Kazakhstan Intro

TOUR OVERVIEW

Imagine a birding trip where you get to see iconic species such as Ibisbill, MacQueen’s Bustard, Himalayan Snowcock, Caspain Plover, Sociable Plover, Pallas’s Sandgrouse, Black Lark, Fire-fronted Serin and Himalayan Rubythroat and you have imagined birding in Kazakhstan.

Kazakhstan is located on the border between the western and eastern biogeographical subdivisions providing an intriguing blend of the exotic alongside the familiar in terms of its avifauna. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Kazakhstan has come into its own as a birding destination and one of the most accessible places to see a wide range of exciting Central Asian species. For those who enjoy immersing themselves in vast open spaces, the ninth largest country in the world is a great place to do this while enjoying a large number of the region’s speciality species. Great expanses of flat steppe grasslands merge into sandy and stony deserts with saline and freshwater lakes dotted around the country which are magnets to nesting and migrant birds. In sharp contrast, the massive towering peaks of the Tien Shan Mountains - an extension of the Himalayas - edging onto China rise to over 20,000 feet. Here we find ecosystems varying from massive tracts of deciduous and coniferous forest cut by untamed rivers in deep gorges at lower elevations, to snow-capped peaks and flower-rich alpine meadows higher up.

The birdlife in these habitats is as varied as it is exciting. In arid areas we expect to find Pin-tailed and Black-bellied Sandgrouse as well as Pallas’s  Sandgrouse. In these habitats Asian Desert Warbler and Desert Finch also await us while in the high mountains Himalayan Snowcock, Mongolian Finch and Himalayan Accentor are some of the treats. Shorebirds are well-represented too with Caspian Plover, Sociable Lapwing the highlights and Ibisbill a possible bird of the trip. Add to this a wide variety of Central Asian passerines, raptors, waterbirds and woodland species and this can be seen to be a tour high in quality and variety. And if that was not enough, MacQueen’s Bustard performing its courtship dance after breakfast is yet another reason to visit this exciting country.

Saturday 18th - Friday 31st May 2019   

KEY SPECIES

Here are just a few of the key species we will be targetting on this tour:

  • Dalmatian Pelican
  • Macqueen’s Bustard
  • White-headed Duck
  • Himalayan Griffon
  • Steppe Eagle
  • Barbary Falcon
  • Red-footed Falcon
  • Pallas’s Gull
  • Ibisbill
  • Black-winged Pratincole
  • Caspian Plover
  • Sociable Lapwing
  • Pallas’s Sandgrouse
  • Pin-tailed Sandgrouse
  • Black-bellied Sandgrouse
  • Himalayan Snowcock
  • Demoiselle Crane
  • Yellow-eyed Pigeon
  • Southern Grey Shrike
  • Isabelline Shrike
  • Asian Desert Warbler
  • Black-throated Accentor
  • Himalayan Rubythroat
  • Rufous-tailed Scrub-Robin
  • White-winged Redstart
  • Blue-headed Redstart
  • Rufous-backed Redstart
  • White-winged Lark
  • Black Lark
  • Black-headed Penduline Tit
  • White-crowned Penduline Tit
  • Turkestan Tit
  • Songar Tit
  • Azure Tit
  • White-browed Tit-warbler
  • Grey-necked Bunting
  • Pine Bunting
  • Red-headed Bunting
  • White-capped Bunting
  • Fire-fronted Serin
  • Desert Finch
  • Mongolian Finch
  • Crimson-winged Finch
  • Red-mantled Rosefinch
  • White-winged Grosbeak
  • Saxaul Sparrow
White-winged Redstart

Leaders: Nick Upton & local guides.

Ground Price: £2975.00  - Almaty/Astana

Airfare: £700 - £900 (approx) - UK/UK 

Single supplement: £350.00

Deposit: £500.00

Group size: Minimum for tour to go ahead 4 and maximum 10 with 2 leaders.

Included in cost: Accommodation in twin rooms, mostly en-suite, all transport and airport transfers, domestic flights, all meals, English-speaking birding and cultural guides, all entrance fees, permits and bottled water. 

Not included: International airfare, travel insurance, visas, alcoholic drinks, tips, sight-seeing in Astana & Almaty, and items of personal nature.

Accommodation: For most of the tour good quality hotels are used but when staying in remote areas basic lodges and camps are used.

Tour Code: Kazakhstan is a country of wide open spaces and remote areas although towns and cities provide all the comforts of modern life. The nature of this country means that there will be some travel on dirt roads and this means that travel can be difficult to time accurately if there are any unforeseen circumstances. The level of physical effort required is low to moderate with birding done by scanning open areas and short walks in key habitats. There will be time spent above 9000 feet in the Tien Shan mountains where most people will not be troubled by the slightly thinned air by taking it at a steady pace.

Expect the weather conditions to be mixed, with fairly moderate temperatures ranging between 12-25 degrees C in the daytime and some chilly nights. Although the weather is not expected to be extreme it is best to be prepared for most eventualities on this trip, pleasant Springtime weather is the normal.