UZBEKISTAN Birding along the Silk Road!

 

Tour date:
May 15 – 22, 2015

 

Tourleader:
Machiel Valkenburg

 

Minimum group size:
5 plus 1 leader

 

Maximum group size:
10 plus 1 leader

 

2015 Tour price:
€1.550,- / £1.220,-

 

Plus flights estimated at:
€ 600,- / £ 500,- (from London)

 

Single room supplement:
€ 245,- / £ 210,-
 

Uzbekistan is a country steeped in ancient history. In ancient times it was a rich region of splendid cities and cultures based along the Great Silk Route to China – a true crossroads between east and west. The country is steeped in fabled historical sites in Tashkent, Samarkand and Bukhara where ancient civilizations have travelled and fought over possession of central Asia for thousands of years. There is also a short-list of very special birds to be found. Several species at the western edge of their range in Asia such as Asian Paradise Flycatcher, Rufous-naped Tit and Pied Bushchat mix with local specialties such as Pygmy Cormorant, White-tailed Lapwing, Ménétries’s Warbler, Blue-cheeked Bee-eater, Hume’s Lark, Yellow-breasted Tit, Finsch’s and Variable wheatears, White-throated Robin, Eastern Orphean Warbler and Clamorous Reed-Warbler. At the top of the “want-list” is the enigmatic and curious Pander’s Ground Jay, easily found in the stony deserts of Kyzyl-Kum.

 

RBT operated its first and highly successful tour in 2007 and since we established ourselves as the main ground operator of several of the largest tour companies in the world. We are sure that participants will be delighted with this extraordinary Central Asian experience.

 

May 15, Days 0: To Tashkent

Clients depart from home towards the largest city of Uzbekistan, Tashkent. Clients need to be in Tashkent before May 24 - 7am! If you like to come in earlier please contact the RBT office which will gladly help with extra hotel bookings.

 

NIGHT: on aircraft.

 

May 16, Day 01: Tashkent to Bukhara

A domestic flight takes us to the fabled city of Bukhara, formerly one of the most important trading cities, anywhere in Central Asia. It has a rich and colorful history and an overwhelming number of historic sites of interest. The turquoise-blue domes and towering minarets of Bukhara provide a wonderful backdrop to our stay here. Needless to say, we shall have some time to explore this wonderful city. Birding the vicinity of the city; we will find out that Clamorous Reed Warblers, Black-headed Citrine Wagtails and White-tailed Plovers are common. We look out for Marbled Ducks and Glossy Ibis’s. We see our first of many Pied Bushchats.

 

NIGHT: Malika Bukhara Hotel, Bukhara

 

May 17, Day 02: Kyzyl-Kum Desert

Today’s birding will be perhaps be one of the most memorable during this trip? A very early start must be made into the Kyzyl-Kum desert, where we expect to arrive just after dawn. This very special region is home to one of the most sought-after of all the birds that occur in Central Asia - the legendary Turkestan (Pander’s) Ground Jay. They are best located in the cool of the early morning when they can be often found along the roadside. Other birds might include views of Asian Desert Warbler, Desert Whitethroat and Desert Finch. In the afternoon we visit the fabled city of Bukhara, Lab-I Hauz pool, Divan-Begi madrassa, Kalyan ensemble, Mosque and Minaret.

 

NNIGHT: Malika Bukhara Hotel, Bukhara

 

May 18, Day 03: Bukhara - Samarqand

Todat is mostly a travel day as we drive from Bukhara, birding en route, to Samarqand, arriving in time for some preliminary exploration of this fabulous city. In the afternoon we visit the wonderful Registan square, some say the most beautiful square in the world!

 

NIGHT: T.B.A

 

May 19, Day 04: Samarqand

Today there are many wonders in store for us with a day based in and around the ancient city of Samarkand. We will commence with an early morning start, driving out of the city to rocky, scrub and bush-covered hills of the Takhtakaracha Pass lying between Samarkand and Zarafshan, where Tamerlane roamed in centuries past. High on the wanted list will be White-throated Robin along with Eastern Orphean Warbler and the obscure Hume's Lark. Also here are Eastern Rock Nuthatch, Turkestan and Yellow-breasted Tits, Asian Paradise-Flycatcher and White-capped Bunting. Back in time for lunch, we shall wander from our hotel into the quiet, small ancient city area to explore its historical treasures. The massive Bibi Khanum mosque (once the largest in Central Asia), The Registan, Timur’s Mausoleum, the Street of Tombs and the local bazaar present a stunning and memorable “visual overload” of exquisitely elaborate tiled, painted and carved buildings.

 

NIGHT: T.B.A.

 

May 20, Day 05: Samarqand - Tashkent

We can opt for an early start to nearby wetlands on the outskirts of Samarkand for such specialties as White-crowned Penduline Tit, or spend more time immersing ourselves in the historical delights of Samarkand. After lunch, we continue our journey back to Tashkent.

 

NIGHT: T.B.A.

 

May 21, Day 06: Tashkent

We plan to spend our final full day in the Chimgan Hills where Yellow-breasted and Rufous-naped tits are the main attraction. Overhead we might see European and Oriental Honeybuzzards. We return to Tashkent where we enjoy a final dinner in a local traditional restaurant, plus a visit to the historical Barak Khan Madrassa.

 

NIGHT: T.B.A

 

May 22, Day 07: Tashkent to home

After a splendid holiday in Central Asia it is time to depart home. We say goodbye on the Astana Airport from where everybody flies back home.

 

** The tour schedule depends closely on weather conditions, which may change the itinerary listed. If so, the itinerary will be altered, with all of the special regions still being visited.

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