Saturday, June 12, 2010

Pictures from Siberia - the north

From Krasnoyarsk, we flew to the small village of Bor (2000 inhabitants), 1000 km to the north. Next was a boat trip of 120 km, after which we finally made it to Mirnoe (or Mirnoye) (located at 62°17'N, 89°00'E), situated on the shores of the Yenisei River. Here, the main habitats are taiga and floodplain forest, and off course the river itself is very important for many species.

On the 7h boat trip we saw several White-tailed eagles, Great grey owl, Terek sandpiper, Red-throated divers, ... and also one Brown bear.

We stayed at Mirnoe for 5 days, and every day brought us different birds. The fields around the abandoned village were very good for songbirds, while the small ponds holded i.e. Pin-tailed snipes and Pacific golden-plover.

In the taiga forest itself it was hard work to find good birds, and in the afternoon the forest seemed empty. However, with observations of Yellow-browed, Rustic and Little buntings, Arctic, Greenish, Pallas' leaf and Yellow-browed warblers, Taiga, Asian brown, Dark-sided and Mugimaki flycatchers, singing Red-flanked bluetails, Black-throated and Eye-browed thrushes everywhere ... (and many more birds), we definately could not complain :-)

River island in the Yenisei River.

An iceberg floating in the river.

Iceberg on the shores of the Yenisei.

Mirnoe, our home for five days...

Mirnoe in the morning.

The Siberian taiga.

Fresh prints of a Brown bear (with my Swiss army knife for comparison, they are huge!).

Siberian ground-squirrel, very common everywhere.

We also visited a scientist (Dr. Oleg Bourski) who already rings birds for more than 30 years near Mirnoe. I took some pictures of some nice and interesting birds there:

Yellow-browed warbler, the call of these birds was heard everywhere.

Siberian chiffchaff, nice to see these birds in the hand.

Dusky warbler (he colour-rings all birds that are breeding in his study-area, so there is a colour-ring aspect in this blog-post ;-)).

Lesser whitethroat, another very common bird.

Female taiga flycatcher, unfortunately no male flew into the mistnets while we where there. Many where seen and heard though.

Common rosefinch, this species too was very common.

Little bunting, the most common bunting in the taiga.

Male Pallas's reed bunting, several birds were seen.

Female Pallas's reed bunting.

And now it's back to birding (and looking for insects like butterflies and dragonflies) in Belgium, I hope to find some time in the next couple of days to look for rings in Gent.

Pictures from Siberia - the south

As promised, I'll upload some pics of my trip to Siberia. With a group of 17 people, we flew to Krasnoyarsk (56°00' N, 92°57'E) via Moscou. From there we drove 400 km to the south to discover the steppe of South Siberia. Best birds here were Demoiselle crane, Imperial and Steppe eagles, all four European harriers, Long-toed sandpiper, Pallas's gull, Meadow bunting, Booted warbler, ...

Since I don't (yet) have a good camera to take bird-pictures, most of the pictures are landscapes. However, some good photographers took lots of bird-pictures, some of which can be seen at:

In the steppe, we mainly visited lakes, since these are the places where many birds can be seen, especially during migration:

It was still very cold during the nights and mornings, and some lakes were still partly frozen.

A salt lake, here we saw White-winged scoters of the Asian race stejnegeri, and also the first Knots for the province of Chakassia :-)

Scenic view on the steppe of South Siberia.

After birding in the south, we again drove north to Krasnoyarsk, where we visited Stolby National Park:

View over Stolby.

Finally, a picture of swamp forest near Krasnoyarsk, in this habitat we saw Siberian rubythroat, Siberian blue robin, Black-faced bunting, ...

Next was the northern taiga, I'll post this part in another blog-message.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Back from the taiga

I just retured from a birding trip to Central-Siberia last weekend, so I could not update my blog for the past weeks. Had a great trip with many good birds (and also Brown bear :-)), I'll try to post some pictures later this week. Most of them will be landscapes etc., because digiscoping in the taiga doesn't really work :-)

Gull-wise it was very interesting, with Little gull, Black-headed gull, Common gull (heinei), Pallas's gull, and off course a whole bunch of heuglini/vega intergrades, and also mongolicus, barabensis and cachinnans :-)