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A Report from

Checklist of birds seen in Kazakhstan Sept 2003,

Justin Jansen

Underneath is the total trip list; also taxonomic questions about several species are answered. I like to follow the list from James F. Clements 2000. Birds marked with * are a new races, and birds marked with ** where a new species!

I saw 199 species of birds, and I saw 30 new species!

1.   Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis capensis * we saw this species at Kyzylkol and few places on the way and on the way back from Chokpak to Kyzylkol and visa versa. Up to 100+ at Kyzylkol Lake.

2.   Red-necked Grebe Podiceps grisegena holboellii * At Kyzylkol where a maximum of 3 birds present on at least two dates!

3.   Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus cristatus Few birds at Kyzylkol up tot 5.

4.   Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis 100-s of birds at Kyzylkol Lake.

5.   Great White Pelican Pelecanus onocroralus ** saw my first birds on 18 September at Kyzylkol 2 adults and 1 young bird (adult had three separate broken primary's in the left wing and right wing was ok, I looked at this stage of damage because a Great White Pelican was present in Holland in October 1999 and showed the same damage, but was rejected by the Dutch Rarity committee because it was considered to be an escape due to this pattern of wing damage) and an adult bird on 19 September in a flock of Dalmatian Pelicans.

6.   Dalmatian Pelican Pelecanus crispus ** at Kyzylkol on 17 September a young bird, a group of 24 birds (with 3 Greater White Pelicans) on 18 September and 6 birds on 19 September. These where the first migrating birds of the season. They are heading for India to winter here.

Note: Vulnerable qualified by Birdlife international, the largest numbers of the world are found in Kazakhstan.

7.   Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo sinensis I considered the juveniles I saw rather pale (white) compared to our European birds, maybe bleaching or so. We saw few smaller groups at Kyzylkol. Juvenile birds looked mostly white on the belly!

8.   Grey Heron Ardea cinerea Daily small numbers seen at Kyzylkol. Also few migrating birds at Chokpak.

9.   Black-crowned Night-heron Nycticorax nycticorax nycticorax only birds heard flying around our camp at Kyzylkol at 18 September while drinking Vodka.

10.   Great Bittern Botaurus stellaris stellaris only two birds seen at Kyzylkol on 18 September!

11.   Eurasian Spoonbill Platalea leucordia leucordia only a group of 47 birds seen at Kyzylkol on 15 September!

12.   Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea seen on various spots like the Great Almaty Lake 2 birds on 25 September (2900 meters up), Kyzylkol (1000+ birds on various dates) and at the lake Darbaza on 15 September (15 birds).

13.   Common Shelduck Tadorna tadorna few birds present on Kyzylkol, up to 10 birds.

14.   Eurasian Wigeon Anas penelope at Kyzylkol several 100's spread across the lake.

15.   Gadwall Anas strepera few birds present at Kyzylkol up to two or three a day!

16.   Common Teal Anas crecca crecca few birds seen on various stops, most birds 20's at Kyzylkol.

17.   Mallard Anas platyrhynchos platyrynchos at Kyzylkol few birds around, also at Big Almaty lake and at the Darbaza.

18.   Northern Pintail Anas acuta acuta few birds present at Kyzylkol.

19.   Garganey Anas querquedula some small groups were at Kyzylkol Lake.

20.   Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata Some small groups at Kyzylkol.

21.   Marbled Teal Marmaronetta angustirostris ** two birds seen at Kyzylkol flying over our tents on 15 September. Others saw these two birds a few other times flying over on the same day and days afterwards.

Note: Vulnerable qualified by Birdlife international.

22.   Red-crested Pochard Netta rufina just few birds seen at Kyzylkol 3 birds were swimming up the river along side the camp on 18 September and 4 birds were at the lake on 17 September.

23.   Common Pochard Aythya ferina large concentrations at Kyzylkol, 1500+ birds.

24.   Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula few parties swimming at Kyzylkol.

25.   White-headed Duck Oxyura leucocephala no less then 2200+ birds were present at Kyzylkol lake and this is probably the largest gathering you can see in the whole world. The world population is estimated at 8 to 12.000 birds so almost ¼ of the world population was at the lake!

Note: Endangered qualified by Birdlife International, Kazakhstan is the main breeding area in the world.

26.   Osprey Pandion haliaetus haliaetus we recorded 3 birds on migration, 2 adults at Chokpak (14 & 21 September) and a juvenile at Kyzylkol (at 17 & 18 September).

27.   Western Honey-buzzard Pernis apivorus at Chokpak daily few birds migrating past, one bird caught together with two eastern HB. Up to 20 a day!

28.   Eastern Honey-buzzard Pernis ptilorhynchus orientalis * I saw myself 33 birds of them 22 where adult birds and 11 where juvenile. All except two birds (at Kosmos Station) where at Chokpak. If I count the totals of the others in the same period no less then 60 birds where seen, despite not much raptor watching! So it's possible to see more Eastern Honey-buzzards to see now with ease then Dick Forsman saw at his 1993 visit to Chokpak. So probably this species is breeding more westerly or there is slight change in the migration pattern of the species. Last years many birds have been found on migration at Eilat, Israel in spring and autumn even (2003 about 10 birds where seen). The interesting thing about the birds at Kosmos Station they were flying at about 4 km height and migrated across the Tien Shan! And not looking for a pass to get through!

29.   Black Kite Milvus migrans lineatus birds seen all belong to Black-eared Kite. These birds are split of by some authors as a separate species. Birds are distinctive due to their characteristic primary pattern, colour of the under body and the dark eye-mask. We saw both juveniles as adults in hand and in the field. In general they looked larger than our Black Kites.

30.   White-tailed Fish-eagle Haliaeetus albicilla we twice saw an adult bird (not very bleached so not a very old adult) on 18 & 19 September at Kyzylkol. Bird caused great panic with all the other birds while flying over the lake.

Note: listed as near threatened by Birdlife international.

31.   Lammergeyer Gypaetus barbatus barbatus (altaicus) ** we saw two birds on 24 September high up in the Tien Shan near the Great Almaty lake. This was a sub adult and a juvenile bird directly comparison with a Golden Eagle was nice. Birds belong for some authors to a different race altaicus but it's now replaced into barbatus.

32.   Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus percnopterus just a single bird seen, as we expected to see more birds on passage. An adult type bird flew over our heads on 13 September at Chokpak.

33.   Himalayan Griffon Gyps himalayensis ** on 20 September we looked at a Griffon Vulture which appeared as pale to me as an Egyptian Vulture would. Somehow I failed to make the mental connection, until the bird disappeared and AC inquired whether Himalayan Vulture could be found here and yep, the pale breast and the strong contrast on the under wing was indeed a very good feature for Himalayan Vulture. The two birds we saw at the Tien Shan Mountains on 25 September were very easy to identify, as we were now aware of the ID of these vultures.

34.   Eurasian Griffon Gyps fulvus fulvus few birds noticed circling in the tops of the Tien Shan mountains bordering Chokpak station. Only seen on 14 September (1) and 22 September (2).

35.   Monk Vulture Aegypius monachus few times seen 3 (14/9), 2 (19/9), 4 (20/9), 2 (22/9), 1 (23/9) and 1 at 24/9. Birds where seen at Chokpak, Kyzylkol, between Chokpak and Almaty and at the Tien Shan south of Almaty.

Note: listed as near threatened by Birdlife international

36.   Short-toed Snake-Eagle Circaetus gallicus two birds seen on 14 September migrating at Chokpak and two birds on 20 September at the same spot.

37.   Pallid Harrier Circus macrourus seen on various dates: 2 (13/9), 2 (14/9), 6 (15/9), 5 (16/9), 3 (17/9), 2 (18/9), 1 (19/9), 2 (20/9), 1 (21/9), 6 (22/9) and 5 (23/9). From these 31 birds, the sex rate was 23 juvenile, 4 third year male (one male 3 days in a row), 3 adult female (one bird 3 days in a row) and 1 adult male. Few unidentified harriers seen on some dates probably belonged also to this species.

Note: listed as near threatened by Birdlife international

38.   Montagu's Harrier Circus pygargus only two birds have seen one juvenile at Chokpak at 15 September and a near adult male near Darbaza on the same date.

39.   Northern Marsh-harrier Circus aeruginosus aeruginosus Seen daily in variable numbers, some birds were on passage at Chokpak. Most birds seen at the various lakes were resident birds.

40.   Shikra Accipiter badius cenchroides ** only two birds seen on the first day of arrival at Chokpak, they looked much more paler above compared Sparrowhawks. This was at 13 September.

41.   Northern Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus nisus/nisosimilis * daily seen at most stops. Several birds caught at Chokpak.

42.   Northern Goshawk Accipiter gentiles buteoides * a large female Goshawk caught at Chokpak on 20 September belonged probably to this race.

43.   Eurasian Buzzard Buteo buteo vulpinus * there was strong migration of Steppe Buzzards at Chokpak station the days we stayed here. Some days more then 3000+ birds passed here. Also some large groups at Kyzylkol. In total more then 10.000 birds where seen the whole trip!

44.   Long-legged Buzzard Buteo rufinus rufinus daily seen with day maximum up to 50+ during travelling from Almaty to Chokpak and visa versa. Only not seen in the Tien Shan trip on 24 and 25 September.

45.   Greater Spotted-eagle Aquila clanga "fulvescens" the only bird seen was a third year bird midway between Chokpak and Almaty on 23 September. Bird was clearly of the fulvescens form as it was very pale under parts and upper parts as the coverts on upper- and underwing.

Note: Vulnerable qualified by Birdlife international.

46.   Steppe Eagle Aquila nipalensis nipalensis seen on various dates: 13 (14/9), 1 (15/9), 4 (19/9), 1 (20/9), 9 (22/9) and 20+ (23/9). Few juveniles most where adult birds.

47.   Imperial Eagle Aquila heliaca heliaca two birds where seen during our trip, the best was a third year bird at Kyzylkol on 17 and 18 September and a adult type bird 23 September during driving from Chokpak to Almaty.

Note: Vulnerable qualified by Birdlife international.

48.   Golden Eagle Aquila chrysaetos daphanea * few birds seen on 13 September during the trip from Almaty to Chokpak (2), a juvenile at Chokpak on 20 September and a juvenile on 24 and 25 September near Big Almaty lake.

49.   Booted Eagle Hieraaetus pennatus recorded on few dates: 1 (12/9), 2 (14/9), 1 (20/9), 1 (21/9) and 16 (22/9). Two birds were of the pale morph, 1 of the rufous morph and the rest were of the darkish or intermediate dark morph. Most birds were adult type. Also one bird caught at Chokpak of the intermediate morph.

50.   Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni many birds seen and caught at Chokpak. Maximum up to 200 a day on 22 September on migration. Late at night up to 70 birds came to roost at the Heligoland traps on some dates. All age's seen here. Also few birds lingering around Kyzylkol. Total more then 1.000 birds seen.

Note: Vulnerable qualified by Birdlife international.

51.   Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus tinnunculus few Common Kestrels seen at various locations, although after a while not much trouble was put in the identification of kestrels. I guess 10 times more Lesser Kestrels than Common Kestrels in total.

52.   Merlin Falco columbarius pallidus * only three birds recorded. A single bird during driving on 13 September from Almaty to Chokpak and 2 birds at Kyzylkol on 18 September migrating.

53.   Northern Hobby Falco subbuteo subbuteo caught daily at Chokpak and some migration, many birds passed through on 22 September in an hour no less then 150+ birds passed by. Interesting where some adult birds caught who had their complete set primaries in once. It wonders me as many authors mentioned that this shouldn't be possible in raptors. But also few birds caught who just moulted the four inner primaries!

54.   Saker Falcon Falco cherrug cherrug ** a nice juvenile bird was present at and seen well in flight at Ters-Aschibulak on 19 September.

55.   Himalayan Snowcock Tetraogallus himalayensis ** a group of 7 birds was seen very well at Kosmos Station on 25 September in the surrounding several other calling birds were heard.

56.   Chukar Alectoris chukar ** a group of 31 was seen at Darbaza on 15 September.

57.   Grey Partridge Perdix perdix robustra * A group of 24 birds was fledged twice at the field behind Chokpak station on 14 September. The robustra race looks a bit more greyish than the birds we normally see in Holland

58.   Common Quail Coturnix coturnix few birds fledged and one bird caught. Two birds on 14 September in the fields behind Chokpak, a single bird on 17 and 18 September at Kyzylkol and a bird caught on 22 September at Chokpak.

59.   Common Pheasant Phasianus colchicus turcestanicus ** in the Botanical gardens at Almaty some rather shy birds, bird looked not similar to our common introduced Dutch Birds, the upper parts where more greenish. The neck collar was also present. Status of these birds is uncertain although they occur around this place into the mountains.

60.   Demoiselle Crane Grus virgo ** recorded on several dates: 70+ (13/9), 36 (14/9), 28 (15/9), 100's only heard (16-9), 2 (17/9), 10's only heard (18/9) and several small groups on 19/9.

61.   Common Crane Grus grus lilfordi * on 16 September we saw a flock of 11 Common Crane's flying around Kyzylkol. Less black in the wing compared to nominate is the main Id feature with grus.

62.   Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus chloropus single birds seen during driving on 13 September and at Darbaza on 15 September.

63.   Eurasian Coot Fulica atra atra at Kyzylkol 1000's of birds. Few birds on other lakes.

64.   Ibisbill Ibidorhyncha struthersii ** Probably the top bird of our holiday. On 24 September we saw 1 adult with 3 juvenile birds at Big Almaty Lake and on 25 September I saw at the same spot 2 adults and 3 juveniles, sometimes feeding up to 40 meters. The call is very much like a Whimbrel!

65.   Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus himantopus only a single bird seen at Darbaza on 15 September.

66.   Pied Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta a small flock from up to 30 birds was around Kyzylkol daily.

67.   Northern Lapwing Vanellus vanellus small flocks were seen migrating past Chokpak and at Kyzylkol. Numbers where up to 100+ birds at Chokpak.

68.   Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius curonicus few birds (10) where at Darbaza and at Kyzylkol.

69.   Common Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula tundrae few birds were at Darbaza and good numbers at Kyzylkol. Also a bird caught here.

70.   Kentish Plover Charadrius alexandrinus alexandrinus a single bird seen on 17 September at Kyzylkol and a single bird at Darbaza.

71.   Turnstone Arenaria interpres few birds seen on 17 September at Kyzylkol.

72.   Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa melanuroides few flocks seen at Kyzylkol. And a single bird at Darbaza on 15 September.

73.   Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata orientalis a single bird was at Kyzylkol on 15 September.

74.   Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus few birds at Kyzylkol and at Darbaza.

75.   Common Redshank Tringa tetanus ussuriensis * several birds present at Kyzylkol and at Darbaza.

76.   Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia nebularia several birds at Kyzylkol and Darbaza.

77.   Green sandpiper Tringa ochropus several birds were seen migrating over Kyzylkol, day maximum up to 3 birds.

78.   Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola several birds were present at Kyzylkol, maximum about 30+ birds on 16 September.

79.   Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos few birds were seen and heard migrating over Kyzylkol on most dates.

80.   Sanderling Calidris alba a single bird was seen at 15 September at Kyzylkol.

81.   Little Stint Calidris minuta at Kyzylkol 100's of birds were around the lake. Also 3 birds Darbaza.

82.   Temminck's Stint Calidris temminckii a single bird seen on 15 September at Kyzylkol.

83.   Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea a few single birds seen and we caught one at Kyzylkol on 17 September.

84.   Dunlin Calidris alpina alpina daily some birds (70+) at Kyzylkol.

85.   Ruff Philomachus pugnax several birds (50+) at Kyzylkol, and a migrating flock at Chokpak on 22 September of 25 birds.

86.   Red-necked Phalarope Phalaropus lobatus up to 8000+ birds at Kyzylkol. Birds were mostly at the centre of the lake.

87.   Caspian Gull Larus cachinnans (*) this is a rather interesting group and we found several members of the cachinnans group at the various lakes during our travel. Birds looked like the nominate cachinnans were found at Kyzylkol between 15 to 19 September 2003 few very nice young birds and adult where identified. These birds where very similar to our cachinnans, birds looked bit stranger than ours, but maybe because the range is that wide that birds looked a bit strange to me as there could be a slight difference in the build of the birds. Birds looked bigger and bill looked a bit shorter. Also a first winter bird was seen between the mongolicus birds at Ters-Aschibulak on 19 September. About 15 birds which looked like barbarensis were seen at Darbaza on 15 September, birds looked darker than cachinnans. Birds were rather dark, had very yellowish legs, dark wingtips with only white in p10. The wing projection was similar on cachinnans but birds where too dark and leg colour was wrong for cachinnans. At the lake at Ters-Aschibulak on 19 September I noticed about 5 birds that matched well with mongolicus. These last one's where equally coloured as Herring Gull in darkness, and had flesh coloured legs, (where complete adult birds), bill was thick and p10 was very white (like almost nominate cachinnans).

88.   Heuglin's Gull Larus heuglini tamyrensis a single adult bird on Kyzylkol Lake on 18 September. The identification was done at the flesh coloured legs, long wings behind tail (contra mongolicus), typical p10 pattern, streaked head, mantle colour equally with Caspian Gull and a strong gonys angle.

89.   Great Black-headed Gull Larus ichthyaetus few birds seen: a group of 21 on 15 September at Darbaza, a juvenile on 17 September at Kyzylkol and a juvenile at 19 September at Ters-Aschibulak. These were clearly all-migrating birds or post-breeding dispersal.

90.   Common Gull Larus canus heinei * at Darbaza we had a second year Common Gull on 15 September. This is well west of what is indicated as migrating route to the west!

91.   Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus several seen a small flock at Darbaza, Ters-Aschibulak and some migrating flocks (up to 40) at Kyzylkol.

92.   Little Gull Larus minutus at Kyzylkol we saw 10 birds on 15 September and 3 birds on 16 September.

93.   Slender-billed Gull Larus genei recorded few birds 3(15/9), 14 (16/9), 1 (17/9) and 1 (18/9) at Kyzylkol, all birds which were on the move.

94.   Common Tern Sterna Hirundo minussensis a single bird on 16 September at Kyzylkol.

95.   Gull-billed Tern Sterna nilotica nilotica an adult summer-plumage at Kyzylkol on 17 September.

96.   Black Tern Chlidonias niger niger few birds (5+) at Kyzylkol on 15 September.

97.   Black-bellied Sandgrouse Pterocles orientalis arenarius ** saw 17 (16/9), 5 (18/9) and 5 (19/0) birds at Kyzylkol.

98.   Rock Dove Columba livia neglecta * daily groups migrating at Chokpak, up to 100 a day! Birds have a grey rump (sometimes white was can cause confusion with Yellow-eyed Stock Dove) further very much like the nominate in colouration.

99.   Stock Dove Columba oenas yarkandensis birds are a bit paler than our European birds in general. Few birds identified on 14 September, the birds were migrating to the south (see BWP for a remark that this population is hardly moving).

100.   Common Woodpigeon Columba palumbus casiotis * seen almost daily, birds are less marked on the neck, and browner on the upper parts and white in the wing is less then the nominate birds. Several 10's passing by at Chokpak like at 22 September when around 250 birds in just one hour passed by.

101.   Yellow-eyed Stock Dove Columba eversmanni  ** the first bird I saw migrating to the south with a group of Rock Dove was on 14 September at Chokpak, the further observation and catching of birds happened and brought me 2 juveniles (21/9), 1 adult (22/9) and an adult (23/9) at Chokpak, and a further more birds was seen flying just outside Taraz on 23 September. Birds have a pale rump, less black in the wingtips and are generally smaller than Stock Dove and Rock dove and therefore easy to pick out the flocks of pigeons. (Contra BWP the birds are already on their move in September) The population, which migrates through Chokpak in Kazakhstan, has been shown to decline by 75% in the last 20 years - thought to be attributable to the destruction of Turanga woodland (Aspinall 1996).

Note: Vulnerable qualified by Birdlife international.

102.   Oriental Turtle Dove Streptopelia orientalis meena the birds we saw were clearly meena because of the whitish tail tips, lacking of the bulky size (very thin dove), the pattern of the outermost tail feathers and the quite broad fringes to the new adult wing coverts in young birds. Daily we recorded and caught some birds at Chokpak and 2 were seen on 16 September at Kyzylkol.

103.   Eurasian Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto seen an various days at both Almaty and Chokpak also during travelling in urban areas.

104.   Laughing Dove Streptopelia senegalensis cambayensis a single bird seen at 22 September at Chokpak.

105.   Short-eared Owl Asio flammeus flammeus a bird was seen by others every evening at Kyzylkol but I succeeded on 18 September to see it finally.

106.   Eurasian Nightjar Caprimulgus europaeus (*) we caught and saw two races at Chokpak. On 14 September we caught two sarudnyi race birds and europaeus we caught on 22 September 3 birds and a bird was present near the ringing station on 23 September belonged also to this race.

107.   Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis atthis a single bird at Kyzylkol I saw on two dates, and on one we caught it (16/9) and on 19 September it flew against the net and it escaped, probably the same bird.

108.   Blue-cheeked Bee-eater Merops persicus persicus ** a loud calling bird at Chokpak was the first we encountered on 14 September. The day after we found our first birds perched on a wire at Darbaza. Later that day we saw several hundreds of birds on wires and flying. Daily we had some groups migrating over at Kyzylkol up to several hundreds a day between 15 and 19 September. Afterwards we left Kyzylkol we hade none anymore!

109.   European Bee-eater Merops apiaster daily seen at Chokpak in sometimes extreme large numbers like 1000+ on 22 September. Few birds seen on our way to Chokpak from Almaty! Several birds caught! Not around Kyzylkol.

110.   European Roller Coracias garrulus semenovi during driving from Almaty to Chokpak we saw several 100's of birds on several wires. At Chokpak few migrating birds were recorded and on our way back to Almaty from Chokpak we recorded just few Rollers. In total more than 1000+ seen!

111.   Eurasian Hoopoe Upupa epops saturata few birds seen on various dates 13 (3), 14 (2), 21 (1) and 22 (1) September, makes a total of 7 birds and few migrating!

112.   White-winged Woodpecker Dendrocopos leucopterus ** on two dates recorded 2 birds on 14 September and one on 23 September around Chokpak ringing station.

113.   Calandra Lark Melanocorypha calandra calandra at Kyzylkol up to 500 a day could be seen, and few groups while driving from Almaty to Chokpak and visa versa!

114.   Bimaculated Lark Melanocorypha bimaculata torquata ** at Kyzylkol only seen up to 1000 a day. Most birds where fly-by's but few birds also seen perched.

115.   Lesser Short-toed Lark Calandrella rufiscens heinei * only few seen at Kyzylkol on  19 September a flock of 6 birds!

116.   Greater Short-toed Lark Calandrella brachydactylus artemisiana//longpennis * daily few birds seen migrating past Chokpak, at Kyzylkol several 100's where seen. Few birds allowed close study there most were fly-bys.

117.   Crested Lark Galerida cristata magna seen on many dates, most intriguing observation were 3 birds at 2900 meters at Big Almaty Lake on 25 September. Main groups were found in urban areas.

118.   Eurasian Skylark Alauda arvensis dulcivox daily in small numbers at Kyzylkol. Up to 10+ a day.

119.   Oriental Skylark Alauda gulgula inconspicua few observations made at Kyzylkol on 18 September (2) and 19 September (1).

120.   Sand Martin Riparia riparia by some authors is the diluta race split as a separate species as Pale Martin, we saw several birds and also the common race riparia birds flying around and caught at Chokpak. Migration was very good on 22 September with 100's passing by. Common race was more than 100 times more common then diluta!

121.   Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica rustica daily good numbers, on 22 September at Chokpak 1000's of birds migrating through.

122.   Red-rumped Swallow Hirundo daurica rufula few birds at Almaty on 12 September and few passing by at Chokpak daily in small numbers!

123.   House Martin Delichon urbica urbica only a single bird seen on 22 September at Chokpak.

124.   White Wagtail Motacilla alba interesting group as it is still on species the Masked Wagtail or Motacilla alba personata is been split of already for years by some authors and by others it's still a race of the White Wagtail, also at Clements list. Most bird encountered where alba, and was 100 times more common then personata. personata was only seen on few days with in total less then 30+ birds, but alba few hundreds where encountered.

125.   Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava daily seen in sometimes very large numbers. Despite the recent upsurge in the ID of the various subspecies of yellow wagtails we could hardly identify a bird. Few more ore less birds where caught ore seen that matches with beema, thunbergi and possibly tschutschensis. But no positive id could be made despite thousands of birds!

126.   Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea melanope at Kyzylkol at the well up to 3 birds were seen on 15 & 16 September, few other migrating birds were seen (daily one or two). Also a single bird flew over Chokpak on 22 September.

127.   Tawny Pipit Anthus campestris at Kyzylkol tens of birds seen during our stay, like at 16 September I logged about 20 birds. Also few birds migrating over Chokpak. Some authors placed the race that can be found here griseus as a race but other mentioned Tawny pipit is monotypic.

128.   Red-throated Pipit Anthus cervinus two birds seen, one during a stop on 13 September between Almaty and Chokpak and a bird flew over Kyzylkol on 17 September.

129.   Tree Pipit Anthus trivialis maybe two races seen haringtoni and trivialis. They are not identifiable in the field, in the hand they have darker and bolder markings on the crown, mantle and underside and have a proportionately larger bill. Daily few birds flew over at Chokpak and some where ringed as we where at the station. Personally do I think they where all migrating trivialis.

130.   Water Pipit Anthus spinoletta blakestoni  *the first birds we saw were at Big Almaty Lake on 24 September, a single bird was seen in flight and briefly on the ground. The day after we went up to Kosmos Station and tens of birds were seen up to 3200 metres. The birds where paler and less streaked then our European birds.

131.   Brown Dipper Cinclus pallasii tenuirostris ** the first bird on 24 September was just seen above the 1000 metre and the last one on 25 September was at 2900 metres at the stream that floats into Big Almaty Lake, so total was 2 birds!

132.   Eurasian Wren Troglodytes troglodytes tianschanicus * up to 2900 meters we saw this tiny little bird. On 24 September we saw about 3 birds near Big Almaty lake, the day after these birds were at the same locations and downhill we recorded another one.

133.   Black-throated Accentor Prunella atrogularis huttoni ** the first bird I just saw briefly near the great Almaty Lake on 24 September and later I saw a bird nicely perched on the other side of the lake near the dam. Next day we saw a bird in a flock of tits downhill very nice. We saw it in the range from 1000 to 2900 meters.

134.   Brown Accentor Prunella fulvescens fulvescens ** a bird seen briefly at Great Almaty Lake on 24 September. The uniform (unstreaked) upper parts and the yellowish belly brought me to this species.

135.   Bluethroat Luscinia svecica both birds of pallidigularis and svecica caught. Birds differ from race by the breast band what is much broader in svecica then in pallidigularis and the markings in the throat differ. At Kyzylkol we observed them daily and caught few birds. Although svecica was the more common one.

136.   Eversmann's Redstart Phoenicurus erythronota up to 3300 meters seen on 24 September we recorded a single singing male around our house at Big Almaty Lake, the day after we recorded the same bird again and 6 birds at Kosmos Station and 2 birds near the observatory.

137.   Siberian Stonechat Saxicola maura seen in good numbers around Chokpak and Kyzylkol and also on various parts on route. Adult and juvenile birds were both found.

138.   Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe oenanthe few birds seen. Recorded at 1 (14/9) at Chokpak, 8 (16/9) and 1 (19/9) at Kyzylkol.

139.   Pied Wheatear Oenanthe pleschanka pleschanka few birds seen up tot 3200 meters seen. Numbers were 1 (14/9) at Chokpak, 2 (16/9) at Kyzylkol, 2 (24/9) and 2 (25/9) at Big Almaty Lake.

140.   Desert Wheatear Oenanthe deserti atrogularis some birds seen at Kyzylkol. On 16 September I saw 6 birds and on 19 September one bird. Mostly adult birds.

141.   Isabelline Wheatear Oenanthe isabellina few birds seen 3 (15/9) Darbaza and 2 birds (16/9) at Kyzylkol.

142.   Black-throated Thrush Turdus ruficollis I recorded on few dates birds at Chokpak on 21 (2) and 22 (1) September and at Great Almaty Lake 45+ birds on 24 September and the day after a single bird. The large group was extremely well visible and all ages could be encountered.

143.   Blue Whistling-thrush Myiophonus caeruleus temminckii ** in total 3 birds were seen uphill or downhill to Great Almaty Lake on 24 and 25 September. Birds were singing loudly at the first light of morning.

144.   Eurasian Blackbird Turdus merula intermedius * few birds seen at the Tien Shan trip on 24 and 25 September.

145.   Mistle Thrush Turdus viscivorus bonapartei * a single bird at Big Almaty lake on 24 September. This bird had a good second look because we were not sure at first what species it was.

146.   Grasshopper Warbler Locustella naevia mongolica * a lone bird was caught on 21 September at Kyzylkol.

147.   Streaked Scrub Warbler Scotocerca inquieta platyura * a single bird was seen in the plains near some Desert Wheatears at Kyzylkol on 16 September. The bird was sitting for short time and was then seen in flight. It's well north of the known distribution. Lars Svensson also recorded a bird at this spot a time ago. The bird was in flight very long tailed, small, was streaked on the back a head. Very small bird with long tail.

148.   Cetti's Warbler Cettia cetti albivestris * two birds where present at the mouth of the river floating behind our campsite at Kyzylkol on 19 September.

149.   Moustached Warbler Acrocephalus melanopogon albivestris ** the first bird I saw was a bird I had to collect out of the net on 17 September, alter that day 2 more birds where seen in the field at Kyzylkol. On 18 September another bird could be seen. This race is bigger and darker above, and has whiter under parts then the nominate.

150.   Paddyfield Warbler Acrocephalus agricola capistrata ** a single bird was seen and caught at Kyzylkol on 17 September, striking was the similarity with Booted Warbler in plumage.

151.   Blyth's Reed-warbler Acrocephalus dumetorum at Kyzylkol daily seen and caught. Up to 5 seen on a day.

152.   Eurasian Reed-warbler Acrocephalus (scirpaceus) fuscus or Caspian Reed-warbler treated by Leiser et al 1997 J. fur Orn. 138: 469-496) and Sangster et al 1998 (Dutch Birding 20: 22-32) as a separate species. We recorded few birds daily at Kyzylkol in the reed beds here. Birds are rather dark and looked like a hybrid between a Dusky Warbler and an acrocephalus bird.  Between 15 and 19 September seen up to 3 birds.

153.   Booted Warbler Acrocephalus caligata caligata few birds seen and two birds caught at Kyzylkol. Birds seen in the field looked mostly good for caligata but some birds were seen badly and could therefore not rule out Acrocephalus rama. On 17 September three birds were seen and on 18 September 1 bird was seen that could be identified as caligata. On both days few other Booted/Syke's Warbler type birds were seen. Mostly I looked to the tertail patron and to the black spot on the underside of the bill, length of the bill and the tertailprojection. But birds were rather shy so I was not always allowed good sights.

154.   Severtzov's Tit Warbler Leptopoecile sophiae sophiae ** two very nice birds seen near the observatory on 26 September. This skulking species was after some trouble very nice to see. One of the most beautiful birds I've ever seen.

155.   Common Whitethroat Sylvia communis rubicola the largest race of the Common Whitethroat and sadly only one bird seen during the whole stay on 13 September at Chokpak.

156.   Lesser Whitethroat Sylvia curruca we saw some rather typical minula / halimodendri race birds but also bigger althea race birds. Some authors think birds of the althea and curruca group are regarded then into the Lesser Whitethroat group and the smaller races as minula and halimondendri are placed into the Desert Lesser Whitethroat group. But the larger types were much more common than the smaller birds.

157.   Barred Warbler Sylvia nisoria merzbacheri a single bird at Kyzylkol on 18 September.

158.   Common Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita we saw and daily Chiffchaffs caught. Most of them belong to the fulvescens type birds. The overall colour was rather dark compared with tristis and some green was in the plumage. I saw three birds which where tristis one was on 23 September near Chokpak in a small village and one was on 24 September on the way up to Great Almaty lake at 1200 meters and the other was at 2900 meters on the edge of Great Almaty Lake on 25 September. The tristis birds were paler and had a clear wing bar (cream coloured). The call of both races was equally a short "piep" call.

159.   Sulphur-bellied Warbler Phylloscopus griseolus a bird we recorded at the Botanical gardens at Almaty we first identified as Dusky Warbler Phylloscopus fuscatus was re-identified as Sulphur-bellied Warbler as it was a species we didn't thought of in the beginning but call and plumage where ok for this taxa, call is very similar to Dusky (and despite that Dusky is never recorded before at Almaty and Sulpur-bellied is a breeding bird and a migrant) and plumage is very similar to Dusky.

160.   Greenish Warbler Phylloscopus trochiloides viridanus two birds seen on 14 and 22 September at Chokpak. 

161.   Yellow-browed Warbler Phylloscopus inornatus a few birds seen in the botanical gardens at Almaty were surely inornantus by call and plumage, as expected no records elsewhere.

162.   Hume's Warbler Phylloscopus humei we recorded they in good numbers in Almaty and on route in various parts, also few at Chokpak. Maximum was 10+ on a day at Almaty Botanical gardens.

163.   Goldcrest Regulus regulus tristis * few birds present at Big Almaty lake on both 24 and 25 September. These birds miss the complete black lateral crown-stripes compared with our Dutch Birds, also the upper parts where duller and greyer. An interesting race.

164.   Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata neumanni * a single bird was sitting near the ringing station at Chokpak on 14 September. This bird had whiter under parts and greyer upperparts compared to our birds.

165.   Penduline Tit Remiz pendulinus a tricky group as we only saw migrating birds at Kyzylkol and not a single bird perched. Most birds probably belonged to this species although Black-headed Penduline Tit Remix coronatus and Thick-billed Penduline Tit Remix macronyx could not be ruled out. But pendulinus is the most common migrant and therefore reliable. Some larger groups were passing through and flying east.

166.   Great Tit Parus major major one of the first birds seen in Kazakhstan. Many birds roaming the streets at Almaty. We saw them up to 2900 meters at Big Almaty Lake. Not seen however at Chokpak, although some bokharensis carried hybrid signs. Almost daily hybrids between bokharensis x major caught. Birds had more yellow on the breast and more contrast in the wing (wing bar versus rest of the wing).

167.   Coal Tit Parus ater rufipectus * some birds where seen and heard on 24 and 25 September on both Great Almaty Lake and the way down to Almaty still in the Tien Shan. This is the nominate subspecies for the Tien Shan and the form part of the Aemodius group of Coal tits but looked much like nominate only very detailed feather marks form a difference, and one of the small differences is the small crest the bird has.

168.   Songar Tit Parus songarus songarus ** a small group twice seen near Big Almaty Lake on both 24 and 25 September. Group contained about 10 birds.

169.   Turkestan Tit Parus bokharensis bokharensis ** seen on daily at Chokpak between 20 and 23 September up to 20 birds.

170.   Azure Tit Parus cyanus tianschanicus ** just heard and sadly not seen on 25 September on the way down to Almaty.

171.   Yellow-breasted Tit Cyanistes flavipectus flavipectus by Clements regarded as a separate species although it's doubted by some authors that it is a true species but a subspecies of the Azure Tit. We saw about 15 birds and caught several between 20 and 22 September at Chokpak.

172.   Wallcreeper Tichodroma muraria nepalensis a bird was seen perched by AW, I saw the bird too it was flying by at the observatory in the Tien Shan Mountains on 25 September.

173.   Isabelline Shrike Lanius isabellinus this is a interesting group as taxonomy in Holland treat them all as separate species. Most birds seen and caught where isabellinus race or Daurian Shrikes as they are named now, and most of them where juveniles, we encountered few adults. Also 5 speculigerus seen now named Turkestan Shrike. The last one is breeding here and the first one is a migrant. We saw a single juvenile Daurian Shrike behind Chokpak station on 14 September and the next were next day at Kyzylkol where many birds were seen (10+), on the 16th I saw about 30+ birds at Kyzylkol and all except for 2 were Daurian Shrike's, the two birds were speculigerus type birds. Next following day several Daurian Shrike's seen in the vicinity of our camp at Kyzylkol including some adult birds. The main Id criteria were the contrast between head and back, orange colour on the sides of the breast.

174.   Lesser Grey Shrike Lanius minor on 14 September 2 or 3 birds were seen at Chokpak station during a trip in the fields on the back of the station.

175.   Rose-colored Starling Sturnus roseus on the trip to Chokpak station from Almaty on 13 September I saw 2 adult birds and 2 juveniles perched on the wires along the road almost midway. A juvenile was close to Kyzylkol on 15 September in a melon field. And a juvenile was in a flock of European Starlings at Kyzylkol on 16 September.

176.   European Starling Sturnus vulgaris porphyronotus * some birds were seen daily, daily some migrating south past Chokpak and Kyzylkol with up to 100's a day!

177.   Golden Oriole Oriolus oriolus oriolus a bird flew by at Chokpak station on 14 September.

178.   Nutcracker Nucifraga caryocatactes rothschildi * recorded on 24 (3) and 25 (7) near Big Almaty Lake.

179.    Black-billed Magpie Pica pica bactraina * more white in wings, more whitish rump. Recorded on 24 and 25 September, daily up to 10 birds!

180.   Red-billed Chough Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax brachypus has a shorter tarsus and bill Compared to all other races, gloss rather faint, body satin-black, wing and tail slightly purplish makes them recognizable from the other races. We recorded two birds near Kosmos Station on 25 September.

181.   Yellow-billed Chough Pyrrhocorax graculus forsythi tail and legs longer than European birds and seen on 24 (50+) and 25 (40+) September in the Tien Shan.

182.   Eurasian Jackdaw Corvus monedula soemmerringii huge groups present, white in the neck colour varies very much. Seen daily in sometimes very good numbers.

183.   Rook Corvus frugilegus frugilegus good numbers during driving, also some birds passed by at Chokpak in southerly direction.

184.   Carrion Crow Corvus corone orientalis * bigger than nominate, some birds we observed look almost as big as Raven. Recorded on most dates.

185.   Brown-necked Raven Corvus ruficollis ruficollis few birds seen on 13 September from Almaty to Chokpak, and at Darbaza on 15 September but we did not pay much attention to identify all the crows we saw!

186.   Common Raven Corvus corax tibetanus * few birds seen while raptor watching at Chokpak on 22 September.

187.   Common Myna Acridotheres tristis tristis * some flocks were flying daily south at Chokpak (more than the 74 birds a year stated in the BWP) about 150+ at least seen flying south on the few dates we were there, with on 22 September up to 60 birds fly south! Common in cities and urban area's less at the steppe areas. Daily seen!

188.   House Sparrow Passer domesticus domesticus (bactrianus) is smaller and male has more white on the side of the head and neck, under parts are deeply chestnut coloured. Nominate birds seen at bigger places like Almaty in good numbers. The only indicus (bactrianus) we saw where the one's migrating past, up to several 100's a day. Numbers of bactrianus where 17 (10's), 18 (100's), 19 (10's), 20 (10's), 21 (300+) and 22 (2000+) September. Numbers where build up strongly in a short period. Hardly any bird seen on the ground. 

189.   Spanish Sparrow Passer hispaniolensis transcaspicus a single bird was observed at Chokpak on 22 September.

190.   Tree Sparrow Passer montanus dilutus  * is larger then the nominate, colours are marked paler. And few birds seen at the drive to Chokpak on 13 September near small villages.

191.   Common Rosefinch Carpodacus erythrinus we saw daily birds at Kyzylkol and some at Chokpak and most birds caught and re-caught gained some weight during their stay so probably most if not all birds belong to the erythrinus race. However an adult male I noticed on Chokpak on 22 September was still in summer plumage without much traces of moult, and this could be well a bird of the none (only some altitude movements) migratory race ferghanensis as this is the breeding race here.

192.   Red-mantled Rosefinch Carpodacus rhodochlamys ** just two bird seen both dull plumaged birds. One at the edge of Big Almaty Lake on 24 September and an other one at the observatory on 25 September.

193.   European Greenfinch Carduelis chloris turkestanicus a few birds heard and seen on 15 September in a small village where we did some groceries for our trip to Kyzylkol.

194.   Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis major few birds were seen migrating past Chokpak in very small numbers like on 22 September

195.   Bullfinch Pyrrhula pyrrhula pyrrhula a single bird seen on the way down from Big Almaty Lake on 25 September.

196.   Eurasian Linnet Carduelis cannabina bella * the only bird high up in the Tien Shan Mountains we saw it on 24 and 25 September. This is in the breeding range of the race bella, so probably the bird belonged to this race. These birds are generally paler then the nominate cannabina. The bird seen migrating south past Chokpak on 21 September probably belonged to the cannabina race.

197.   Desert Finch Rhodopechys obsolete few birds seen in flight on several dates at Chokpak like at 14 and 21 September. Not perfectly seen!

198.   Common Crossbill Loxia curvirostra tianschanica * a single bird was heard and shortly seen near Big Almaty Lake on 25 September.

199.   Ortolan Bunting Emberiza hortulana seen at Chokpak and Kyzylkol. Recorded on 14 (1), 16 (1), 21 (1) and 22 (1) September.

Species we missed and eventually we could see at the places we visited.

Red-headed Bunting, Rock Bunting, Pine Bunting, White-winged Grosbeak, Brandt's Mountain Finch. Hodgson's Mountain Finch, Grey-crowned Goldfinch, Red-fronted Serin, Treecreeper, White-crowned Penduline-tit, Güldenstädt's Redstart, Blue-capped Redstart, Nightingale, White-tailed Rubythroat, Altai Accentor, Little Owl, MacQueens Bustard, Great Bustard, Little Bustard, Little Bittern and Ferruginous Duck.


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