After a pleasant night in an Al Maty Hotel we set off out of the city early the next morning (27th June). We were heading east & for the first 50 kms or so it was farmland but this soon give way to the steppes, which stretched as far as the eye could see.
What a lot of the country looks like!
We stopped briefly at a spot for White crowned Penduline Tit & after a short while found a family in the trees, but they proved difficult to photograph!
Exploring one of the tracks going into the hills.
next three photos are!
Our first major stop was the Kokpek Gorge which rises up out of the plains. It is an interesting area giving different species from the steppes. We were here for Hume's Whitethroat & White capped Bunting, both proving elusive, but in the end we saw them.
Only 200 kms. from the city, but a different world!
I loved these wide open spaces.
The waterhole was at the base of these hills.
The rest of the day was spent on the Sogaty Plains, exploring the area around a small waterhole which proved to be a big draw for birds. It was a superb few hours watching a great selection of semi arid species come to drink in great numbers.
In the late afternoon we birded a small range of hills close by, which yielded among other species Eastern Orphean Warbler.
The former Hunting Lodge.
It was then time to find our accommodation by the night in the form of a former Hunting Lodge by the river. It proved to be an excellent choice & we just had time to wander around the woodland before dark.
We birded the woodland around the lodge on the 28th June. It was a beautiful morning & I finally got to grips with Azure Tit!
Not the best promotion for what turned out to be
a stunning place.
The road into the gorge.
The recently constructed eco-camp.
We didn't stay here, but it looked fine.
The river cuts a mighty swathe
through the mountains!
We drove to Charyn Gorge, which held few birds but more than made up for it in superb scenery. I really enjoyed our time here. After lunch by the river we climbed up to the scenic viewpoints to over look the gorge.
in this area.
feature of the steppe.
On the 29th we birded around the river area of the national park. Before having a final look at the steppes around the waterhole & making our way back to Al Maty. It had been a great few days in a totally different environment than at the start of the trip.