Norfolk Birders

Norfolk Birdwatching and beyond!

1st July

With my garden badly needing some attention I set about sorting out my Broad Bean plants as they needed weeding and some guide lines erecting. Overhead I could hear a Buzzard calling. I looked up and it was wheeling around above me. Unfortunately it wasn't long before there was a short shower of rain that forced me back inside. Having picked a tub full of Raspberries yesterday, excess to what I could eat fresh, I made a few pots of jam. Luckily Raspberry jam is one of the easiest jams to make so it didn't take me very long and the rain had also stopped by the time I had finished. I went back outside and started to trim my hedges when I heard a Great Spotted Woodpecker calling. I sat down and watched the Silver Birch trees and it flew to my Cherry tree. After lunch I had a major clear-up job to do and after mowing the lawns my little Robin was very appreciative of all the insects and grubs that I had disturbed.

2nd July


John and I made an early start and headed for Rutland Water where we watched two young Ospreys and an adult bird on one of the built platforms from Manton bridge. There were at least thirty Great Crested Grebes sat on nests all very close together, a sight neither of us has seen before in such close proximity to each other. Four Green Sandpipers were feeding in the mud along with a Common Sandpiper. 

On consulting my radar weather app we changed our plans and decided to head for Fermyn Country Park and walked through to Lady Wood where I inadvertently flushed two Purple Emperors off the pathway as I nearly stood on them. After watching another three Purple Emperors flying around in the sun at the top of trees we returned to the spot where the two had been on the ground and took photos of one of the butterfies that had returned to the same spot as before. For once I was pleased to be able to get some good photos of this magnificent butterfly. Ringlets, Meadow Browns and Silver-washed Fritillaries were all on the wing and we were grateful for the sun that had appeared. We walked back to the car and drove to the pub at Rockingham where we had a delightful lunch and a few drinks.

Later at Rutland Water we watched Common Terns, Great White Egrets, Little Egrets, Grey Heron, Cormorant, Coot, Moorhen, Mute Swans, Carrion Crow, Black-headed Gulls, and a variety of ducks, Gadwall, Mallard, Pochard and Tufted Duck all in eclipse plumage as we toured the various hides. It was strange to see this area without its attendant Birdfair marquees. The long grass further along the walk was full of wild flowers making a very pretty sight. Chiffchaffs and Reed Butings were singing as we enjoyed our walk before we decided to call it a day and return back home.

                                                     Purple Emperor

                                         Purple Emperor

3rd July

With my pond needing some TLC I was up early once again to put my washing out and to get on with sorting out my pond before the start of Wimbledon this afternoon. It took a while to trim back my plants that had grown so much in the pond since the spring so that I could get the netting off and get out much of the muck that had accumulated since I had last cleaned it out. I had put on my oldest clothes as cleaning out a pond is always a very mucky,smelly activity. As I was cleaning out the muck I caught a few young fish that I didn't even know that I had! A newt or two ended up on the compost heap before I rescued them and put them back in the pond. Sadly I did not find any dragonfly exuvia probably because of the netting that I now have to use because of a heron's visit a few years ago that ate all my fish. As I was cleaning out the pond I heard Common Buzzards calling. I looked up and saw three in the air together before one drifted off. A Kestrel also came to see what I was up to and hovered for a while before it too departed. My Pied Wagtails that visit every day must surely be onto a second brood by now as they are still visiting and departing with food that they obtain from my lawn.

I sat down on my picnic table to have some lunch in the sun before carrying on my with my task. After finishing I did a spot of gardening before exhaustion set in and I sat down to watch the tennis. My timing was perfect as Sue Barker and John McEnroe welcomed not only some of the previous champions onto Centre Court but Cliff Richard who entertained the crowd with his rendition of 'Summer Holiday'. Now what other singer could entertain a Centre Court crowd without any music and remain in tune throughout to the amazing raptuous applause that he got? A star indeed who has more than lasted the test of time! This leads me on to my up and coming summer holiday in a very remote part of the where's my suitcase?

After watching the tennis and entertaining a friend for a cup of tea, I felt in need of a walk as the sun had reappeared. I did a three mile walk around the lanes noting Swifts and House Marins all catching the evening insects. The House Martins were coming down to the ground and chattering to each other. After calling in to one of the local hostellries for a drink I counted sixty-two Jackdaws all sitting in one tree at the back of Congham Hall. It was a beautiful evening for a walk and I really appreciate being able to walk so many different routes from my home along little lanes and tracks admiring all the wildlife around.

4th July

It was an interesting day today at work as contractors arrived to make some alterations to the welcome hub. We are going to add some decking to the front of it. Lee and I welcomed visitors as usual including David Gray who is a famous singer apparently (not that I have a clue who he is!) 

Very sad news continues to come from Scolt Head as 173 adult Sandwich Terns were picked up dead yeasterday with another 107 picked up dead on Thursday. There are also many dead and dying chicks too. This is devastating news but the other worry is that the highly pathogenic avian influenza is transmissable to seals and dogs. Our seal colonies are also at risk. I will never understand why people continue to bring dogs onto our beaches. Don't they care about their own dogs...........let alone the terrible impact that these animals have on our beach-nesting birds and chicks? It's not the dogs fault but what I want to say to owners is unprintable here!!!!!

5th July

With such dreadful news coming from Coquet Island where all the Sandwich Tern chicks have died and 75% of Sandwich Tern chicks died on Scolt Head with over 500 adult birds too and knowing that the highly pathogenic avian influenza is transmissible to seals, foxes and dogs, responsible tourist boat operators have cancelled all landings and trips to the various islands around the coast that host these wonderful birds each summer. Why is it then that some brain-dead dog owners continue to take their dogs to beaches? Words fail me! Even some media outlets are promoting dog-friendly beaches, even during nesting season still. For goodness sake ...........................

6th July

The packing of the suitcase begins again......................................... oh no.............I have lost so much weight my birding trousers don't fit! Apparently I need to pack for extreme cold and hot and sunny too!

7th July

                                               Essex Skipper

                                               Small White Butterfly

With most of my packing now done, I set about some more jam making with my plethora of Raspberries before meeting up with my financial advisor who is trying his best to sort out my 5 different pensions. Why is it just so complicated? We are both drowning in the amount of paperwork. One of them involves a 53 page document which has been given to me in triplicate!!!! Is that really necessary? After a few hours I needed a break and so John and I went for a walk nearby around a Barley field in the hot sun. It had been left with wide field margins specifically for wildlife. We enjoyed watching the butterflies and dragonflies. We watched Meadow Browns, Ringlets, Essex Skippers, Large Whites, Commas, Gate Keepers and Small Whites as well as Brown Hawkers and Ruddy Darters. It was nice to just amble and clear my head of facts, figures and box ticking of various options available.

8th July

                   White-rumped Sandpiper

             White-rumped Sandpiper

With news that the White-rumped Sandpiper was already roosting on the pits at Snettisham Jim rang me and soon picked me up. We collected Tim en-route and together walked down past the first hide and joined Dave who had located the White-rumped Sandpiper on an island in the middle of the pit, as it was impossible to see from either hide. I needed to be a foot taller to see over the bank with my scope. Jim kindly sorted out my scope so that I could see it standing on tip toe. It wasn't easy as the heat haze was just too much. I attempted a phone-scope photo but I don't suppose my photos will make the front pages of any birding magazine! The bird ran around and it was very difficult to see as it kept hiding behind Dunlin and Knot that were present. A few Common Terns acted as markers as we tried to show other passing birders. Out in The Wash there were a few Mediterranean Gulls amongst the Black-headed Gulls, Common Terns and Sandwich Terns. I was back in time to watch the tennis semi-final and still found time to make a few more pots of jam from all the fruit that I picked from my garden! Phew its been a hot day!

                                              Little Owl

                                  Marsh Harrier

This evening I met up with Edward Cross to find out how the Stone Curlews were doing not far from my home. It would seem that they are doing well! We watched 3 Little Owls sitting on different posts frequently flying off to catch food. A young Marsh Harrier sat and squawked whilst two adult birds flew around. We walked down the lane and listened to Linnets and Long-tailed Tits as we discussed how butterflies were doing as well as a few rarer birds present. Walking back to the car I watched two Green Woodpeckers on a telegraph post. The juvenile tried to keep up with its parent and it was fun to watch them both interacting with a jackdaw.

                        Green Woodpecker (juv)

                           Green Woodpecker

9th July

                                           Marsh Harrier

                                                Marsh Harrier

Mute Swan cygnets

It was another windy morning as I met up with Dave and Jaquie on the East Bank at Cley early this morning. I watched Bearded Tits and Sedge Warblers still feeding their young as a Marsh Harrier flew over the reed bed before descending into it. Spoonbills were circling and landing down into North Foreland Wood to join the Little Egrets still at roost. I stopped to watch the cute Mute Swan cygnets whose mum was not happy when the warden tried to get past them!

I drove to the car park at Beach Road and joined Jim, Ashley, David and James who were seawatching. We watched Arctic Skuas and a few Scoter but the real sight was the hundred plus Sand Martins on the shingle. I'm not sure I have seen such a large group sitting on the shingle before here. Most were preening. I crept along by the fence to get a few photos before walking to Bishop Hide where Avocet, Mallard and Black-tailed Godwits dominated the pool.

                                                Sand Martins

                                                              Sand Martins

                                              Sand Martins

                                                Sand Martin

I joined the moth group at the Visitor Centre and enjoyed a cup of tea and a huge Bakewell tart before returning home for my final packing. 

As I will be travelling to a very remote part of the world where phone signal and wi-fi may be non-existent this could be my last posting for sometime! 

10th July

John, Chris and I drove down to Heathrow for a night in the Radisson Hotel.

11th July

After a 3am wake up John, Chris and I boarded a taxi to Heathrow airport where we caught a plane to Istanbul. From here we flew to Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia for the start of our adventure.

12th July

With no sleep John, Chris and I arrived in Ulaanbaartar early in the morning where we were picked up by and driven 50km to our hotel nestled in the mountains of Mongolia. This was to be our last night of civilisation for a while. Whilst we waited for our hotel to open we birded the grounds watching many Long-tailed Rosefinches and Azure Tits. As I intend to write a trip report my diaries will be brief. The scenery was stunning and the air quite cold but after breakfast we drove the surrounds of the hotel along a very bumpy track. Here we watched Azure-winged Magpies with Black Kites and an Amur Falcon mobbing them at every opportunity. White-cheeked Starlings had bred in a nest hole as Red-billed Chough flew around.

We drove along the side of the river watching Ruddy Shelducks with their young swimming on the river as Daurian Starlings sat on the roof of a building. Daurian Redstarts had bred and were flitting in the bushes as Carrion Crows and Ravens were in abundance as we drove along to the lake. Gadwall, Tufted Duck, Mallard, Coot, Great Crested Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, Whooper Swans with young, Pochard were all added to the list. On the way back to the hotel we watched Horned Lark before lunch taken at the hotel.

We were now all very tired and went looking for Yellow-breasted Bunting after lunch but failed miserably adding Citrine Wagtail and Richard’s Pipits to our list. Exhaustion kicked in as we all fell asleep as we motored back to the hotel for our evening meal. We soon made our way up to bed and a well-earned sleep with our body clocks well out of synch!

                                            Long-tailed Rosefinch
                                                                     Azure Tit
!3th July

John and I were up early and went for a pre-breakfast walk watching many Tree Sparrows and Magpies! After breakfast we drove along the riverside and watched two Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers and the family party of Ruddy Shelducks before heading for the airport for our flight to Hovd.

We had a bit of a scare as the pilot tried to land us 2 hours later but we missed the runway because of strong winds. We had to ascend again very quickly and flew in circles around the airport watching the storm pass through beneath us. The pilot tried again and we had a white-knuckle landing. I have never hit the ground so fast and wondered if we were ever going to stop in time for the end of the runway!

We were picked up and driven on a road, trackways, dry river beds and steppe to the Twin Leopard Gir camp where we stopped to admire a Daurian Shrike, Asiatic Short-toed Lark and a Golden Eagle en-route. We were allocated our Gir, fed and went to bed on the hardest mattress that I have ever encountered!

                             Lesser Spotted Woodpecker

                                          Twin Leopard Ger Camp
14th July

After breakfast we drove down to Durgun Lake but spent many hours on the the Mongolian Steppes. On the way down we stopped to watch Henderson’s Ground Jay and a Daurian Shrike. Asian Short-toed Larks and Isabelline Wheatears were in abundance. At a rocky outcrop we watched Rock Sparrows after stopping at a few small puddles to watch Mongolian Finches. Once down on the plains Black Kites and Sakers kept us amused as we searched in vain for Oriental Plover.

Reaching the lake we watched Great Sand Plover, Black Tern, Kentish Plover and a host of other birds which will be in my trip report.

                                              Henderson's Ground Jay

                                   Bino, Sue, John and Chris
15th July

We had an early start and headed up to the top of the Jargalant mountains. It was a treacherous route up to the top. We watched Bearded Vultures, Himalayan Vultures, Alatai Snowcock, Water Pipit, Guldenstadt Redstart, Hill Pigeons and Crag Martins. We scanned all day. I suffered from altitude sickness and had to lie down for an hour to try and recover. Sadly we could not find any Snow Leopards.

                             Altai Snowcock

                                                Bearded Vulture
16th July

We were up early and packed the vehicle for the drive up to the top of the Jargalant Mountains.

We stopped for a short while to watch Barred Warblers before continuing up the track.

The track, what there is of it, follows a valley where it is possible to drive on the riverbed which is usually dry at this time of year. However 3 days ago rain had altered the bed and it was now strewn with boulders making the going very tough in places. Once out of the valley we drove across the mountain tops where the views are stunning.

We spent most of the day scanning the mountainsides without success for Snow Leopards and watched Himalayan Vultures, Cinereous Vultures, Black Kites, Swifts and Crag Martins. I took photographs of Mongolian Finches, Altai Accentors, Brown Accentors and White-winged Snowfinches.

I am unfortunate in that I suffer badly from altitude sickness but was pleased that we had had a couple of days at 6000 ft to give my body time to adjust. Today we were going to 10200ft and I was a bit concerned as I know how ill I can be. I started a headache as we climbed up and took my medication leaving me very woosey! Luckily we didn’t have to walk very far at all and the medication worked and after an hour or so I was ok.

We lost a bit of momentum as scanning for hours on end is not easy and we drove to another valley and scanned again. We stopped to talk to some herders who told us that they had lost a foal, as 3 foals had got spooked by something  in the herd and had run off. Only 2 foals had returned. Our trackers went to look for it and found it dead. We went to investigate.  The radio crackled into action as we were driving and the driver sped off worthy of a Grand Prix start! The trackers had located a Snow Leopard!

The excitement level in the vehicle went through the roof as we drove through boulder-fields and mountain tops! It didn’t take long before we arrived where the trackers directed us. We leapt out of the vehicle and our driver grabbed my binoculars and scope! Aghhhhh..........I could not look at anything.....................However his vast experience soon located the Snow Leopard lying on the grassy mountainside and he lined my scope on it. I bent down with tears running down my cheek. I could not control my emotion of seeing the amazing creature. The moment was AWESOME! I cannot begin to tell you how excited we all were! What an experience....what a day..what a beast!

We sat and watched it for ages as the Leopard got up and walked down the slope, posing for a while on a rock before waking over to retrieve its kill and dragging the poor foal down the bank. It was time to leave so that we could complete our treacherous  journey back down the mountain in the light. What a day we all had had!


                     Sue pointing to a Snow Leopard

                                      Snow Leopard

                                                       Snow Leopard
                                   Snow Leopard with its kill of a Foal
17th July

Having had a very successful day yesterday and arriving back at camp late last night we were fortunate to have a bit of down time today to catch up with our photos, notes and general domestics. The stunning scenery here is out of this world and I realise just how lucky I am to be here far away from the strains and stresses of modern-day living.


We have been lucky in that our guide has made his phone available to have as a hotspot so that we can use wi-fi, a treat that we were not expecting. Usually we only have the generator on for a few hours in the evening for charging up our laptops, phones, camera batteries and light etc. but today it has been on all day as we are in camp and I have been able to catch up with my website and postings on Twitter and Facebook.

A big thank you must go to over 1000 of you that have sent me messages and have like my photos of the Snow Leopard that I put on Twitter.


This  afternoon we went for a walk up a canyon by our campsite where we watched Bearded Vultures and Mongolian Finches as well as White-winged Finches. Upland Buzzards also soared overhead as we enjoyed our amble up the canyon before returning to the gers for a delightful evening meal.

                                                     Bearded Vulture
White-winged Snowfinch

18th July


After an early breakfast we set off for Lake Khar, a two hour drive away. It was already very hot and we were soon down to t-shirts and shorts. Blyth’s Reed Warblers and Paddyfield Warblers were in the reeds as we scanned the lake edge. Temminck’s Stints, Greater Sand Plovers, Kentish Plovers were all noted along with White-winged Black Terns, Black Terns and Gull-billed Terns. Vega Gulls, Pallas’s Gulls were in abundance as we enjoyed watching Spoonbills and many Red-crested Pochards. Black-throated Divers with chicks were a delight to see close by. I will write about more birds seen in my trip report but we did enjoy a Steppe Eagle on the way home to our ger.

                                              Paddyfield Warbler

                                                           Steppe Eagle

19th July


We set off after breakfast for the Bumbat Mountains. The route was interesting as no roads were involved! We used some tracks but mainly drove wherever headed in the direction that we wanted to go......streams, riverbeds, boulder-fields and steppe. It was a good job that we were in a 4x4 vehicle!


Once we arrived Black Redstarts were everywhere in Builaas Valley intersperced with Mongolian Finches, Rock Sparrows and goodness knows how many Black Kites soaring overhead. A Bearded Vulture and a Booted Eagle added to the scene as we watched a Greenish Warbler feeding a chick and a Godlewski’s Bunting singing from the cliffs high above us. Down in the stream numerous Twite and a Grey-necked Bunting bathed in the water whilst two Grey Wagtails flitted around.


Once again the scenery was stunning. Upon our return the ger erection team had arrived and we watched in great fascination as it was put up.


 We had our evening meal in the ger and put on our fleeces as the wind had got up. We will need the fire lit in our ger tonight!

              Sue in the Bumbat Mountains in Mongolia

                                          Grey-necked Bunting

                                                 Ger Construction
                          Ger Construction with several more to do in our camp!

20th July

We set off across the Jargalant Mountains and headed for a series of lakes where we spent the day birding. On the way we watched an Asian Desert Warbler flitting around a small bush on the steppe. We watched Demoiselle Cranes, and Red-crested Pochards whilst Hoopoes, White Wagtails (personata) and Yellow Wagtails ran around us. A Tekek Sandpiper fed on the edge of the lake whilst Kentish Plovers, Temminck’s Stints and Black-winged Stilts also fed running along the edge. Vega Gulls, Common Terns and many White-winged Terns flew around but we could not find any Relict Gulls.

At lunchtime a young Swallow alighted on the car door and then sat on Chris’s scope. It was not a bit frightened of us during the heat of the day and sat with us for ages as we took photos of it. Eventually we had to ask it to leave so that we could drive back to camp.

The goat herd had arrived as we got back and a thunder storm appeared out of nowhere. It’s interesting in our ger with an open roof! The generator that we have on for a few hours each day is also intermittent and so drying my hair is also interesting at times!

                                           Asian Desert Warbler
                                                          Cinereous Vulture

              Sue with her little friend! (A young Swallow)
                                  Swallow using a Swarovski scope to good effect!
21st July
Bino watching Sue cross the river (photo courtesy J. Geeson)

After breakfast we packed our bags, said goodbye to the camp staff, packed the vehicle and set off for Manhan Sum. Here we had to wait for a gate to be unlocked before we could enter an area with many Willow trees alongside a river running under the mountainside. We crossed over a rickety bridge and watched many Tree Sparrows and Black Kites and very little else. We did see a family party of White-crowned Penduline Tits, a juvenile Rock Thrush, Black Redstart and a family party of Pied Wheatears though.

We got back into the vehicle and motored to a rocky area where we had lunch. We tried in vain for Koslov’s Accentor once again but saw many Northern Wheatears and Rock Sparrows. It was now very hot and after a few hours drove to our new campsite where we changed our plans to only stay one night when we saw the lack of facilities on offer, but it did have nice views over the lake.

                                       Sue and Chris at Manhan Sum
White-crowned Penduline Tit

22nd July

We had 3 hours of birding before breakfast around Lake Khar-Us. After a bit of a drive over the bumpy terrain we stopped and watched Pallas’s Grasshopper Warbler, Paddyfield Warblers and Bearded Tits all singing. Black-winged Stilts seemed to be everywhere as the youngsters now fully grown were adding to much confusion before we got a scope on them and looked properly. I spotted a snipe in the long marshy grass but after showing John we could not relocate it before it crouched down and disappeared from view.  We watched Yellow Wagtails with grey heads and a Little Owl perched on a cattle pen. A Marsh Harrier flew along as we drove back to breakfast.

After breakfast we drove along another section of the lake but I was unfortunate that I could not see very much as I was sitting the wrong side of the vehicle. As all the birding was out one side of the vehicle for several hours I was getting very frustrated and eventually I asked if it could be a bit fairer and turn the vehicle around at the next stop so that I too could participate. Bino our Mongolian guide,  soon responded and at the next stop he made sure that I could see.  It was nice to see a big flock of Pallas’s Gulls along with Vega Gulls and Black-headed Gulls but we once again failed to find a Relict Gull. Grrrr... At one stop we all got out of the vehicle and scanned the enormous lake and Chris located two family parties of Swan Geese. Bingo! Result!

We stopped at an observation tower where Bino spotted a very distant eagle sat on a mound and so we drove much nearer to the bird as we were challenged by heat haze and distance. By getting closer we could see it was a White-tailed Eagle. It eventually took off and joined another White-tailed Eagle with which it interacted.

                                                    Pallas's Gull

                                               Swan Goose

23rd July

We spent the day birding around the vast lake of Khar-Us where we watched 28 White-headed Ducks , a number that e-bird doesn’t like as they don’t believe that so many are here! We also re-saw the family party of Demoiselle Cranes and many wader species. The small pools in the marshes at the edge of the lake are alive with waders, a real treat for someone that would appreciate wader watching!

The day was very hot and after lunch we watched birds for a few more hours before making our way back to the hotel for an evening meal.

                                                      Daurian Shrike
                                            Red-necked Phalarope

24th July

It was our last day in west Mongolia before we fly to east Mongolia for the next part of our adventure and our quest for some new mammals and birds staying in a community ger camp once again. We have enjoyed our couple of days in Khovd town staying in a hotel to catch up with ourselves and attend to a few domestics.

We spent the morning up in the mountains still searching for a Koslov’s  Accentor. We stopped at several sites on the way up but drew a blank. On the top we found a singing Blyth’s Pipit which was nice to see well. Black Kites and Steppe Eagles were flying overhead as Daurian Shrikes, Chukars and Rock Sparrows hopped around us. We were at the point of giving up when all of a sudden Bino our guide, spotted a Koslov’s  Accentor right in front of us hopping around a small bush. We were delighted. Goodness knows how many hours we have put in for this bird?

                                                      Blyth's Pipit
                                               Koslov's Accentor

We drove to the airport and waited for our flight which had been delayed. After several hours of waiting our flight never arrived and we were taken to a nearby ger camp where we spent the night.

25th July

We set the alarm for 3.30am and were taken by our driver to the airport where after a bit of confusion we boarded our flight back to Ulaanbaatar. After buying a few beers at the airport Yumchin picked us up and drove us to our next ger camp after stopping in a village for our tracker who was hopefully going to show us a Pallas’s Cat site. After a bit of a drive across the steppe along tracks we arrived at the ger camp near Altanbulag where we caught up on some sleep in the afternoon before having a drive at dusk where we saw some Wapit and Argali, two new mammals for us.

                      Altanbulag Camp, Mongolia

26th July

Silver (Brandt's) Vole

We spent the day scanning for Pallas’s Cat along with Yumchin and our tracker but unfortunately I did not see a Pallas’s cat. We watched Mongolian Larks, Horned Larks, Nothern Wheatear, Isabelline Wheatear, many Hoopoes, Blyth’s Pipits, Steppe Eagle, Golden Eagles, Black kites and Cinereous Vultures . We delighted in watching a Silver Vole store its stash of grass and then nibble it in a crevice in a rock.

After a rainstorm soaked our clothing and bedding we decamped to a hotel several hours away to dry out and spend the night!

27th July

So our adventure in Mongolia continues but not always according to plan! With a mixture of unexpected rain giving us a soaking, a puncture and a vehicle stuck in deep water today we have had some fun having to do very bumpy diversionary routes due to flooded roads to get to see the cranes but have come out smiling and seen some wonderful wildlife and birds thanks to the tenacity of our guides and driver. It has been a stunning day full of excitement, worry, elation and exploration.


The scenery continues to be amazing and the birding fantastic. Yellow-breasted Bunting,a bird on the edge of extinction, Meadow Bunting, Daurian Partridge, White-naped Crane, a bird on the ICUN red list, Pallas's Reed Bunting and an Eastern Marsh Harrier were all seen today as well as Mongolian Marmots, Corsac Fox, Mongolian Gazelles and the wild Przewalski's Horse at Hustai National Park. I was pleased to see the Yellow-breasted Bunting in summer plumage as although I have seen this bird many years ago in Hong Kong it was nice to see one again given their critical status.

Let the adventure continue!

                                        Yellow-breasted Bunting

                                                  White-naped Crane

28th July

It poured with rain all day today in Mongolia and due to circumstances beyond our control, with no vehicle available to us, we ended up staying in our hotel room for most of the day. By 3pm the rain had stopped and so John, Chris and I went for a walk behind the hotel along the river where we saw a Green Sandpiper, a Hoopoe, hundreds of Tree Sparrows, Chough and a Black Kite. Let's hope for a better day tomorrow!

29th July


A very happy birthday to my darling granddaugter Lucy who will be one year old today. I will look forward to seeing you next month when you will be coming to stay. xxx

John and I went for a pre-breakfast walk where we watched Choughs, an Amur Falcon, Black Kite and a host of Tree Sparrows. After breakfast we waited for our guides to return from looking from Pallas’s Cat in our hotel and had an early lunch. After a hearty lunch we drove to Altanbulag and spent the afternoon scanning for Pallas’s Cat without success. We were seriously hampered by rain. We watched Koslov’s Accentor and Pallas’s Reed Buntings whilst we were searching besides Mongolian Larks.

We drove to the ger camp where we had an evening meal before setting out once more in the dark. We drove around until 3am with the rain pouring down and the wind howling around us. It was no wonder that we did not see the Pallas’s cat. The vehicle kept stalling and we had to bump start it several times, not good when in a remote area with no phone signal! We retired to the ger camp where we slept in our clothes.

                                           Koslov's Accentor
                                              Pallas's Reed Bunting

30th July


We woke up o a glorious morning with bright sun blazing. It was already very hot. Such a shame that we did not have clear weather last night! However our vehicle was in bits with the driver underneath it taking the gearbox apart! Luckily we also had two cars available to us and so after breakfast we set off in both of them and scanned every hillside for Pallas’s cat. Cinereous Vultures and Upland Buzzards soared overhead and Mongolian Larks flashed their white wings at us. However we failed to find any Pallas’s cats. We returned to camp, packed up our belongings and piled into the van that now had its gear box back in place. We drove back to Ulaanbaatar and our hotel for the night.


We had a wonderful evening meal, said goodbye to our drivers and packed up ready for our flight early tomorrow morning.

                    Altanbulag Ger Camp
                                                 Altanbulag Ger Camp