Birding in Xinjiang day 5 新疆观鸟-布尔津

After breakfast, we were driven to a village called Chonghu’er (冲乎尔乡), which was renowned for Red-backed Shrikes and other forest birds and buntings! The drive from Burqin, Altay region was just an hour away, but the terrains we passed by just blew my mind away!

Buerqin surroundings

We stopped for landscape photo shoots!

We were hopeful for accentors along the way but couldn’t find any! But as our car twirled round the steep bends towards the village, a short-toed eagle flew in the same area where the marmot was spotted! A double surprise even before getting to the actual birding spot! 😛 Not sure what marmot it was, but its always great to see four-legged wildlife!

short-toed eagle and marmot in Xinjiang

short-toed eagle and marmot in Xinjiang

At the village, red-backed shrikes (红背伯劳) kept a comfortable distance from us but our patience paid off when they eventually allowed us to get closer!

red-back shrike couple in Burqin, Altay region

red-back shrike couple in Burqin, Altay region

There were lots of cow dung in the fields on both sides of the trail- no sign of dung beetles, but plenty of birds!! The road seemed busy with tractors and bikes; and locals were curious to find foreigners in their village! But smiles were all over, and birds here seemed to mind their own business! Some of the birds seen here included:

Ortolan Bunting, 圃鹀

Spotted Flycatcher, 斑鹟

Yellowhammer, 黄鹀

Pine Bunting, 白头鹀

European Greenfinch, 欧金翅雀

Mistle thrush with chicks, 槲鸫

Fieldfare, 田鸫

Wood warbler, 林柳莺

European Goldfinch, 红额金翅雀

yellowhammer and mistle thrush with chicks in Xinjiang, China

yellowhammer and mistle thrush with chicks in Xinjiang, China

 

from left- Pine bunting, Ortolan bunting, Spotted flycatcher

from left- Pine bunting, Ortolan bunting, Spotted flycatcher

Having spent the whole noon here (we skipped lunch again, :-/) we went back to the magical forest to get better photos of the super-star, Black Woodpecker! It was a relaxing day of birding with many findings! 🙂

Here’s how the trail looked like! If you look carefully, you’ll see many cow dungs in the field…  *COUGH*

Birding trail in Burqin

Birding trail in Burqin

 

Birding in Xinjiang Day3 新疆福海-北屯-阿勒泰

Our first birding stop was actually a local park in Fuhai (福海). It looked pretty deserted to me, but the birds loved that its so scruffy! 🙂 Birds here chirped as loudly and merrily as ever, as if to say this playground belonged to them! Birds found in this park included Wrynecks (蚁鴷) -there were a few!; Greenfinches ( 欧金翅雀), Isabelline Shrikes (荒漠伯劳), Common Rosefinches (普通朱雀), Tree Pipits (林鹨), warblers, etc!

From left- Common Rosefinch, Wryneck

From left- Common Rosefinch, Wryneck

Isabelline shrike in Xinjiang

Isabelline shrike in Xinjiang

At the lake in the park, this animal swam across the lake which caught our attention! I am totally clueless on the ID, I think its a rodent…! >.<”

What is this?

What is this?

Think it was another 2-3 hr drive from Fuhai to Beitun- not sure! But we didn’t have Lunch and that’s for sure! :-/ While en-route to Beitun, our driver was determined to show us Horned Grebes (角鸊鷉). I was very excited as its a lifer for me! But getting close was a challenge! My shoes were drenched with murky water… Here’s a record handheld shot with my bazooka lens.

horned grebe

horned grebe

It was very windy by the time we arrived at a forest in Beitun area. We saw some chaffinches in the beginning but the wind was so “noisy” that we could hardly hear any sounds from our feathered friends! Rather than waiting for wind to die down, we decided to try another area while en-route to Altay for the night.

At a semi-desert area, trucks nimbled along the sandy track, but birds didn’t seem to be bothered by them! Highlights here included the Red-footed falcon (西红脚隼), Kestrel, Eurasian Curlew, Demoiselle cranes (蓑羽鹤), Pallas gulls and by the lake (mini one) we saw some grey Plovers (灰斑鸻) too!

red-footed falcon

red-footed falcon

demoiselle cranes in Xinjiang

demoiselle cranes in Xinjiang

kestrel in Altay, Xinjiang

kestrel in Altay, Xinjiang

Here’s a cool view of how this desert looked like! 🙂

Altay, Xinjiang

Altay, Xinjiang