October 17, 2007

KHOVD anniversary – 2 years!

My local spot: Khovd stadium. Photo © A. Braunlich

Two years ago to the day my wife Katja and I moved to Khovd. I remember very well coming here. The first days were spent with organisational matters. It was cold and grey … and I had the feeling that most migrants had already passed through, and I didn’t know the good local birding spots yet. However, a first walk through my local spot for two years to come gave me a big surprise: Mongolia’s first European Greenfinch Carduelis chloris (23 Oct 2005). Two years later I have seen over 210 species in Khovd, and birds are still on the move … Almost exactly a year after the first European Greenfinch Valdemar Holmgren found Mongolia’s second here in Khovd and showed it to me (two birds on 18 Oct 2006), and – surprise – today I found another one!

European Greenfinch, Khovd 17 October 2007
Photo © A. Braunlich

European Greenfinch and Tree Sparrow, 17 October 2007
Photo © A. Braunlich

And I saw my personal first Goldcrest here in Khovd today while walking home with Katja at noon. The only other observation of the species I have from Khovd is an observation by Valdemar from April 2006.

Later today I had with my friend Andrew Laurie one of my typical walks here: Two hours in the afternoon/evening until sunset (c.18:30 local time), covering a plantation near the airport and the wooded area behind the stadium. On the occasion of today’s anniversary I give a list of all species seen:

Chaffinch 2, European Greenfinch 1, Long-tailed Rosefinch c.30, Guldenstadt’s Redstart c.50, Mongolian Gull 1, Wood Pigeon 4, Brambling 7, Water Pipit 7, Yellowhammer 2, Pine Bunting 2, Siberian Accentor 2 (the first this autumn), Black-throated Thrush c.45, Taiga Flycatcher 1,

Taiga Flycatcher. Photo © A. Braunlich

Steppe Buzzard 1, Rustic Bunting 2, Northern Raven 2, Cinereous Vulture 1, Carrion Crow – many, Tree Sparrow - many, Masked Wagtail 1, Evermann’s Redstart 6, and Yellow-browed Warbler 1. Only my second observation of a Yellow-browed Warbler in Khovd, the first I saw a few days ago. The migration routes are somehow an enigma for me – I expected to see many moving through Khovd before I came… and I had to wait for almost two years before I found one! May be I have overlooked a few among the many Hume’s Leaf Warblers, of which I have logged 150 observations involving c.2800 birds in the same period!

Female Pine Bunting in first winter (formative) plumage.
Photo © A. Braunlich

Recently I have neglected this blog a bit. Right now I am catching up, and soon a report on a trip in July/August (>50,000 shorebirds at one site!) + a summary about the migration in Khovd in September and in the first half of October will be posted to Birding Mongolia.


John Carlson said...

Welcome back Axel. I figured you have been out having a great time doing good work. I am looking forward to hearing what you have been up to. John

egor_13 said...

Oh I forgot to say on Greenfinch - very rare but not unexpected record. This is even somehow strange it was not found in Mongolia before. Likely you should have arrived there for :)