Wedged between Russia in the north and China in the south is Mongolia the second largest landlocked country in the world. To the east and slightly north from the capital city Ulaanbaatar is KBRS, it is probably one of the remotest areas around the world at 1200 metres above sea level. It is as if time has stood still, but most famously, Mongolia is the resting place of Chinggis Khaan which roughly translates to "Universal Ruler" who came to power uniting all the countries famous warriors from the different nomadic tribes and went on to conquer large chunks of China and Central Asia.
It takes 9 hours to get there, mostly on dirt tracks. This is a stunning country, with great blue skies, amazing landscapes, grasslands and in our case lots of habitat with scrub trees running along the side of a small river which became a magnet for all the amazing birds we caught. The landscape was forbidding but beautiful and sitting quietly all you could hear were birds, literally only birds.
Daily around the tops of the hills and valleys we could scan the horizon constantly watching birds of prey soring in the blue skies above, going over one hill top to the next. Often we would see birds of prey squabbling with each other and sometimes the small birds chasing off the larger ones.
The list of Birds of Prey we saw including those we caught are as follows. I might have missed a few.
Lesser Kestrel, first one caught and ringed for KBRS.
Eastern Marsh Harrier
It is estimated 110,000 birds have been recorded arriving in South Africa during the main migration period. Enroute many birds are trapped and killed for food in India. Education has improved this and reduced these deaths. Amur's feed on insects on the wing, most of the insects they eat are mosquitoes and it is said this has helped to reduce malaria.
All Birds of Prey have excellent eyesight which they use to locate their prey.
To keep them calm and not distracted by anything a small hood is fitted over its head. The hood is only removed when the bird is ready to be released.
First it was aged and then wing and weight was done prior to fitted a transmitter.
A satellite transmitter in the form of a back-pack is mounted to track large birds on migration. It is a two person job and the young lady is Tuvshee. Who looked after us in Ulaanbaatar and throughout the holiday and was also an experienced ringer and assistant ringer to Batmunkh.
Fixing it to the top of the body below the head of the Harrier is done using tapes and tying from underneath and the end of the ties goes up between the wing and the flanks of the bird and then through the eyelets on either side of the transmitter and tied off. Loose ends then removed.
From what I understand the tracker regularly transmits, these signals are monitored somewhere in Northern China.
The finished bird. I do not know how heavy the tracker is on this Harrier but I did pick one up and it felt very light, maybe the weight of 30-40gms.