November 10, 2011

Birding Mongolia in September 2011

part 1: UB Ponds  by Axel Bräunlich

In August I decided at very short notice to spend all of September in Mongolia. Right after my arrival I joined Amarkhuu and Bolormunkh of the Wildlife Science and Conservation Center of Mongolia (WSCC) on a brief (14:40–16:40 h) visit to the “famous” UB Ponds on 3 September 2011. Thanks guys for transport and company!

Abu mentioned in one of his recent posts “...UB-Ponds where wefound 3 singing Yellow-breasted Buntings. Apart from a maraudingstray-dog, ... we did not see anything else noteworthy.” But even when there are no “exceptional” birds around: I found that these ponds are always worth a brief visit (at least 2 hrs at the site needed), especially since they are very easily reached from downtown UB (in less than one hour)!

UB Ponds and the Tuul River, c. 13 km WSW from the city
centre (Sukhbaatar Square), 9 Sept 2011. © A. Bräunlich

After checking the ponds (highlights: Swan Geese, Baillon’s Crake) we stopped briefly at the foot of Songino Khairkhan Uul, bordering the Tuul River. Impressive were at least 600 (and probably more!) Black-eared Kites gathering in the area over the mountain and the floodplain, apparently heading to roost in the gallery forest of the Tuul River. The largest concentration of this species I’ve ever seen in the UB area!

In total we logged 42 species during 2 hours of birding:

Great Crested Grebe6
Swan Goose6
Ruddy Shelduckc.20
Whooper Swan2 ad + 6 juv.
Gadwallc. 30, incl. not fully-grown juv.
Mallardc. 30, incl. female + 9 pulli
Tufted Duckc. 80, incl. several families
Common Goldeneye8
Common Tealc. 60
Northern Shoveler1
Grey Heron95
Eurasian Kestrel1 male (near airport)
Booted Eagle2 dark morph
Western Marsh Harrier2 juv.
Black-eared Kitec. 600 Songino Khairkhan Uul/Tuul
Baillion’s Crake1
Demoiselle Crane21
Common Snipe8
Black-tailed Godwit2 juv.
Spotted Redshanka flock of 22 juv.
Green Sandpiper1
Common Greenshank1
Mongolian Gull3
Black-headed Gull4 juv., one 1stW
Hoopoe2 Songino Khairkhan/Tuul
Common Magpiedozens
Carrion Crow + Daurian Jackdaw – mixed flock of c. 600 between the ponds and downtown UB, flying towards Bogd Uul.
Red-billed Choughflock of c. 80
Northern Raven10+
Great Tit 4 – Songino Khairkhan/Tuul
White-crowned Penduline Tit13 juv.
Barn Swallow 2 – Songino Khairkhan/Tuul
Two-barred Warbler2 Songino Khairkhan/Tuul
Brown Flycatcher 1 – Songino Khairkhan/Tuul
Eurasian Tree Sparrowcommon, largest flock c. 60 at the ponds
Grey Wagtail2 Songino Khairkhan/Tuul
Citrine Wagtail2 juv.
White Wagtailc. 10
Richard’s Pipit2
Olive-backed Pipit1 ponds, 4 Songino Khairkhan/Tuul

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