Eastern Mongolia is a real paradise for birders as there are many shy and illusive bird species passing through the region and they are easier to see on the open area. There will be many attractive and sought-after species, all in full breeding plumage, including Mandarin & Falcated Ducks, Baikal Teal, White-winged Scoter, Hooded, White-naped and Siberian Cranes, Oriental Plover, Broad-billed and Sharp-tailed Sandpipers, Relict Gull, Northern Parrotbill, White-cheeked and Daurian Starlings, White’s and Dusky Thrushes, Oriental Pratincole, Red-necked, Little and Long-toed Stints, Asian Dowitcher, Grey-capped Greenfinch, and Yellow-browed and Yellow-breasted buntings.
The trip starts at Ulaanbaatar and flies to Choibalsan. Driving through the great Mongolian plateau, reach the bird-rich Lake Buir and do birding at the site for several days. During this trip, we do camping near the birding site. Please note that our camping accommodation is a traditional Mongolian ger/yurt which is comfortable and warm. And the journey will take us to the historic Khalkh River and Ikh Tashgai Lakes which are all known to be the best stopover site for migrating birds.
Our crew picks you up at the Chinggis Khaan international airport upon your arrival in Ulaanbaatar, capital of Mongolia and transfer to the reserved hotel. Optional rest for few hours at the hotel. After lunch (in case you arrive before lunch), visit Tuul river valley for introduction birding at the wetland and a beautiful mix of cherry, elm, willow and poplar. Interesting birds here include Long-tailed Rosefinch, Azure Tit, White-crowned Penduline Tit, White-cheeked Starling, Black Stork, and truly wild and uncommon Mandarin and Falcated Ducks. Welcome dinner at one of the better restaurants in Ulaanbaatar. Food: Welcome dinner. Road: Total coverage 30 km
Transfer to the Chinggis Khaan airport to catch flight to Choibalsan. Upon arrival, we will check in a hotel and drive to river woodland and a marshland near the town. You would not expect high standard hotel in this local town. Anyway it will have a clean room and hot water shower. We will see White-naped Crane, Mongolian Gull, Eastern Marsh Harrier, Pallas’s Grasshopper and Oriental Reed Warblers, Citrine Wagtail (nominate, calcarata –Black-backed Citrine Wagtail), Grey-capped Greenfinch, Pallas’s and Yellow-breasted Bunting,. Food: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner. Road: Total coverage 50 km on paved road (2-3 hours’ drive and 1 and half-hour’ flight).
Early morning we start our long journey to the east to get lake Buir. On the way, we will see Asian and Greater Short-toed Larks, Mongolian Lark, Isabelline Wheatear, Upland Buzzard, Steppe Eagle and possibly Oriental Plover depending on precipitation of the year.
We will spend a whole day at the lake to find the highlight species including several hundreds of Swan Goose, Spot-billed Duck, Falcated and Mandarin Ducks, Baikal Teals, Relict Gull, Hen and Eastern Marsh Harrier, Red-necked, Little, and Long-toed Stints, Asian Dowitcher, Broad-billed and Sharp-tailed Sandpipers, Naumann’s and White’s Thrushes, Pallas’s and Black-faced Buntings. Overnight in our tented camp near the lake. Food: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner. Road: Total coverage 200 km dust road (4-5 hours’ drive).
Drive to the Khalkh gol and set up our camp near the river. We will bird along the river including several habitats of willows and aspens. The target species include Grey-headed Lapwing, Chinese Grey Shrike (used to be breeding), Daurian Jackdaw, Dusky Warbler, Asian Brown Flycatcher, Azure-winged Magpie, Amur Falcon breeding colony, White-cheeked Starling, possibly Daurian Starling, and Black-faced Bunting. Overnight in a tented camp. Food: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner. Road: Total coverage 110 km on paved (3-4 hours’ drive).
Early morning we leave for the Ikh Tashgai lakes, saline lakes on the steppe with reed beds. We will bird the shallow pools and reed beds for the following sought-after species: White-winged Scoter, Hooded, White-naped and Siberian Cranes, Broad-billed and Sharp-tailed Sandpipers, Relict Gull, Northern Parrotbill, Marsh Grassbird, White-cheeked and Daurian Starlings, Red-necked, Little and Long-toed Stints, Asian Dowitcher, Japanese, Yellow-browed and Yellow-breasted buntings. Overnight in a tented camp. Food: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner. Road: Total coverage 60 km dust road (2-3 hours’ drive).
Return to Khalkh river and set up our camp. We will search for the missing species. Overnight in a tented camp. Food: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner. Road: Total coverage 60 km on dust road (2-3 hours’ drive).
Early morning drive to Buir lake and set up our camp in the most scenic area. The same species of birds will be seen including Sand Martin nesting colony and other waterfowls. On the way to the lake the illusive Japanese Quail is the possibility. Overnight in a tented camp. Food: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner. Road: Total coverage 110 km dust road (3-4 hours’ drive).
After breakfast, we will head to Choibalsan town through small lakes where we can try again Relict Gull. Rest and have refreshment at the hotel in town. Overnight in a hotel. Food: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner. Road: Total coverage 200 km on dust road (5-6 hours’ drive).
Fly to Ulaanbaatar city and do birding for missing species in the marshlands and Tuul river valley near Ulaanbaatar. Shopping and city tour available. Overnight in a hotel. Food: Breakfast, Lunch, Farewell Dinner. Road: Total coverage 15 km paved road (30 minutes’ drive).
Transfer to Chinggis Khaan International Airport will be the end of our services in Mongolia.