Thursday, 18 May 2017

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

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.

Water Pipit of subspecies blakistoni - Barig Mountain

Water Pipit of subspecies blakistoni - Barig Mountain

Water Pipit of subspecies blakistoni - Barig Mountain

Horned Lark - Barig Mountain

Siberian Rubythroat - Barig Mountain

Tibetan Lark - Barig Mountain

Tolbagan Marmot - Barig Mountain

Barig Mountain

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 Redstart 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.

Small Snowfinch - Near Barig Mountain

Saker - Near Barig Mountain

Cinereous Vulture and Himalayan Griffon - Along the A201

Cinereous Vulture - Along the A201

Himalayan Griffon - Along the A201

Himalayan Griffon - Along the A201

Himalayan Griffon - Along the A201

Himalayan Griffon - Along the A201

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), hybrid Swan x Bean Goose (1), Bar-headed Goose (c.40), Ruddy Shelduck (c.50), ShelduckTufted DuckGadwallMallardTealWigeonShovelerTealGarganey (c.25), Green SandpiperCommon SandpiperWood SandpiperAvocetBlack-winged StiltTemminck’s Stint (100’s), Long-toed Stint (10’s), Sanderling (1), Curlew Sandpiper (1), Spotted Redshank (1), Black-tailed Godwit (15), Pacific Golden Plover (11), Kentish Plover (35), Common Swift (7), Pacific Swift (4) and Citrine Wagtail (20). A flock of around 100 Common Tern (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 PipitMongolian LarkHorned Lark and Asian Short-toed Lark displaying overhead.

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

Pacific Golden Plover - Unnamed lake alongside A201

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

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

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

Curlew Sandpiper - Unnamed lake alongside A201

Whooper Swan and Avocet - Unnamed lake alongside A201

Asian Dowitcher and Pacific Golden Plover - Unnamed lake alongside A201

Garganey - Unnamed lake alongside A201

Bar-headed Goose - Unnamed lake alongside A201

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

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

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

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

Tibetan Lark - Unnamed lake alongside A201

Tibetan Lark - Unnamed lake alongside A201

Lunch stop

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, Demoiselle 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.

Demoiselle Crane - Sangiin Dalai Lake

Demoiselle Crane - Sangiin Dalai Lake

Whimbrel - Sangiin Dalai Lake

Spoonbill - Sangiin Dalai Lake

Mongolian Gull - Sangiin Dalai Lake

Mongolian Gull - Sangiin Dalai Lake

Eurasian Skylark of subspecies kaborti - Sangiin Dalai Lake

 Sangiin Dalai Lake

 Sangiin Dalai Lake

 Sangiin Dalai Lake

Wood Sandpiper - Sangiin Dalai Lake

Bar-headed Goose - Sangiin Dalai Lake

Bar-headed Goose - Sangiin Dalai Lake

Bar-headed Goose - Sangiin Dalai Lake

Mongolian Gull - Sangiin Dalai Lake

Mongolian Gull - Sangiin Dalai Lake

Mongolian Gull - Sangiin Dalai Lake

Mongolian Gull - Sangiin Dalai Lake

Mongolian Gull - Sangiin Dalai Lake

Mongolian Gull - Sangiin Dalai Lake

Mongolian Gull - Sangiin Dalai Lake

Black-tailed Godwit - Sangiin Dalai Lake

Citrine Wagtail - Sangiin Dalai Lake

Citrine Wagtail - Sangiin Dalai Lake

Pallas's Bunting - Sangiin Dalai Lake

Mongolian Lark - Sangiin Dalai Lake

Mongolian Lark - Sangiin Dalai Lake

Links to Other Days of the Trip (Click to View)
Day 1 and 2 – International flight then Ulaanbaatar to Mungum Sum
Day 3 -  Mungunmorit and Gachuurt area
Day 4 - Drive to Dalanzadgad
Day 5  – Gurvan Saikhan National Park
Day 6 - Gurvan Saikhan National Park
Day 7 - Gobi Desert and Khongor Sand Dunes
Day 8 – Gobi Desert to Bogd
Day 9 - Baga Bogd Mountain and Kholboolj Lake
Day 10 - Kholboolj Lake and Barig Mountain
Day 12 (Part 1) - Sangiin Lake and Bayan Lake
Day 12 (Part 2) - Sangiin Lake and Bayan Lake
Day 13 - Hustai National Park and Terelj National Park
Day 14 - Terelj National Park and Gachuurt Area
Day 15 and 16 - Gachuurt Area, Tuul River and International flight