Birding In Central Asia
The Silk Road, Samarkand and Bukhara – names that conjure up images of fierce Mongol hordes storming out of the east and of dusty camel trains and crowded bazaars where exotic jewels and oriental spaces were traded by travelers from far – off lands. Stretching from the Caspian Sea to the Tien Shan mountains the Central Asian states of Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan are indeed richly endowed with history and culture, a flavor of which we will sample on this exciting tour. The varied traditions and customs of this fascinating region are matched by a wide variety of habitats. We will follow the rout of ancient Silk Road from the drifting sand dunes of the Kara Kum desert, where we are sure to see Pander’s Ground Jay, one of the region’s really special birds, to the dramatic splendour of the snow-capped Tien Shan mouintains, home to Himalayan Snowcock and Guldenstadt’s Redstart. Then on the enormous skies and wormwood – scented breezes of the Kazakhstan steppes, alive with White – winged and Black Larks, and ancient woodlands where Yellow – eyed Stock Doves and White – winged Woodpeckers still breed. Although this region has region has developed substantially since the break – up of the old Soviet Union, it is still almost completely overlooked by Western birdwatchers. This is a great pity as , full of species guaranteed to fire the imagination and possessing a unique cultural heritage , it is sure to present a truly unique birdwatching experience.