Birding in Xinjiang day 4 新疆观鸟: 阿勒泰-布尔津

This was the day we got arrested! Our driver took us to a mountain park in Burqin county, approx. an hour’s drive from Altay Region. Unfortunately, this park is very close to the border of Kazakhstan! No one bothered us in the beginning but words spread fast in China! Very soon the China Border Police came up the hill to pick us and took us to the police station and have us “interrogated” (they asked the same questions over and over again), our documents and cameras checked, and photo taken (a police officer told me not to smile at the camera.. :-/ )

Luckily for us, we only had food and bird photos to show them! Anyway, we did some birding before our arrest! Birds seen at the mountain park included the Mistle thrush, Willow tit, Coal tit, Black-throated Bunting, and Booted eagle, etc.

coal tit, border of Kazakhstan and Xinjiang

coal tit, border of Kazakhstan and Xinjiang

Booted eagle at border of Xinjiang and Kazakhstan

Booted eagle at border of Xinjiang and Kazakhstan

After an hour’s stay at the police station (I wished them well before leaving), we continued our birding along what the Chinese called it the Xinjiang Clain River( 克兰河) ! Its probably more spectacular than the Clain River in Western France-I have never seen landscape as amazing as this, have you? 😛

 different colored waters..!

different colored waters..!

Along this route, we saw the following-

Montagu’s Harrier (乌灰鹞)

Greylag Goose (灰雁)

Black-tailed Godwit (黑尾塍鹬)

White-headed Duck (白头硬尾鸭)

Dunlin (黑腹滨鹬)

Red-crested Pochard (赤嘴潜鸭)

red-crested Pochard in Xinjiang

red-crested Pochard in Xinjiang

We drove all day, well our driver did-he was very determined to show us the likely areas for the Daurian Partridge (斑翅山鹑), but we couldn’t find it! :-/

By 3pm we found ourselves in yet another magical forest! The stars here included the

White-Backed Woodpecker (白背啄木鸟)

White-Winged Woodpecker (白翅啄木鸟)

Black Woodpecker (黑啄木鸟)

Common Chaffinch (苍头燕雀) and more!

white-back woodpecker in Northern Xinjiang

white-back woodpecker in Northern Xinjiang

black woodpecker

black woodpecker

chaffinch feeding chick

chaffinch feeding chick

It was a day with lots of happenings but no lunch! Back at the hotel, I wished the Pallid Scops Owl would call again outside my window. 🙂

PS. We had dog-fish for dinner

Highly recommend this dog-fish

Highly recommend this dog-fish

 

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