Siberian Crane Extension
10-14 June 2025
Tour length: 5 days
Group size limit: 8
Joshua Bergmark and a local leader
Day 1: The tour starts this early morning at Ulaanbaatar International Airport (UBN). From there we will drive a short distance to the Tuul river, searching for Azure Tit, Long-tailed Rosefinch, White-crowned Penduline Tit, Amur Falcon and possibly a number of siberian migrants. In the afternoon we will head towards Terelij NP. (If our local guide, based on sightings the week before the tour, thinks we should try at another site for the capercaillie then we will go somewhere else, possibly to Mongon), where we should arrive in the early evening. Night camping.
Day 2: All morning in the forest searching at our secret stake out for Black-billed Capercaillie, where we should enjoy superb views of these incredible birds. If conditions are right -i.e: cold!-, we have a good chance of seeing them displaying. Other birds like Hazel Grouse, Black Woodpecker, Siberian Rubythroat, Pine and Black-faced Buntings, Red-flanked Bluetail, etc.. are possible. If the capercaillies have been seen well enough, then in the afternoon we will drive back towards UB. If not, then we will stay an extra morning. Night camping.
Day 3: All day driving south to Dalanzadgad in the Gobi desert. Night at a Ger Camp.
Day 4: In the early morning we will visit some plantations that usually attract lots of migrants. Afterwards we will visit a steppe area where we should get good views of the uncommon Oriental Plover, hopefully doing their petrel-like display flights. Later, transfer to Zuun Saikhan mountain in Gobi Gurvan Saikhan national park, where, time permitting, we will already explore the famous Yolyn am (which means “Bearded Vulture”) gorge. Many resident and summer breeding birds will be seen, including Himalayan Griffon, Bearded Vulture, Golden Eagle, Kozlov’s and Brown Accentors, Chinese Beautiful Rosefinch, Wallcreeper, Mongolian Finch, White-winged Snowfinch and buntings. The gorge also acts as a migrant trap and the stream that flows through the bottom of the canyon and rough grass could hold thrushes, warblers and buntings. Night camping.
Day 5: After some early morning birding at the gorge, long drive through stunning desert scenery, searching for Henderson’s (Mongolian) Ground-jay, Pallas’s Sandgrouse, Saxaul Sparrow, “Steppe” Grey Shrike, Asian Desert Warbler, and more. Night camping.
Day 6: Morning birding around the impressive Khongoryn Els dunes, then travel towards Kholboolj Lake. Night camping.
Day 7: Most of the day will be spent at the birdy Kholboolj Lake. Key targets will be waders such as Red-necked Stint, Asian Dowitcher and Mongolian Plover, amongst many others, together with waterfowl, terns and gulls, that might include Relict Gull. Night camping.
Day 8: Drive to Buuntsagaan Lake. Night camping.
Day 9: We will spend all day birding at Buuntsagaan Lake, where we will enjoy large numbers of gulls, including Relict if lucky, ducks, wild Mute Swan and shorebirds, as well as good chances of Pallas’s Fish Eagle. Night camping.
Day 10: Long drive to Khukh Lake. Night camping.
Day 11: Full day searching for Altai Snowcock and White-throated (Hodgson’s) Bushchat. Güldenstädt’s Redstart the nominate form of Pallas’s Reed Bunting, Altai Accentor and sushkini Asian Rosy Finch are also possible here. Night camping.
Day 12: All day at Khukh Lake. If we are still missing Relict Gull at this stage, we will consider driving west to Ikhes Lake or Tseteg Nuur, where the gulls usually breed. Night camping.
Day 13: Drive north, stopping in a forest area to search for Pallas’s Rosefinch, Eversmann’s Redstart, Eurasian Three-toed Woodpecker, and Oriental Cuckoo. Night camping.
Day 14: Head east towards Ugi Lake, where we should see Black-throated Diver and Stejneger’s Scoter, amongst others. Later drive to Bayan Lake for White-naped Crane, Bar-headed and Swan Geese, Brown-cheeked Rail, Eastern Marsh Harrier, Pale Martin, Paddyfield and Oriental Reed Warblers, Pallas’s Reed Bunting of the lydiae subspecies, Pere David’s Snowfinch, Pallas’s Grasshopper Warbler and others. Night camping.
Day 15: After some early morning birding, drive east towards Terelij NP, where we will camp in the forest.
Day 16: All morning birding in Terelij NP, searching for Chinese Bush Warbler, Lanceolated Warbler, Red-throated Thrush, Siberian Jay, Siberian Tit, and others. In the afternoon, drive towards UB. Night in a hotel in the outskirts of the city.
Day 17: International departures from Ulaanbaatar International Airport (UBN).
SIBERIAN CRANE EXTENSION
We are currently obtaining details from our ground agent which will allows us to offer a few extra nights driving east from Ulaanbaatar to explore the bird-rich Khurkh Valley in search of one of the ultimate birds in Asia: Siberian Crane! Chinese Bush Warbler, Japanese Quail, Yellow-breasted Bunting and more exciting additions are also possible.
MAIN TOUR 2025
Cost: $ 5,500
Deposit: $ 750
Single room supplement: $ 300
Deposit: $ 750
Single room supplement: TBC
Note that the single room supplement covers single tents, as well as hotel rooms and single yurts at Ger camps.
Accommodation: The hotel in Ulaanbaatar will be of good quality. When camping we will use high quality, North Face tents, as well as warm sleeping bags and comfortable inflatable mattresses. We will have an assistant to help us set up the tents each night. The only camp assistance group members will be asked to give is erecting and dismantling one’s personal tent (an easy and rapid task) on those rare occasions when the camp crew have limited time or if the weather quickly deteriorates. On a couple of nights we will stay at Ger camps, using large and comfortable Ger tents with beds, where sharing might be necessary.
Walking difficulty: Mostly easy, with some moderate uphill walking at Khukh Lake.
Tour cost includes: All accommodation, main meals, drinking water, overland transport, tips to local drivers and guides, travel permits, entrance fees, and guide fees.
Tour cost excludes: Flights before and after the tour start/end, visa, travel insurance, tips to tour leaders, laundry, drinks and other items of a personal nature.