This is the second blog post about my wader project in Azerbaijan and after nearly two months of fieldwork, I have to say I’m quite overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of waders, especially in Gyzylagach State Reserve.
After my friends Stella and Sönke had left some weeks ago, I continued my counts and day by day the mudflats and the coast gets more and more crowded.
|Many waders at Gyzylagach|
|Mixed flock of waders...|
|...dominated by Broad-billed Sandpipers|
Especially one day was incredible. On this day I counted Gyzylagach and it was a quite strong wind from northern directions. After I reached the counting site the waders started flying very close by. It was really amazing to stand on the mudflats and everywhere around me were waders flying on eye level 3 meters away against the strong wind. Besides nice photos and a really cool experience, I also observed incredible numbers. During two hours I counted almost 800 Broad-billed Sandpipers, 900+ Curlew Sandpipers and 3200 Black-tailed Godwits. In total, I counted more than 11000 waders on this day. Furthermore, the numbers of Marsh Sandpiper also increased to 4000+ individuals, which was something I never expected to see in my life.
|Caspian Plovers are always a pleasure|
Besides these great numbers I also got a nice sighting of a rare species. An observed Pacific Golden Plover seems to be the first since more than 100 years for Azerbaijan, when checked with the available literature.
|The highlight of the last days...|
|...a Pacific Golden Plover!|