Thursday, 3 July 2014

Koko Nor Lake

Had another crack at the grouse again but they just weren’t around so we set out on the drive up onto the Tibetan Plateau and Koko Nor Lake, seeing our only Eastern Rook along the way. We stopped at the pass called Sun And Moon Mountain (very nice!) to stretch our legs and found our first Ground-tit, as well as White-rumped and Rufous-necked Snowfinches, plus the first of many Plateau Pikas

It was midday by now and within the hour we had reached a small town where we had a really great meal in a restaurant. The lake wasn’t far away and before we reached it, a pair of Black-necked Cranes were spotted which prompted a quick exit of the coach to fully admire them in the scope, and we also found Horned Lark here as well. Further on and a Mongolian Lark was seen flying past the coach and away into the distance.

At the lake we saw both Common and Whiskered Terns, flocks of Bar-headed Geese grazing along the shoreline, Ruddy Shelduck and Greylag Geese, Common Redshank, and a flotilla of distant ducks included Tufted Duck.

Hume's Short-toed Lark 

Moving on we walked out to a marshy area, finding Hume’s Short-toed Lark and Isabelline Wheatear nearby. Out on the marsh were lots of Black-necked Grebes and we scoped a loose nesting colony of them a little later. Ducks were much in evidence with Red-crested and Common Pochards, Ferruginous Duck, and a single Mallard. Other species here included Black-winged Stilt, Twite and a large flock of Pale Martins.

So we left here and drove to Heimahe, stopping along the way for a quick walk out in the grassland but apart from many Pallas’s Gulls it was quiet. But what views of the gulls and I cant remember seeing so many, with maybe 50+ littering the shoreline, as well as several closer individuals.

Pallas's Gull

On arrival at Heimahe we walked out into the fields and quickly found several huge Tibetan Larks amongst the smaller and more numerous Oriental Skylarks. There was also a distant Upland Buzzard flying past. A short drive took us to a comfortable hotel for the night, but there was just enough time to scan the open fields from a viewpoint at the back of the hotel where Kevin found a family of Red Foxes playing.

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