Birdwatching news and bird photography from Transcaucasia - by Kai Gauger and Michael Heiß

Mittwoch, 18. April 2012

New species arrived

Text & Photos © M. Heiß

The last two weeks several bird species that are new for the spring counts had arrived. Some of them are new for the whole migration study, such as White-headed Duck, Green Warbler, Spotted Crake, Greater Sand Plover, White-tailed Lapwing, Caspian Plover or Lammergeier. A true highlight was a White-headed Yellow Wagtail in a large flock of other Yellow Wagtails including several subspecies, such as beema, lutea, thunberg, flava and feldegg with all intergrades you can imagine.
Currently, raptor migration is increasing along the Caucasian foothills with small flocks of Steppe Eagles and Steppe Buzzards. The last two days hundreds of Black-winged Pratincoles passed by.

A good candidate to become the 'Bird of the month April' - a White-headed Yellow Wagtail

A Citrine Wagtail feeding in the lagoonA flock of Citrine Wagtails

Red-throated Pipit catching some ants. In the brackground are beema and lutea Yellow Wagtails © F. Eidam

A Buff-bellied Pipit resting in the steppe among a flock of Greater Short-toed Larks

A pair of White-tailed Lapwings spend an afternoon in the lagoon © F. Eidam

Greater Sand Plovers at the beach © F. Eidam

A male White-headed Duck spend three days in the lagoon

A beautiful Caspian Plover in the steppe near my observation point

Despite only a few numbers of birds have been caught the last days, it however produced a Green Warbler © F. Eidam

Black-winged Pratincole on migrationFriedrich watching out for soaring raptors,..

...while I was studying head pattern variation of Yellow Wagtails ;-)

Donnerstag, 5. April 2012

Rare birds, mist netting and students from Baku

Text & Photos © M. Heiß
 
Daily we observe new species, which arrived from the wintering grounds and pass through the Besh Barmag bottleneck. The last days arrived Black Redstart, Blackcap, Glossy Ibis, Whimbrel, Steppe Eagle, Wryneck, Montagues Harrier and many more. The number of migrating larks is now decreasing, whereas swallows are increasing. The first larger flock of 25 Steppe Buzzards flew along the foothills. Harriers are still numerous.
Long-legged Buzzard
Migrating female Hen Harrier at close range
Migrating male Hen Harrier at very close range
Imperial Eagles are regular visitors of the waste dump nearby
Purple Heron on migration
Good numbers of Greater Short-toed Larks passed through the bottleneck
We also observed rare species such as a single Demoiselle Crane, a pair of Pine Buntings and 3 flocks of Sociable Lapwings. One flock was resting in grassland close to my observation point. Unfortunately, none was ringed or with a satellite transmitter for tracking their flyways (http://www.amazing-journey.org/).
A small flock of rare Sociable Lapwings
A gorgeous male Pine Bunting in breeding plumage
Mist netting is also getting better day by day with daily totals of 37, 113 and 44 birds the last 3 days. Most common species was Chiffchaff, but also Hoopoes, Cetti’s Warbler, Moustached Warbler, Menetries’s Warbler, Bluethroat and Scops Owl were caught.
On 1st April a group of students from Baku visited the study site and Friedrich and I were glad to show and explain them our field work. Unfortunately, bird migration was not very intense this morning, but at least we caught a Chiffchaff later the day that we showed the students.
Students at the nets
Cetti's Warbler © F. Eidam
Menetries's Warbler © F. Eidam
Scops Owl © F. EidamShort-eared Owl © F. Eidam