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

Dienstag, 27. März 2012

Spring migration

Text & Photos © M. Heiß

The wintertime is obviously over and bird migration increase day by day. Currently, we observe good numbers of migrating passerines with daily hundreds of Reed Buntings, Chaffinches and White Wagtails, the first Yellow and Citrine Wagtails also arrived. Daily, thousands of larks pass through the Besh Barmag bottleneck, mainly Calandra and Skylarks, often mixed in with other lark species such as Lesser and Greater Short-toed, Wood and rarely White-winged Larks. However, migration of Dalmatian Pelican, Marsh Harrier and Cormorants still continuous. Some further interesting observations were 1 Alpine Swift migrating North, a few Buff-bellied Pipits, 1 Red-fronted Serin, about 25 White Pelicans, 1 migrating Ring Ouzel and a Dotterel.

A beautiful male Pallid Harrier heading North

Migrating Hoopoe

Mixed flock of Dalamtian and White Pelicans, the latter rarely occurs in Azerbaijan

Huge flocks of Dalmatian Pelicans fly along the foothills of the Greater Caucasus

Long-eared Owl

Campfire with friends from Baku and potatoes and sausages

Sonntag, 11. März 2012

Start of spring migration counts

Text & Photos © M. Heiß

I am now back for the spring migration counts in Azerbaijan and I am now accompanied by Friedrich, a student from Germany who is doing research on resting passerines in bushes at the study site. These bushes are a welcome stopover for migrants and sometimes impressively crowed.

After some springlike warm and sunny days in the beginning of March, we are currently suffering a recurrence of winter with almost daily snowfalls and temperatures below zero degrees. Bird migration is often inhibited due bad weather conditions. However, some days produced good migration of Marsh Harriers, Dalmatian Pelicans and Cormorants. Passerine migration is on a low level with Skylarks and Starlings being the most numerous species.

Friedrich is birding in the lagoon. The foothills of the Greater Caucasus are covered with snow.

An interesting view of the Caspian Sea. The whole coastline was covered with a belt of floating ice sheets.

A White-tailed Eagle flies along the frozen coast.

One morning a wolf passed by very close to my observation point. It is always a pleasure for me to see this species in the wild.

We also did a small field excursion to a waste dump near the observation site. At the dump gulls, crows and vultures could regularly be seen in last autumn. In spring it obviously attracts large number of Dalmatian Pelicans. We counted about 400 individuals and decided to visit the waste dump which delivered great photographic opportunities.

Birdwatching in Azerbaijan is often quite thrilling. In that case the pelicans were under surveillance of a few sheepdogs.

We also observed more than 60 White-tailed Eagle around the waste dump.

Freitag, 2. März 2012

nice catches

Text & Photos © K. Gauger

Here are some pics of trapped bird. I have been mist-netting at many places, but mainly in Shirvan NP and at Besh Barmag.

beautiful Blue-cheeked Bea-eaters caught cross a channel in Shirvan NP
Kingfisher, another colourful bird
a samamisicus- Common Redstart, note that this bird has even red in the white wing patch!
Semi-collared Flycatcher, a 2cy male
Woodchat Shrike, also a 2cy male
ad male Turkestan Shrike, first of this subspecies in Azerbaijan
a stinky Hoopoe
two different Nightjars

Scops Owl, one of my favourite birds in hand, they are so cute!
Stonechat with very little white in the tail, so more like a maura...
another one but with a clear variegata-tail 
caspia Reed Buntings, for me more an own species than a subspecies. Look at theese bills and the size compared with the common ones that occur here on migration!
Quail, a very unusal catch in the shrubs...
a superb catch was this young Levant Sparrowhawk
so was this Terek Sandpiper
and this ad female Citrine Wagtail
much more common in the nets are Green Warblers
and in the right habitat also Menetries Warbler
very common on migration are Red-breasted Flycatchers
And now some little brown birds :-))) Can you identify them? Write your comments!