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Birdwatching tour to Central Asia: ornitology in Kazakhstan
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Birdwatching tour to Central Asia: ornitology in Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan — one of the most interesting and significant areas of Central Eurasia in ornithological sphere. Through Kazakhstan, pass one of the major migratory movements of birds. A variety of steppe, water and forest habitat determines the wealth of bird fauna. Due to the large territory and the diversity of landscapes in Kazakhstan breeds about 500 species of birds.

Kazakhstan is rich in its unique natural reserves and national parks, which considered a business card of Kazakhstan for the development of ecological tourism. The basic idea of national parks and reserves — preserving the environment and wildlife. They created in order to preserve rare animals, birds and plants. Birdwatchers from around the world have a great opportunity to observe the representatives of different species of birds on the territory including the more than 10 European countries.

On the whole territory of Kazakhstan inhabited a great many of birds. The number of birds, especially during migration, amazes imagination even the most experienced bird watchers. In addition to a long list of typical European species, nest in Kazakhstan, representatives of which are characteristic only for Central Asia.

The most popular are: Dalmatian Pelican (Pelecanus crispus); Macqueen’s Bustard (Otis tarda); Demoiselle crane (Anthropoides virgo); Saxaul Sparrow (Passer ammodendri); Lark (Alauda arvensis); Ogar (Tadorna ferruginea); Headed duck (Oxyura leucocephala); Himalayan griffon (Gyps himalayensis); Black vulture (Aegypius monachus); Shikra (Accipiter badius); Steppe Eagle (Aquila nipalensis); Saker Falcon (Falco cherrug); Ibisbill (Ibidorhyncha struthersii); Big Plover (Charadrius dubius); Sociable Lapwing (Vanellus gregarius); White-winged woodpecker (Dendrocopos leucopterus); Flamingo (Phoenicopterus) and many other members of the birds. Our company Travel Agency Tour Asia is confident that all participants will be delighted with this remarkable ornithological and birdwatching tour in Central Asia.

Birdwatching tour to Central Asia: ornitology in Kazakhstan

Tour program

Arriving in airport of Almaty city. Transfer from airport to hotel. Accommodation in the room. Rest

Day 1.  Almaty — Kaskelen Gorge.

Our journey begins in the city of Almaty, the greenest city in Central Asia. We spend our first day in the Ile-Alatau National Park, namely in the Kaskelen Gorge, where you are acquainted with «simple» representatives of birds. Among them: gray-headed goldfinch (Carduelis caniceps), Average Remez (Remiz pendulinus) и ordinary Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus). In addition, you can find here, such representatives as Krasnouhov Bunting (Emberiza cioides), Bluebird (Myophonus caeruleus) and Common Redstart (Phoenicurus phoenicurus).

Day 2.  Sogety Valley, Kokpek Pass.

Early morning we leave Almaty city and drive 200 km to the east to one of the exciting and famous sights in Kazakhstan — Charyn Canyon. Our route runs through the pass Kokpek and valley Sogety.

Among beautiful scenery of the gorge Charyn river we will meet representatives of the following birds: Asian keklik (Alectoris chukar), Brown Tail amaziliya (Amazilia tzacatl), Blue Rock Thrush (Monticola solitarius), Mountain Slavka (Sylvia althaea), Chestnut finch (Lonchura castaneothorax), Grey bunting (Emberiza cineracea), Zhёlchnaya bunting (Emberiza bruniceps), Snow vulture (Gyps himalayensis), Black vulture (Aegypius monachus), Legged buzzard (Buteo rufinus), Golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), Saker Falcon (Falco cherrug), Prairie windhover (Falco naumanni).

During the trip, we also can meet different kinds of Pink starling (Sturnus roseus), Finches (Fring?lla co?lebs) and Bulanyi finch (Rhodospiza obsoleta). After bird watching, we go to our guesthouses near the river Charyn.

Birdwatching tour to Central Asia: ornitology in Kazakhstan

Day 3. Charyn canyon.

We start the day with early trip to the surrounding of valleys Sogety and Charyn Canyon. We have to find these representatives of birds in Central Asia: Pallas’s sandgrouse (Syrrhaptes paradoxus), Steppe Eagle (Aquila nipalensis), Warbler (Acrocephalus), Horned lark (Eremophila alpestris) andLesser whitethroat (Sylvia curruca).

After a successful trip, we return to the Charyn Canyon where representatives of various hunting birds welcome us, namely: Prairie windhover (Falco naumanni), Tengmalm legged buzzard, (Buteo hemilasius), Saker Falcon (Falco cherrug). On the back way to our camp, we can meet wonderful bird — Demoiselle (Anthropoides virgo). After arrival, you have a fantastic dinner in the dwelling of ancient Kazakhs — in the Yurt.     

  Birdwatching tour to Central Asia: ornitology in Kazakhstan      

Day 4. Return to Almaty.

Day starts with a walk around near neighborhood. For those who missed the opportunity to watch the Pallas’s sandgrouse and other representatives, will be a second chance. After that, we return to Almaty city. During the way, we will drive through the Kokpek Pass, where you can find a big quantity of butterflies, especially in May. Upon return to Almaty, you expect a delicious dinner and a nice shower in the hotel.

Day 5. Almaty – Desert Taukum.

Early morning we leave Almaty city and move to the north toward Desert Taukum. On our way, we met beautiful poppy fields, wonderful views of the Tien Shan Mountains and of course — amazing representatives of birds. On the way to the Desert Taukum, we make the first stop on a fantastic lake Sorbulak.

Here we can meet with next representatives of birds: Raksha (Coracias garrulus) и European bee-eater (Merops apiaster), Dalmatian Pelican (Pelecanus crispus), Ferruginous duck (Aythya nyroca), different types of water birds of the family Grebe, White-tailed Sandpiper (Calidris temminckii), Terek Sandpiper (Xenus cinereus). After bird watching, we will have lunch in the open air. Next, we go to our camp in the desert Taukum.

Day 6. Desert Taukum.

In the south, boundary of sands Taukum runs along the river «Ili», and that is why you can meet a wide variety of birds, especially during the spring. Our morning begins from bird-watching. On our way, we meet various representatives, such as: Seagulls (Larus), Cormorants (Phalacrocoracidae), Geese (Anser) и Pelicans (Pelecanus).

Also, here nesting Swans (Cygnus), Herons (Ardea) и Sandpipers (Charadrii). In the tugais can often be found — Pheasant (Phasianus), Remez (Remiz pendulinus), Reed bunting (Emberiza schoeniclus), Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis), White Blue Tit (Cyanistes cyanus), Spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia), Gray crane (Grus communis), Loons (Gavia), Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus).

Occasionally we can see birds of prey: Harrier (Circus cyaneus), Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus), Screech owl (Asio otus) and Booted eagle (Aquila pennata). Bird watchers from all over the world come to these places for birdwatching. After observing, we return to the camp where we will have a hearty dinner.

Birdwatching tour to Central Asia: ornitology in Kazakhstan

Day 7. Return to Almaty.

Early morning we will go deep into the desert Taukum 30-35 km in search of interesting birds: Caspian Plover (Charadrius asiaticus), Greater Sand Plover (Charadrius leschenaultii).

After observing, we return to our camp, collect him and go back to Almaty. During return way, we make a couple of stops, including a fascinating place with ancient petroglyphs and rock paintings.

Among the birds, we can meet: Big rock nuthatch (Sitta tephronota), Red-headed Bunting (Emberiza bruniceps), Little Bustard (Tetrax tetrax), Hoopoe (Upupa epops), Raksha (Coracias garrulus), European bee-eater (Merops apiaster), Shikra (Accipiter badius), Lesser Grey Shrike (Lanius minor), Garden Warbler (Acrocephalus dumetorum), Oriental Turtle Dove (Streptopelia orientalis) и Bulanyi finch (Rhodospiza obsoleta).

After return to Almaty, we move in a comfortable hotel, where you can take a shower and enjoy all the benefits of civilization.

Day 8. Tien Shan Mountains.

After breakfast at the hotel, we are going to Big Almaty Gorge. We need about 2-hours to get to the guesthouses. After placement, we go on a walk to one of the most beautiful lakes in the Almaty region — Big Almaty Lake.

This lake is remarkable in that the water in it crystal clear color, and when the sun’s rays are reflected on the water surface — creates the effect of splitting.

On this territory inhabited by a large number of birds, such as: Dipper (Cinclus cinclus), Blue bird (Myophonus caeruleus), Siberian Rubythroat (Luscinia calliope), Korolkova finch (Serinus pusillus), White-winged Grosbeak (Mycerobas), Archa lentil (Carpodacus rhodochlamys), Grey warbler (Sylvia communis), Painted titmouse (Leptopoecile sophiae), Average hobby (Falco subbuteo), Oriental Turtle Dove (Streptopelia orientalis), Himalayan Ular (Tetraogallus himalayensis) and many other. After bird watching, we go back to our guesthouse near Big Almaty Lake, where you will have dinner in national style.

Birdwatching tour to Central Asia: ornitology in Kazakhstan

Day 9. Tien Shan Mountains.

We have a whole day to explore the birds, surrounded by vertiginous species of this area. Early morning we go for birdwatching to Astronomical Observatory, which is located in the Tien Shan Mountains at an altitude of about 3000 meters above sea level.

On the way, we meet a lot of representatives of birds: Darkspine setophaga (Dendroica caerulescens), Indian warbler (Sulphur-bellied Warbler), and Painted titmouse (Leptopoecile sophiae).

Climbing higher into the mountains, to an altitude of about 3000 meters, we will seek a meeting with the Bearded Vulture (Gypaetus barbatus), Snow vulture (Gyps himalayensis), Yellow-billed Chough (Pyrrhocorax graculus), Chough (Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax), White-winged Redstart (Phoenicurus phoenicurus), also we have a good chance to observe the Himalayan Ular (Tetraogallus himalayensis).

After bird watching, we go back to our guesthouse.

Day 10. Show of birds of prey — Return to Almaty.

In the first half of the day, we have free time for bird watching near Big Almaty Lake. After lunch, we return to the city of Almaty. On the way into the city, we will make one stop in a bird nursery «Ak Sunkar», where you can watch the show with birds of prey.

The show starts at 17:00, in the representation participate Saker falcon, Bald eagle, Owl, Egyptian vulture, Golden eagle. Duration of the show — 30 minutes. After show, we go straight into the Almaty city. After dinner at the hotel, you expect evening trip to Kok-Tobe hill, which offers a wonderful view of the whole city.

Day 11–12. Almaty – Astana — Korgalzhyn reserve.

After early breakfast, we drive to the airport, where we will have a domestic flight to Astana. We will fly 1,200 km and a half hour and arrive in the capital of our great Republic — Astana.

After landing we go into the Korgalzhyn Reserve, the road will takes about 3 hours. After arrival, we check into the guesthouse. It is interesting that Korgalzhyn State Nature Reserve was created precisely as an ornithological. Also, Korgalzhyn Reserve was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

For this moment, observed more than 300 species of birds that live on the territory of reserve. The number of birds, especially during migration, amazes imagination even experienced birders. In addition, in the steppes of the reserve nesting Demoiselle Crane (Anthropoides virgo), Little Bustard (Tetrax tetrax), sometimes Bustard (Otis tarda).

Total in reserve recorded 20 species listed in the IUCN Red List of IUCN, 37 species — in the Red Book of Kazakhstan. Located at the crossroads of two migration routes, wetlands represent giant magnet, which attracts a huge number of birds. The pearl is the Korgalzhyn Reserve — Flamingo (Phoenicopterus). During the period from April to September on the lake Tengiz — you can find large groups of these birds.

We have 2 days for bird watching in this lovely nature reserve. On the territory of Korgalzhyn Nature Reserve, we will meet the following representatives: Sociable lapwing (Vanellus gregarius), Black-Winged Pratincole (Glareola nordmanni), White-winged tern wading (Chlidonias leucopterus), Red-necked Phalarope (Phalaropus lobatus), Dandy (Tringa erythropus), Terek Sandpiper (Xenus cinereus), White-tailed Sandpiper (Calidris temminckii).

Wetlands of Korgalzhyn Reserve are also a habitat for the Dalmatian pelican (Pelecanus crispus), Great bittern (Botaurus stellaris), Headed duck (Oxyura), Red-necked grebe (Podiceps grisegena), Whooper (Cygnus cygnus), Grey goose (Anser anser), Red-crested Pochard (Netta rufina) and Caspian tern (Hydroprogne caspia).

Furthermore, here inhabited a wide variety of gulls, the most popular ones: Black-headed gull (Larus ichthyaetus), Slender-billed gull (Larus genei) и Headed gull (Larus cachinnans).

Birdwatching tour to Central Asia: ornitology in Kazakhstan

Day 13. Return to Astana.

After breakfast at Korgalzhyn Nature Reserve, we return to Astana, where we will have a wonderful lunch in national style. Furthermore, we have planned Astana city tour, during which you will meet the main attractions of the capital, as well as be able to buy souvenirs in the memory of this remarkable journey. The tour includes visits to: Baiterek Monument, Water-green Boulevard, Hazrat Sultan Mosque, shopping center Khan Shatyr, the Palace of Peace and Accord and the Residence of the President. After city tour, we go to the hotel. You will have a free evening to walk around evening city.

Day 14. Return to home.

After a splendid vacation in Central Asia, it is time to go home. Transfer from hotel to airport. Return to home

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