Snow Leopards & more!
June 5 - 19, 2021
Contact [email protected] to reserve your space!
Join Gina Nichol and Steve Bird as we explore some of the most pristine, bird-rich landscapes in the frontier of Asia on our superb Mongolian wildlife adventure!
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Mongolia! Just the mention of this "Land of the Blue Skies" conjures up images of nomadic horsemen riding across windswept Gobi desert and the legend that is Genghis Khan, leader of the once great Mongol Empire. Mongolia is one of the last surviving nomadic societies and one of the least densely populated places on earth. However exciting the history and culture of Mongolia are, it's scenery and wildlife are equally thrilling. On this tour, we will be immersing ourselves in Mongolia’s stunning landscapes and fabulous wildlife which includes many sought after species of birds and some incredible mammals that include Pallas’s Cat and the mythical Snow Leopard.
Using comfortable 4x4 Land cruisers we will explore many varied and scenic habitats of Mongolia including vast steppe land, incredible mountains, golden sand dunes, stony desert and lush grassland and lakes. Far, far better than tents, our traditional Ger Camps (Yurts) will provide comfort in a traditional style and are ideal as a basecamp while searching for Snow Leopard and other iconic species.
Photos: Top, Snow Leopard; Right, Azure Tit; Below, Yurts
|Some of the species possible on this tour:
- Black-billed Capercaillie
- Siberian Rubythroat
- Amur Falcon
- Mongolian Lark
- Long-tailed Rosefinch
- Pallas’s Sandgrouse
- Henderson’s Ground Jay
- Kozlov’s Accentor
- Mongolian Finch
- Oriental Plover
- Azure Tit
- Pallas's Cat
- Przewalski’s Horse
- Siberian Marmot
- Argali Sheep
- Mongolian Gazelle
- Corsac Fox
- Marbled Polecat
This is sure to be a unique Sunrise Birding tour that you will never forget!
Join us to experience the magic of Mongolia!
Day 1. June 5. Travel to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
Today plan to arrive at the New Ulaanbaatar International Airport (Airport code: ULN), Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. We will then transfer to our city hotel. Because of the varying flight schedules, today is just arrival day with no activities or meals planned. Night Ulaanbaatar. The tour officially starts with breakfast tomorrow June 6.
Days 2 - 3. June 6 - 7. Terelj.
Today we will drive to Terelj where we will be based for 2 nights in order to search for the Black-billed Capercaillie. We have two main areas to search which are about 30km apart and will choose the most reliable site based on current information at the time. With luck we can find a male at his dance ground (lek)! There will of course be plenty of other species to look for including Pine and Meadow Buntings, Siberian Rubythroat, Daurian Jackdaw, Red-billed Chough, Mongolian Lark, Red-throated and Eye-browed Thrush, Common Crane, Pallas’s Reed Bunting, Rock Thrush, Ural Owl, Black Woodpecker, Hazel Grouse, Daurian Partridge, Red-flanked Bluetail, Taiga and Dark-sided Flycatcher, Daurian Redstart, Oriental Cuckoo, Common Rosefinch, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Olive-backed Pipit and possibly Chinese Bush-warbler. Handsome Long-tailed Sousliks are also numerous on the grassy slopes.
2 Nights Terelj (B, L, D).
Day 4. June 8. Terelj - Khustai National Park
Today we will make the journey from Terelj to Khustai National Park. Along the way we will make a stop at Gun Galuut National Park, east of the capital city where several small wetlands could find us species such as Stejneger’s Scoter, Swan Goose, White-naped Crane, Relict Gull, Demoiselle Crane, Pallas’s Reed Bunting and Common Crane.
As we move on towards Khustai National Park we may come across the delightful Amur Falcon, plus the exquisite Mongolian Lark, Steppe Eagle and Pine Bunting. Other species we may encounter during the day include Hill Pigeon, Azure Tit, White-crowned Penduline Tit, Meadow Bunting, Long-tailed Rosefinch, Two-barred, Yellow-browed, Pallas’s Leaf, Arctic and Dusky Warblers, and Brown Shrike. We will also get our first introduction to some of the fascinating mammals of Mongolia such as the rare and endangered Przewalski’s Horse, plus Siberian Marmot, Daurian Ground Squirrel and Argali sheep.
Night Khustai (B, L, D).
Day 5. June 9. Khustai NP - Bayan Lake - Ulaanbaatar
We will spend most of the day exploring the Khustai National Park in search of Daurian Partridge, Swan Goose, Bar-headed Goose, Graylag Goose, White-naped Crane, Water Rail, Baillon’s Crake, Eastern Marsh Harrier, Pallas’s Reed Bunting, Common Reed Bunting, Bearded Tit, Daurian Jackdaw, Azure Tit, Long-tailed Rosefinch, Azure-winged Magpie, Booted, Golden and Steppe Eagles, Saker Falcon and Amur Falcon. Mammals could include Corsac Fox and Siberian Marmot, with chances of Wolf and Steppe Polecat and more opportunities for Przewalski’s Horse. We will then head back to Ulaanbaatar via a quick look to see if we can find anything new at Bayan Lake.
Night Ulaanbaatar (B, L, D).
Day 6. June 10. Ulaanbaatar – Dalanzadgad
This morning we will set off to the South Gobi province center – Dalanzadgad, about 580 km. On the way we will check several small lakes where it is possible to see migrants plus a variety of water and wetland birds. Here we can hopefully find the gorgeous Pallas’s Sandgrouse, plus Rock Sparrow, Citrine Wagtail, Demoiselle Crane, Steppe Eagle, Upland Buzzard, Black and Griffon Vultures, Black-eared Kite, Golden Eagle, and Saker Falcon. We will also look for the brandti race of “Steppe” Horned Lark and the beautifully plumaged and striking Mongolian Lark. We can also look for Mongolian Gazelle and Corsac Fox, and possibly Brandt’s Voles. Depending on our arrival time we may have the chance to do a little birding around the hotel.
Night in Hotel in Dalanzadgad (B, L, D)
Days 7 - 12. June 11 - 16. Snow Leopard Ger Camp
This morning we will travel to the edge of the mountains which will take about 2 hours by dirt road to reach our fabulous Ger camp in the habitat of the mythical ‘Grey Ghost’ or Snow Leopard. These magnificent cats are, as expected, difficult to see but we have good chances with 3 main areas that they inhabit and our local herders who would have checked in advance and advise us of any sightings. In this highly scenic area we will not only be looking for Snow Leopard, but also the superb Pallas’s Cat, Steppe Polecat, Marbled Polecat, Grey Wolf, Beech
Marten, Argali, Siberian Ibex, Corsac Fox, Red Fox, Mongolian Gazelle, Black-tailed Gazelle, and several species of Jerboa.
From strategic viewpoints, our main targets will be Snow Leopard, Pallas’s Cat, Steppe Polecat and Marbled Polecat and this will involve morning and afternoon stakeouts plus optional night drives. If we are successful with our targets we will then work to see the other species mentioned. Around our camp we can see White-winged Snowfinch, Pied and Isabelline Wheatears as well as several species of small mammal while, Alpine Marmots keep a watch out for Golden and Steppe Eagles that regularly hunt in the area.
Depending how well we have done with Snow Leopard, we can make one or more day trips from camp to try and find Pygmy Jerboa among other species. Among the many birds we could encounter are Pallas’s Fish Eagle, Common and Demoiselle Cranes, Long-toed Stint, Asian Dowitcher, Eurasian Eagle Owl, Kozlov’s Accentor, Small Snowfinch and other interesting species may also include Pallas’s and Relict Gulls, Pallas’s Sandgrouse, Henderson’s Ground Jay, Asian Desert Warbler, Mongolian Finch, Saxual Sparrow, Godlewski’s Bunting and Père David’s Snowfinch, as well as Goitered Gazelle, Siberian Ibex and Mongolian Gazelles. There is also further chances for Baillon’s Crake and Argali.
At Khongoryn Els are some of the largest and most spectacular sand dunes in Mongolia, often referred to as ‘The Singing Sands’. Here it is sometimes possible to find Wild Ass and possibly other important species of Jerboa such as Long-eared Jerboa, Kozlov’s Pygmy Jerboa, and Five-toed Jerboa. On the evening of 16th June we will head back to Dalanzadgad where we will stay in a comfortable hotel. (B, L, D).
Day 13. June 17. Dalanzadgad
This morning we will visit some different habitat of several valleys where we hope to find Henderson’s Ground Jay and possibly Kozlov’s Accentor, Barred Warbler, Lammergeier, Wallcreeper and Greater Sand Plover. One of the prized birds for today if we are lucky will be the beautiful Oriental Plover. Night Dalanzadgad. (B, L, D).
Day 14. June 18. Dalanzadgad – Ulaanbaatar
Today after some final morning birding we head back towards Ulaanbaatar stopping if we see anything of interest along the way. Finally we will arrive at our comfortable city hotel.
Night Ulaanbaatar. (B, L, D).
Day 15. June 19.
Today is departure day and having arrived the night before we would suggest a morning flight unless you wish to explore the city on your own. (B).
credits: T. Humbas
LEADERS: Gina Nichol, Steve Bird & local guides
will be using
Hotels, plus Ger
Camps. Our Ger
camp at the Snow
Leopard area is
and will be located
depending on the
cat news. The
Gers Camp will
be a wonderful
and a food catering
from 5,000 - 8,200
likely be at around
meters (7500 feet)
to areas where
the night should
be around 10 – 12°C
(50 - 54°F)
and 16 – 20°C
(60 - 68 °F)
during the day.
will be using 4x4
vehicles Land Cruisers
or similar that allow
just 3 persons plus
driver per vehicle
which allows everyone
a window seat!
Treks: The furthest
trek required to
be an hour,
but we may not
go this far dependent
the latest information
the trail cameras
It is just a matter