Saturday, 13 October 2018

Rep of Georgia - Chorokhi Delta - Laughing Surprise!

The Batumi Raptor Count is entering its final week and the Eagles are doing the Bottleneck proud. There are approximately a dozen counters including co-ordinators to man the stations as the count enters its final stage of the season!

Tohar and I took our last day off today and re-visited the Chorokhi Delta where I had already had a couple of good days birding. Today was no different with plenty of passerines on the Delta and shorebirds terns, Scoter and Gulls at sea.
The birding began before we had reached the famous land mine warning sign with a Laughing Dove which was frequenting the edge of a lorry park and a house. The bird showed no rings or signs of being a captive bird but it was near a house with chickens and feed! The bird was not tame flying off onto the poles but did not stray too far from the chickens feed. This species is not known for its migratory tendencies but is shown to be resident in neighbouring Turkey. The discussion has continued about this bird which can also be seen in Batumi but this is the first of this species I have seen in Georgia.
The scrubland of the Delta was particularly alive with birds today with Black and Common Redstart utilizing the desolate buildings and nearby bushes. Siberian Stonechat pairs were also perched allowing good view of the pinkish rump. Wheatear, Whinchat and Wagtails were present along the path.

Red Throated Pipit were numerous calling as they flew up from near the path and then flying rapidly past us and then dropping back into the vegetation. Getting a photo was a real challenge and one which I failed miserably at which is a shame as this was a new species for me but today offered the best views therefore I am now happy to add this species to my life list.
Calandra Lark was slightly more obliging with their slow and noisy progress around the Delta.
The water in the Delta was a lot higher today with Garganey, Teal, Coot, Moorhen and Little Grebe taking advantage of the swampy conditions. A fish carrying Osprey passed by as we were looking for the Swamphen which sadly we did not see today.

A Bluethroat was more obliging having just arrived in off the sea. It took one look at us and dived into a nearby bush but fortunately popped out again to see if we had gone!
We spent some time watching the sea which produced a flock of Scoter and Tohar called a couple of Caspian Tern as they made their way south along the beach. Nice!

The Delta did not disappoint with Greater Spotted and Steppe Eagles overhead amongst numerous Black Kite some of which were sat on the beach sunning themselves!