23rd – 31st May 2011

 

‘For lust of knowing what should not be known,

We took the Golden Road to Samarkand’

 

As a teenager, reading the above lines, from James Elroy Flecker’s 19th century poem set in me the desire to visit one day the mysterious city of Samarkand. And now, years later, I decided that rather than follow the usual birding route of Central Asia to Kazakhstan, I would organise a visit to Uzbekistan where I could kill two birds with one stone (to use an unfortunate, but apt, phrase). Namely, I could visit the ancient silk road cities of Samarkand, Bukhara and Tashkent, which had so long burned in my imagination as well as seeing the iconic Turkestan Ground Jay – a bird I had to see in my inexplicable quest to see all the world’s crow species.

Five of us went on this trip.

 

The following species list gives those seen together with the first place at which they were seen and the final column gives the number of sightings (not individuals) of each species.

 

 

 

SPECIES

SCIENTIFIC NAME

FIRST SEEN

SIGHTINGS

 

 

 

 

 

1

Greylag Goose

Anser anser

Bukhara Reservoir

1

2

Common Shelduck

Tadorna tadorna

Tashkent to Chimgan Hills

1

3

Mallard

Anas platyrhynchos

Zafar Shan Nature Reserve

2

4

Northern Shoveler

Anas clypeata

Daulat Nature Reserve

1

5

Garganey

Anas querquedula

Kyzylkum Desert & wetlands

1

6

Red-crested Pochard

Netta rufina

Bukhara Reservoir

3

7

Common Pochard

Aythya ferina

Kyzylkum Desert & wetlands

2

8

Ferruginous Pochard

Aythya nyroca

Kyzylkum Desert & wetlands

1

9

Common Scoter

Melanitta nigra

Bukhara Reservoir

1

10

Common Pheasant

Phasianus colchicus

Zafar Shan Nature Reserve

2

11

Little Grebe

Tachybaptus ruficollis

Kyzylkum Desert & wetlands

1

12

Eurasian White Stork

Ciconia ciconia

Tashkent to Samarkand

1

13

Great Cormorant

Phalacrocorax carbo

Bukhara Reservoir

1

14

Pygmy Cormorant

Phalacrocorax pygmeus

Tashkent to Samarkand

3

15

Grey Heron

Ardea cinerea

Kyzylkum Desert & wetlands

3

16

Purple Heron

Ardea purpurea

Kyzylkum Desert & wetlands

3

17

Great Egret

Ardea alba

Kyzylkum Desert & wetlands

1

18

Black-crowned Night Heron

Nycticorax nycticorax

Zafar Shan Nature Reserve

2

19

Glossy Ibis

Plegadis falcinellus

Kyzylkum Desert & wetlands

1

20

Eurasian Spoonbill

Platalea leucorodia

Quiymozor

1

21

Lammergeier

Gypaetus barbatus

Chimgan Hills

3

22

Egyptian Vulture

Neophron percnopterus

Tashkent to Samarkand

2

23

Eurasian Black Vulture

Aegypius monachus

Chimgan Hills

2

24

Eurasian Griffon

Gyps fulvus

Chimgan Hills

3

25

Booted Eagle

Hieraaetus pennatus

Oman Qotan

3

26

Eurasian Marsh Harrier

Circus aeruginosus

Tashkent to Samarkand

3

27

Shikra

Accipiter badius

Botanic Gardens, Tashkent

2

28

Northern Goshawk

Accipiter gentilis

Chimgan Hills

1

29

Steppe Buzzard

Buteo buteo vulpinus

Chimgan Hills

1

30

Long-legged Buzzard

Buteo rufinus

Kyzylkum Desert & wetlands

1

31

Eurasian Common Moorhen

Gallinula chloropus

Zafar Shan Nature Reserve

2

32

Eurasian Coot

Fulica atra

Zafar Shan Nature Reserve

1

33

Black-winged Stilt

Himantopus himantopus

Zafar Shan Nature Reserve

4

34

Pied Avocet

Recurvirostra avosetta

Quiymozor

1

35

White-tailed Lapwing

Vanellus leucurus

Kyzylkum Desert & wetlands

4

36

Snowy Plover

Charadrius alexandrinus

Quiymozor

2

37

Little Ringed Plover

Charadrius dubius

Zafar Shan Nature Reserve

3

38

Bar-tailed Godwit

Limosa lapponica

Quiymozor

1

39

Temminck's Stint

Calidris temminckii

Zafar Shan Nature Reserve

1

40

Dunlin

Calidris alpina

Quiymozor

1

41

Little Stint

Calidris minuta

Quiymozor

2

42

Red-necked Phalarope

Phalaropus lobatus

Quiymozor

2

43

Collared Pratincole

Glareola pratincola

Quiymozor

1

44

Slender-billed Gull

Chroicocephalus genei

Quiymozor

1

45

Caspian Gull

Larus cachinnans

Bukhara Reservoir

1

46

Little Tern

Sternula albifrons

Zafar Shan Nature Reserve

3

47

Gull-billed Tern

Gelochelidon nilotica

Bukhara Reservoir

1

48

Common Tern

Sterna hirundo

Zafar Shan Nature Reserve

5

49

Feral Pigeon

Columba livia 'feral'

Botanic Gardens, Tashkent

5

50

Common Wood Pigeon

Columba palumbus

Botanic Gardens, Tashkent

8

51

Eurasian Turtle-dove

Streptopelia turtur

Bukhara Reservoir

2

52

Oriental Turtle-dove

Streptopelia orientalis

Zafar Shan Nature Reserve

1

53

Eurasian Collared Dove

Streptopelia decaocto

Tashkent to Samarkand

5

54

Laughing Dove

Streptopelia senegalensis

Tashkent

8

55

Common Cuckoo

Cuculus canorus

Zafar Shan Nature Reserve

2

56

Little Owl

Athene noctua

Quiymozor

1

57

Alpine Swift

Apus melba

Zafar Shan Nature Reserve

1

58

Common Swift

Apus apus

Tashkent

6

59

Eurasian Hoopoe

Upupa epops

Oman Qotan

3

60

Common Kingfisher

Alcedo atthis

Zafar Shan Nature Reserve

1

61

Blue-cheeked Bee-eater

Merops persicus

Kyzylkum Desert & wetlands

4

62

European Bee-eater

Merops apiaster

Oman Qotan

3

63

European Roller

Coracias garrulus

Tashkent to Samarkand

9

64

White-winged Woodpecker

Dendrocopos leucopterus

Zafar Shan Nature Reserve

2

65

Eurasian Kestrel

Falco  tinnunculus

Tashkent to Samarkand

4

66

Eurasian Hobby

Falco subbuteo

Chimgan Hills

1

67

Red-backed Shrike

Lanius collurio

Tashkent to Samarkand

1

68

Turkestan Shrike

Lanius phoenicuroides

Chimgan Hills

1

69

Long-tailed Shrike

Lanius schach

Quiymozor

1

70

Lesser Grey Shrike

Lanius minor

Tashkent to Samarkand

3

71

Eurasian Golden Oriole

Oriolus oriolus

Chimgan Hills

2

72

Asian Paradise Flycatcher

Terpsiphone  paradisi

Oman Qotan

2

73

Eurasian Magpie

Pica pica

Botanic Gardens, Tashkent

12

74

Turkestan Ground Jay

Podoces panderi

Kyzylkum Desert & wetlands

1

75

Alpine Chough

Pyrrhocorax graculus

Chimgan Hills

1

76

Eurasian Jackdaw

Corvus monedula

Oman Qotan

3

77

Rook

Corvus frugilegus

Botanic Gardens, Tashkent

4

78

Carrion Crow

Corvus corone

Oman Qotan

6

79

Common Raven

Corvus corax

Tashkent to Samarkand

2

80

Crested Lark

Galerida cristata

Kyzylkum Desert & wetlands

2

81

Oriental Skylark

Alauda gulgula

Oman Qotan

1

82

Sand Martin

Riparia riparia

Kyzylkum Desert & wetlands

4

83

Barn Swallow

Hirundo rustica

Botanic Gardens, Tashkent

7

84

Red-rumped Swallow

Cecropis daurica

Oman Qotan

3

85

House Martin

Delichon urbicum

Beldersoy Region

1

86

Yellow-breasted Tit

Cyanistes cyanus

Botanic Gardens, Tashkent

6

87

Turkestan Tit

Parus major

Botanic Gardens, Tashkent

5

88

White-crowned Penduline-tit

Remiz coronatus

Oman Qotan

2

89

Persian Nuthatch

Sitta tephronota

Oman Qotan

1

90

Booted Warbler

Iduna caligata

Oman Qotan

1

91

Eastern Olivaceous Warbler

Iduna pallida

Chimgan Hills

1

92

Upcher's Warbler

Hippolais languida

Oman Qotan

1

93

Moustached Warbler

Acrocephalus melanopogon

Kyzylkum Desert & wetlands

1

94

Eurasian Reed Warbler

Acrocephalus scirpaceus

Quiymozor

1

95

Great Reed Warbler

Acrocephalus arundinaceus

Kyzylkum Desert & wetlands

2

96

Clamorous Reed-warbler

Acrocephalus stentoreus

Kyzylkum Desert & wetlands

1

97

Hume's Whitethroat

Sylvia althaea

Chimgan Hills

2

98

Lesser Whitethroat

Sylvia curruca

Oman Qotan

3

99

Eastern Orphean Warbler

Sylvia crassirostris

Oman Qotan

2

100

Menetries' Warbler

Sylvia mystacea

Oman Qotan

1

101

Spotted Flycatcher

Muscicapa striata

Oman Qotan

3

102

White-throated Robin

Irania gutturalis

Oman Qotan

1

103

Thrush Nightingale

Luscinia luscinia

Quiymozor

1

104

Common Nightingale

Luscinia megarhynchos

Botanic Gardens, Tashkent

5

 

Eastern Nightingale

Luscinia megarhynchos golzii

Beldersoy Region

1

105

Blue Whistling-thrush

Myophonus caeruleus

Tashkent to Chimgan Hills

1

106

Blue Rock-thrush

Monticola solitarius

Oman Qotan

2

107

Eurasian Stonechat

Saxicola torquatus

Chimgan Hills

1

108

Pied Bushchat

Saxicola caprata

Bukhara Reservoir

3

109

Pied Wheatear

Oenanthe pleschanka

Oman Qotan

3

110

Isabelline Wheatear

Oenanthe isabellina

Kyzylkum Desert & wetlands

1

111

Eurasian Blackbird

Turdus merula

Botanic Gardens, Tashkent

3

112

Mistle Thrush

Turdus viscivorus

Chimgan Hills

2

113

European Starling

Sturnus vulgaris

Oman Qotan

4

114

Rosy Starling

Pastor roseus

Oman Qotan

1

115

Common Myna

Acridotheres tristis

Tashkent

12

116

Western Yellow Wagtail

Motacilla flava

Kyzylkum Desert & wetlands

3

117

Citrine Wagtail

Motacilla citreola

Zafar Shan Nature Reserve

2

118

Grey Wagtail

Motacilla cinerea

Oman Qotan

2

119

Masked (White) Wagtail

Motacilla alba personata

Oman Qotan

5

120

Rock Bunting

Emberiza cia

Chimgan Hills

2

121

Chestnut-breasted Bunting

Emberiza stewarti

Beldersoy Region

3

122

Red-headed Bunting

Emberiza bruniceps

Oman Qotan

3

123

Corn Bunting

Emberiza calandra

Oman Qotan

1

124

European Greenfinch

Chloris chloris

Oman Qotan

1

125

European Goldfinch

Carduelis carduelis

Oman Qotan

1

126

House Sparrow

Passer domesticus

Tashkent

8

 

Bactrian House Sparrow

Passer domesticus bactrianus

Bukhara Reservoir

1

127

Eurasian Tree Sparrow

Passer montanus

Kyzylkum Desert & wetlands

2

128

Rock Petronia

Petronia petronia

Oman Qotan

1