Text © Tomas Axén Haraldsson
Photos © Emil Lundahl
A Swedish birding group monitored the spectacular migration at Besh Barmag for a few days during the week 25-30 October. The group was from the youth committee of Swedish BirdLife on an initiative and leadership by me. We also met up with a local NGO, Nature Friends, that joined us for a day trip to Shirvan Nationalpark and also for dinner in Baku. We used a private home stay in the village of Qala Alty, about 30 mins driving northwest from Besh Barmag.
|Swedish birder in steppe surroundings at Besh|
In Besh Barmag we used the observation point from previous field studies (about 5 km north of the shops and cafés below the rock) and tried to count all migrating birds from dawn till lunch. The migration corridor is several kilometers wide and hundreds of passerines pass every minute but we got a fair grip of the numbers. Easily quarter of a million birds passed during our three field days 26-28 Oct with the majority being Starlings (nearly 100.000 on both 27 and 28 Oct) and also tens of thousands of larks (12.900 Calandra Larks on 27 Oct) and corvids. Also in their thousands were Pygmy Cormorants, dabbling ducks and Corn Buntings. Among the many highlights on migration were late records of Black-winged Pratincole (2), Blue-cheeked Bee-eater (2), a Short-toed Eagle and hundreds of Ruddy Shelducks, Great White Egrets and Short-toed Larks.
|Moustached Warbler common along the wet part of the bush land/lagoon|
|hemprichii Siberian Stonechat|
|62 Marbled Ducks among dabbling ducks outside the hide in the flamingo lake, Shirvan NP|