woensdag 13 februari 2013

13 februari 2013 - bunting hunting

Ok, it's been too long, but i have been very busy.....

Anyway enough of the small talk. Today i went searching for Pine Buntings, in a flock of 300+ Yellowhammers very close to home near Wolfheze. The field is amazing, hundreds (400+) Brambling, ringtail Hen Harrier, 7 Reed Buntings, and a couple of Black Woodpeckers chasing each other around.

But what of the buntings? Well i have learnt, reconfirmed a few things today.

A) my right eye shows different colours to my left eye. Right is my scope eye, and it shows much colder colours.

B) photos, especially bad ones, can be confusing

The most interesting bird i had today was a cold plumaged Yellowhammer type. First glance with my right eye showed no colour, but that was something i am used to. So i switched to my left eye, warmer colours, but harder to concentrate. Woth my left eye it also seemed to lack any yellow tints to the underparts. He bird was 150+ metres away but i decided to try and digiscope it. The photos below are really weird, as well as being very poor. They illustrate the white background to the underparts, but they show a yellow wash on the head and to the remiges. Now the remiges may well have had yellow fringing, i seriously couldn't have made that out at that distance, but i would swear that the head didn't have a hint of colour to it, when viewed with either of my eyes!

The birds are very mobile, and unless they flush into the wood then viewing on the ground is near impossible.

zaterdag 9 juni 2012

Mongolia - golden balls does it again

Dan did it again! Not only having found Relict Gull, Falcated Duck, White-naped and Sibe Cranes (among lots of other good stuff) he finished the tour by picking up an Asian Dowitcher in flight!! Pure class, as Paul Harris once said about Dave Chown "if he wasn't so nice i would smear vaseline on his scope to give others a chance!"
Thankfully that warmed up a very cold morning.
Here is another selection of various photos, the steaming turd photo is not only used as fuel but kept the insects away!

9 juni 2012 - Mongolia again

Two blog posts in a few days, must mean we are seeing some good birds...since leaving Ulaanbaatar we have been enjoying some great birding, highlights around Jalman meadows have included Lammergeier, Black Vulture, Steppe, Booted & Golden Eagles, Amur & Saker Falcons, Hobby, Black Stork, 16 Black Grouse, Demoiselle Crane, Oriental Cuckoo, Daurian Jackdaw, Black, Three-toed, Grey-headed and Lesser spotted Woodpeckers, Wryneck, lots of singing Rubythroats, Red-throated Thrush, Rock Thrush, Pine, Black-faced & Yellow-breasted Buntings, Long-tailed Rosefinch, Azure Tit, Pallas's Grasshopper, Dusky, Yellow-browed, Two-barred & Thick-billed Warblers, Daurian Redstart, Pacific Swift, Blyth's & Olive-backed Pipits, Citrine & Baikal Wagtails, Isabelline Wheatear, Dark-sided & Taiga Flycatchers, Brown Shrike & Hawfinch.
We have now moved on to Gun Galuut, the large lake had 11 Stejneger's Scoters this morning plus 2 Red-necked Stint, PG Plover, Mongolian Larks, 300+ Demoiselle Cranes, breeding Whooper Swans.
It's now chucking it down, so sitting in the ger while it passes....
It stopped raining briefly so Dan, Guido and I checked a handful of small bushes in the camp, producing 6 PG Tips, 2 Black-faced Bunting, Thick-billed Warbler and a Dusky Warbler.
Then the sun came out and Dan decided to take his scope to the restaurant, where (whilst downloading photos) he managed to find 2 White-naped Cranes....so i gathered everyone up and we drove off into the marsh. Once there and watching the cranes Dan then exceeded himself again by finding a Siberian Crane!!! A lifer for all of us and having missed the species 8 times before a real surprise.
At the same time we saw the White-napes again, were surrounded by singing Mongolian Larks, Pacific Swifts, feeding swallows and Pale Sand Martins and a fly through Amur Falcon!
Back at the ger we could even see the Sibe from the ger!

dinsdag 5 juni 2012

June 2012 - Mongolia update

Well about time for another update...im currently sitting in Bayankhongor airport after a brilliant loop through the Gobi desert on the Mongolia tour.
Highlights so far have included all the hoped for specialities including Altai Snowcock (distant), Oriental Plover, Pallas's Sandgrouse, Relict Gull (3), Falcated Duck, Mongolian Lark, Amur Falcon (hopefully more to come), Azure Tit, Wallcreeper, Lammergeier, Pallas's Gull, Swan Goose (i guess?)! Pallas's Fish Eagle, Demoiselle Crane, Kozlow's Accentor, Mongolian Ground Jay, Saxaul Sparrow.
Then there are the sibes, migrants and supporting cast including Oriental Honey, Black Vulture, Saker, Upland Buzzard, Steppe, Golden and Booted Eagles, Lesser Kestrel, Long-toed Stint, Pacific Golden Plover, Greater Sandplovers, Ferruginous Duck, Pacific Swift, Hoopoe, Beeeater (2-3 record for Mongolia), Asian Brown, Dark-sided, Red-throated and Yellow-rumped Flycatchers, Blyth's, Richard's, Red-throated and Olive-backed Pipits, Pallas's Reed, Black-faced, Little, Godlewski's Buntings, Daurian Jackdaw, Daurian, Desert Grey and Brown Shrikes, Hume's, Asian Desert, Sulphur-bellied, Pallas's Grasshopper, Pallas's, Dusky, Thick-billed, Oriental Reed, Arctic, Two-barred Warblers, tristis Chiffchaff, Black Stork, Isabelline, Pied & Desert Wheatears, Oriental Turtle Dove, Red-necked Phalarope, Temminck's Stint, Caspian, Gull-billed and White -winged Terns, Citrine and Amur Wagtail, Alpine and Brown Accentor, Daurian Redstart, Common, Beautiful and Long-tailed Rosefinch, Mongolian Finch and Rock Sparrow.
All of these birds have been seen in stunning scenery, a few nights camping and with a good selection of mammals thrown in...namely Corsac Fox, Long-eared Hedgehog, Tolai Hare, Goitered Gazelle, Siberian Chipmunk, Daurian Pika and 2 souslik species.
Now heading north to Ulaanbaatar, and on for Siberian Rubythroats, Red-throated Thrush, Azure Tits, Amurs, White-naped Crane, Oriental Cuckoo, Grey-headed Woodpecker and lots more.
Here's a few taster photos....