Tour Dates: Monday 1st – Monday 15th June 2020 (Ulanbaatar to Ulaanbaatar)
Tour Price: £4,250pp plus flight
Estimated Flight Price: London to Ulaanbaatar (via Moscow) approx. £900 return
Deposit: £600 per person
Conservation Donation from Wise Birding: £300 – £400
Minimum Number: 6 people
Maximum Group Size: 8 people
Birds: Altai Snowcock, Black-billed Capercaillie, Demoiselle Crane, White-naped Crane, Siberian Scoter, Swan Goose, Bar-headed Goose, Pallas’s Sandgrouse, Pallas’s Fish Eagle, Oriental Plover, Asian Dowitcher, Greater Sandplover, Relict Gull, Mongolian Lark, Mongolian Finch, Mongolian Accentor, Altai Accentor, Guldenstadt’s Redstart, Daurian Redstart, Hodgson’s Bushchat, Mongolian Ground Jay, Long-tailed Rosefinch, Azure Tit, Chinese Bush Warbler, Saxaul Sparrow, Godlewski’s Bunting, Yellow-breasted Bunting, Pallas’s Bunting and much more!
Mammals: Przewalski’s Horse, Black-tailed Gazelle, Mongolian Gazelle, Siberian Ibex and Siberian Marmot
This new and exciting tour is very much an adventure as we visit the vast open wilderness of Mongolia in search of its fabulous birdlife. Our itinerary takes in a number of habitats in order to find as many of the key species as possible. We will visit impressive and picturesque high mountains in the west, the forested hills of Terelj NP, the Dartmoor-like landscape of Khustai NP, the impressive Khongor Sand Dunes and of course the endless Steppe with magical skies and herds of livestock. This will be a great birding adventure with much of our route travelling on dirt roads through an ever changing landscape. Our time will be focused on trying to see as many of the key specialities of Mongolia as well as a good selection of mammals that we are likely to simply come across whilst travelling. Highly sought after species we will be looking for include Pallas’s Sandgrouse, Mongolian Lark, Mongolian Ground Jay, Oriental Plover, Hodgson’s Bush Chat, Asian Dowitcher, Guldenstadt’s Redstart, Mongolian Accentor, White-naped Crane and more!
Though not specifically looking for mammals on this tour we are likely to see as good selection just whilst travelling. Species such as Przewalski’s Horse, Siberian Ibex and Goitered Gazelle are some we should see whilst birding.
We will have a team of drivers, a cook, interpreters & assistants in a convey of Toyota Land Cruisers so everyone will have a window seat.
ACCOMMODATION: 14 nights in Mongolia
A mix of good quality tourist Ger camps and hotels
8 nights in hotels or good quality tourist Ger Camps with showers and 6 nights camping in smaller tents with limited facilities
Inclusive Meals: Full board
DAY 1: Arrive in Ulaanbaatar (UB)
After arriving into Ulaanbaatar in the early morning we will then transfer to a nearby hotel by the Tuul River where we can rest before heading out for some birding. The area around the hotel is excellent for a number of good birds and a great way to start the tour. Key species that we will be looking for include Azure Tit, Long-tailed Rosefinch, White-crowned Penduline Tit, Azure-winged Magpie and Daurian Jackdaw. Overnight UB Hotel by Tuul River
DAY 2: Ulaanbaatar – Gun Galuut – Mungun
Today we will travel to the east of UB and set up camp near Mungun, an area of forest in the mountains where our key target will be Black-billed Capercaillie. However, en route we will stop at a number of lakes in the Gun Galuut region where the scenery is stunning and the birds are too! We should find our first Mongolian Larks and Demoiselle Cranes around the edge of the lakes and Siberian Scoters on the water. With luck, we may find Relict Gull and breeding Yellow-breasted Bunting as well as the small number of breeding White-naped Cranes. Overnight camping in tents
DAY 3: Mungun – Gun Galuut – Ulaanbaatar
We will be up before dawn in the hope of finding our target bird at the lek, the fine Black-billed Capercaillie! Other species we will be searching for here include Ural Owl, Three-toed Woodpecker, Daurian Partridge, Daurian Redstart, Pine Bunting and Chinese Bush Warbler, Two-barred Warbler, Dusky Warbler, Siberian Rubythroat, Rufous-throated Thrush and Red-throated (Taiga) Flycatcher. Commoner species that we should see include Upland Buzzard, Black-eared Kite, Red-billed Chough, Willow Tit and Daurian Jackdaw. Migrants can be numerous at this time of year if conditions are right and may include Red-throated Flycatcher, Red-flanked Bluetail and Olive-backed Pipit.
During the afternoon we will have plenty of time to further search the lakes in this area that often hold numerous waders and sometimes rarities. Common waders likely to be encountered include Long-toed Stint, Broad-billed Sandpiper and Eastern Black-tailed Godwit. During the late afternoon we will return to UB. Overnight UB Hotel by Tuul River
DAY 4: Ulaanbaatar – Luus Lake – Dalanzadgad
Today is mostly a travel day as we venture on the long journey south to Dalanzadgad. We will of course make some birding stops en route where we will undoubtedly see species such as Demoiselle Crane, Pallas’s Sandgrouse, Steppe Eagle and any waders that may be feeding in roadside lakes / pools. Overnight Dalanzadgad Hotel
DAY 5: Bulagtai Steppe – Yol Valley / Mukhar Shivert
During the afternoon we will visit an area of the Yol Valley, popular with tourists but also very good for a number of key species. White-winged Snowfinches are very common and we have a good chance of finding Wallcreeper as well as Sulphur-bellied Warbler, Beautiful Rosefinch, Lammergeier, Mongolian Accentor and Godlewski’s Bunting. Overnight Ger Camp
DAY 6: Mukhar Shivert – Bayan Bag – Khavtsgait Valley – Khongor Sand Dunes
This morning we will focus on any key species that we are still missing in the Yol Valley before heading into very different habitat as we venture towards the impressive Khongor Sand Dunes. En route we will do some birding in an impressive gorge where we should find breeding Lammergeiers, Mongolian Finch, Pied Wheatear and hopefully some exciting migrants. We may also find Asian Wild Ass and Goitered Gazelle during our journey.
By the afternoon we should arrive at the sand dunes where we will spend the night at a Ger Camp just a short distance from a breeding colony of the very attractive Saxaul Sparrow. A walk around the camp at night should also produce some interesting mammals with chances for Long-eared Hedgehog, Hairy-footed Jerboa and maybe even Desert Hamster. Overnight Tourist Ger Camp
DAY 7: Khongor Sand Dunes – Orog Lake
We will have the morning to explore the habitat around the Saxaul trees and the associated Steppe. We will be looking for Asian Desert Warbler, Saxaul Sparrow and Mongolian Ground Jay in particular. A visit to the Khongor River may produce some migrants as well as the expected species such as Pallas’s Sandgrouse, Asian Short-toed Lark and Desert Wheatear.
We then continue our journey north to the edge of the Bogd Mountain National Park and Orog Lake where we will be looking for the very localised Relict Gull and other birds. Overnight camping in tents
DAY 8: Orog Lake – Boon Tsagaan Lake
Today we will travel 200Km by dirt road between Orog Lake and Boon Tsagaan Lake where our key target will be Relict Gull. There will of course be plenty of other species to keep us occupied. At this time of year waders and passerines are still moving through and there are always surprises! Overnight camping in tents
DAYS 9 & 10: Boon Tsagaan Lake – Khokh Lake
On the morning of day 9 we head into the impressive mountains where we will set up camp near Khokh Lake, a freshwater mountain lake at around 2,600M.
During the next two days we will enjoy some fabulous scenery and quality birds checking various lakes for many special birds. Key species that we will be looking for include Altai Accentor, Brown Accentor, Asian Rosy Finch, Guldenstadt’s Redstart, Mongolian Herring Gull nesting colony, Altai Snowcock and the very localised Hodgson’s Bush Chat. We will also be keeping an eye out for the rare Pallas’s Fish Eagle. Overnight camping in tents near Khokh Lake
DAY 11: Khokh Lake – Bayan Khongor – Arvaikeer
Today will be a long day of travel but the ever changing scenery will be impressive and we will of course make a number of birding stops en route where we may still find some of the key species such as Hodgson’s Bush Chat, Guldenstadt’s Redstart and Altai Snowcock. Overnight Hotel
DAY 12: Arvaikeer – Sangiin Dalai Lake – Bayan Lake
We will continue or journey North-East to Sangiin Dalai Lake where we will have lunch. Here we will enjoy opportunities to see Asian Dowitcher and other waders as well as any Locustella warblers that may be present. Rusty-rumped (Pallas’s Grasshopper) Warbler or Lanceolated Warbler are both possible and there is a chance for Eastern Water Rail. We will also be looking for Siberian Scoter, Mongolian Herring Gull, Black Stork and Baillon’s Crake.
During the late afternoon we will arrive at Bayan Lake. Here we will set up our camp and hope to find species such as Swan Goose, Bar-headed Goose, White-naped Crane, Pallas’s Bunting and Asian Dowitcher. Overnight camping in tents
DAY 13: Bayan Lake – Khustai National Park
First light at Bayan Lake will be a great experience as we sift through waders with the backdrop of singing Pallas’s Buntings and Oriental Reed Warblers. White-Naped Cranes, Swan Geese and Bar-headed Geese should be present and we will be checking the waders for Asian Dowitcher and Terek Sandpiper and any rarities that may be present.
During the afternoon we continue our journey east towards Khustai National Park famous for its re-introduced Przewalski’s Horses. Overnight in Ger Camp at Khustai NP
DAY 14: Khustai NP – UB
This morning we will have most of the day to explore Khustai National Park. Here we will be looking for Blyth’s Pipit, Meadow Bunting, Daurian Partridge, Amur Falcon, Saker Falcon as well as any migrant birds that may be present. There will also be many great mammals to see which will include the Przewalski’s Horse and there are often sightings of Corsac Fox. Wolves are also present in the park and are sometimes seen with luck! Overnight UB Hotel by Tuul River
DAY 15: Transfer to airport
We will take the 15 minus transfer to the airport where the tour concludes.
Please note this is a flexible itinerary which may need to be adjusted slightly dependent on arrival / departure times, weather conditions and the most recent information from our local guides
Leaders: Wise Birding leader & local guide Tumen Khumbaa
Included in cost: Accommodation in a mix of hotels, tourist Ger Camps and tents, all meals, bottled water, ground transport and services of leaders.
Not included in cost: International airfare, travel insurance, alcoholic drinks and any airport/visa fees
Single Supplement: £100 – £200
Transport: Toyota Landcruisers throughout the tour
Difficulty: Moderate – Difficult
A reasonable level of fitness is required as there will be some walking in mountainous terrain on small tracks though these will be done at a slow pace. Most walking will generally involve short walks in close vicinity to our vehicles.
Climate: Very mixed! Snow is still possible in some areas, but generally typical daytime temperatures typically around 15 – 20 degrees Celsius with temperatures down to around 8 – 10 degrees Celsius at night. Of course as with so many places in the world the weather is very unpredictable at this time of year and these should be taken as a general guide only!
Tour Start Point: Ulaanbaatar airport, Mongolia
Tour End Point: Ulaanbaatar airport, Mongolia
Suggested Airlines: Aeroflot