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Steppe lakes

Lakes and other reservoirs that you may visit with our help will be most interesting for birdwatchers and people who like birds.

 One of the nearest is Ters-Aschibulakskoye water reservoir. It is located right near the auto road and has flat slimy coast parts as well as more rocky and high. The most interesting thing you can see here in spring is a big number of Demoisell crane (sometimes up to 1500 birds), and in autumn – a huge number of ducks (Tadorna ferruginea, Anas platyrhynchos, Anas crecca, Anas acuta) and sometimes Little bustard on the plain nearby. On a part of a dam made from rocks you may observe Sturnus roseus, and on a river taking its waters form the reservoir you may record different terns (common and little) and gulls.

Two other lakes situated not far from each other and nearly 20  km from the road – Taskol and Darbaza – may also be exciting, because you can observe many species of waterbirds: Netta rufina A. strepera, Sterna hirundo  albifrons, Chlidonias niger,  Gelochelidon niloticaHimantopus himantopus, Xenus cinereus, Glareola pratincola,  sometimes Numenius phaeopus, Egretta alba, Ixobrychus minutus, Bataurus stellaris. In the steppe around the lakes there are Tetrax tetrax, Pterocles orietalis, Merops apiaster and Merops supercilliosus, Galerida cristata, Melanocorypha calandra, A. gulgula. In ten km from these lakes there is another one, rather big lake – Bilikul. Its coasts, in comparison with other reservoirs mentioned above are covered with reed, and in spring it is surrounded by small overflows. Fauna of these reservoirs completes each other and lets you see a big variety of bird species. Trips to these reservoirs may be done at the same time with visits of interesting canyons in Karatau mountains, where observations of mountain species will add to your impressions.

Kyzylkol lake is salty and you need to go a lot further, about 250 km. But the road is quite good, and you’ll get great impressions from birdwatching for sure. In different seasons here you may observe numerous species of waterbirds (most interesting include Oxyura leucephala, Phalaropus lobatus, Recurvirostra ovosetta, Numenius arquata, Larus ichthyaetus, Larus minutus), and on the flat part of the coast you may even record Tetrax tetrax, Chlamydotis undulata and Pterocles orientales. In autumn here are a lot of Coots, Ruddy Shelducks, Shelducks, different species of Anas and many small waders and passerines (Wagtails, Pipits and others). You can visit Kyzylkol in one day or stay there in a tent.

Chushkakol lake is very interesting in its fauna. The vegetation around it is characteristic for shrub solonchak desert. If you visit this lake you will meet typical representatives of Asian ornithofauna Egretta alba, Ardea purpurea Platalea leucofea, Bubulcus ibis, Circus aeruginosu,s Himantopus himantopus, Recurvirostra ovosetta, Vanellachettusia leucura, Charadrius alexandrinus, Lusciniola melanopogon Acrocephalus stentoreus, and in the neighboring plains there will be Merops supercilliosus. Calandrella cinerea Galerida cristata,  Melanocoripha calandra,  Motacilla feldegg,  Lanius isabellinus Hippolais rama,  Oenanthe isabellina, Cercotrichas galactotes,  Emberiza bruniceps.

In spring when Arys and Syr-Darya rivers overflow one can observe different species of ducks, herons, sandpipers and gulls, and even both species of pelicans. We had some excursions where we counted more than a 100 species in one excursion day. The trip to Chushkakol may be carried out in one day, and if you want to stay here longer, you may spend the night either in tents or in a hotel in Turkestan.

Very interesting route goes to Chardara water reserve, there are numerous birds gathering at their migration.

Besides, there are a lot of small ponds which are not far away, but sometimes very interesting by their inhabitants. They may be visited on the way stopping for a short time. For example, you can stop at Ak-Biik pond each time you go to Tashkent-Almaty road. In spring you will find migrant, terrestrial and waterbirds. In summer there are nests of Galinulla chloropus, Podiceps ruficollis and Alcedo attis.


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