October 9, 2012

Same walk, different birds

by Andreas Buchheim

When I got up on 6 October I realized that clouds had taken over the sky during the night. The day before, when I was in the golden larch forest above the skiing resort (still no snow), the sky had been brilliantly blue. This made a nice contrast to the forest. But I saw only 1 Spotted Nutcracker, 20 Long-tailed Tits, 3 Goldcrests, 3 Eurasian Nuthatches and 12 Willow Tits that day. The thick cloud-cover looked now promising. It must have brought down some migrants; even though it had neither rained nor snowed. So I took the walk down to the river, just like I did in the previous week. A chilly wind was blowing from NW at 3 Bft, in guts up to 5 Bft and it was quite cold, only 5°C. The clouds were hanging very low and I judged that they were at a height (over ground) of only 500–600 m. The higher parts of Bogd Khaan Mountain were covered by them and later the day they were coated by frost. Because of the dark sky I did again leave my photographic equipment at home, so again no pics. At least I could concentrate on birding today. On my 8 km stretch of the Tuul River I saw the following 46 species:

Daurian Partridge: 8 (almost certainly the same birds)
Mallard: 22
Common Teal: 2
Goosander: 1
Grey Heron: 3
Common Kestrel: 2
Common Snipe: 3
Oriental Turtle Dove (orientalis): 1
Grey-headed Woodpecker: 1 male
Lesser Spotted Woodpecker: 1
Eurasian Skylark: 50 migrating SW
Horned Lark (brandti only; I checked for flava as they could be here already): 9
Buff-bellied Pipit (japonicus): 4
Water Pipit (blakistoni): 1
‘Baikal’ White Wagtail (baicalensis). 1 first winter
Siberian Accentor: 36
Orange-flanked Bluetail: 8
Daurian Redstart: 40
Unidentified thrushes: 120, one big flock flying overhead, seen against the dark-grey sky, later I saw some on the ground of which I could not identify all as plumage-wise I found it difficult to tell variation apart from hybridization
Dusky Thrush: 15
Naumann’s Thrush: 9
Red-throated Thrush: 5
Siberian Chiffchaff: 1
Yellow-browed Warbler: 1 (the same?)
Great Tit: 15
Azure Tit: 60
Eastern Marsh Tit (brevirostris): 1
Long-tailed Tit: 40
Eurasian Nuthatch: 1
Great Grey Shrike (Northern Grey Shrike, sibiricus): 1 first winter
Common Magpie (leucoptera): 35
Red-billed Chough: 80
Oriental Crow: 25
Common Raven: 10
Eurasian Tree Sparrow: 250
Chaffinch: 3
Brambling: 120
Long-tailed Rosefinch: 85
Hawfinch: 2 flocks, 29 and 46
Pine Bunting: 15
Meadow Bunting: 350
Rustic Bunting: 4
Yellow-breasted Bunting: 1
Black-faced Bunting: 1
Little Bunting: 1
Reed Bunting: 1
Pallas’s Bunting: 4

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