Hey Gang! I'm back in the country and sorting through photos and thoughts about visiting Frankfurt and Kazakhstan. What a trip! One quick apology about the lack of contest entry yesterday. Non Birding Bill graciously ran the contest while I was away and thought that I was only running the contest for eight entries, not 10 (because I wasn't gone for 10 days). I wanted 10 on the off chance my jet lag was so crippling when I got home that blogging would have been a bad idea. I've seen Mr. Neil in such states and now having experienced it myself, I'm sorry for all the times I've made fun of him when he was like that.
So, we will have the ninth and tenth entries up today and the voting begins tomorrow. And a big thanks to my non birding husband for running the blog with all the great guest entries while I was trekking on the other side of the planet. And a big thank you to everyone who entered!
So, some initial thoughts on Kazakhstan:
When I was a kid in Indiana and imagined what my life would be like as an adult, I dreamed that I would travel to remote places that not everyone would go to. I wasn't quite sure what the country would look like, but I knew in my kid brain that it would be rugged, remote, and beyond anything I could imagine. Kazakhstan was like that or me. Some of the landscape reminded me of Utah and some of it reminded me of Oklahoma and North Dakota. But it was a remote area, full of wind, great birds, and breathtaking landscapes.
Everywhere you looked, you would see a vast space chock full of potential adventure and discovery. New birds were everywhere, but there were a few familiar species that can be seen in the US.
One of the biggest surprises was finding the Steppes covered in miniature blooming tulips and irises--they grew wild on the short-grass prairie! Beauty was everywhere.
My adventure actaully started in Frankfurt. I arrived a day early and was able to do a bit of birding outside the hotel. When I landed at the Frankfurt airport, I wondered what my first bird would be. Would it be a house sparrow, starling or pigeon like I usually see in the US, only in Germany they would be natives and not introduced species like they are in the US? But it wasn't! Right there, hovering next to the runway, a saw a common kestrel--what an awesome first bird for me or Europe!
There are many more stories and photos coming, stay tuned!