This week, I visited a favourite birding spot near to Almaty and what I discovered blew my mind. Hundreds of eagles, lots of Steppe Eagles but mostly White-tailed Eagles – the most I have ever seen in one place. Most were juveniles of both species, with lots of adults hanging around too. This treasured location provides exciting sightings all year round with its shallow pools providing a desert oasis. I visit my ‘patch’ every two weeks – more often during migration.
Next to the pools is a waste dump for a nearby chicken farm (not as bad as it sounds) and this is a magnet for raptors and corvids, not to mention starlings, gulls and sparrows. But I didn’t expect the phenomenal raptor count I enjoyed this week. Mesmerising!
In addition to the eagles and Upland Buzzard photographed, also saw a couple of Eastern Buzzards (Buteo japonicus) and the 1 beautiful Long-legged Buzzard too.
Off to UK in a few days so that was my last local birding day until Christmas week. I expect to see more of these fantastic raptors then and as the winter ducks arrive to a favoured open area of 2-300 sq metres near an inflow at frozen Sorbulak Lake, I will watch the White-tails feeding on Smew, Mallard, Goosander and Goldeneye. It is a veritable ‘larder’ for these magnificent giant raptors, who line the snow banks and lake ice.
Birding is astounding whatever the season.