Besh Barmag, bird migration, photography, science

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.

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