Turkmenistan provides the best desert birding in central Asia! That’s one of the reasons Turkmenistan has become a popular Miksture destination in Central Asia. The Desert and Kopet Dag Mountains provides the most prolific and rewarding Central Asian desertbirding amidst unsurpassed beautiful scenery and great hospitality from the locals. Some of the most wanted species known as “dream-species” makes it an essential destination for anyone with a serious interest in Palearctic birds. In addition there is a great selection of species present in Southern Europe, interesting subspecies as many European birds are on the edge of their eastern range here and migrants makes the birding impressive and challenging.
Second half of April is my favorite time of year for birding Turkmenistan. The breeding- migrants already turned up, thickets and bushes hide migrants and provide challenging and exciting birds – everything can occur, so to speak The spring makes the vegetation fresh, the light clear and sunny excellent for photo-graphing not blurred by heat – the temperature is moderate and comfortable for birding. Turkmenistan provides the best desert birding in Central Asia, in addition several northwards migrating species plus a selection of species uncommon or rare in other parts of Central Asia. Apart from the desert species the mountainous Kopet Dag border zone to Iran is among the least explored areas of Central Asia, and might bring goodies like Snow Pigeon, Horsfield's Cuckoo, Wire-tailed Swallow, Radde's Accentor, etc. Main target birds are: Pygmy Cormorant, Purple Heron, Glossy Ibis, Caspian Snowcock, See-see Partridge, Black-winged Pratincole, Red-wattled Lapwing, White-tailed Lapwing, Whiskered Tern, Blue-cheeked Bee-eater, Desert Lark, Oriental Skylark, White-throated Robin, Rufous Scrub-robin, Pied Bushchat, Finch’s Wheatear, Variable Wheatear, Pied Wheatear, Rusty-tailed Wheatear, Streaked Scrub-warbler, Sykes’s Warbler (in very high densities), Olivaceous Warbler, Upcher’s Warbler, Hume’s Whitethroat, Eastern Orphean Warbler, Menetries’s Warbler, Eastern Rock Nuthatch, Bay-backed Shrike, Pander’s Ground-jay, Saxaul Sparrow, Pale Rock-sparrow, Asian Desert Sparrow, Crimson-winged Finch, Desert Finch, Plain Leaf Warbler, etc. Another advantage of birding Turkmenistan this time of year is the occurrence of species like most warblers and buntings which are present here, while not yet appeared in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.
Turkmenistan is really a pleasant country to visit. Very much have changed in the past years, and nowadays it’s a country way into the modern society. Still keeping the Silk Roads traditions for hospitality, and the locals welcoming foreigners and tourists. Until 1991, it was a constituent republic of the Soviet Union, but since independence in 1991 it has come a long way. It is bordered by Afghanistan to the southeast, Iran to the south and southwest, Uzbekistan to the east and northeast, Kazakhstan to the north and northwest and the Caspian Sea to the west. It possesses the world's second largest reserves of natural gas resources, and is a very strong economic country developing infrastructure and the society in a rate unsurpassed by the other Central Asian countries. Although it is wealthy in natural resources in certain areas, most of the country is covered by the Karakum (Black Sand) Desert, and in south along the border to Afghanistan and Iran – the Kopet Dag mountains. At 488,100 km2 (188,500 sq. mi), Turkmenistan is slightly smaller than Spain and it lies between latitudes 35° and 43° N, and longitudes 52° and 67° E. Over 80% of the country is covered by the Karakum Desert (Black Sand). The center of the country is dominated by the Turan Depression and the Karakum Desert. The dry Kopet Dag Range, along the southwestern border, reaches 2,912 meters at Kuh-e Rizeh (Mount Rizeh). The Great Balkhan Range in the west of the country and the Köýtendag Range on the southeastern border with Uzbekistan are the only other significant elevations. The Great Balkhan Range rises to 1,880 meters at Mount Arlan and the highest summit in Turkmenistan is Ayrybaba in the Kugitangtau Range – 3,137 meters. Rivers include the Amu Darya, the Murghab, and the Tejen. The climate is mostly arid subtropical desert, with little rainfall. Winters are mild and dry, with most precipitation falling between January and May. The area of the country with the heaviest precipitation is the Kopet Dag Range. The major cities include Aşgabat, Türkmenbaşy (formerly Krasnovodsk) and Daşoguz.
We go again in April 2014! Interested, pls contact me or have a look on my website.