These unidentified fish were caught on crude fishing sticks by local boys. We ate them after they had been fried (sadly losing any flavour or texture)...
I imagine that they could also be a snowtrout-like species. Maybe another species of Schizothorax?
These unidentified fish are living in a very fast flowing river high in the northern flanks of the Hindu Kush mountains. I have seen them being caught at the weir of a mini-hydro electricity project. Boys catch them in nets as they attempt to 'jump' up the weir... seems like a good time for a fish pass to be implemented.
To my untrained eye, they look like some kind of trout... maybe a Schizothorax of some sort?
The Warsaj valley has thickets of this species growing on the flood plains adjacent to the river.
These Plane trees are called Chenar trees locally. They seem to be valued for their shade (and timber too) and can get really big... big enough for them to be fitted with a door.
I found these specimens adjacent to a farm track. I have always been fascinated by these gorgeous and exotic looking parasitic plants...
I came upon the pelt of (what I think) must have been an Afghan or Corsac fox on the door of a shop in the Bazaar Ittefaq, Yaftal District.
I am not sure that this, or the two other sitings of live specimens in the snows of winter, are Vulpes Cana. All the sitings were of foxes that were golden or orange tan overall with no black or stripes that I could see. Photos that I have found online of foxes that occur in Afghanistan suggest that it is more likely to be Vulpes Corsac, the Corsac fox.
I spotted a number (maybe a half dozen or so) of marmots, apparently in pairs per burrow, on an embankment on the Shiva Plateau. I did not have a chance to get closer as I was in a car with others who were more interested in Buzkashi... the landscape photo gives a sense of the setting (facing roughly northeast or east-northeast)with an encampment of seasonal herders on the right with their flock of sheep.
I have been meaning to take a photo of the nesting holes (small caves) that seem to be the home of the small colony of vultures that I have seen almost every time that I have passed on the road below... The rock face is on the northern bank of the Kokcha River which presumably provides a comfortable south-facing orientation with some good height for launching. I estimate the height of the nesting holes to be roughly 70m above the river level.
I spotted nine (9) birds at about 09:15 circling above a rocky mountain outcrop adjacent to the river and the national road. I understand that the local name, in Dari, is Kargas.
The frog was hanging on the rough rock wall of the hydropower inlet canal in a shaded part of the canal.
The bird was sitting atop a pile of rocks in a farmer's field.
I saw two tortoises within a few kilometres of each other whilst travelling in the Chal District, south of Taloqan. The first was a specimen approximately 18 - 20 cm in length which was being held by some children who were playing in the road. The second looked much smaller, say 10 - 12 cm in length. This one was walking across the road and was narrowly missed by the driver who straddled the tortoise with the wheel tracks...
I spotted three birds circling above the Kokcha River and the main road to Faizabad and one bird on the ground on a hillside next to the road. I tried climbing up towards the bird on the ground but it took off before I could approach. I took the photo as it passed overhead. Unfortunately the photo is backlit and so no details are visible...
I looked up into the sky from a courtyard in Taloqan at about 13:00 to look at some kites and saw the bird gliding and circling slowly about 80m above the ground. I could clearly see the white wings with black tips and rear sections... very beautiful. It slowly drifted out of view and I did not see it again. A colleague confirmed that he had seen it independently when we met up later in the day.
I spotted one individual fox on the side of the road against the mountainside at approx. 19:30 alongside the Salang Pass road on the southern side of the tunnel. There was approx. 1 metre of snow on the ground.
I spotted one individual at about 18:30 (approx. an hour after sunset) on the side of the road next to the Kokcha River, Badakshan Province. The road was icy and there was about half a metre of snow on the ground.
I saw a vulture, not sure of the species, at about 10:30 on Tuesday 7 February flying at an altitude of about 20 meters above ground level in a north-easterly direction over the road from Fayzabad to Keshim in North-eastern Afghanistan. I have assumed that this was a Himalayan Vulture but it seems that it could also have been the Eurasian Black Vulture - Aegypius monachus. I would be very interested to have any further info or confirmations of the species distributions in this location.
I spotted the snake in the early afternoon sunning itself on the wall of a mini-hydro power intake canal near the town of Jurm, in the Badakshan province of Afghanistan. The snake did not move away until after I had taken a few photos. It appeared to be approx. 1.2 metres long (the width of the canal wall is approx. 500mm).