There are many little birds in Khakassia too. And you will find very different populations in mountin taiga on west and south borders of the region and in steppes or solt lakes shores in central part. But many of them, however, are very common and well known species for all of us. In forests that grows on rocks you can see birds like these on the photos. Nightjars is very common and all the night you can hear continued sounds of their songs. Almost all of these photos of small birds were taken by my wife because I really prefer the biggest birds.
Thank you, friends!
I am sorry that illustrations of birds just below are not so great. It is just a little wheatear or just a simple black kite - not so wonderful species you want to see.
But i want to show you how on the remains of ancient civilizations for thousands of years birds have been singing and life goes on. Birds and mounds - it is so typical view of Khakassian steppes.
Now i have understand that i am not saying a word about most common bird of prey in Western Siberia. I know that there is the places on the Earth where this birds could be so exotic bird like red-tailed buzzard for me. I mean a black kite. There is many subspecies of BK around the World, we can see only black eared kite Milvus migrans lineatus and it's hybrids with M.m.migrans in Siberia. From Volga basin to Ob basin there is a huge intergradation zone between these subspecies. Big white stains under the wings, color of beak and legs, and big dimensions are signs of black eared kite. In Novosibirsk, from april to september you can see many thousends of BK that prefer to live along shoreline of Ob', Inya, reservoir and all garbage dumps. You can see about thousend flying birds over any big garbage dump in August when young kites begin to fly. But in the wild steppes of Khakassia and Tyva BK is not a leftovers eater. It is hunter (and a prey for more bigger hunters like eagles and eagle owl too). Once i saw a BK hunt in Tyva. All the action took 10 seconds only. In flight, the kite attacked the horned lark, chased him about 100 meters with many quick maneuvers, forced the lark to land and caught him when the lark tried to take off.
Two the most common big non-raptor birds in Khakassia, Altai Krai, and Altai Republic is demoiselle crane and grey heron. Near my home, around Novosibirsk i can see only common crane. Demoiselle crane is almost absent in so high latitude. But the gray heron is a common bird in Novosibirsk region too.
I know several colonies of gray heron, one of which is about 20 km from my home. The negative impact of the colony on the health of the forest so big that it looks like round white stain on a satellite photos like Google Earth.
On the southern border, large and wet Sayan mountains divide Khakassia from Tuva. Tuva is one of the few regions of Russia where people practice Buddhism. Central and biggest part of Tuva is a dry rocky depression with altitudes about 600-900 m asl, surrounded by mountains. The trees can only grow along rivers in this part of Tuva. In these floodplain forests you can see booted eagles and black storks. Booted eagles are very rare species in other parts of Western Siberia except Tuva and Gorny Altai. On these photos you can see Sayan Mountains, Stupa in Shagonar town, Tuva, The booted eagle from the slopes of the ridge Uyuk and the water pipit from West Sayan Pass.
When we go to Tuva from Novosibirsk, we need to drive more then 1500 km through 5 regions of Russia. The entire journey can last from 3500 to 4000 kilometers. But the small population and a very unusual geographical location make Tuva's avian world very rich.
Black-throated loons are rare and sporadic species on South of Western Siberia. Loons nest on some alpine lakes of Altai and Tuva as well as on lakes in the pine forests on the Altai plains. Colonies of lesser kestrel you can see also in Tuva and South of Altai.
No, I see the tail of the bird in the right side of the photo and the primares of both wings between the bird and the observer. And I can not understand which wing is left and which is right?
And one more thing, the kite is not slowing down to land but it is turning around.
So much time has passed from my last post! Winter is fast, and almost every weekend we drive 200-400 km out of the city along snow-covered country roads. So many little birds were on a roadside last winter and so contrastly fewer ones in this year! Instead, we meet a lot of owls this winter! Most common birds is northern hawk owl, we meet a several birds every weekend. Yesterday I first heard the hawk owl's call! I stood under a telegraph pole with an owl at the top and spoke, and the owl answered me every time.
Also, yesterday we have meet a snowy owl! I do not know if this is a young male or an old female - it is too dark for an old male, and too light for a female.
If someone knows, please answer!
Last week, our neighbors from Kemerovo met the saker and the gyrfalcon.It is very interesting that falcons from the south and from the north wintering in the same place halfway from each other's nests!
The weather is not so warm, about -20 C degrees, but meteorologists promise -40C for the coming weekend. Alas, have to stay at home!
Thank you very much! Winter is ending. In Novosibirsk, sometimes the temperature rises above zero. But the snow will still cover the ground in a continuous layer for about a month. I have not talked about Altai yet. But this is the most interesting part of Western Siberia for birdwatching. Altai Krai begins one hundred kilometers south of Novosibirsk. The northern part of the region is covered with forest-steppe. In the west there are huge wetlands with salt lakes and steppe. In the south, about 300 km from our city, is the northern boundary of the Altai Mountains. Further south, the mountains rise. 700-800 km to the south lies the border with Mongolia. Here is the Chuya steppe, surrounded by high ridges. Its height is 1800m above sea level. In the steppe and the surrounding mountains you can find many rare species of birds. So big as lammergeier and so small as different mountain finches. The ubiquitous Arabs have not yet caught the last Saker Falcons here. There are still herds of mountain rams and goats, so large vultures also find for themselves food. Last summer we spent two weeks here and met steppe eagles, black vultures, lammergeiers, and sakers.