A few sounds from our recent trip. Full trip report here
Thursday, 23 March 2023
Tuesday, 21 March 2023
On the way back from the Caucasus we stopped off at Gobustan. Ebird list here, Full trip report here.
This is basically an area of desert where we recorded some localised species such as Finsch's Wheatear, Lanner, Long-legged Buzzard and Western Rock Nuthatch.
Long-legged Buzzard carrying nesting material
Turkestan Short-toed Lark, Flight call below
Hoopoe- seemed to be an influx of them
Posted by Peter Alfrey at 11:30 No comments:
Monday, 20 March 2023
The Caucasus, Azerbaijan
In order to break up the monotony of waiting for Omid for nearly two weeks our group split on occasions (leaving behind a constant stake out at Shirvan i.e Darryl). On one day Vincent, Renee and I headed north to the Caucasus mountains which is a stark and stunning contrast to the flat steppe and arid environments in the south.
Ebird list for the day here. Trip report here, Nice to see some mountain birds that I haven't seen in years (last time I was in the Caucasus was 20 years ago on a recee with Sunbird which help to open up birding in Georgia).
Male and female Guldenstadt's Redstart- we had a group of 18 which are presumably wintering birds near Cek
Lammergeier- haven't seen one of these in years.
'Caucasian Dunnock'. More on these from last year here
'Caucasian Twite', brevirostris. A less warm coloured bird than nominate lacking the rich rusty-tinged throat and face
Another photo of the stunning local White Wagtails ' dukhunensis'
Plenty of Ring Ouzels presumably of the local race 'amicorum' which is darker on underparts (no white edging to feathers) than nominate with a striking pale wing panel. The striking white wings and dark underparts seem to be shown well in the image below of a bird in flight at Shirvan which is also presumably 'amicorum'.
Not sure yet. This was in a mountain pool. Last year we had Hircanian Wood Frogs in the Talesh mountains here. 210323 update- these were Caucasian Frogs, Nana macrocnemis . (Thanks Pierre!)
Posted by Peter Alfrey at 10:43 No comments:
Saturday, 18 March 2023
Shirvan National Park, Azerbaijan
Most of our time looking for Omid was at Shirvan National Park, an area of semi-desert, steppe, lakes and coastal habitats. Famous not only for being a staging post for Western Siberian Crane but also hosting large numbers of wintering Little Bustards and a good population of rare mammals including Goitered Gazelles and Caspian Sea Wolves (last year we saw Marbled Polecat here too).
Trip report including all our sightings from the park here.
A few photo highlights below.
Little Bustards (above and below)
The highlight of this whole trip was on 10th March at approximately 3pm when a flock of Little Bustards flew over the watch tower stretching from one end of the sky to the other taking 2 minutes to pass over head. We couldn't begin to know for sure how many birds were involved but we guessed anything between 50,000 to 100, 0000. As there are only 50,000 or so Little Bustards wintering in Azerbaijan these birds were presumably migrating from Iran. Without doubt the single best vis mig moment of my birding life. Absolutely mind blowing.
Isabelline Wheatears- on some days we counted up to 20 birds
There were hundreds of Calandra Larks in the park this trip but last year at the same time we didn't see any at all. Presumably a nomadic and irruptive bird in the park.
There were also good numbers of Turkestan Short-toed Lark this year too.
Isabelline Shrike- the sandy/buff underparts and buffy supercilium suggests Isabelline rather than Turkestan and it looks like an adult bird with a dark mask. The lack of barring on the underparts indicates a male (females typically have barring and also have a less well defined 'bandit' mask) and the bird was also singing which supports a male verdict. Adult males generally have a complete black mask that includes the lores too but this feature is variable.
Male (above) and female (below) Black Francolin
Caucasian 'Coutelli' Water Pipit .
Immature Dalmatian Pelican- we had a few Dalmatian and White Pelicans migrating over the park
2nd calendar year Imperial Eagle . We also had White-tailed and Great Spotted Eagles.
Curlew- there was talk about these being orientalis with the very long bills and contrasting white underwings
White-tailed Lapwings , photo not at Shirvan but at nearby salt pans but we had migrating White-tailed and Sociable Lapwings at Shirvan
2nd calendar year Hen Harrier (above) and Pallid Harrier (below)
Ruddy Shelducks- a characteristic species of the park, We counted over 700 coming into roost.
Marsh Harrier- up to 25 birds were frequenting the reed bed, a constant and delightful back drop to our stake out with displaying, fighting and plenty of vocalisations.
There were plenty of Penduline Tits this year some were flying around, occasionally at height calling
European Stonechat (?). We had a couple of Caspian Stonechats with typical Wheatear like tails and also a male that looked more like a Siberian Stonechat, with rich tones concentrated around the breast contrasting with paler underparts. However this bird showed warm saturated underparts more indicative of a European Stonechat, although it also had a distinctive pale and apparent unmarked rump. According to Ebird European Stonechat does occur in the region.
One of the 'large-billed' or 'Southern' Reed Buntings. Based on the pale underparts and thin necklace this is possibly Asian Reed Bunting (Emberiza schoeniclus pyrrhuloides) (Photo by Vincent Legrand)
Mountain Chiffchaff (Photo by Vincent Legrand).
White Wagtail, the extensive white in the greater coverts indicates Motacilla alba dukhunensis (Photo by Vincent Legrand)
Caspian Sea Wolf, Canis lupus campestris we had an incredible 12 different animals including a pack of 7. One of the highlights of the trip.
Golden Jackal, on one day we had a three canid day with Wolf, Golden Jackal and Red Fox (below)
Wild Boar (above and below) - several sightings included one group of 12 or so animals
We saw plenty of Jerboas on the drive back in the evening. This dead one was found near the watch tower. Presumably a William's Jerboa.
Lizard sp. Still working on this. There were several of these on one of the warmer days. Also had a Levantine Viper which was so aggressive I failed to get a photo of it before it went underground. There's 29 species of lizard in Az. Wiki list here (thanks Zulfu). Also snake species of Az here. Just heard back from Pierre-Andre that it's a Snake-eyed Lizard (bonus lifer!)
Spur-thighed Tortoise- they were common especially near the coast
Something in the Marsh Frog complex I presume
European Tree Frog
Plant Net has suggested Field Marigold for these. Many were flowering particularly along the coast.
The stake out at the Watch Tower
The Mountain Chiffchaff twitch
Typical Steppe habitat of Shirvan
Posted by Peter Alfrey at 20:21 No comments:
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