May 1, 2011

Birding the Gobi, late April

Brian Watmough

It’s the second half of April and the numbers of migrant birds are increasing by the day. I was in Dalanzadgad (DZ) the capital of Umnogobi aimag (South Gobi Province) for a conference but managed to spend a few hours birding with Tumendelger (Tume), local birder and photographer. The trees in the centre of town regularly attract migrants but on early morning visits on 21, 22 and 23 April I only saw Daurian Redstart (2), Black-throated Thrush (4), Brambling (1) and Common Chaffinch (2). On 22nd Tume drove us to DZ Pond, a small lake and marsh at southern edge of town. There were 5 Common Pochard, 3 Tufted Duck and a single female Common Goldeneye on the water, Little Ringed Plover feeding on the shore with flocks of Water Pipit, a Desert Wheatear was singing and two White Wagtails flew overhead. From there we drove to the tree nursery on the south of town where we saw 3 male Daurian Redstart and a Siberian Accentor.

Common Shelduck Gobi, Mongolia, April 2011 © Tumendelger 

The rest of the morning was in meetings but in the afternoon we drove to small salty lakes some 30 km to the east of DZ. Here there was a good variety of waterfowl including 2 Falcated Duck and 3 Whooper Swans. When we returned to DZ around dusk a flock of 14 Black Kites was circling overhead looking for a safe roosting place, and were joined by flock of 40 Daurian Jackdaws and 6 Amur Falcons.

Lake in the Gobi, April 2011 © B. Watmough

Lake in the Gobi, April 2011 © B. Watmough

Species list
Whooper Swan (3), Common Shelduck (25), Ruddy Shelduck (10), Gadwall (5), Falcated Duck (2), Eurasian Wigeon (55), Northern Shoveler, Northern Pintail (10), Common Pochard (30), Tufted Duck (15), Common Goldeneye (10), Grey Heron (3), Great Cormorant (2), Black Kite (20), Hen (Northern) Harrier (1 ringtail), Eurasian Sparrowhawk (1), Northern Goshawk (1), Amur Falcon (6), Eurasian Coot (1), Pied Avocet (18), Northern Lapwing (3), Little Ringed Plover (20), Kentish Plover (4), Green Sandpiper (2), Mongolian Gull (2), Asian Short-toed Lark, Crested Lark (1 by ger), Eurasian Skylark, Horned Lark, Black-throated Thrush (12), Daurian Redstart (6), Northern Wheatear (1), Desert Wheatear (3), Siberian Accentor (1), White Wagtail (2), Water Pipit (30), Brambling (1), Common Chaffinch (2), Mongolian Finch (15).

PS Tume took this picture earlier this month on steppe 70km north of DZ

McQueen's Bustard, Gobi, Mongolia, April 2011 © Tumendelger

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