Last Saturday’s birding excursion took us out to Manzushir Khiid to work the forest near the ruined monastery. No surprises in the suite of birds we saw, though we did get, as my Aussie friends would say, cracking good looks at Eurasian Nutcracker and a feeding flock of Red Crossbills tearing up the pine cones. The highlights, instead, came in mammal form. In addition to a very cute, tufty-eared Eurasian Red Squirrel (just about black ‘round these parts, and sporting the truly crappy Latin name of Sciurus vulgaris), we caught up with another rodent feeding on tree buds that none of us could quite place. Andreas, my research turned up, was right in his assessment that it was a kind of flying squirrel. This had me going “shoo-wee!” cuz I ain’t never seen no flying squirrel nowheres. Turns out it was indeed a Siberian Flying Squirrel and my only regret is that we didn’t see it stop stuffing its face, grab its flaps, and leap into the breeze. Comme ça:
Sucker can apparently glide up to 75 meters.
Despite the lack of avian fireworks, it was a simpatico crew, and we agreed that this Saturday we’d hook back up and take a road trip out to Hustai National Park, a site I haven’t visited yet. In addition to the strong possibility of catching up with that dang Pere David’s Snowfinch, Hustai is renowned as the preserve for the reintroduced Przewalski’s Horse (Takhi to the Mongols). This sturdy little beast is about as close as one gets these days to the prehistoric wild equines that used to roam the Central Asian steppe in great numbers.
And that's about all the wild life I can muster these days.