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Mongolia – 18th May (Day 11) – Barig Mountain to Sangiin Dalai Lake

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We were up at 05:15 to the sound of screaming Saker Falcon, packed our bags and after a quick coffee headed back up Barig Mountain at 06:00 for a last try for Hodgson’s Bush-chat. After climbing the steep grassy and rock strewn slopes of the mountains in the vehicles we parked at the summit and spread out to look for the bird.

The wind had dropped since yesterday and there were evidently migrants coming through and I recorded Black-faced Bunting (6), Little Bunting (1), Ortolan Bunting (1), Pallas’s Bunting (2), Blyth’s Pipit (1), Olive-backed Pipit (4) and Siberian Rubythroat (1), plus breeding species such as Tibetan Lark, Horned Lark and Water Pipit. These birds were largely sheltering amongst the rocks as there was no scrub cover.

We met back at the vehicles at 08:15 to the news that half of the group had seen a male Hodgson’s Bush-chat but despite further searching for at least one hour we could not relocate the bird. At 10:00 we descended the mountain for breakfast and departed – gutted for missing the Bush-chat.

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– Sangiin Dalai Lake

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Water Pipit of subspecies blakistoni – Barig Mountain

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Water Pipit of subspeciesblakistoni- Barig Mountain

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Water Pipit of subspeciesblakistoni- Barig Mountain

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Horned Lark – Barig Mountain

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Siberian Rubythroat – Barig Mountain

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Tibetan Lark – Barig Mountain

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Tolbagan Marmot – Barig Mountain

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Barig Mountain

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I assume this is a Primula species or maybe a Saxifrage – Barig Mountain

As the dusty track to Barig Mountain met the asphalt road of the A201 Arvaikheer to Bayankhongor Road, just before joining the tarmac we stopped at a small gully which held Small Snowfinch, Daurian and a nesting Saker.

Once on the road the landscape became a little lusher with horse and goat grazed plains. A short roadside stopped produced two Himalayan Griffon and a Cinereous Vulture feeding on goat afterbirth.

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Small Snowfinch – Near Barig Mountain

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Saker – Near Barig Mountain

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Cinereous Vulture and Himalayan Griffon – Along the A201

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Cinereous Vulture – Along the A201

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Himalayan Griffon – Along the A201

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Himalayan Griffon – Along the A201

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Himalayan Griffon – Along the A201

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Himalayan Griffon – Along the A201

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Himalayan Griffon – Along the A201

After approximately 70km we stopped for lunch beside a small lake (45°48’17” N 101°59’3″ E) between Nariinteel and Khairhandulaan. While the crew were preparing lunch we birded around the lake. This was very birdy and we recorded the following Whooper Swan (3),  hybridSwan x (1), Bar-headed Goose (c.40), Ruddy Shelduck (c.50), Shelduck, Tufted Duck, , Mallard, Teal, Wigeon, , Teal, Garganey (c.25), Green Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Avocet, , Temminck’s Stint (100’s), Long-toed Stint (10’s), Sanderling (1),Curlew Sandpiper (1), Spotted Redshank (1), Black-tailed Godwit (15), (11), (35), Common Swift (7), Pacific Swift (4) and Citrine Wagtail (20).

A flock of around 100 (of the subspecies longipennis) dropped out of nowhere onto the lake shore to preen and bath and before long took flight and after circling to a high altitude headed west into the desert. While having lunch we enjoyed the site and sound of Blyth’s Pipit, Mongolian Lark, Horned Lark and Asian Short-toed Lark displaying overhead.

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Ruddy Shelduck and presumed Bean x Swan Goose although in this image it perhaps looks more Bean Goose like – Unnamed lake alongside A201

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Pacific Golden Plover – Unnamed lake alongside A201

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Curlew Sandpiper, Long-toed Stint and Temminck’s Stint – Unnamed lake alongside A201

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Black-tailed Godwit and Asian Dowitcher (centre bird), the latter was remarkably difficult to detect amongst the godwit – Unnamed lake alongside A201

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Black-tailed Godwit and Asian Dowitcher – Unnamed lake alongside A201

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Curlew Sandpiper – Unnamed lake alongside A201

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Whooper Swan and Avocet – Unnamed lake alongside A201

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Asian Dowitcher and Pacific Golden Plover – Unnamed lake alongside A201

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Garganey – Unnamed lake alongside A201

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Bar-headed Goose – Unnamed lake alongside A201

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Pochard, Pintail, Shoveler, Ruddy Shelduck, Black-tailed Godwit, Wood Sandpiper and Avocet – – Unnamed lake alongside A201

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Black-tailed Godwit and Asian Dowitcher in flight, the latter very like a – Unnamed lake alongside A201

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Flock of Common tern heading off over the desert – – Unnamed lake alongside A201

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Flock of Common tern heading off over the desert – Unnamed lake alongside A201

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Tibetan Lark – Unnamed lake alongside A201

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Tibetan Lark – Unnamed lake alongside A201

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Lunch stop

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Black Stork alongside the A201

We arrived at Sangiin Dalai Lake (46°41’17” N 103°17’6″ E) at around 18:30 and left the support team erecting the tents and preparing our food while we went off birding around the lakes. There are four lakes here, one large lake with many diving duck, two smaller shallow lakes with waders and a shallow scrape.

These are surrounded by tussocky rushes and horse grazed grassland. This mix of habitats made for some great birding. I concentrated on the three smaller lakes and spent a great couple of hours and saw White-winged Black Tern, Black Stork (4), Mongolian Gull (14), Citrine Wagtail (many), Mongolian Lark, Sky Lark, Asian Short-toed Lark, Blyth’s Pipit, Pallas’s Bunting (12), Long-toed Stint, Temminck;’s Stint, Common Crane, and Whooper Swan.

Back at the campsite for dinner at 20:30 we sat outside and enjoyed the sites and sounds of the lakes. In our tents for around 22:00 we went to sleep to the sound of calling Demoiselle Crane and Common Crane.

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Demoiselle Crane – Sangiin Dalai Lake

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Demoiselle Crane – Sangiin Dalai Lake

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Whimbrel – Sangiin Dalai Lake

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Spoonbill – Sangiin Dalai Lake

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Mongolian Gull – Sangiin Dalai Lake

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Mongolian Gull – Sangiin Dalai Lake

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Eurasian Skylark of subspecies kaborti – Sangiin Dalai Lake

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Sangiin Dalai Lake

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Sangiin Dalai Lake

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Sangiin Dalai Lake

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Wood Sandpiper – Sangiin Dalai Lake

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Bar-headed Goose – Sangiin Dalai Lake

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Bar-headed Goose – Sangiin Dalai Lake

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Mongolian Gull – Sangiin Dalai Lake

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Mongolian Gull – Sangiin Dalai Lake

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Mongolian Gull – Sangiin Dalai Lake

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Mongolian Gull – Sangiin Dalai Lake

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Mongolian Gull – Sangiin Dalai Lake

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Mongolian Gull – Sangiin Dalai Lake

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Mongolian Gull – Sangiin Dalai Lake

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Black-tailed Godwit – Sangiin Dalai Lake

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Citrine Wagtail – Sangiin Dalai Lake

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Citrine Wagtail – Sangiin Dalai Lake

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Pallas’s Bunting – Sangiin Dalai Lake

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Mongolian Lark – Sangiin Dalai Lake

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Mongolian Lark – Sangiin Dalai Lake

 

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Simon Colenutt

Simon Colenutt

I began birdwatching at the age of nine when living on the Isle of Wight. After obtaining a copy of the Isle of Wight Bird Report from 1976 I realised that Manx Shearwater, Arctic Skua, Pomarine Skua and Black Tern were regularly seen at St.Catherine's Point, only five miles from my home village of Chale Green. To a nine year old these birds were near mythical and so I just had to go and try to see them. Little did I know that these birds were seasonal and after a long winter of seeing nothing I eventually started to bump into other birdwatchers as March drew to a close. It was then that Dave Hunnybun, Dave Wooldridge, Paul Castle, Peter Gandy and Audrey Wilkinson introduced me to the art of seawatching and the joys of bird migration, I have not looked back since.

Simon Colenutt

Simon Colenutt

I began birdwatching at the age of nine when living on the Isle of Wight. After obtaining a copy of the Isle of Wight Bird Report from 1976 I realised that Manx Shearwater, Arctic Skua, Pomarine Skua and Black Tern were regularly seen at St.Catherine's Point, only five miles from my home village of Chale Green. To a nine year old these birds were near mythical and so I just had to go and try to see them. Little did I know that these birds were seasonal and after a long winter of seeing nothing I eventually started to bump into other birdwatchers as March drew to a close. It was then that Dave Hunnybun, Dave Wooldridge, Paul Castle, Peter Gandy and Audrey Wilkinson introduced me to the art of seawatching and the joys of bird migration, I have not looked back since.

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