Those of you who have followed this blog for awhile know that I’ve been going to Ikh Nart since my first trip in 2005. This time I had the pleasure of sharing the reserve with a fellow artist, Pokey Park.
Wildlife being what it is, one never knows what one will see on a given trip, or even if. But this visit exceeded our every reasonable expectation. For two of the four days, it seemed like we could hardly go an hour as we drove around the reserve without seeing argali, ibex, argali and ibex in the same place or cinereous vultures, a golden eagle or other birds. And we had sightings both other days, but not nearly as often.
The universe being what it is, on our way out of the reserve we drove through one of the areas where we had had multiple sightings of argali and ibex the previous morning and saw not a single animal.
We stayed at Nomadic Journey's Red Rock Ger Camp
Ikh Nart landscape
Scanning for argali and ibex
But I was the lucky one who first spotted a single ram, who then joined up with a big group making ten all together. What a sight they were!
We maneuvered through the rocks, caught up and re-sighted them three times
They've seen something, we had no idea what
A herder's winter shelter for his livestock
One of the pictographs on the rock cliff
We went to the valley where the research camp is located and got great sightings of a large group of ibex
And for a bonus, a beautiful sunset
We also were able to follow this group of ewes and lambs
How many sheep can you see?
They are totally at home in these rocky uplands
We drove south to see the pictographs and Tibetan inscriptions on the cliff in the background
Pokey helped fill the troughs; it's a Mongol tradition that passersby will fill them if they are empty
Ibex pictograph; researchers have just started to catalog and study the cultural resources of the reserve, of which there are many
Argali ewe and lamb
Next week, it’s on to Gun-Galuut Nature Reserve.