Xinjiang - China June 2012
Urumqi - June 11, 2012
Satellite square near our hotel.
Urumqi - June 12, 2012
Early morning exploration of a park not too far from the hotel.
The wished for life bird found quite easily: Azur Tit
Black Wagtails here are tame, common and quite smart looking
(M. a. personata subspecies, aka Masked Wagtail)
Urumqi - June 12, 2012
The famous Loulan Beauty (now 3800 years old)
International Bazaar and Erdaoqiao market
Urumqi - June 13, 2012
Birding at the Botanical Garden
(or birding at the eastern outpost of the Western Palearctic)
the (Eurasian) Cuckoo and ...
the (Rufous-tailed) Shrike. This adult male is a typical Lanius isabellinus phoenicuroides, sometimes considered as separate species: Turkestan Shrike (Lanius phoenicuroides)
plus the Mistle Thrush (in your face)
Barred Warbler (photo Diane Larson), this Sylvia warbler was quite common.
European Goldfinch (photo Diane Larson) - this species is is not included in
MacKinnon and Phillipps' China bird guide. This western species is however spreading into Xinjiang since 1995 (see the notes in the bird list).
June 13 & 14: The serious symposium days
dancing with the fan ladies
to be continued ...
Trip into the Junggar Basin - June 15, 2012
Ulmus stands in washes at the northern base of the Tienshan
Przewalski's Horse Station
44o12'19.30"N, 88o44'58.70"E, elev. 1906 ft (actual)
Stop in the stabilized dunes
44°38'25.36"N 88°50'42.53"E, elev. 1680 (estimated)
Toad-head agama (Phrynocephalus spec.)
Intrepid desert navigators
44°54'32.56"N 89° 3'38.45"E, elev. 2122 ft (location estimated)
Just when we boarded the bus again Kevin Badik found the bird of the day: a Ground Jay! Here are Kevin's pictures that confirm the identification : Mongolian Ground-Jay (Podoces hendersoni ) and not the more local Xinjiang G. (P. biddulphi) which has a mostly white tail and a black chin and throat.
From the Handbook of Birds of the World: there are only 4 Ground-Jay species in the world, that day we saw 25%! 70 Mongolian (Henderson's) Ground-Jay, 71 Xinjian (Biddulph's) Ground-Jay,
72 Pander's Ground Jay, 73 Pleske's Ground-Jay
Source: dos Anjos, L., S. J. S. Debus,
et al. (2009). Family Corvidae (Crows). Handbook of the bird of the
World. J. del Hoyo, A. Elliott and D. A. Christie. Barcelona, Lynx
Edicions. 14. Bush-shrikes to Old World Sparrow: 494-640.
even Barry needs a rest
Erin takes Urumqi
Erin and band and their manager
Erin and band & the dancing Tajiks draw a crowd
All is clear with Captain Jake at the helm
Trip to the middle slopes of the Tien Shan (Nanshan Xiejiagou)
June 17, 2012
"The centre of the Asian continent"
Barney and the law (not "Barney's Law")
Even Stan Smith bows to an invader at home:
Peganum harmala (known as African Rue in its invaded range - SW USA)
43°29'28.43"N 87° 2'37.15"E, elev.7029 (actual location)
Common Rosefinch singing (but not being rosy)
Lousy records shot of target bird: the striking Roufous-backed Redstart
China Jeep Club outing
Central Asia/Siberia table
Endophytically-turned toxic grass (anybody knows what species it is, Festuca?)
Peking Duck restaurant in Urumqi
Urumqi - June 18, 2012
Birding the Botanical Gardens with Ian (the Aussie)
East meets West: Oriental Turtle Dove and Eurasian Cuckoo
Bromus japonicus at home
Scene from a Chinese movie ...
Bazaar in Urumqi
Uyghur dance show at the Quan Jude Tian Shan Hotel
me happily leaving the stage
The laymen cast celebrates themselves
Tian Chi trip - June 19. 2012
.. always trying to match my shirts to the landscape (photo taken by my new friend Arafat)
and keeping an eye on the sky (Himalaya Griffons, Booted Eagle and lots of Black-eared Kites). Lake is at 1900m
Willow Tit: this is likely Parus montanus songarus (Songar Tit) of Central Asia,
often considered a full species
Coal Tit: Parus ater aemodius,
the W China subspecies that sports a slight crest
Turpan (Tulufan) - June 20, 2012
The wine trellis-clad pedestrian mall in Turfan
Proper hydration is key at 43oC (110oF)
I can't get over the prettiness of the personata subspecies
of the Masked (White) Wagtail
The quaint interior of the Turpan Hotel
The Grand Turpan Tour with Abdul - day one
Karez site (overly developed)
Jiaohe, ancient silk road town
River valley at the ancient silk road town of Jiaohe
On the road in the Turpan desert oasis: poplars are the key
Turpan Eremophytes Botanical Garden
How low can a garden get? "TEBG is the lowest elevation garden in the world"
Calligonum arborescens: beautiful fruit indeed
Spanish Sparrow: most sparrows here were Eurasian Tree Sparrows,
some House Sparrows and just a few were these.
Unfortunately I did not find any Saxaul Sparows (despite a lot of saxaul shrubs).
Would have been neat to see 4 Passer species ...
Emin Minaret (1777 A.D.)
Elli, the soccer elephant helps us to keep clean
Eurasian Collared Dove, native here (but not in the US)
mother teaches how to properly order "2 beer"
South and West of Turpan - June 21, 2012
Ading Lake, lowest point in China, hotest point:
(Death Valeey 56.7°C (134°F), Lybia 57.8 °C (136 °F)
un-ID-ed lizard near the lowest place of China
"Who are you exactly?"
Ahmet and his daughter
Self portrait at the very edge (shore?) of the Kumutag (Desert), a 50 km expense of shifting dunes reminiscent of the real Taklamakan.
Turpan - June 22, 2012
And here's my entry to the Pulitzer Prize:
"The Uighur baker's daughter guarding the cash box"
at the local 'The HomeDepot'
In the new Turpan Museum:
Paraceratherium lepdium (Oligocene, Turpan Basin),
the largest terrestrial mammal that ever roamed Earth
view of the Tien Shan on the bus ride back to Urumqi