Monday, 14 July 2014

Tien Shan Mountains

What a day this turned out to be, as we drove up into the Tien Shan Mountains. 

The meadows at the base of the Tien Shan Mountains were full of wildflowers

Although after a little later start than normal we then hit bad traffic and it took well over two hours to get out of the city and into the arable land at the base of the mountains. 

Red-headed Bunting - the first of many surprises today
Rosy Starlings were common
Tawny Pipit

But some fruitful roadside stops amidst the meadows at the base of the mountains produced a number of goodies and we soon forgot about the journey here, as we quickly found several Tawny Pipits, lots of Red-headed Buntings, flocks of Rosy Starlings, Linnet, Common Whitethroat, Pied and Northern Wheatears, whilst the fields were alive with Eurasian Skylark song-flighting, plus many Turkestan Shrikes were seen as well.

Tien Shan Mountains

Driving higher we checked out some valleys without any joy, apart from finding our first of many Fire-fronted Serins and Eurasian Jackdaws, before heading off to another good area where Pine Buntings were common and we also had Spotted Nutcracker as well

Fire-fronted Serin
Pine Bunting

We had a lunch of lamb pasties before walking up a side valley and after a bit of a search came up with 3 of our main targets: Black-throated Accentor, Blue-capped Redstart and a fine Three-toed Woodpecker. Other species seen included Coal Tit, Eurasian Nuthatch, Eurasian Treecreeper, Goldcrest and others. 

Three-toed Woodpecker

In fact our search had taken longer than we realised as walking back to the road we noticed it was already 6.30pm so left on the drive for the hotel. However, Neil spotted a redstart beside the road and we reversed the coach only to find our main target of a fine male Eversmann’s Redstart

Eversmann's Redstart

Out we jumped and enjoyed fine scope views of it perched on some bushes before flying closer to check us out. 

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