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  • Siberia birding Lake Baikal region June July 2013

    - with Miksture - Michael Westerbjerg Andersen/Miksture

    Summertime is a favorite time of year for birding central Siberia. The migrants already turned up, and

    the birds activity is on its peak and provides challenging and exciting birding. The early summer makes

    the vegetation fresh and green, the light clear and sunny excellent for photographing the tempera-

    ture is warm but comfortable. Siberia provides some of the most prolific and rewarding birding and

    some of the most wanted bird species - species known as dream-species in our field guides. Miksture

    have good people providing meals, problem less and smooth way of making the tour, and of course

    we know the locations well. Its birding and we dont make any compromise to find the birds, however

    we always make priority not to flush and frighten the birds. This is mouthwatering bird watching areas in

    the best birding areas in central and southern Siberia and our theme is without questions to see and

    experience as many of the regions birds as possible. However this years departure were slightly differ-

    ent as we didnt visit some of our usual places (e.g. the mountainous areas west of Irkutsk, which usua l-

    ly are included in our departures (and again in 2014) there was a wish from the participants to visit

    some other less known places, and this we included this year; e.g. extra long stay in Selenga, visit to

    Olkhon Island, Chivirkuisky Bay and Barguzinsky Bay. Less known for their birds (however not boring)

    and more known for their landscapes.

    The wide range of habitats is reflected in an exciting avifauna which encompasses both mainly Siberi-

    an species, including species unique to the taiga habitat.

    This reports doesnt deal with practical issues and where and how to find the birds, but IF you are inter-

    ested and need help & advices you are always welcome to contact me!

    Friendly greetings

    Miksture/Michael Westerbjerg Andersen, Bishkek October 2013

  • Siberia is one of the important breeding and stopover sites for Palearctic species. Breeding birds occur

    in many different habitats (from taiga forest through different steppes and wetlands). Beautiful land-

    scape and quiet lifestyle attract many birdwatchers to Siberia.

    The very name Siberia conjures images of a vast, remote and distant land; the land of the unknown.

    The Republic of Buryatia is a federal subject of Russia. Its area is slightly over 350,000 km with a popula-

    tion of almost one million. Its capital is Ulan-Ude. The republic is located in the South-Central region of

    Siberia along the eastern shore of Lake Baikal. The total area of the republic is 351.3 km, which is about

    the territory of Germany. It is bounded by Irkutsk and Chita regions, Republic of Tuva and Mongolia

    and is washed by one of the greatest and magnificent lakes in the world Lake Baikal. There are

    more than 300 sunny days yearly in Buryatia - the climate is dry, winters without severe frosts and tem-

    perature in summer being not so high. By its diversity the Buryat landscape can be equally compared

    to Swiss Alps, steppes of Mongolia or the woods and plains of the European part of Russia. Lake Baikal

    was known as the "North Sea" in historical Chinese texts. It was situated in the then Xiongnu territory.

    Very little was known to Europeans about the lake until the Russian expansion into the area in the 17th

    century. The first Russian explorer to reach Lake Baikal was Kurbat Ivanov in 1643. The Trans-Siberian

    railway was built between 1896 and 1902. The scenic railway around the southwestern end of Lake

    Baikal required 200 bridges and 33 tunnels; until its completion, a train ferry transported railcars across

    the lake (from Port Baikal to Mysovaya) for a number of years. Beginning in 1956, the impounding of

    the Irkutsk Dam on the Angara River raised the level of the lake by 1.4 m. As the railway was being

    built, a large hydro geographical expedition headed by F.K. Drizhenko produced the first detailed at-

    las of the contours of Baikal's depths. Known as the "Galpagos of Russia", its age and isolation have

    produced some of the world's richest and most unusual freshwater fauna. Lake Baikal is in a rift valley,

    created by the Baikal Rift Zone, where the crust of the earth is pulling apart. At 636 kilometers long and

    79 km wide, Lake Baikal has the largest surface area of any freshwater lake in Asia (31,722 km) and is

    the deepest lake in the world (1,642 m). The bottom of the lake is 1,186.5 meters below sea level, but

    below this lies some 7 km of sediment, placing the rift floor some 811 kilometers below the surface: the

    deepest continental rift on Earth. In geological terms, the rift is young and active - it widens about two

    cm per year. The fault zone is also seismically active; there are hot springs in the area and notable

    earthquakes every few years. The lake drains into the Angara tributary of the Yenisei. Its age is estimat-

    ed at 2530 million years, making it one of the most ancient lakes in geological history. It is unique

    among large, high-latitude lakes, in that its sediments have not been scoured by overriding continental

    ice sheets. U.S. and Russian studies of core sediment in the 1990s provide a detailed record of climatic

    variation over the past 250,000 years. Longer and deeper sediment cores are expected in the near fu-

    ture. Lake Baikal is furthermore the only confined fresh water lake in which direct and indirect evidence

    of gas hydrates exists. The lake is completely surrounded by mountains. The Baikal Mountains on the

    north shore and the taiga are technically protected as a national park. It contains 27 islands; the larg-

    est, Olkhon, is 72 km long and is the third-largest lake-bound island in the world. The lake is fed by as

    many as three hundred and thirty inflowing rivers. The main ones draining directly into Baikal are the

    Selenga River, the Barguzin River, the Upper Angara River, the Turka River, the Sarma River and the

    Snezhnaya River. It is drained through a single outlet, the Angara River. Despite its great depth, the

    lake's waters are well-mixed and well-oxygenated throughout the water column, compared to the

    stratification that occurs in such bodies of water as Lake Tanganyika and the Black Sea.
  • Siberia 2013

    27.06 Arrival day to Irkutsk for MWA; birding along the river and in the city parks, 28.06 German clients

    arrival Irkutsk, transfer to hotel in Irkutsk and afternoon excursion to marshes near the city, 29.06 Transfer

    Irkutsk Arshan, 30.06 Birding the mountains and marshes at Arshan, 01.07 Birding marshes 20km from

    Arshan, 02.07 Arshan - Posolsk and Teplie Ozera, 03.07 Teplie Ozera all day birding, 04.07 Transfer to

    Selenga River Delta via Ulan Ude, 05.07 Selenga River Delta, 06.07 boat excursion in the Selenga River

    Delta, 07.07 Selenga River - Ust-Barguzin, 08.07 Chivirkuisky Bay and Barguzinsky Bay incl boat excursion,

    09.07 Transfer Barguzinsky Bay Olkhon Island, 10.07 Birding Olkhon Island, 11.07 Olkhon Island Irkutsk

    and 12.07 Heading home Welcome home!

    GAVIIFORMES: Gaviidae

    Black-throated Diver Gavia arctica

    08.07 2 Chivirkuisky Bay and Barguzinsky Bay incl boat excursion, and 10.07 1 Olkhon Island.

    PODICIPEDIFORMES: Podicipedidae

    Great Crested Grebe Podic

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