February 17, 2012

One pollution less
and a rushed twitch

Text & Fotos © Andreas Buchheim

In the morning of 12 February 2012, Huyagaa and Amarkhuu, both members of the Mongolian Birdwatching Club picked me up. We were joined by Megaa a little later and then went to the south side of Bogd Khaan Uul to pay the famous Manzshir Monastery a visit. This has been productive several times before (for example: click here) and we hoped to see some nice forest species there.

As we left the car 5 Eurasian Black Vultures crossed the valley and near the parking-lot some corvids hoped for something to feed upon.

Manzshir Monastery, Feb 2012

Oriental [Carrion] Crows searching for some scraps
at the parking lot, Manzshir Monastery, Feb 2012

Common Magpie doing likewise,
Manzshir Monastery, Feb 2012

Further up in the forest there were several flocks of Eurasian Tree Sparrows loosely joined by Eurasian Siskins and a few Common Crossbills. Some of the crossbills were in full song already. Food supply for them is huge this winter and we saw several groups of crossbills during our visit.

Today I understood why they are called
Eurasian TREE Sparrows, Manzshir Monastery, Feb 2012

A lot of cones were available this winter,
Manzshir Monastery, Feb 2012

Male Common Crossbill,
Manzshir Monastery, Feb 2012

Coal Tits were also singing everywhere but the many Willow Tits we saw did only give their subsongs. Spotted Nutcrackers also showed kind of territorial behavior already and we saw a group of 8 birds and another group of 3 birds while walking through the forest. In contrast to this we encountered only one Eurasian Jay.

Coal Tit, Manzshir Monastery, Feb 2012

Willow Tit, Manzshir Monastery, Feb 2012

The valley viewed from the top of the rocks
(cf. first pic of this post), Manzshir Monastery, Feb 2012

After we found another big flock of Eurasian Siskins which was loosely joined by 4 Siberian Accentors we went back to the parking lot. On the way a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker—the only woodpecker we saw there on this trip—crossed our path.

Striking was the complete lack of redpolls of any kind. These had been one of the most common birds around Ulaanbaatar during previous winters. We saw them even in the steppe of Khustai Nuruu NP in huge flocks, so huge that we joked about the big “redpollution”. But this winter, despite many days out at different sites not a single redpoll was recordedthus there was one pollution less for the area.

As there was some time left we decided to see whether the European Greenfinches (see here: click) would be around and Amarkhuu offered to check for the Common Coot which was found during the waterfowl-count a week before (members of the Mongolian Birdwatching Club counted among other birds: Mallard 63, Common Goldeneye 13, Ruddy Shelduck 223, Goosander 7, and impressively Bohemian Waxwing over 1000).

So we rushed towards the area below Songino Khairkhan Uul where we spent an hour or so. We could not find any greenfinches but saw 3 Azure-winged Magpies, a Naumann’s Thrush (naumanni), a female Black-throated Thrush and a male Red-throated x Black-throated Thrush hybrid.

At the UB Ponds we quickly relocated the coot among the Mallards, Common Goldeneyes, Goosanders and Ruddy Shelducks and went back home after a very nice day of birding. Thanx guys for your enjoyable companionship!

Male Red-throated x Black-throated Thrush hybrid,
below Songino Khairkhan Uul, Feb 2012

Male Red-throated x Black-throated Thrush hybrid
in flight showing its betraying reddish tail,
below Songino Khairkhan Uul, Feb 2012


egor_13 said...

Hi Abu and Axel,

northward, i.e. in Irkutsk Region and around, there is also very little number of Redpoll during a whole winter. The most part of local colleagues and me myself still did not even see a single redpoll since October!


Nadwrażliwiec said...

I see You have still winter... Did I guess well?
Birds in Mongolia are very similar to Polish and other European birds. It is something new for me. I like also birdwathing, but I can do it only in the park or in the village.
Greetings for You from Poland.