Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Kazakhstan 19th to 31st May Final Part : Korgalzhyn State NP

                               Kazakhstan   Day  Eleven  :  29th  May

                                    Korgalzhyn State National Park

Male Pine Bunting.

So after an incredible trip so far to Kazakhstan the last leg of the holiday was now upon us, we had travelled up north to the famous Korgalzhyn State national park with a whole range of different species on offer including some very special birds.

We started of at a site for Pine Bunting and as soon as we got out of the mini bus we could hear at least one bird calling , we soon located it as it sung high up giving great views.

Superb colours on this bird.

Pine Bunting.

We also had brief views of a male Common Rosefinch & a Siberian Chiffchaff was also great to see , a male Pallid Harrier flew across the road Caspian Gull , Hobby & Lesser Whitethroat were all added to the trip list.

The weather was really awful today , heavy rain and wind made birding very difficult plus the dirt tracks were quite hard to navigate along with the mini bus sliding here & there , however we carried on and eventually there was a break in the weather and we did some more birding.

We stopped near a ditch and heard than saw 2 Booted Warblers , i have only ever seen one before in the UK so was very pleased to see these birds.

Sulking in a bush

Booted Warbler.

There was also a very showy Siberian Stonechat in full song on the overhead wires .

Siberian Stonechat.

We carried on along the tracks making very slow progress and we added several Black Winged Stilts  & Shovelers to the days totals, we eventually decided to call it a day as the weather wasn't improving however we did have some great views of  Yellow Wagtail (race 'Beema').

Yellow 'Syke's' Wagtail.

Kazakhstan  Day Twelve  : 30th May

Korgalzhyn State National Park

Dalmatian Pelicans

My last full days birding in Kazakhstan proved to be very good as once again we headed to the Korgalzhyn State national park , the first pool we came to had 100's of Red Necked Phalaropes , Little Stints , Dunlin plus Knot, Avocet & Curlew Sandpiper were all seen.

There were approx 15 Dalmatian Pelicans that flew right towards us which was quite a sight , i picked out a single Pallas's Gull that flew straight over the pool and out of sight.

We drove abit further into the park and had fantastic views of BLACK LARK !!!

Black Lark in flight.

2 Black Lark's by the track.

These were a new species for me and over the course of the day we saw at least 300 Black Larks , we also saw 3 White Winged Larks , (i forgot to mention in an earlier blog post in the  Taukum Desert that i saw 2 White Winged Larks plus the guide found a 3rd bird later on), however i never got a photo but had great views through the scope.

Black Lark.

Further along the track we had great views of both male & female Red Footed Falcons , the female was tucking into a small vole / mouse species.

Male Red Footed Falcon.

Female feeding on a small mammal.

Female Red Footed Falcon.

We also had distant views of at least 5 Black Winged Pratincoles , 4 White Winged Black Terns & 5 Demoiselle Cranes here.

There was also an Oriental Turtle Dove (form Meena) showing well from this vantage point.

Oriental Turtle Dove.

The birds were coming thick and fast today however one of the main target birds was still evading us , our guide phoned a contact of his to get some up to date gen only to be told they are not at their usual breeding site this year !!!!

So basically if we wanted to see them we had to find them ourselves , well i like a challenge so of we set , we stopped at various locations checking the fields with no luck until after the 3rd stop we all got out of the mini bus and the shout went up .......


Sociable Lapwing.

Not everyone got onto the bird before it flew out of sight however i luckily picked out a 2nd bird which actually landed on the track then flew across the field and landed , we all saw that one thankfully.

Coming into land.

Sociable Lapwing.

I have been luckily enough to have seen 4 Sociable Lapwings in the UK including 2 in Kent but was still very pleased to see these now critically endangered birds .

We spent quite sometime watching this superb wader and felt very lucky indeed to have seen them , we dragged ourselves away to try our luck with a huge Pallas's Gull breeding colony and we  were not disappointed.

Flying straight towards us.

Pallas's Gull.

There were at least 200 Pallas's Gull's here plus approx 50 Steppe Gulls.

Steppe Gulls.

The weather had turned nasty again and the wind was much stronger today , there were plenty of Red Necked Phalaropes  on the pool and quite a few flew past the mini bus.

Red Necked Phalarope.

We retraced our steps heading back to our accommodation pretty much seeing most of what we had already seen and not venturing far from the bus and thus ended my last full days birding in Kazakhstan.

Kazakhstan   Day Thirteen  :  31st May

Korgalzhyn  &  Astana  Pools

Male Pallid Harrier.

We had time this morning to check a couple of pools before we begun our long journey home , we started of just in Korgalzhyn and saw Black Tern , Black Winged Stilt, Redshank & Northern Wheatear.

We then headed to a large pool near Astana and saw 4 Black Winged Pratincole , male & female Pallid Harrier , Mute Swan, Black Necked Grebe & 2 Bearded Reedlings.

White Headed Duck.

There was a pair of White Headed Ducks and we had glimpses of at least 3 Paddyfield Warblers in the reeds in front of us.

 I also saw a male Citrine Wagtail , Cuckoo & 1 Dalmatian Pelican.


Citrine Wagtail   (photo taken earlier in trip)

There were plenty of Swallows & Common Swifts and more or less the last bird we saw was a superb Red Necked Grebe.

Well that concludes my trip to the wonderful country Kazakhstan , i ended the trip with a personal total of 197 bird species and 47 Lifers  plus several new Sub Species , i have 7 videos from the trip which can be viewed on my Youtube Channel  (the link is on the top right of my blog).

Many thanks for taking the time for reading my posts and if your thinking of going to Kazakhstan ...... do it !!!