Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Georgia Days 4-6


My apologies for no blogs the last few days but our last venue was without an Internet facility.

The last few days saw us leave Kazbegi, drive back through Tbilisi and then drive to the eastern finger of Georgia in an area known as Chachuna.

Driving out through the mountains on Day 4 provided us with views of a couple more Wallcreepers and a Horned Lark in addition to more standard fare. One of our stops was in a hillside beech wood and provided us with a couple of Green Warblers and we heard a Caucasian Chiffchaff. Also present was a pair of Semi-collared Flycatcher, Spotted Flycatcher, Common Redstart and our first Blackcaps and Nuthatch.

At our lunch-time stop we witnessed a Peregrine knock a Swift to the floor and then go to retrieve it, and other birds included Black-eared Wheatear, Ortolan Bunting and the first of many Corn Buntings and Calandra Larks.

On arrival in the Chachuna area we quickly connected with some new birds for the trip which included Imperial Eagle, Menetrie's Warbler, Egyptian Vulture and the first of many shrikes. Our accommodation was a 'cottage' some 30km from the nearest road and reached by sandy tracks.

Black Redstart


Rock Bunting

Red-backed Shrike

Day 5 commenced with an early morning walk amongst scrub and tamarisk below a reservoir dam. There was an astounding array of birds in this habitat which included Black Francolin, Quail, Menetrie's Warbler, Common Nightingale, Penduline Tit, Kingfisher, Roller, Lesser Kestrel and White-tailed Eagle. After another late breakfast we drove to an upland area which was dominated by large cliffs of sandstone, and a natural place for both breeding and migrant raptors. We went on to record 18 different species of raptor during the day which included Saker, Red-footed Falcon, Honey Buzzard, three species of vulture and three species of eagle.

The afternoon was spent checking the vast rolling plains of this region, and also tracking down the passerines inhabiting the dry wadis and light vegetated areas. We located good numbers of singing 'Eastern' Orphean Warblers, Pied Wheatear, Rock Nuthatch and Lesser Short-toed Lark. There were large numbers of Rollers and flock after flock of migrating Eurasian Bee-eaters.

After another full day out in warm sunshine and very pleasant conditions, it was time for our basic but comfortable cottage retreat! However a couple of Scop's Owls had other ideas and could be heard calling nearby on and off all night!

Black Francolin

Lesser Kestrel

Lesser Short-toed Lark


Day 6 (today) was our last day in the Chachuna area and we tracked down Short-toed Eagle, Golden Oriole, Turtle Dove as well as plenty of repeats of the previous days...


Neil M

Lesser Whitethroat

An unlikely duo -
Black-headed Bunting
and Red-backed Shrike

Eurasian Roller

Female Woodchat Shrike

Calandra Lark

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