April 17, 2017

Them again!
22 February 2017

text & photos by ABu

What was once a very common sight inside all riparian forests
is now extremely rare: tree hole-nesting birds.
Eurasian Tree Sparrow, Tuul Gol, UB, Febuary 2017

The day before I was about to fly back to work I went down to the river to see what is around there. I caught this Eurasian Tree Sparrow singing from his nest site. Thanks to the unsustainable use of the riparian forests along Mongolia’s rivers this is not seen as often as it used to be. Most big trees had been cut down to be used as fuel wood or for the construction of fences and in many areas no larger trees are left. The high grazing/browsing pressure by too much life stock prevents any sapling to grow and it is not difficult to predict that in the nearer future Mongolia will have no riparian forest any more. Does anybody care? No!

Pallas’s Rosefinch
Tuul Gol, UB, Febuary 2017

Pallas’s Rosefinch
Tuul Gol, UB, Febuary 2017

Finding birds today way not easy. My stretch of the river was almost devoid of birds and I did not discover any “better” crow among the c50 corvids that were hanging around. A female White-backed Woodpecker stayed well hidden until it suddenly took flight to disappear somewhere in the distance and a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker remained always on the far side of the trees.

After a while I flushed a group of six birds, finches according to their jizz, and I recognized the calls of European Greenfinch. The group flew upstream and it took me quite a while to relocate them. The flock consisted of four Pallas’s Rosefinches and a pair of European Greenfinches. The birds were incredibly shy and I only managed to get the female documented.

This is already my third sighting here in UB (see here “Surprise below Songino Khairkhan Uul”; and I saw them again in October 2014 at the International School of Ulaanbaatar). With so few sightings it is hard to know whether something is going on or not. Although UB is the base for most local birdwatchers there are no other records. Only the future will tell if they are wintering in the area regularly.

European Greenfinch
Tuul Gol, UB, Febuary 2017

European Greenfinch
Tuul Gol, UB, Febuary 2017


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