The wonderful Tien Shan mountains south of Almaty / Kazakhstan, with Big Almaty Lake in the background. Aside from its astounding landscape and a plethora of highly sought-after alpine species, this is arguably one of the best places to go and see the mythical and charismatic Ibisbill.
The alluvial fan south of the lake is the place to scan for Ibisbills, unless of course it is largely covered in snow, which is a very unfortunate thing to endure.
Knowing where to scan doesn’t necessarily mean spotting an Ibisbill is easy.
However, a certain amount of patience will invariably lead to success, unless of course there’s snow. Have I mentioned just how frustrating a thing that must be?
Big Almaty lake is a very popular recreation area for everyone living in Almaty, and thus the Ibisbills are under severe pressure from mountain tourism and the disturbance that brings. Therefore, the following pictures aren’t great as they were taken at a distance of more than 300 metres (uncropped version above) to ensure the birds were not disturbed. And while this may impair your visual pleasure, you may rejoyce in knowing that no baby birds were harmed in the making of these pictures.
During my short stay at Big Lake Almaty in June 2012, I was fortunate in that there wasn’t only no snow but an adult Ibisbill instead – no, there were even two newly fledged baby Ibisbills working the pebbles with mom! Above, you can see them in the fast flowing waters, pretending to be Torrent Ducks.
Here is a heavier crop of mom joining the two youngsters in the water.
The stars – baby Ibisbills!!
And if the image above doesn’t really convey the cuteness to you, clicking through this gallery of Ibisbills on the Oriental Bird Club site will surely do the trick.
This post makes me so happy and so not happy at the same time. It is just not fair.
Not knowing much about Kasakhstan, what kind of mountain tourism must the birds endure in such a, what looks to be, isolated place? Please tell me that they don’t have ATVs tearing the place up? Beautifully told story Jochen, and the chicks are, of course, very cute 😉
Xinjiang Tianshan comprises four components—Tomur, Kalajun-Kuerdening,
Bayinbukuke and Bogda— that total 606,833 hectares.
They are part of the Tianshan mountain system of Central Asia, one of the largest mountain ranges in the
world. Xinjiang Tinshan presents unique phygsical geographic features and scenically beautiful aress including spectacular snoww and
snowy mountains glacier-capped peaks, undisturbed fokrests and meadows,
clear rivers and lakes and red bed canyons. Thhese landscapes contrast
with the vast adjacent desert landscapes, creating a striking visual
contrast betwren hot and cold environments, dry and wet, desolate and luxuriant.
The landforms and ecosystems of the site have been pteserved since thhe Pliocene epoch and present aan outstanding example of ongoing biological and ecological evolutionary processes.
The site also extends into the Taklimakan Desert, one oof the world’s largest and highest deserts,
known for its large dune forms and great dust storms. Xinjiang Tianshan is moreover an importan habitat for endemic and relic
flora species, some rare and endangered.