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Birdwatching in Uzbekistan: In search of bluebird of happiness

Birdwatching in Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan is one of the best spots on our Earth for birdwatching activity. This is due to the wide variety of species (502) to be found here, as well as diversity of landscapes. In Uzbekistan one can find vast deserts, grandiose mountain Ranges of the Tien-Shan and Pamir-Alai, numerous mountain and plain rivers, lakes and water reservoirs. Birdlife of Uzbekistan is rich and varied: from the wide-spread Laughing Dove (Streptopelia senega-lensis) and Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus), Common Swift (Apus apus), who have adapted themselves to the life side by side with man and can be observed in great numbers in the cities and towns, to rare ‘exotic’ species: Pander’s Ground Jay (Podoces panderi), Saxaul sparrow (Passer ammoden-dri), Paradise Flycatcher (Terpsiphone paradise) who can be observed only in Central Asia and who build rather peculiar nests. The diversity and abundance of birdlife amazes even the most sophisticated ornithologist.

Birdwatching in Uzbekistan

Birdwatching Tour around Western Tien-Shan
Itinerary: Tashkent – Chimgan mountains – Tashkent – Bukhara – Ecology Centre “Jayran” (drive towards the Amu-Bukhara Canal) – Gazli district (sakxaul steppes) – Tudakul Lake – Samarkand – Aman-Kutan Gorge – Zeravshan nature reserve-Chinaz – Tashkent.
DAY 1: Arrival in Tashkent airport. Meeting and transfer to the Chimgan mountains to the Beldersay Oromgokhy Hotel****. Accommodation. Dinner.

DAY 2: Early breakfast.
Walk for bird watching around Chimgan mountains.

In the sub-alpine zone of the Chimgan mountains and Beldersay tract as well as in the upper forest zone (1500–2200m above sea level) you can observe the following birds: Griffon Vulture, Himalayan Griffon, Bearded Vulture, Black Vulture, Saker (Falcon), Rock Bunting, Red-headed Bunting, Yellow-breast Tit, Stonechat.

In the lower spruce and deciduous woods you will most likely encounter: Short-toed Eagle, Booted Eagle, Crested Honey Buzzard, Hobby, Rufous Turtle Dove, Paradise Flycatcher, Brown Dipper, Golden Oriole, Red-capped Rosefinch, and fabulous bluebird – Bird of Happiness.

Transfer to Tashkent at 15.00. Early dinner. Transfer to the Tashkent airport. Flight HY 1327 at 19.10 to Bukhara.
Transfer to the hotel. Accommodation. Dinner.

DAY 3: Early breakfast.
Transfer in the direction of the Amu-Bukhara Canal.
Lunch is planned to be there.

It’s going to be visit the Ecology Centre “Jayran” established with the purpose of preserving the unique species of gazelles – Gazella subgut-turosa – the typical habitue of deserts and semi-deserts. Following the Ecology Centre there are numerous wetlands created by water overflowing the Amu-Bukhara canal. The banks of the canal are covered by tamarisk and reed. This area is home to many small birds: Crested Lark, Isabelline Wheatear, Rufous Bush Robin, Desert Warbler, Streaked Scrub Warbler, Great Grey Shrike, Long-legged buzzard, Blue-cheeked bee-eater, etc.

Transfer back to Bukhara.

Sightseeing around Bukhara:

Poi-Kalyan ensemble including Minaret (12 c) and Mosque (15 c),
functioning Madrassah Miri-Arab (16 c);
Taqi (handicraft trading domes);
Lyab-i-Hauz ensemble – Kukeldash Madrassah (16 c),
Nadir Divanbegi madrassah and Khanaka (17c).

Transfer to the hotel. Dinner in hotel restaurant.

Birdwatching in Uzbekistan

Birdwatching in Uzbekistan

Birdwatching in Uzbekistan
Birdwatching in Uzbekistan
DAY 4: Early breakfast.
Transfer in direction of Gazli settlement through sakxaul steppes.

This district is rather rich in wildlife with lizards being the most common habitats. The birdlife is represented by various species: Pander’s Ground Jay, Black-bellied
Sandgrouse, Desert Finch, Brown-necked Raven, etc.

Late return to Buhkara. Dinner.

DAY 5: Breakfast.
Transfer south from Bukhara to the Tudakul water reservoir.

The Tudakul water reservoir is surrounded by extensive wetlands giving shelter to thousands of birds, including various migrants. The reeds of the wetlands become an ideal place for nesting and breeding baby-birds. Here you can explore the following species: Great Cormorant, Purple Heron, Great White Egret, Reed Bunting, Yellow-headed Wagtail, Spoonbill, Glossy Ibis, Marbled Teal, Ferraginous Duck, Small Sky Lark and many others.

Transfer to Samarkand with lunch en route.
On arrival to Samarkand accommodation in the hotel. Dinner.

DAY 6: Early breakfast.
Transfer to Aman-Kutan Gorge located in 50 km from Samarkand, and Takhta-Karacha mountain pass (2100 m above sea level).
Lunch is going to be there.

The pass intersects the western part of Zeravshan ridge where highly eroded rocks are covered with lush meadows and sparse woods of spruce trees, and mountain streams are lined by abundant bacciferous trees and bushes. These are the ideal natural conditions for various species of birds: Hume’s Short-toed Lark, White-throated Robin, Orphean Warbler, Red-rumped Swallow, Black Vulture.

Late return to Samarkand. Late dinner.

DAY 7: Early breakfast.
Transfer to Zeravshan Natural Reserve located in 15 km from the city in the western part of the Zeravshan river basin.
Lunch en route.

The fauna of the reserve is rich and diverse. In the tugai woods stretching along the Zeravshan river you will encounter a unique community of birds: Turkestan Tit, Night Heron, White-winged Woodpecker, Shikra, etc. At the foot of the Zeravshan ridge you can observe Rose-coloured Starling, Masked Wagtail, Rock Thrush, Great Rock
Nuthatch, Grey-headed Goldfinch, etc.

Transfer to Tashkent. Dinner in local restaurant.
Transfer to airport. Seeing off.

Additional important information:
  • Somewhere in the region of the tour there is no mobile link
  • The action period of the bird watching tour In Search of the Bluebird of Happiness is April 15 – June 15

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