17 Aug 2017

Inner Mongolia, March 2017

Shore (formerly "Horned") Lark - Eremophila alpestris

There’s nothing like the swelter of August in HK to cause me to hark back to the cool few days in March we spent in Inner Mongolia, near the Chinese border with Russia.

We travelled with Mengxiu TONG of China Wild Tour in a small group.

It was well below freezing on most days near Hulun Lake, where Snowy Owls are usually present in winter, but this was a poor year and we dipped.

This ground has been covered by Terry Townshend in his Birding Beijing blog.  

Corsac Fox

Traditional lifestyle

21st-century lifestyle

Stuck again !

Black-throated Snowfinch - Pyrgilauda davidiana

Still, there were plenty of other things to look at….

Craig Brelsford of Shanghai Birding was there in January this year.

Manzhouli - "Border Town" architecture

We moved on after three days, east from Manzhouli to Yakeshi on the train, then were driven to the town of Wu’erqihan.  This is an area of low snowy hills and willow-covered river valleys, with plenty of birds to look at too. 

This ground has also been covered by Terry Townshend in his Birding Beijing blog.  

Ural Owl - Strix uralensis

Willow Tit - Poecile montanus

Bohemian waxwing - Bombycilla garrulus

Asian Rosy Finch - Leucosticta arctoa

Wild Boar - Sus scrofa

Eurasian Bullfinches - Pyrrhula pyrrhula (race:cineracea?)

Eurasian Bullfinch - Pyrrhula pyrrhula (race:cineracea?)

Great Grey Owl - Strix nebulosa

Great Grey Owl - Strix nebulosa

Little Owl - Athene noctua

Black Woodpecker - Dryocopus martius

Great Grey Owl - Strix nebulosa

Black Grouse - Lyrurus tetrix

Three-toed Woodpecker - Picoides tridactylus

Black-billed Capercaillie - Tetrao parvirostris

Black-billed Capercaillie - Tetrao parvirostris

Siberian Jay - Perisoreus infaustus

Long-tailed Tit - Aegithalos caudatus

Hazel Grouse - Tetrastes bonasia

Eurasian Nuthatch - Sitta europea

Long-tailed Rosefinch - Uragus sibiricus

The local driver/guides in the area have been running tours for five or six years now.  They are very good at knowing where the birds are likely to be, and it would be easy to get lost on a self-driven tour.

It was great fun, but thermal undies were absolutely essential !


  1. You saw an amazing range of species but dipped on Snowy Owl. The answer to this is quite simple, John, you have to come here in the winter when we will show you a half dozen!

  2. great post, like usual. A lot of those photos look like home.

    1. Thanks, John - lots of snow where you are in Alaska, I know.

  3. Some major overlap with Hokkaido avifauna.............and winter weather.

    1. Similar latitudes, and all that - but fewer roadsigns !