Text © Tomas Axén Haraldsson
Photos © Andreas Sandberg
Four Swedish birders visited Azerbaijan 17-24 April 2016, focusing on the migration at Besh Barmag and two days in the Greater Caucasus. I helped them with planning, species and contacts. Their trip was overall successful but with some small troubles with rangers in Laza (not the first time) and overly curious locals at some place.
Migration at Besh Barmag was at times spectacular and at times quiet, as could be expected. Weather ranging from fine to overcast and strong northerly winds.
April 17th – 60+ harriers including Pallid Harrier 13 and Montagues Harrier 36. In the evening a rush with 2.915 Black-winged Pratincoles. Also a putative leucocephala “White-headed” Yellow Wagtail.
|Putative White-headed Yellow Wagtail at Besh Barmag|
|Black-winged Pratincole on migration|
April 18th – 100 Black-winged Pratincoles, 10.000+ Yellow Wagtails, 30 Tawny Pipits, 60 Red-throated Pipits, 5 Steppe Eagles, 10 Imperial Eagles.
April 21st – up at the rock several Pied Wheatars, Rock Nuthatch and Blue Rock Thrush, on the beach Terek Sandpiper. Scops Owl and Nightingale calling at the tent site.
April 22nd – little migration but lots of resting migrants on the area! Green Warbler, Semi-collared Flycatcher, Moustached Warblers, Penduline Tit, Little Bittern, 28 Purple Herons, 50+ Red-breasted Flycatchers, 9 Citrine Wagtails, Jack Snipe, 25+ Hobbies and much more.
April 23rd – Little Bustard, lots of Pied Wheatears. No visible migration.
April 19th – great day in Xinaliq where they hiked from the village (slept at a private homestay) up to some 2.700-2.800m and found 10 Caucasian Snowcocks, 9 White-winged Redstarts, 3 Wallcreepers, 4 Alpine Accentors and in the area also Lammergeier, Golden Eagle and Stonechats.
April 20th – in Laza they easily found the Caucasian Black Grouses displaying on distant slopes above the village, across the valley from the Suvar Resort. No Greater Rosefinches seen. Trouble with permits and national park rangers, so future visitors are advised to secure this detail beforehand.