Sunrise at Ihes Nuur with our excellent cook, Soyoloo.
We had a lovely evening by the lake, Ihes Nuur. Mosquitos weren’t a problem since it was now September. The next morning the light was wonderful. Off in the distance we could hear drumming. One of the Mongols remarked that they thought it was a shaman who was at one of the gers we could see from where we were camped.
The goal this morning was to find Batsaikhan, the coordinator of the Saiga Ranger Network. But first we had time to walk around the lakeshore and sketch, paint and take photos.
A herd of yaks grazed near our camp.
Magvandorj paints on location.
Soyoloo and Tseegii packing up the kitchen and food.
On our way into town, we passed a hillside with a lot of black kites.
Myself and Batsaikhan Baljiinnayam, the Saiga Ranger Network coordinator. He gave us an excellent briefing on the history and current status of saiga antelope conservation and offered to take us out to look for them.
To get an overview of the area, Batsaikhan took us up to this high point which had a large ovoo.
The soum center of Darvi.
Batsaikhan briefs the group on the local area and saiga conservation.
Back into town for a short stop where I got a photo of a local woman fetching water. Almost no one in the soum centers has running water in their home, so they must fetch water using metal or plastic barrels carried by these small carts. Needless to say, water conservation is a way of life.
Statue of a famous race horse, named Darvi. The town and soum are named after him. The Darvi and Sharga areas of Mongolia are well-known throughout Mongolia for their horses.
Batsaikan led us on a “game drive” and we again saw a lot of saiga. They were always a long way off, which is why this cropped-in close-up of a male saiga is a little blurry.
Saiga live here….
Getting information for the next leg of our journey from one of the rangers. We would now begin the long trip back to the east and Ulaanbaatar.
Picnic lunch with a view.
A group of four saiga.
The largest number we saw at one time was this group of five. They didn’t seem to notice the presence of the herders and their livestock at all.
Time to say goodbye and get a group shot. From left to right: Susan Fox, Tugsoyun Sodnom, Oidoviin Magvandorj, Batsaikhan Baljinnayam, Sharon Schafer, Soyoloo, I. Odna, local ranger, driver, Sendag, driver Batmaa. Photo by guide Tseegii.
On the road again…
We came to a sand dune area and got out to poke around and take a break. Here’s our faithful Russian vans.
Camp all set up in Sharga Soum.