Last Autumn Visit to the Kazakhstan Steppes

On Wednesday, headed out for our last trip into the wilds of Kazakhstan to check out the migration scene.  It is all but over!  Wildfowl are still moving through though, but in reduced numbers.  The surprise of the day were 13 Great White Pelicans late in the season.  Next visit will be early December so winter will have started.  Should still be wildfowl though as the lake won’t be iced over yet. Another late traveler was a lonely Black-bellied Sandgrouse (female I think) feeding on a sandy track in the steppes.

It was a bit chilly yesterday.  A week ago it was around +15C but yesterday was hovering around zero.  No wind chill though thankfully.  It was misty for most of the morning too until a weak sun broke through.

Whooper Swans in Kazakhstan

Whooper Swans with immature at Sorbulak Lake on 12 Nov 2014

Great White Pelican and Great Cormorants in Kazakhstan

Great White Pelican and Great Cormorants at Sorbulak Lake on 12 Nov 2014

Great Cormorants in Kazakhstan

Great Cormorants at rest at Lesser Sorbulak Lakes on 12 Nov 2014

Caspian Gulls in Kazakhstan

Caspian Gulls at rest at Lesser Sorbulak Lakes on 12 Nov 2014

We set off at 07.00, before dawn, and were out of the city at first light.  Our first stop is at a quarry on the Kaskelen River, where the first birds I saw other than corvids were 1 male and 2 female Long-tailed Rosefinches, another lifer for me.  That’s 2 lifers this month!

Bird list for the day (37 species):

Whooper Swan

Common Shelduck

Mallard

Gadwall

Teal

Pochard

Tufted Duck

Goosander (probably)

Little Grebe

Great-crested Grebe

Great White Pelican

Great Cormorant

White-tailed Eagle

Long-legged Buzzard

Steppe Eagle

Coot

Moorhen

Black-headed Gull

Caspian Gull

Black-bellied Sandgrouse

Feral Pigeons

Rock Dove

Collared Dove

Magpie

Rook

Carrion Crow

Hooded Crow

Jackdaw

Great Tit

Azure Tit

Common Myna

Blackbird

House Sparrow

Tree Sparrow

Chaffinch

Brambling

Long-tailed Rosefinch (Lifer)

About starrywazzoh

I'm a birder in Western Europe (UK, France & Spain) and Central Asia, with occasional visits elsewhere. Birding is my principal hobby and I dedicate as much time around work and other commitments.
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