BBBMC, Besh Barmag, count2022

October, the month of diversity!

October report from the Besh Barmag Bird Migration Count by Gabi Caucal

A little late this year (616 Calandra Larks on October 9 against 31,209 individuals on the same date in 2018), the larks began to show up in large numbers from the second half of October, with notably 4588 Calandra Larks on the 15th of October and 5662 Skylarks on the 17th.

What a beautiful sight to see these groups of several hundred birds, arriving from the sea, sometimes making a short stopover around us before leaving. Accompanied by their various rolling calls, the black glitter underwings of hundreds of Calandra Larks was an incredible show throughout this month.

Gradually, the White Wagtails and Starlings made their appearance. The first one peaked from 12th to 14th October when the team counted 12,185 birds, which contributed to a monthly total of 28,008 individuals. For the second one, the thousands of birds creating long scarves along the Caucasus have been very regular during these last weeks, especially on October 20 with nearly 48,000 birds counted. 472,000 European Starlings have been observed so far. Around these formations, the Stock Doves also greatly animated the count on the second part of the month with already 19,022 birds counted among which 5 sequences exceeding 1500 individuals !

Besh Barmag in October, it´s a beautiful quantity of water birds. First of all, a great diversity of ducks showed up from October 15. The ballet of hundreds of Pintails punctuated the day of October 17 with 2261 individuals. This day and the following one (1269 individuals) making a large part of the seasonal total (7226).

Slightly ahead this season, Tufted Ducks showed up in tens, high in the sky over the Caspian Sea on October 14 (352 birds counted).

Daily species by hundreds in the second part of the season, the Cormorants regularly formed lines and ribbons along the Caucasus ridges or over the Caspian Sea. This group of 1170 individuals counted on October 26 is promising for the weeks to come!

The Ruddy Shelduck, one of the landmark species for this monitoring, often appeared in small groups, especially inland on 12 October, where 201 birds have been counted.

Concerning the raptors, the team could attend an exceptional show with 429 Steppe Eagles observed in 2 days on October 15th and 16th! This kettle of 70 birds surrounded by several tens Griffon Vultures on the beginning of the Caucasus ridges, will remain for a long time in the team memories, stunned in front of this moving column of blacks rectangles.

As in every migration season, there are some particularities to report. This October month was first surprising for the Tawny Pipit with this late rush of 140 birds on the 12th, where groups of 7-10 individuals over our heads were not rare!

Just as late, these observations of White-winged Black Terns on the 22nd and 23rd, Whiskered Terns on the 24th and European Roller on the 26th were also remarkable.

This mix of late, classic for the time or slightly early species (example of these 3 Scaups on the 24th) allows Besh to reach an exceptional specific diversity; for example, this day of October 23 where 119 species could be observed!

October is also the month of surprises! The star of this month is definitely the Black-throated Thrush observed twice on October 4th and 7th, just below the monitoring station. These are the second and third mentions for the project. These five Rustic Buntings from October 19 to 26, observed, heard and confirmed by spectrogram have from time to time diversified the acoustic atmosphere of the station, like these Siberian Buff-bellied Pipit (10 individuals) around Meadows and Water.

On the seaside, this early observation of Smew on October 26 is interesting for the country, which is also a scarce species for Azerbaijan.

Finally, the day of October 30th delivered to here only many rare species for Azerbaijan with these two Oriental Turtle Doves and this Redpoll recorded in 10 minutes in the morning and this Waxwing observed at the top of a bush late afternoon!

The first sightings of Little Bustards over the fields, Pygmy Cormorants by tens, Great White Egrets by hundred or these Black-headed Gulls by thousands over the last few days are promising for this November month, always full of birds here! These next weeks are not finished to surprise us!

All birds and numbers summarised in this table:

Photos © Art Villem Adojaan

Photos © Christopher Stamp

Photos © Max Baumgarten

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