All photos Photo © Magnus Hellström.
Note: Tsagaan nuur lies at the border-pass towards Russia (Tashanta). Khar us nuur is the rather small (for Mongolian standards) lake between Achit Nuur and Ayrag Nuur (not to be confused with the large Khar us nuur not far from Khovd).
May 29. Lots of migrants in the Salix along the small river which runs along the road in the gorge c15 km E of Tsagaan nuur. Brown Shrike, European Pied Flycatcher (2cy male; 4th record for Mongolia), Brambling and good numbers of Hume's Leaf Warblers.
European Pied Flycatcher. E of Tsagaan nuur, 29 May.
Hybrid shrike (L. collurio/isabellinus). E of Tsagaan nuur, 29 May.
C 10 km further E, in the semi-desert plains 7 Henderson's (Mongolian) Ground-Jays were seen.
Henderson's Ground-Jay. E of Tsagaan nuur, 29 May.
May 30. At the S end of Achit nuur we found 11 Asian Dowitchers, 1 displaying Little Crake, 35 Pallas's Gulls, 2 Long-toed Stints, 1 leucocephala Yellow Wagtail (and several intergrades with beema) and 5 Bearded Tits. We drove towards Ulaangom and passed Uureg Nuur. Lammergeier, 2 Pallas's Sandgrouse and resting flocks of Greater Sand Plovers.
Asian Dowitchers. Achit Nuur, 30 May.
May 31. Transportations and logistics.
June 1. Heavy snow fall at Turgen mountain range gave some resting migrants. Among more common species (like Blyth's Pipits, Rufous-tailed Rock Thrushes and Grey-necked Buntings) a male Taiga Flycatcher and 2 Brown Shrikes were noted. >200 Brandt’s Mountain Finches were also seen. In the steppes c 40 km S of Ulaangom a single male Oriental Plover was displaying.
June 2-4. W parts of Khar us nuur. Lots of wetland birds! Among these 3 Relict Gull, 2 Asian Dowitchers, 1 Pallas's Fish Eagle, 13 Swan Geese and some Terek Sandpipers and Greater Sand Plovers. Along the shore we found lots of Mongolian Larks, and in the small reedbeds c 400 Rose-colored Starlings went to sleep during the evenings.
Relict Gull. (little) Khar us nuur, 2 June.
Mongolian Lark. (little) Khar us nuur, 3 June.
At the sloping hills on the NW lakeside we found a pair (singing male + quiet individual) of Koslov's (Mongolian) Accentor.
Koslov's Accentor. (little) Khar us nuur, 3 June.
Pere David's Snowsparrow. Tsagaan nuur, 3 June.
Terek Sandpiper. Tsagaan nuur, 3 June.
Brown Accentor. Tsagaan nuur, 4 June.
C 30 km W of the lake, at some vegetated boulders in the semi-desert we had another 2-3 pairs of Koslov's Accentor.
Back at the gorge just E of Tsagan Nuur we had a Black-faced Bunting, Taiga Flycatcher and loads of Hume's Leaf Warblers in the Salix-bushes. At the Tsagaan nuur lakeside we found a female Red-headed Bunting, a Booted Warbler and 4 Terek Sandpipers. At this site we also recorded several Citrine Wagtail that seemed to show somewhat intermediate characters between citreola and calcarata (a lot of white in the wing-coverts, slightly darker above and deeper yellow below than usual).
Red-headed Bunting. Tsagaan nuur, 3 June.
Lots more birds were seen, and a complete trip-report (including the Russian Altai) will be published during the summer.