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494 photographed species of 522 (94%)
found 23 new species for Kazakhstan


Novruz 2021. Kyzylkum desert.

2021-03-22| Askar Isabekov

One only day of our trip without rainy forecast. We go from Arys to Kyzylkum desert. Driving by Koksarai reservoir we watched flock of Greater White-fronted Geese of about 15 birds, then several flocks of Gulls. Good fact, it's means there are birds in Koksarai, at least we have a hopeness, especially after yesterday's Shashkakol which really disappointed.

We crossed Syrdaria river using Bairkum bridge. Landscape in that side of the river is plain desert with Saka's mounds in the beginnig, then after the turn to west it became saxaul forest, which became as denser and higher as we more drive to west. Commonly birding in desert is not in not so rich main habitat, but mostly in tracts, in our case means wells and rocks. We started in well named Les (means 'forest'). There are several high tall Elm trees and corral with a lot of cattle's manure here, which attract birds. Here we recorded Desert Finches, Chaffinch, Black and Eversmann's Redstart, Chiffchaff, Pied Wheatear, Common Starlngs, Hoopoe etc. Water of well is very warm, it's able to comfortable take bath here. Also in warm stream the Toads put the eggs. This time we saw threads of eggs, but also the copulation of Toads. Totally under the broken branches of tree there are about ten couples. Actually, it turns out male and female of Toad are well distinguished. Female is big, smooth with clear contrast spots, but male is less than female, with warts, spots are present in legs only.

The next birding spot is Tabakbulak well, here we took a lunch, than dispersed around the area where everyone take photos of something. In the end we will have a little of similar photos and a big number of birds species, it's of course good. Of the recorded species I can note three couples of Marsh Harriers (breeding birds, but not of all birds), Short-toed Snake Eagles, Gadwalls, Red-crested Pochard, Water Rail (resident), Desert Finches (residents), Spanish Sparrow, Reed Buntings, Desert Weatears. Unfortunately we didn't find Little Owls.

Murunkarak rock was he next birding spot for us. As we have a limit of time we had birding here only during one and half hour. It's really a bit of time. In this time most of us could just to watch and take photo of Finsch's Wheatear, the main of local target birds. Totally we counted seven Finsch's Wheatears, including one female collecting nest materials. The rest birds were males which had display flying and chased one to another in their own territory. I shot other birds either in case they were flying by me (Egyptian Vulture, Black Vulture, Demoiselle Cranes) or in case they came close to me (Black Redstart, Tree Pipit). But Alexander could to make a middle-distance walk, and saw Little Owls, Grey Partridges, Blue and Common Rock Thrushes. Of course Murunkarak is the spot need more time for birding, more time for walking and more time for waiting.

After Murunkarak I was feeling that situation normalized. All birds are present, all is in their own placed. We also visited the well adjoined to rare saxaul forest. Sandgrouses, Plovers and other birds com to drink water to this well. But today birds are absent. Local farmer said 5 days ago all around was covered even not by snow but by ice, and shown us broken due the heave weight of ice the branches of trees. Despite the absence of birds it was very nice and calmly here.

While we have a sun light we started to go back, hoping to birds of prey resting in power line poles. But we took photo of nothing excluding one only Imperial Eagle with nice white shoulders, and already in the dark we went to spend night to Arys.

1. Steppe Grey Shrike

2. Eastern Imperial Eagle

3. Yellow Ground Squirrel

4. Black Redstart of phoenicuroides subspecies (black back)

5. Black Redstart of murinus subspecies (grey back)

6. Eversmann's Redstart

7. well Les

8. European Green Toads

9. Long-legged Buzzards

10. Crested Lark

11. Spanish Sparrow

12. Gennady Dyakin

13. first Snake Eagle of this year

14. first Egyptian Vulture of this year

15. Rapid Racerunner

16. Gennady, Marina, Olga

17. parking in Murunkarak

18. Today is Wheatears day, we saw five spceies of this birds a day, first one is Isabelline Wheatear

19. Pied Wheatear

20. Northern Wheatear

21. Desert Wheatear

22. Finsch's Wheatear

23. Tulipa buhseana

# species number

1Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo)5

2Greater White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons)20

3Ruddy Shelduck (Tadorna ferruginea)2

4Common Teal (Anas crecca)15

5Gadwall (Anas strepera)1

6Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)2

7Red-crested Pochard (Netta rufina)2

8Smew (Mergellus albellus)1

9Black Kite (Milvus migrans)1

10Hen Harrier (Circus cyaneus)1

11Pallid Harrier (Circus macrourus)2

12Western Marsh-Harrier (Circus aeruginosus)10

13Common Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus)1

14Long-legged Buzzard (Buteo rufinus)15

15Short-toed Snake-Eagle (Circaetus gallicus)5

16Steppe Eagle (Aquila nipalensis)30

17Eastern Imperial Eagle (Aquila heliaca)2

18Egyptian Vulture (Neophron percnopterus)1

19Cinereous Vulture (Aegypius monachus)2

20Common Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus)5

21Chukar Partridge (Alectoris chukar)3

22Grey Partridge (Perdix perdix)2

23Common Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus)2

24Common Crane (Grus grus)5

25Demoiselle Crane (Anthropoides virgo)20

26Water Rail (Rallus aquaticus)1

27Macqueen's Bustard (Chlamydotis macqueenii)3

28Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)1

29Pallas's Gull (Larus ichthyaetus)10

30Black-headed Gull (Larus ridibundus)70

31Wood Pigeon (Columba palumbus)голос

32Rock Pigeon (Columba livia)

33Little Owl (Athene noctua)2

34Common Swift (Apus apus)1

35Hoopoe (Upupa epops)5

36Crested Lark (Galerida cristata)

37Greater Short-toed Lark (Calandrella brachydactyla)

38Calandra Lark (Melanocorypha calandra)

39White Wagtail (Motacilla alba)1

40Masked Wagtail (Motacilla personata)5

41Tawny Pipit (Anthus campestris)1

42Tree Pipit (Anthus trivialis)1

43Isabelline Shrike (Lanius isabellinus)15

44Turkestan Shrike (Lanius phoenicuroides)1

45Steppe Grey Shrike (Lanius pallidirostris)5

46Common Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)15

47Common Mynah (Acridotheres tristis)10

48Black-Billed Magpie (Pica pica)

49Eurasian Jackdaw (Corvus monedula)

50Rook (Corvus frugilegus)

51Carrion Crow (Corvus corone)

52Hooded Crow (Corvus cornix)

53Common Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita)2

54Northern Wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe)5

55Pied Wheatear (Oenanthe pleschanka)15

56Finsch's Wheatear (Oenanthe finschii)8

57Desert Wheatear (Oenanthe deserti)10

58Isabelline Wheatear (Oenanthe isabellina)

59Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush (Monticola saxatilis)1

60Blue Rock Thrush (Monticola solitarius)1

61Black Redstart (Phoenicurus ochruros)10

62Eversmann's Redstart (Phoenicurus erythronotus)2

63Bluethroat (Luscinia svecica)1

64Fieldfare (Turdus pilaris)2

65Eurasian Blackbird (Turdus merula)1пели утром

66Bearded Tit (Panurus biarmicus)5

67Turkestan Tit (Parus bokharensis)2

68Spanish Sparrow (Passer hispaniolensis)1

69Rock Sparrow (Petronia petronia)5

70Common Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs)5

71Desert Finch (Rhodospiza obsoleta)8

72Rock Bunting (Emberiza cia)1

73Northern Reed Bunting (Emberiza schoeniclus)1

2021-03-31. Сергей Корнев:

Спасибо, Аскар, за интересный рассказ! Снова побывал в знакомых местах, пусть и онлайн...

2021-03-31. Малик Нукусбеков:

Фотографии шикарные.
Прошлом году когда был 9 марта Мурнкараке не далеко курганник плотно сидел на кладке, а в этом году они только спаривается.... все поздно...

Аскар, когда вы там были в этих местах никакой тюльпаны не цвели?

2021-03-31. Аскар Исабеков:

Спасибо, Сергей, Малик. Тюльпанов никаких не видели нигде.

2021-04-01. Аскар Исабеков:

Малик, оказывается тюльпаны были, Виктория прислала фото тюльпана Бузе с Мурункарака.

2021-04-08. Геннадий Дякин:

Серых журавлей было 5. Еще у артезиана Лес была камышовая овсянка и минимум 2 теньковки.

2021-04-08. Askar Isabekov:

спасибо, Гена, подкорректировал

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rare birds records

White-winged Snowfinch (Montifringilla nivalis)

© Vladimir Vorobyov
VKO Katon-Karagay

The first record of the species in the Kazakh part of Altai, confirmed by a photo.

Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus)

© Qanatbek Kenzhegulov

The first reliable record of the Great Black-backed Gull on the territory of Kazakhstan. There are indications of finds of this gull in the Caspian Sea between the mouths of the Volga and the Urals, as well as near Omsk (Dolgushin 1962). Vagrant are known to the Makhachkala region (Tatarinkova 1970).

Dusky Thrush (Turdus eunomus)

© Askar Isabekov
Uzunagach, Almaty oblast.

A rare vagrant species for Kazakhstan. On February 27 and 28, two birds kept in the thickets of silverberries near the village of Uzynagash (43 km west of Almaty). This is the sixth record of the Dusky Thrush for Kazakhstan. Records of this species are known for the Syrdarya, near the village of Dzhulek (October 16, 1927), near Almaty (February 16, 2013), as well as Ust-Kamenogorsk (October 14 and 16, 2016), Kurgaldzhino (May 7, 2020).

Pygmy Cormorant (Phalacrocorax pygmaeus)

© Askar Isabekov
Almaty, Aitykov str.

The first record of Pygmy Cormorant in Almaty in general and, in particular, during the winter. The expansion of the Pygmy Cormorant to the northeast concerns not only the probable nesting area, but also the wintering grounds. The nearest winter finds are Sorbulak and Taldykorgan (winter 2017-18, one bird each). In this connection, it is worth noting a significant number of birds in the Almaty (40) and Sorbulak (20) records this winter.

more rarities...

unidentified birds


Анна Ясько: Сложно сказать, хохотунья или барабинская. Птица еще не во взрослом наряде, это усложняет задачу.


Анна Ясько: Каменка-плешанка, самка.


Алдияр Сапарбаев: Черныш

more unidentified birds...