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Tajikistan - a short trip to the Pamirs

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Old Saturday 30th June 2018, 17:20   #26
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Thanks so much all! Indeed I was very happy, and breakfast was great :) Actually they have quite a interesting breakfast in the Pamirs. It comes in a big bowl, it is strong black tea, mixed with a lot of boiled milk, and its actually salty. To this they add a lot of butter, and then soak bread in it. Its good.

After that, we went down to the valley and back to Khorog, without too many stops. The main stop was back at the LBRW stop, where I tried to get better photos (the second bird above is from this second stop). It was late afternoon and they did not sing much, but there were a lot of birds around.

With this my Pamir excursion was finished. Next day was spent in an old Toyota Landcruiser, the usual transport to this areas, 14 h back to Dushanbe, where more work waited.

In Dushanbe, I had a look at the Botanical Gardens, which are very nice, but were not very birdy when I visited. A Turkestan Great Tit was the only addition to the trip list. But I had one more half day birding trip planned in the sourroundings of Dushanbe.
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Old Saturday 30th June 2018, 20:42   #27
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Just north of Dushanbe there are also beautiful mountains. The Hissar and Fann mountain ranges. Not as spectacular as the Pamirs but still at least as beautiful and impressive as the Alps and certainly more wild (Snow Leopards occur even here). The road that leads north from Dushanbe gives access to some nice mountain valley, and I did two hikes there. This time not purely birding trips but hikes with other people. Not perfect conditions for birding, but I still managed to see stuff.

One hike was in the beautiful Sioma valley, starting about 1h drive north of Dushanbe, while the other was in the small Zimchurud valley, 30 min drive from town.
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Last edited by dalat : Saturday 30th June 2018 at 21:23.
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Old Saturday 30th June 2018, 20:51   #28
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The rivers here had White-throated Dipper (I didn't see any water redstart, plumbeous redstart or little forktail, which also should occur here), Twite, Redfronted Serin and Common Rosefinch were abundant. Indian Golden Oriole again. And of course the cute Yellow-breasted (Azure) Tit, certainly one of my favorites in the region. I could also see well Pied Wheatear here (there is a similarly looking variant of Variable Wheatear, so good views are needed).

But what I was really keen to find were two local specialities which can be found in the old Walnut trees growing along the streems. And on my very last day, in Zimchurud valley, I was successful: The charming Rusty-tailed Flycatcher (several birds well seen) and a single Western Crowned Warbler.

That was it! Wonderful experience and results for effectively 4 days birding. I'll be back for more!
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Last edited by dalat : Saturday 30th June 2018 at 20:54.
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Old Saturday 30th June 2018, 20:52   #29
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Short video of the Flycatcher: https://youtu.be/hghwWm75crc
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Old Saturday 30th June 2018, 21:07   #30
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Here the full list of birds seen during these birding days and the roadside sightings.

Here also a link to my report from previous short visits to the Fann mountains: https://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=317523

Thanks for reading

Florian
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Old Saturday 30th June 2018, 21:29   #31
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Nice write up Dalat, I've enjoyed following it. Some cracking birds there, never even heard of Rusty-tailed Flycatcher, every day's a school day!

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Old Sunday 1st July 2018, 11:56   #32
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Thanks for sharing Florian, it definately put Tajikistan on my 'to-go-to list' ;-) As if the awesome birds are not enough, your photos and descriptions of the landscapes and culture are truly fantastic.

cheers

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Old Monday 2nd July 2018, 08:33   #33
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"As I was watching a snowcock a Wallcreeper flew through my field of view" - how amazing is that!

Those yellow-breasted Azure Tits are amazingly distinctive - why is it there's never a Dutch geneticist around to split birds when you really need one!

I also very much enjoyed you Dotterel video after watching the RT Flycatcher clip - I'm another who's never heard of it!

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Old Monday 2nd July 2018, 09:22   #34
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Those yellow-breasted Azure Tits are amazingly distinctive - why is it there's never a Dutch geneticist around to split birds when you really need one!

Cheers
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That's probably because - apart from ebird - no authority ever lumped them to begin with.

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Old Monday 2nd July 2018, 09:54   #35
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Simply stunning, location and birds.
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Old Monday 2nd July 2018, 11:56   #36
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Thanks a lot Jos, Mike, Jens, JWN and all!

Quote:
"As I was watching a snowcock a Wallcreeper flew through my field of view" - how amazing is that!
Indeed! A brief moment only, but certainly one if not the most amazing birding experiences I had thus far.

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Old Monday 2nd July 2018, 17:40   #37
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Thanks a lot Jos, Mike, Jens, JWN and all!



Indeed! A brief moment only, but certainly one if not the most amazing birding experiences I had thus far.
Get to Nepal Florian, Wallcreepers around every corner and both Snowcocks are much easier, scenery isn't that bad either!

Great trip, on my list to do this now along with all the other places, I'll need another couple of lifetimes though.



A

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Old Monday 2nd July 2018, 22:49   #38
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Great write up of fantastic birds and stunning vistas!
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Old Thursday 5th July 2018, 20:24   #39
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Nice report, I visited 1988 Centrel Asia included Tadshikistan.
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Old Thursday 5th July 2018, 20:58   #40
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I visited 1988 Centrel Asia included Tadshikistan.
Wow! Would be interesting to read your trip report from that time!
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Old Tuesday 10th July 2018, 10:32   #41
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Great report

Great report of little visited area.
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Old Tuesday 10th July 2018, 12:20   #42
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brilliant! I had to look twice to see that Akher Tsagh is indeed in Pakistan; very peculiar you can stand in one country (Tajikistan), looking to another country (Pakistan) with Afghanistan in between!

I just love those mountains!
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Old Wednesday 11th July 2018, 21:29   #43
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Thanks guys!

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brilliant! I had to look twice to see that Akher Tsagh is indeed in Pakistan; very peculiar you can stand in one country (Tajikistan), looking to another country (Pakistan) with Afghanistan in between!
I just love those mountains!
Yes indeed, very special. The narrow Afghan Wakhan corridor that makes this 3 countries view possible was created during the "Great Game" as a buffer zone between the Russian empire and British India. 600 years earlier, it was Marco Polo who passed through the Wakhan on his way to China, following one of the branches of the silk road. Another 800 years earlier or so, it was Alexander the Great with his army who passed through. So even before the discovery of the Large-billed Reed Warbler, the place had an interesting history.

And then the people: Pamiris of the valleys are Ismalits, often very European looking with blue eyes and blond hair and up on the Plateau they are Kyrgyz and Sunni muslims.

Absolutely fascinating region.

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Old Thursday 12th July 2018, 14:03   #44
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Wow! Would be interesting to read your trip report from that time!
Unfortenetely I was not birding in Tadshikistan, Usbekistan, Turkmenistan as well as not at lake Baikal and in Charbarowsk area.
Also not birding at begin of September 1989 in Batumi.
It was a big mistake, but I did not go for birding in this time.
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