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WINGS Birding Tours – Photo Gallery

Mongolia

Mongolia has to be thought of as an adventure. Away from Ulaanbaatar, home to one third of Mongolia’s three million people, and a booming resource city… …there are only a few tiny regional airports… …served by small but (happily) modern aircraft. Elsewhere there are vast and spectacular areas of sand… (wr) …water… …steppe… …mountain valleys.  (wr) …and river marshes. Our transport is an elderly Russian bus that’s just perfect for the conditions we’ll face.  (wr) We’ll stay mostly in gers, the traditional Mongolian nomad dwellings, which a family can put up and taken down  in about 30 minutes. (wr) …but our ger camps will be permanent establishments, at least for the summer… …with separate eating and bathroom facilities.  (wr) Gers are both spacious and comfortable… …and even restful.  But while we try to stay in established ger camps, sometimes there are none so we camp…occasionally in the middle of nowhere… ..and often in amazing locations. Our ground crew brings and sets up all necessary equipment including our tents which now have beds. We’ll have a cook tent from which flows remarkable meals,  a shower tent (shown here) and a similar latrine tent… …and waiting for one’s turn can have rewards, here in the form of curious Demoiselle Cranes… The scenery is always interesting and at times magical.  Here dunes at the northern edge of the Gobi Desert… …form a backdrop to a flock of Pallas’s Sandgrouse coming in to drink at a desert pool… …and sometimes passing nearby. …and here the magnificent gorge at Yolyn Am…  (wr) …where Wallcreepers work the crevice …and Lammergeiers soar overhead. Mongolians are reserved but quick to smile and wave.  This cheerful bunch of young men and women wanted their picture taken… …and this was supposed to be a portrait of a puppy.  (wr) On our travels we’ll encounter many of Mongolia’s special breeding birds: for example stunning Oriental Plover…  (wr) …elegant Amur Falcons… …arresting Mongolian Larks… …local Saxaul Sparrows… …the plain but near endemic Koslov’s Accentor… ..and  just possibly the enigmatic Relict Gull Our tour is early enough to catch the last northbound migrants like this Pallas’s Grasshopper Warbler… …and is as well a good time for vagrants; this Rose-colored Starling for example. We’ll pass by many wonderful scenes: a shamanic prayer mound…  …and herdsman at work in the traditional… …and not so traditional ways. We’ll stop in small stores to replenish bottled water…  (wr) …and perhaps at a few unusual roadside attractions… …always prepared to stop for an Isabelline Wheatear… …a White-winged Tern.. …an iris blooming in response to a local rain shower…  (wr) …an oh-so-cute Pika.  (wr) We might even see Chinggis Khaan.