Besh Barmag, bird migration, science

First two weeks of bird ringing at Besh Barmag

Text & Photos © Pia Fetting

Mist-nets at sunrise
Arriving in Azerbaijan in the middle of August, the first days were used for organisational issues and meetings. I finally started bird ringing on the 20th of August. This month is rather hot with temperatures of more than 30°C during daytime and never below 20°C at night. Several days were quite windy, which influenced the number of mist-netted birds. As I was alone the first weeks, I only used 54 metres of nets and due to the heat, nets were only opened for the first six hours after sunrise.

A stunner in hand – Golden Oriole

In these first two weeks, 466 birds of 23 species were ringed and additional 24 birds re-trapped. Although there was nothing surprising among the species, the composition was nice, with lots of warbler species, several Shrikes, some Orioles, Wrynecks and so on. Whilst some adults still undertook their post-breeding moult and several juveniles still grew their flight feathers, other birds were already prepared for migrating with higher fat scores.

Blyth’s Reed Warbler
Green Warbler

From the beginning of September onwards, there will be volunteers joining and helping with the fieldwork. Together, we will be able to set up more mist-nets, and when weather is cooling a bit down, we can start with full-day ringing. As there also were fewer and fewer re-traps compared to the first couple of days, migration seems to be picking up – I am looking forward for the caughts to come!

Nasty but beautiful – Lesser Grey Shrike
The most common species group with about 60% of all trapped birds – Sylvia warblers (f.t.l.t.b.r.: Barred, Blackcap, Lesser White, Garden, Common White, Menetries’s Warbler)
Successful catch

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