May 13, 2007

Khovd, early-MAY 2007 - A. Braunlich
A selection of observations from the last ten days (first observations in Khovd for this spring are marked with an asterisk*):

12 May: The Blackbird wasn’t at the university's green patch this morning. But the tiny site produced 1 Great Reed Warbler*, 4 Hume's Leaf Warblers and 1 Common Rosefinch! Near a small mountain at the edge of town 2 Grey-necked Buntings were spotted (species no. 202 for Khovd since late October 2005, but probably overlooked before - most likely breeding in these mountains).

11 May: After a few overcast, windy and cold days a very bright morning, with blue sky. The temperature at sunrise was minus 3˚C. I took a taxi and went to a plantation a little bit outside of town. A few hours birding there before work were absolutely fantastic: 7 Lesser Whitethroats*, 1 Arctic Warbler* singing, 1 Dusky Warbler*, c.40 Hume’s Leaf Warblers, 2 Blyth’s Reed Warblers* singing, 1 European Grasshopper Warbler* singing (species no. 201 for Khovd since late October 2005, and a personal first for my Mongolia list), 85 Ortolan Buntings, among them 2 male Eurasian Siskins (rare here this spring), >30 Tree Pipits, 1 Common Rosefinch* singing, 2 dark morph Booted Eagles, 1 Steppe Buzzard, and 4+2+2+1 Scaly Thrushes (last spring I saw here 8 in total only). Breeding birds present included 4 pairs of Black-eared Kite and 3 pairs of Eurasian Hobby. Along the river I saw 5 Goosanders (rare here), a few Grey Herons and 2 pairs of Demoiselle Crane. The Eurasian Blackbird was still in front of the university today (and could be shown to ten biology students). Two Paddyfield Warblers were in the same little green area.

Eurasian Hobby. Photo © A. Braunlich

Eurasian Starling. Photo © A. Braunlich

Goosander. Photo © A. Braunlich

Pin-tailed Snipe. Photo © A. Braunlich

10 May: The Eurasian Blackbird still present. The second Pin-tailed Snipe this spring, 61 Water Pipits, 8 Citrine Wagtails, 1 male Naumann's Thrush, 1 female Black-throated Thrush.

Masked Wagtail M. (alba) personat. Photo © A. Braunlich

Near the stadium in Khovd I found Mongolia's third European Pied Flycatcher. All Mongolian records have been photographically documented:

I. To the north-west of Khovd, 1 June 2006 (A. Buchheim et al.)
II. In Khovd town, 22 September 2006 (M. Gilbert, A. Braunlich et al.)
III. In Khovd town, 10 May 2007 (A. Braunlich)

European Pied Flycatcher, Khovd town, 10 May 2006.
Photos © A. Braunlich

European Pied Flycatcher, Khovd town, 22 September 2006.

Photo © A. Braunlich

European Pied Flycatcher, NW of Khovd, 1 June 2006.

Photo © T. Langenberg

9 May: A cold and very windy day. Highlight was the observation of Mongolia’s first documented Eurasian Blackbird (species no. 200 for Khovd since late October 2005).

8 May: 2 Stock Pigeons, a flock 26 Ortolan Buntings, Black-eared Kite roost with at least 220 birds (and several birds incubating), and 3 Paddyfield Warblers.

7 May: Still a flock (45) of Twite, 10 Ortolan Buntings, a very pale Eurasian Sparrowhawk (ssp?), 2 Oriental Turtle Doves* (S. o. meena), and a mixed flock of 2 male and one female Red-throated Thrushes, 1 Fieldfare and 1 male Naumann’s Thrush*, 1 Richard’s Pipit*. A total of 4 Mongolian Gulls with wing-tags was recorded from the edge of town (more info to follow). 1 Western Yellow Wagtail, ssp. Motacilla flava beema (migrant, the breeding ssp here is M. f. leucocephala).

Mongolian Gull. Photo © A. Braunlich

Western Yellow Wagtail, ssp. M. f. beema.

Photo © A. Braunlich

6 May (+ Kis Ferenc, K. Braunlich): 1 Scaly Thrush*, 1 Paddyfield Warbler, and 6 Hume’s Leaf Warblers.

5 May (+ Kis Ferenc from WWF Hungary): A late migrant Siberian Chiffchaff, 2 Daurian Jackdaws in first-winter plumage, and 1 Pintail Snipe* 1 (species no. 199 for Khovd since late October 2005).

3 May (observations together with Ulaanbaatar-based ornithologist Tseveenmyadag): 1 Song Thrush* (rare passage migrant here), a flock of 12 Tree Pipits, and 5 Ortolan Buntings.

Eastern Stonechat Saxicola (rubicola) maurus

Photo © A. Braunlich

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