Birding trip Kazakhstan May 2015   -  Photos part 4: Astana steppe area (sites 15-17) 
John van der Woude   www.jvanderw.nl   -   see also main report
All photos where credit not mentioned are by Nollie or me. 

At the start of our stay in Korgalzhyn, Aleksej brought us straight to the site where he had recently seen Sociable Plover (Steppekievit). Nollie saw it even before we left the bus. What a relief to tick this species, so high on the wish list.

Photo Sander Bot/ Birdingbreaks.nl

A typical view of the huge steppe area near Korgalzhyn. With some Common Cranes.

Steppe Eagle. Photo Sander Bot/ Birdingbreaks.nl

Tulips!

The most important species here for us, Black Lark. Many seen, often in a slow display flight. 

The other lark specialty here, White-winged Lark. Not as common as Black but still in good numbers.

Interesting border vegetation of one of the many lakes. We always checked this for small birds, like the red-spotted form of Bluethroat (Roodgesterde Blauwborst).


In the tall weeds here we found Booted Warbler (Kleine Spotvogel). In a very similar habitat we had seen it a year before in Finland!

In the endless steppe there are a few hamlets.

Lizard.

Great Black-headed Gull colony (Reuzenzwartkopmeeuw).


Steppe Gull.

One of the few sites with at least some waders (mostly Ruff). Very few waders this year, maybe we were just too early this year? Normally in these weeks of May it is full of them. Also some White-winged Terns on this photo.


Bobak Marmot at their burrow.


Our only Little Bustard of the trip. A nice bonus, not easily seen here. 

Iris flowers at some places.

With time on our hands, Hans and I tried in vain (as predicted by Sander) to see the Quail we heard here.


Another Booted Warbler (Kleine Spotvogel). This was at the border of a patch with trees along the road. Here we also found Siberian Chiffchaff, Greenish Warbler (Grauwe Fitis), several Common Rosefinch (Roodmus), Lesser Grey Shrike (Kleine Klapekster), Red-backed Shrike (Grauwe Klauwier) and a passing Short-eared Owl (Velduil).

Northern Wheatear (Tapuit).

The endless steppe and the wide skies.