Useful tips for beginning ornithologists
Annotation to the topic of ornithology
Kyrgyzstan is a country of a wonderful combination of various natural landscapes and cultural traditions. Only in one day, a traveler visiting Kyrgyzstan can get from semi-desert and steppe hills to mountainous rainforests, to alpine meadows and to the zone of perennial glaciers and snow. Such contrasting travels help us in understand many geographical questions, wildlife questions, and ecosystem interaction processes.
Tien Shan is a habitat for a great number of biodiversity. In the mountains of Kyrgyzstan, today we know about 12 thousand species of invertebrates, more than 75 species of fish, 4 species of amphibians, 39 species of reptiles, about 390 species of birds and 84 species of mammals. This diversity of fauna has been preserved due to the large areas of pristine ecosystems.
Choosing our exclusive tour, you will have the amazing opportunity to take part in the journey and watch many types of semi-desert, forest, highland and water birds. On the Issyk-Kul Lake and in the mountain gorges you will visit nature reserves and see endemic birds, as well as birds from Siberia, China, Kazakhstan, Africa and Europe, which stop here during their migration. During the trip, you will have a chance to see the amazing landscapes of Central Asia and feel the culture of the local peoples.
About the conditions of the ornithological tours
We organize ornithological trips in Central Asia. Usually these are small groups, from 2 to 5 people. But in some cases the maximum amount is limited to 10-12 participants. The group is accompanied by local ornithologist guides who speak English; if necessary, English, German, and Spanish interpreters work together with the guide. These people have good theoretical knowledge and an extensive field experience watching birds. For a more exciting excursion in local areas, we hire an additional guide from the local farmers who know well the local sights and can show us wild places.
During the trip we use nice and comfortable local hotels. In order for the participants of the trip to be able to use their time as efficiently as possible to relax and study the birds, we try to avoid long journeys. The route was made in such a way that the transfer from one place to another is as short as possible. During birdwatching in remote areas, we use tents or private guest houses. To ensure that you enjoy your holiday, and your time is used only for birds, our staff will be engaged in preparing good food and other necessary assistance.
Your time will be effectively used for excursions from morning to evening. Also, you can take part in national folklore and traditions. During long journeys, we will show attractive natural landscapes and historical sites along the way. During field observations, lunch is limited to a field picnic, as well as hot tea or coffee. But, if the observation site is located near our camp or a guest house, we will organize a full meal. As vehicles we use Mercedes Sprinter mini buses or off-road cars, this depending on the number of participants.
The cost of the program depends on the number of participants. The duration of the trip can be changed at the request of the participants. Also, the trip route can be changed if the participants have specific preferences. Our excursions are accompanied by beautiful landscapes, panoramas and historical sites associated with the culture and traditions of local peoples. Here you can find alpine, desert, forest, steppe and meadow bird species located in groups in relatively small areas.
About our Ornithological excursions
Ornithological observations are one of the biggest hobbies of modern times. For people living in the city, this is a good way to remember the existence of a huge living the world outside the “stone jungle”, feel as a part of it and feel the joy of solving mysteries.
Why birds? On the one hand, this is a very difficult object to observe, especially for novice ornithologists. Birds are very mobile, you need concentration and good reaction to notice and identify them while they are visible. The vision of a bird is superior to the human’s, which allows them to see us when we do not even know about their presence. On the other hand, at certain times of the year, many species have demonstrative behavior: singing, current flights, etc., which makes them very noticeable. Most birds have a daytime lifestyle, which coincides with our activity, and even their mobility can be on hand to observers, because an object in movement is more noticeable.
We conduct three types of ornithological excursions. Organization of the tours depends on the objectives of the participants.
- Study tours – when participants want to get acquainted with the most popular species of bird habitat and learn to identify them in nature.
- Birdwatching – ornithology for fun, for amateur ornithologists, young naturalists and just people who want to spend time in the open air.
In order to begin practicing birdwatching, you only need the desire to do so. But it is better to purchase a bird identifier, as well as to get good binoculars. A high-quality observational device is a very important component, because it’s not enough just to detect the bird, but also to see the beauty of its feathering, to see everything in bright colors. It’s hardly possible to save money on high-quality lenses and the optical system, since it is an expensive technology, though it is possible to find a middle ground. Ideally it would be a camera with good photo approximation. The best observation period is spring and early summer, and the best time to do so is early in the morning. To get the most information and satisfaction from your observations, birdwatchers keep field diaries. The field diary is used to record the date and time of the observation and the weather conditions. As you observe, notes are made in the diary about which species have been encountered, and if the species cannot be determined, the signs of the bird are recorded instead. An important element in determining the species of a bird is its singing. Therefore, besides observation, it is necessary to listen to the birds and determine their species, as well as to enjoy the time. There is no doubt that information collected by amateur ornithologists may be of scientific value to ornithological professionals. In some cases, amateur ornithologists can make new discoveries.
- Scientific tours – trips to collect data for scientific research. In this case, excursions are regulated by the program or methodology of research. These tours are for small groups (6-8 people) or couples. It is very important when amateur or professional ornithologists who come to Kyrgyzstan or other countries of Central Asia can make a significant contribution to the study of birds. They make observations and records in field diaries, take photographs and spread this information. The collected data is an excellent material for local scientists to keep records of the birds and to evaluate the status of their habitats.
Many rare species of birds were observed once, maybe several times over many years. It is not possible to make accurate conclusions about their propagation and habitats, as well as their abundance today. Therefore, the information collected by amateurs, tourist ornithologists or foreign professionals makes a good contribution to the solution of these issues.