Saturday, December 20, 2014
November birding Our November trip began in misty conditions and a very muddy road to Chachuna and for a while seemed not very promising. But plenty of birds were present at the lower elevations and it was great to find a total of six Imperial Eagles. They love sitting on the disused power pylons which makes for very good viewing. A huge murmuration of 5000+ Starlings was noticeable for their noise and wheeling flights. Very close views of Whooper Swan were supplemented by the usual ducks, grebes and herons: all were trying to avoid ever-present hunters. We did see Merlin, Kestrel, Long-legged and Steppe buzzard in numbers lower than previous visits. Also, it was odd to visit Chachuna and not see any Corn Buntings – no idea where they have gone. Weather conditions, the summer drought and changes to feed supply may have combined to send them elsewhere. The next destination was the Lagodekhi National Park where a lot of forest birds were present and all active in feeding parties. The species we found included Black, Middle-spotted and Great-spotted Woodpeckers. This habitat looked suitable for white-backed, but sadly not this time. All the normal tits were seen and a group of four very bright Bullfinch had us thinking of the northern form. This winter weekend is always full of surprises and can be done with ease from Tbilisi with one night and two days. By Debby Reynolds
Saturday, March 8, 2014
1st March 2014 was dry, sunny and warm in Taribani and Chachuna in East Kacheti beyond Dedopliskaro. Our birding group was very pleased to find Little Bustard for the 4th year running. This time we first saw a single bird briefly in flight, then a huge group of about 1000 was spotted , followed by two groups of about 100 and 80. So the total of 1181 was pretty good and the views were superb on the ground and in flight. A record 20 Cinereous (Black) vultures was notable for the very close views near the road on a corn field, accompanied by Golden Eagle, Hen Harrier, Common Kestrel, Merlin, Imperial Eagle, Buzzard and Griffon Vulture. As usual Calandra Lark were numerous, several thousand at least, along with abundant Goldfinch, Skylark, Crested Lark and Corn Bunting. Winter visitors at the large lake included many Fieldfares, two Great Grey Shrike, four Smew, several Goldeneye, Ruddy Shelduck and a White-tailed Eagle. This place is always full of surprises and interesting birds, its all according to the season and weather, which can be harsh in winter. This was lucky trip for us and the total list was 50 species. By Debby Reynolds.