea cinerea) [N]
Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)
LAMMERGEIER (Gypaetus barbatus)
ORIENTAL HONEY-BUZZARD (Pernis ptilorhynchus)
CINEREOUS VULTURE (Aegypius monachus)
This colorful Daurian Partridge was spotted under a shrub in Khustai Nationa Park. Photo by participant Becky Hansen.
HIMALAYAN GRIFFON (Gyps himalayensis)
BOOTED EAGLE (Hieraaetus pennatus)
STEPPE EAGLE (Aquila nipalensis)
GOLDEN EAGLE (Aquila chrysaetos)
EASTERN MARSH-HARRIER (EASTERN) (Circus spilonotus spilonotus)
NORTHERN GOSHAWK (EURASIAN) (Accipiter gentilis schvedowi)
BLACK KITE (BLACK-EARED) (Milvus migrans lineatus)
Two of the Mongolian Gerbils we saw being targeted by the Steppe Eagles at Khustai, trying to avoid being eaten by taking refuge between Phil's feet! Photo by guide Phil Gregory.
PALLAS'S FISH-EAGLE (Haliaeetus leucoryphus)
WHITE-TAILED EAGLE (Haliaeetus albicilla)
EASTERN BUZZARD (Buteo japonicus)
LONG-LEGGED BUZZARD (Buteo rufinus)
UPLAND BUZZARD (Buteo hemilasius) [N]
Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)
EURASIAN MOORHEN (Gallinula chloropus) [*]
EURASIAN COOT (Fulica atra)
DEMOISELLE CRANE (Anthropoides virgo) [N]
SIBERIAN CRANE (Leucogeranus leucogeranus)
WHITE-NAPED CRANE (Antigone vipio) [N]
We found the "nest" of a pair of Demoiselle Cranes, just a scrape in the desert substrate containing two beautiful eggs. Photo by guide Phil Gregory.
COMMON CRANE (Grus grus)
Recurvirostridae (Stilts and Avocets)
BLACK-WINGED STILT (Himantopus himantopus)
PIED AVOCET (Recurvirostra avosetta)
Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)
BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER (Pluvialis squatarola)
PACIFIC GOLDEN-PLOVER (Pluvialis fulva)
NORTHERN LAPWING (Vanellus vanellus)
LITTLE RINGED PLOVER (CURONICUS) (Charadrius dubius curonicus)
Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)
BLACK-TAILED GODWIT (Limosa limosa)
RUDDY TURNSTONE (Arenaria interpres)
BROAD-BILLED SANDPIPER (Calidris falcinellus)
LONG-TOED STINT (Calidris subminuta)
RED-NECKED STINT (Calidris ruficollis)
LITTLE STINT (Calidris minuta)
ASIAN DOWITCHER (Limnodromus semipalmatus)
COMMON SNIPE (Gallinago gallinago)
COMMON SANDPIPER (Actitis hypoleucos)
GREEN SANDPIPER (Tringa ochropus)
GRAY-TAILED TATTLER (Tringa brevipes)
Phil's lifer Mongolian (Henderson's) Ground-Jay, one of his birds of the trip! Photo by guide Phil Gregory.
SPOTTED REDSHANK (Tringa erythropus)
MARSH SANDPIPER (Tringa stagnatilis)
WOOD SANDPIPER (Tringa glareola)
COMMON REDSHANK (Tringa totanus)
Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)
BLACK-HEADED GULL (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
RELICT GULL (Ichthyaetus relictus)
HERRING GULL (MONGOLIAN) (Larus argentatus mongolicus)
CASPIAN TERN (Hydroprogne caspia)
WHITE-WINGED TERN (Chlidonias leucopterus)
COMMON TERN (LONGIPENNIS) (Sterna hirundo longipennis)
Pallas's Sandgrouse was another exciting bird for Phil (and the rest of us!). We saw them well in the Khongor dunes area. Photo by guide Phil Gregory.
PALLAS'S SANDGROUSE (Syrrhaptes paradoxus)
Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)
ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia)
HILL PIGEON (Columba rupestris)
EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVE (Streptopelia decaocto) [N]
COMMON CUCKOO (Cuculus canorus)
ORIENTAL CUCKOO (Cuculus optatus)
LITTLE OWL (LITTLE) (Athene noctua plumipes)
URAL OWL (Strix uralensis)
LONG-EARED OWL (EURASIAN) (Asio otus otus)
A great view of a Steppe Eagle, one of the 30 or more we saw in fields near Khustai and Elsen Tasarkhai. Photo by participant Becky Hansen.
COMMON SWIFT (Apus apus pekinensis)
PACIFIC SWIFT (Apus pacificus)
EURASIAN HOOPOE (Upupa epops)
LESSER SPOTTED WOODPECKER (Dendrocopos minor kamtschatkensis)
WHITE-BACKED WOODPECKER (Dendrocopos leucotos)
GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER (Dendrocopos major)
Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)
LESSER KESTREL (Falco naumanni)
EURASIAN KESTREL (Falco tinnunculus)
AMUR FALCON (Falco amurensis)
SAKER FALCON (Falco cherrug) [N]
We saw many Isabelline Wheatears, including a nesting pair with juveniles at our ger camp at Elsen Tasarkhai. Photo by participant Becky Hansen.
RED-TAILED SHRIKE (Lanius phoenicuroides)
ISABELLINE SHRIKE (DAURIAN) (Lanius isabellinus isabellinus)
BROWN SHRIKE (Lanius cristatus)
NORTHERN SHRIKE (Lanius excubitor)
SOUTHERN GRAY SHRIKE (STEPPE) (Lanius meridionalis pallidirostris)
Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)
EURASIAN JAY (BRANDT'S) (Garrulus glandarius brandtii)
AZURE-WINGED MAGPIE (AZURE-WINGED) (Cyanopica cyanus cyanus)
EURASIAN MAGPIE (EURASIAN) (Pica pica bactriana)
MONGOLIAN GROUND-JAY (Podoces hendersoni)
EURASIAN NUTCRACKER (Nucifraga caryocatactes)
RED-BILLED CHOUGH (Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax)
DAURIAN JACKDAW (Corvus dauuricus)
ROOK (Corvus frugilegus pastinator)
CARRION CROW (Corvus corone orientalis)
COMMON RAVEN (Corvus corax)
Panuridae (Bearded Reedling)
BEARDED REEDLING (Panurus biarmicus)
HORNED LARK (BRANDT'S) (Eremophila alpestris brandti)
One of the highlights of the tour were the great views we had of Przewalksi's Wild Horses. These wonderful beasts have been brought back from near-extinction, and seem to be thriving in Khustai. Photo by participant Becky Hansen.
MONGOLIAN LARK (Melanocorypha mongolica)
ASIAN SHORT-TOED LARK (Alaudala cheleensis cheleensis)
EURASIAN SKYLARK (ASIAN) (Alauda arvensis kiborti)
CRESTED LARK (Galerida cristata magna)
BANK SWALLOW (Riparia riparia)
PALE SAND MARTIN (Riparia diluta)
EURASIAN CRAG-MARTIN (Ptyonoprogne rupestris)
BARN SWALLOW (TYTLER'S) (Hirundo rustica tytleri)
COMMON HOUSE-MARTIN (Delichon urbicum lagopodum)
Paridae (Tits, Chickadees, and Titmice)
COAL TIT (Periparus ater)
WILLOW TIT (WILLOW) (Poecile montanus baicalensis)
AZURE TIT (AZURE) (Cyanistes cyanus yenisseensis)
GREAT TIT (Parus major)
WHITE-CROWNED PENDULINE-TIT (Remiz coronatus)
Aegithalidae (Long-tailed Tits)
LONG-TAILED TIT (CAUDATUS) (Aegithalos caudatus caudatus)
We saw small numbers of House Sparrows, including this one sheltering beneath some prayer wheels. Photo by participant Daphne Gemmill.
EURASIAN NUTHATCH (Sitta europaea)
WALLCREEPER (Tichodroma muraria)
Phylloscopidae (Leaf Warblers)
COMMON CHIFFCHAFF (Phylloscopus collybita)
DUSKY WARBLER (Phylloscopus fuscatus)
PALLAS'S LEAF WARBLER (Phylloscopus proregulus)
YELLOW-BROWED WARBLER (Phylloscopus inornatus)
HUME'S WARBLER (Phylloscopus humei)
ARCTIC WARBLER (Phylloscopus borealis)
GREENISH WARBLER (Phylloscopus trochiloides)
GREENISH WARBLER (Phylloscopus trochiloides trochiloides)
Acrocephalidae (Reed-Warblers and Allies)
THICK-BILLED WARBLER (Iduna aedon)
PADDYFIELD WARBLER (Acrocephalus agricola)
ORIENTAL REED-WARBLER (Acrocephalus orientalis)
Locustellidae (Grassbirds and Allies)
PALLAS'S GRASSHOPPER-WARBLER (Locustella certhiola)
LANCEOLATED WARBLER (Locustella lanceolata)
CHINESE BUSH-WARBLER (Locustella tacsanowskia)
Sylviidae (Sylviid Warblers)
ASIAN DESERT WARBLER (Sylvia nana)
Our group hiking in the boreal forest. Photo by guide Phil Gregory.
BARRED WARBLER (Sylvia nisoria)
LESSER WHITETHROAT (Sylvia curruca blythi)
GREATER WHITETHROAT (Sylvia communis)
Muscicapidae (Old World Flycatchers)
DARK-SIDED FLYCATCHER (Muscicapa sibirica)
ASIAN BROWN FLYCATCHER (Muscicapa dauurica)
SIBERIAN RUBYTHROAT (Calliope calliope)
RED-FLANKED BLUETAIL (Tarsiger cyanurus)
TAIGA FLYCATCHER (Ficedula albicilla)
COMMON REDSTART (Phoenicurus phoenicurus) [N]
BLACK REDSTART (EASTERN) (Phoenicurus ochruros phoenicuroides)
DAURIAN REDSTART (Phoenicurus auroreus)
RUFOUS-TAILED ROCK-THRUSH (Monticola saxatilis)
NORTHERN WHEATEAR (Oenanthe oenanthe) [N]
PIED WHEATEAR (Oenanthe pleschanka)
DESERT WHEATEAR (Oenanthe deserti)
ISABELLINE WHEATEAR (Oenanthe isabellina) [N]
A lovely portrait of a Desert Wheatear. These were common only in the Gobi Desert. Photo by participant Becky Hansen.
Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)
EYEBROWED THRUSH (Turdus obscurus)
RED-THROATED THRUSH (Turdus ruficollis) [N]
WHITE-CHEEKED STARLING (Spodiopsar cineraceus) [N]
ALPINE ACCENTOR (Prunella collaris)
BROWN ACCENTOR (Prunella fulvescens)
MONGOLIAN ACCENTOR (Prunella koslowi)
Motacillidae (Wagtails and Pipits)
EASTERN YELLOW WAGTAIL (MANCHURIAN) (Motacilla tschutschensis macronyx)
CITRINE WAGTAIL (GRAY-BACKED) (Motacilla citreola citreola)
GRAY WAGTAIL (Motacilla cinerea)
WHITE WAGTAIL (TRANSBAIKALIAN) (Motacilla alba baicalensis)
Our ger camp at Khustai. The gers were unique accomodations; it took us a little time to get adjusted to them, but ultimately they were comfortable and provided access to some great birding areas. Photo by guide Phil Gregory.
RICHARD'S PIPIT (Anthus richardi)
BLYTH'S PIPIT (Anthus godlewskii)
OLIVE-BACKED PIPIT (Anthus hodgsoni) [N]
Emberizidae (Buntings and New World Sparrows)
PINE BUNTING (Emberiza leucocephalos) [N]
GODLEWSKI'S BUNTING (Emberiza godlewskii)
MEADOW BUNTING (Emberiza cioides)
GRAY-HOODED BUNTING (Emberiza buchanani)
ORTOLAN BUNTING (Emberiza hortulana)
LITTLE BUNTING (Emberiza pusilla)
BLACK-FACED BUNTING (SPODOCEPHALA/SORDIDA) (Emberiza spodocephala spodocephala)
PALLAS'S BUNTING (Emberiza pallasi lydiae)
REED BUNTING (Emberiza schoeniclus pyrrhulina)
Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)
MONGOLIAN FINCH (Bucanetes mongolicus)
COMMON ROSEFINCH (Carpodacus erythrinus)
HIMALAYAN BEAUTIFUL ROSEFINCH (Carpodacus pulcherrimus argyrophrys)
LONG-TAILED ROSEFINCH (Uragus sibiricus) [N]
RED CROSSBILL (Loxia curvirostra)
The Saxaul Sparrow was one of the birds of the trip. It is a unique bird, found only in a few desert localities in Central Asia. Photo by guide Phil Gregory.
EURASIAN SISKIN (Spinus spinus)
TWITE (Carduelis flavirostris)
HAWFINCH (Coccothraustes coccothraustes)
Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)
SAXAUL SPARROW (Passer ammodendri) [N]
HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus) [N]
EURASIAN TREE SPARROW (Passer montanus) [N]
ROCK PETRONIA (Petronia petronia) [N]
WHITE-WINGED SNOWFINCH (Montifringilla nivalis)
We got a very good view of the Lanceolated Warbler. Photo by participant Becky Hansen.
PERE DAVID'S SNOWFINCH (Montifringilla davidiana)
LONG-EARED DESERT HEDGEHOG SP. (Hemiechinus auritus)
DAURIAN PIKA (Ochotona daurica)
MONGOLIAN (PALLAS'S) PIKA (Ochotona pallasi)
NORTHERN (BLUE) HARE (Lepus timidus)
TOLAI HARE (Lepus tolai)
SIBERIAN CHIPMUNK (Tamias sibiricus)
SIBERIAN MARMOT (Marmota sibirica)
LONG-TAILED GROUND SQUIRREL (Spermophilus undulatus)
DAURIAN GROUND SQUIRREL (Spermophilus dauricus)
One of the mammal highlights was seeing these three Argali in Khustai. Photo by guide Phil Gregory.
RED-CHEEKED (PALLID) GROUND SQUIRREL (Spermophilus pallicauda)
EUROPEAN RED SQUIRREL (Sciurus vulgaris)
TUNDRA RED-BACKED VOLE (Clethrionomys rutilus)
BRANDT'S VOLE (Lasiopodmys brandtii)
CAMPBELL'S HAMSTER (Phodopus campbelli)
MONGOLIAN GERBIL (JIRD) (Meriones unguiculatus)
MID-DAY GERBIL (JIRD) (Meriones meridianus)
GREAT GERBIL (Rhombomys opimus)
GOBI JERBOA (Allactaga bullata)
MANCHURIAN ZOKOR (Myospalax psilurus)
CORSAC FOX (Vulpes corsac)
WILD HORSE (Equus caballus)
RED DEER (Cervus elaphus)
SIBERIAN ROE DEER (Capreolus pygargus) [*]
GOITERED GAZELLE (Gazella subgutturosa)
ZEREN (Procapra gutturosa)
IBEX (Capra ibex)
ARGALI (Ovis ammon)
Birds of the trip were a varied assortment, with Pallas's Sandgrouse, Azure Tit and Ural Owl coming out as favourites, along with Relict Gull, Siberian White Crane, Pine Bunting, Nutcracker, Red-billed Chough, Cinereous Vulture, Pallas's Fish -Eagle, Steppe Eagle, Lammergeier, Saxaul Sparrow and Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, and not forgetting that delightful hedgehog as another favourite sighting.
Surprisingly few and mostly awaiting identification, but I did note something very like a Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae) and an Apollo Butterfly (Parnassius apollo)
Mongolian Racerunner (Eremias argus) 2 seen on Jun 8
Haly's Viper (Gloydius halys)- several seen at Yol Am where it seems to be quite common, it is a species of pit-viper and quite venomous.
Toad-headed Agama (Phrynocephalus versicolor ) Several seen each day down around Khongor in the Gobi, they have the strange habit of rolling up the tail, and have a red patch on the sides by the shoulder.
Mottled Lizard sp. (probably Gobi racerunner Eremias przewalskii) A couple at Khongor.
Mongolian Toad (Bufo raddei) A couple seen at Ugii wetlands.
Totals for the tour: 199 bird taxa and 27 mammal taxa