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

Freitag, 15. März 2019

Besh Barmag bottleneck activities for 2019

Besh Barmag bottleneck activities for 2019

Information update

The autumn 2018 was the most extenstive to date in terms of visiting birdwatchers/volunteers, birds counted, species noted as well as locals involved and the whole logistics operation. A research paper with the migration count results is being prepared for Sandgrouse , the journal of OSME (Ornithological Society of the Middle East, Caucasus & Central Asia), to be published during 2019.
News reached us in early autumn 2018 about a major new highway construction along the entire coast from Baku to the Russian border. The route of this highway will run through the Besh Barmag bottleneck and as it seems, straight through our observation post. We lobbied and tried to influence decision makers and authorities during the last autumn/winter but this was much too late in the process. Preparations for the construction is already underway and the work will reach Besh Barmag during September 2019 as we have heard. We are in close contact with local friends and partners to get updated information as this develops.

Map of the planned highway and the old counting spot
Wider view of the situation with the planned highway in the bottleneck area. Alternative counting spots need to be discovered, which can be tricky due to the narrowness of the coastal plain with various villages, roads and other infrastructure.

Plans and activities for 2019

Considering the highway construction is likely to have a severe effect on the birdwatching experience at Besh Barmag we have only some general ideas for autumn 2019. The most important thing, no major organised bird migration counts are being planned this year! We simply must see how the highway turns out and what can be saved in terms of the birdwatching sites, how much disturbance it gets, can alternative observation posts be used etc. We still know too little about alternative observation posts along the coast but this can of course be explored.
That does NOT mean that you can not go there yourselves! Nor that the birds will cease flying past in their millions!!! In order to keep the flame burning and have regular birding visits, we offer to organise your stay at Besh Barmag bottleneck and arrange accommodation, food, local transport and local host! Already there is international interest to come. We will use the same simple holiday units as in autumn 2018 and have full board available for visitors. English-speaking hosts from Nature Friends Azerbaijan will be on site during your time there.
We can also arrange your taxi transport from Baku International Airport to Besh Barmag and back. We can also put you in contact with trusted tour operators and rental car firms for more birdwatching in Azerbaijan.

For further visitors info please contact us through

But please be aware that you may face a road construction site upon arrvial at the observation post at Besh Barmag. We do not know the extent of the disturbance and damage of the road! Stay informed through this blog and Birding Azerbaijan on Facebook!

 Accomodation near Besh Barmag
  • Zarathustra Holiday Units
  • Zarat village, 7 km south of the Besh Barmag bottleneck
  • 3 to 4 beds per unit, four units in total. Toilet/shower in each unit
  • full board included (early breakfast, lunch pack and dinner)
  • regular cleaning and laundry
  • free wifi available, but limited
  • price per person per day 35USD (minimum two nights stay; profit will go to the autumn counts planned for 2020)
  • Optional: transport from lodging to observation post. 10USD per person per day
  • Optional: airport transfer Baku – Besh Barmag – Baku 80USD per taxi
Zarat is a very small rural village on the coastal plain with little else than the accommodation. Bird migration will flow over and sometimes through the hotel garden! A local supermarket is 100m from the hotel and more supermarkets and simple cafés can be found at the Besh Barmag rest houses for motorists.

Accomodation in Zarat
Accomodation in Zarat

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