Text © Tomas Axén Haraldsson, Sweden
We were 16 Swedish birders accompanied by Elchin Sultanov of the AOS and with the ground support/logistics by Caspian Tour. Our programe covered the east of Azerbaijan, travelling within some 250km of the capital Baku, from Greater Caucasus in the north to the coastal lagoons of Kizil Agach in the south.
One of the highlights was Besh Barmag, the spectacular bottle-neck migration site some 90km north of Baku. Here we spent 2 hours on October 4th and 6 hours on October 6th in windy and cloudy conditions but with lots of birds: a few hundred migrating raptors of 20 species including Lesser Spotted, Steppe, Short-toed and Imperial Eagles, 12 Pallid Harriers, Rough-legged and Long-legged Buzzard, Red-footed Falcon, Peregrine and the resident Griffon and Black Vultures.
In the tamarisk scrubs on the beach we found Rufous Bush-chat, Green Warbler, Desert Wheatear (3rd modern time record?), Jack Snipe, Nightjar, Red-breasted Flycatchers, Short-eared Owl and a Richards Pipit.
|Desert Wheatear at Besh Barmag 6 October © Stefan Andersson
Nightjar at Besh Barmag © J-M Breider
|Blue-cheeked Bee-eater Shirvan NP 8 October © Peter Berglin|
|Spoonbills © J-M Breider|
|Red-footed Falcon Shirvan NP 8 October © Peter Berglin|
Another highlight, perhaps the most pleasant day of the trip both in terms of weather and birds, was the lagoon of Kizil Agach. We visited the southern, accesible lagoon area and the flat sandy island connected by the road built from Liman. Our first views of the lagoon made us stop and we stayed there for hours. Lots of wetland birds and from the reeds emerged Little Bittern, Little Crake, Great Reed and Moustached Warblers, Bearded and Penduline Tits. Here we also found Citrine Wagtails, some 20 migrating Steppe Eagles, Pallid Harrier as well as splendid views of the snow-capped Talysh mountains on the Iranian border.
|Caspian Stonechat (Saxicola maurus hemprichii) Kizil Agach © J-M Breider|
|Menetriés Warbler at Kizil Agach © J-M Breider|
|Red-breasted Flycatcher at Kizil Agach 9 October © Peter Berglin|