June 22, 2007

Two new species for Mongolia! – James Lidster/Sunbird

James Lidster, tour leader for Sunbird has had only one day at home in the UK between two journeys, but managed to mail me a few highlights from his recent Sunbird tour to Mongolia, including two first records for the country! Well done James, many thanks! (Observations by James and his group, text and comments in brackets are by me.)

Boon Tsagaan Nuur/ Gobi Lakes Valley

A small bittern Ixobrychus sp on 6 June. (Little Bittern occurs in western Mongolia; presumably it is a rare breeding visitor here. Von Schrenck’s Bittern is a vagrant – or an overlooked very rare passage migrant – to eastern Mongolia.)

A Bewick's Swan on 6/8 June. (A rare passage migrant in Mongolia.)

Bewick’s Swan June 2007. Photo © J. Lidster/Sunbird

One Yellow-billed Egret Egretta intermedia on 8 June. (The species is better known as Intermediate Egret, but it is called Yellow-billed Egret in Birds of the World: Recommended English Names, authored by Frank Gill and Mintern Wright on behalf of the International Ornithological Congress, IOC. First record for Mongolia. The closest area where it occurs regularly is more than 1500 km away from the Gobi Valley, well south of the Huang He [Yellow River] in China. A truly spectacular observation!)

Yellow-billed Egret, Boon Tsagaan Nuur, June 2007.
Photos © J. Lidster/Sunbird

A non-breeding Chinese Pond Heron on 6/8 June. (The bird was initially identified as a pond heron Ardeola sp, Indian or Chinese Pond Heron. However, the photo of the sitting bird shows clearly the plain loral area and the plain dark feathers on the lower breast, forming a distinct dark patch on the neck base side. These characters are diagnostic for Chinese Pond Heron and distinguish it from Indian Pond Heron. See Jiguet, F. 2006. Identification of non-breeding Squacco, Indian and Chinese Pond Herons. Alula 12: 114-119. Chinese Pond Heron is a rare passage migrant in Mongolia, occurring mainly in May and June.)

Chinese Pond Heron. Boon Tsagaan Nuur, June 2007
Photos © J. Lidster/Sunbird

Khongoryn Els, South Gobi Province

Grey-headed Lapwing 1 on 12 June (A recently discovered breeding visitor to eastern Mongolia, elsewhere vagrant/very rare passage migrant.)

Grey-headed Lapwing.
Khongoryn Els, June 2007.
Photo © J. Lidster/Sunbird
Heavily cropped picture,
but a good-enough proof!

Juulchin Camp, NE of Dalandzadgad, South Gobi Province

Red Collared Dove (called Red Turtle Dove in the IOC list) Streptopelia tranquebarica one male 12-14 June at least. (First record for Mongolia. I always thought this species to be a good candidate for a first in Mongolia since it is migratory and occurs as a breeding bird immediately to the south of Mongolia in northern China.)

Red Collared Dove, Juulchin Gobi Camp, Jun 2007.
Photo © J. Lidster/Sunbird

Unidentified drongo Dicrurus sp 1 on morning of 13 June, seen 3 times in flight but no photos and it seemed to move through very quickly. (The only record of a drongo from Mongolia comes from the same site and was seen on almost the same day of the month: One adult and one immature Black Drongo together on 14 June 2000, A. Hovorka, H.-G. Folz, W. Rathmayer, D. Batdelger. However, Ashy Drongo is also a candidate for vagrancy in Mongolia.)

Golden Oriole One on 13/14 June. (Rare, but probably regular passage migrant, breeding in western Mongolia).

Other species (regularly occurring in Mongolia) seen on this remarkable trip include for example Long-toed Stint, Oriental Honey Buzzard, White-naped Crane (incl. 2 chicks), Oriental Plover (incl. 3 chicks), Asian Dowitcher, and Grey Nightjar.

No comments: