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|A Report from birdtours.co.uk|
Armenia and Georgia 24th June-3rd July 2004,
Situated in the extreme southeast of the Western Palearctic Armenia has
been somewhat neglected as a birding destination. Overshadowed by it's larger
neighbour Turkey, the closed border between the two countries has prevented
the many birders who have visited eastern Turkey continuing east into Armenia.
Hosting many of the specialities of eastern Turkey (including Caucasian Grouse,
Mongolian Finch and Grey-necked Bunting), Armenia has an advantage in that
the majority of the key birding sites are located within easy striking distance
of the capital, Yerevan. In terms of accessible Western Palearctic birding
Armenia hosts one endemic, Persian Wheatear.
Georgia lies adjacent to, and to the north of, Armenia and after reading a gripping account of a visit by Phil Benstead (and noticing that Sunbird were leading tours to Georgia) I decided I must visit the area myself in search of the three Western Palearctic endemics found there: Caucasian Snowcock, Güldenstädt's Redstart and Great Rosefinch.
After studying an itinerary offered by Birdquest I decided that combining the excellent birding on offer in Armenia with the montane specialities of Georgia would make an excellent summer birding trip. Lee Evans, Andrew Holden and Tom Lowe accompanied me.
The Collins Bird Guide covers the birds of Armenia and Georgia well but for extra information the 'Songbirds of Turkey' by C.S.Roselaar is useful.
I bought International Travel Maps for 'Armenia and Azerbaijan' and 'Georgia' for £7.95 each from Stanfords but they are not very detailed and are not really necessary. A better map of Armenia is the Reference Map for the Birds of Armenia Project which can be purchased here.
I found and booked flights online at AOL Travel (this AOL Member service uses the travel agent Travelocity) for £305 per person including taxes and booking fee. We flew with Czech Airlines from London Stansted to Yerevan, Armenia (changing planes in Prague). Disappointingly Czech Airlines cancelled our outbound flight on 25th June less than a fortnight before we were due to fly and, worse still, cancelled our return flight without notifying us. This left us stranded in Yerevan on 3rd July and we were forced to make our own way home with Armenia International Airways to Paris then onward to England by a variety of planes and trains.
The cost of the whole trip, including visas, flights, taxes, booking fee, vehicles, drivers, fuel, guide, accommodation and food, came to £614.50 for the five day trip and £839.50 for the nine day trip (the nine day trip would have been cheaper per person had there been four people).
Searching the internet I found several trip reports for Armenia at OSME. Most useful were Simon Busuttil's accounts of tours to Armenia leading for Birdwatching Breaks (who have a useful itinerary) in 2000, 2000(?) and 2001. Otherwise Fatbirder gives a good overview of birding in the country whilst reports from the Birds of Armenia Project and an article by Martin Scott in Birding World Vol.10 No.5:190-195 provide as useful overview.
One thing that I immediately noticed from all these reports was the involvement of Armenian birder and guide Vasil Ananian. I e-mailed Vasil and he was able to act as a guide and organise a 4x4 with driver. He also arranged twin rooms at Erebuni Hotel in Yerevan for £12.50 per person per night. I would not recommend organising a birding trip to Armenia without Vasil. A 4x4 is necessary to reach several key sites and permission is necessary to enter Armash Fishponds. There seemed to be a lack of road signs and none of the published information actually features directions to any of the sites.
In an attempt to keep the cost of the whole trip under control I initially researched public transport from Yerevan to Tiblisi and found that there were both trains and buses covering this route. However, as our schedule became squeezed by the change in flights I decided that speed and efficiency were more important factors than cost. I contacted a number of Georgian tourist agencies for quotes for a package consisting of 1) a private vehicle with driver to collect us from Yerevan Airport early on Monday morning and drive us (via the Armenia/Georgia border at Sadakhlo) to Kazbegi, returning via the same route departing Wednesday morning, 2) a 4x4 Lada Niva with driver to meet us in Gergeti village (adjacent to Kazbegi) and take us uphill to Gergeti Sameba Trinity Church. 3) beds in a private guesthouse in Gergeti village for Tuesday night. The best quote I received for this package was US$740 from Intourist-Caucasia with less competitive (or less convincing) quotes coming from Hans Heiner Buhr, Zaza Makharadze, Caucasus Travel, Visit Georgia, Levon Travel, Business for Species Recovery, GeorgiCa Travel, Levan Palavandishvili and Ramaz Gokhelashvili. In the event Intourist-Caucasia charged an extra US$100 because they had to scramble an Armenia driver and vehicle due to the electronic transfer of money from my bank account taking eight days to reach their account. I would recommend you arrange the transfer of money more than a fortnight in advance to avoid such a penalty.
Coincidentally, a week after we returned to Britain Peter Alfrey and Darryl Spittle published an informative article 'Birding the Greater Caucasus, Georgia' in Birding World Vol.17 No.6:255-257.
Visas and exit taxes
A visa is necessary to enter Armenia but this can be bought at Yerevan Airport on arrival. It seemed as if the only visas available were single entry visas and you have a choice of a transit visa (US$25 valid for 3 days) or a tourist visa (US$45 valid for 28 days).
When you check-in for your flight back to England at Yerevan Airport you are required to pay an 'exit tax' of 10,000 Armenian drams, or if you don't haven any drams, US$20.
I was advised that on arrival in Georgia, it only possible to purchase an entry visa at Tbilisi Airport. As we would be arriving from Armenia it was therefore necessary to acquire our Georgian visas before leaving the UK. A visa can be acquired by sending your passport (must be valid for at least six months from date of visa application), a recent colour, passport-size photograph, a completed and signed application form (which can be downloaded here) and a cheque for £12 (made payable to Embassy of Georgia) to Consular, Embassy of Georgia, 4 Russell Gardens, London W14 8EZ. During our period of application a Mr Constantine was in charge of visas at the embassy but he proved a tricky man to contact, persistence being required on the direct line to the embassy 020-76037799. You only require a tourist visa but to qualify for this (cheaper than other visas) you require a letter of introduction from your travel company featuring name(s), date of travel and the name of the receiving tourist organisation; our tourist agent in Georgia, Intourist-Caucasia, were able to fax this to the embassy on 020-76036682 at short notice. You can apply any time up to three months before travelling and I would strongly advise sorting it out well in advance; I didn't and as a result I had to travel to the embassy in person to collect our visas on the morning of our day of departure.
Due to the cancellation of our outbound flight our party of four were forced to split in two, myself and Tom flying out on 23rd June, Lee and Andrew joining us on 29th. Obviously this affected our itinerary but in the event Lee and Andrew saw almost everything in their five days.
With three of the four main target birds being present in Georgia we had originally intended to arrive in Armenia and head straight to Georgia leaving the birding in Armenia until the end of the trip. However, due to the change in the flights Tom and I spent four days birding in Armenia before we all travelled to Georgia. We then finished with the last two days of the trip birding in Armenia.
Wednesday flew London Stansted, via Prague, to Yerevan
Thursday arrived Yerevan at 5:30am, met at the airport by Vasil Ananian in Lada Niva 4x4 with driver Mamik. Dropped luggage at Erebuni Hotel, Yerevan town centre then birded Vedi Hills, Armash Fishponds, Vedi Hills then Victory Park, Yerevan. Slept at Erebuni Hotel.
Friday with Vasil and Mamik in Lada Niva we birded near Hrazdan, Dilijan and Lake Sevan. Slept at Erebuni Hotel.
Saturday with Vasil and Mamik in Lada Niva we birded Oorts Mountains, Selim Pass and Lake Sevan. Slept at Erebuni Hotel.
Sunday with Vasil and Mamik in Lada Niva we birded near Hrazdan. Slept at Erebuni Hotel.
Monday taxi to Yerevan Airport to meet Lee and Andrew. Met by Intourist-Caucasia Armenian driver and vehicle to drive us to Georgian border at Sadakhlo. Met at Sadakhlo by Intourist-Caucasia Georgian driver in Mercedes limousine. Driven to Gergeti village, arriving at 4pm. Dropped luggage in private guesthouse in Gergeti and driven in Lada Niva to Gergeti Sameba Trinity Church. Steep uphill walk for over 4 hours up the east slope of Mount Kazbek to camp below Gergeti Glacier (click here for a map kindly provided by Phil Benstead).
Tuesday birded below snout of Gergeti Glacier, walked down to Gergeti village. Slept in private guesthouse
Wednesday driven back to Yerevan. Slept at Erebuni Hotel.
Thursday met at Erebuni Hotel by Vasil Ananian and new driver Ashot in 4x4 minibus we birded Oorts Mountains, Armash Fishponds, Vedi Hills then Victory Park, Yerevan. Slept at Erebuni Hotel.
Friday with Vasil and driver Ashot in 4x4 minibus we birded Mount Aragats then Victory Park, Yerevan. Slept at Erebuni Hotel.
Saturday arrived at Yerevan Airport 3am, Czech Airlines flight cancelled. Took Armenia International Airways flight to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, each making our own way home from there.
Sites in Armenia
Located in the Arax Valley these fishponds form a superb wetland comprising of large square reed-fringed tanks used for breeding fish. The fishponds are private but Vasil has permission to enter. The ponds are teeming with birds, key species being White-headed Duck, White-tailed Lapwing (15+ pairs), Blue-cheeked Bee-eater (c100 around a colony), Paddyfield Warbler (several singing) and Ménétries' Warbler (several singing). Other notable species we saw here included Pygmy Cormorant, Armenian Gull, Lesser Short-toed Lark, Black-headed Wagtail, Siberian Stonechat (form armenica), Savi's Warbler, Eastern Olivaceous Warbler and Eurasian Penduline Tit.
An arid gorge with a natural spring attracting many passerines to drink. A 4x4 vheicle is necessary to reach the site. The key birds here are Mongolian Finch and Grey-necked Bunting but other species seen included Chukar, Egyptian Vulture, Short-toed Eagle, Long-legged Buzzard, Bimaculated Lark, Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin, Isabelline Wheatear, Finsch's Wheatear, Upcher's Warbler, Eastern Rock Nuthatch, Western Rock Nuthatch, Pale Rock Sparrow, Rock Sparrow, and Trumpeter Finch.
Another arid gorge, this is a recently discovered site for Persian Wheatear. A 4x4 vehicle is necessary to reach the site. Other highlights here were Chukar, Lammergeier, Egyptian Vulture, Long-legged Buzzard, Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin, White-throated Robin, Isabelline Wheatear, Eastern Black-eared Wheatear, Upcher's Warbler, Eastern Orphean Warbler, Eastern Rock Nuthatch, Western Rock Nuthatch, Pale Rock Sparrow and Rock Bunting.
Mount Aragats offers excellent, easily accessible mountain birding. Highlights here included Radde's Accentor, Siberian Stonechat (form armenica) and Crimson-winged Finch. We were lucky to see Semi-collared Flycatcher along with Long-legged Buzzard, Lesser Spotted Eagle, Booted Eagle, Shore Lark, Alpine Accentor, Bluethroat, Isabelline Wheatear, Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush, Barred Warbler, Twite (form brevirostris), Common Rosefinch, Rock Bunting and Ortolan Bunting.
Hrazdan and Dilijan
The key bird here is Caucasian Grouse which, despite two days of searching, we failed to find. Late June and July are a bad time of the year to look for this species as the males are moulting and the females are on eggs. Green Warbler and Caucasian Chiffchaff are common on the wooded slopes and Semi-collared Flycatcher breeds near Dilijan. Other birds recorded here included Lammergeier, Egyptian Vulture, Eurasian Griffon Vulture, Long-legged Buzzard, Lesser Spotted Eagle, Booted Eagle, Armenian Gull, Water Pipit, Alpine Accentor, Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush, Twite (form brevirostris) and Common Rosefinch.
Lake Sevan and Selim Pass
Lake Sevan hosts the largest colony of Armenian Gulls in the world. Other attractions in the area include Citrine Wagtail, Barred Warbler, Caucasian Chiffchaff and Common Reed Bunting (form caspia). The nearby Selim Pass offers higher altitude species. Notable species between the sites being Ruddy Shelduck, Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush, Marsh Warbler, Eurasian Penduline Tit, Rock Sparrow, Twite (form brevirostris) and Common Rosefinch.
Victory Park, Yerevan
The star birds at Victory Park were showy Levant Sparrowhawks and Syrian Woodpeckers.
In the remote northwest of the country, Lake Arpi did not feature in our itinerary. Dalmatian pelican occurs but is not guaranteed, Citrine Wagtails have recently been found here.
This is a site for Caspian Snowcock, although we did not visit (having seen this elusive species in Turkey in 2003).
Sites in Georgia
Mount Kazbek and Kazbegi
Climbing up the slopes of Mount Kazbek to the snout of the Gergeti Glacier seems to be the easiest way to find Caucasian Snowcock, Güldenstädt's Redstart and Great Rosefinch during the summer months. Earlier in the year (May seems most popular), when the snowline is lower, all these birds can be found at lower altitudes within easy reach of roads. In summer it is necessary to walk up to a higher altitude.
From the 4x4 drop-off point at Gergeti Sameba Trinity Church it took us over four hours of arduous uphill walking to reach c3,000 masl (metres above sea level) where we slept overnight in sleeping bags inside the waterproof Blizzard Survival Bags we had invested in before the trip. We were probably unlucky with the weather as when dusk fell torrential rainfall started, and didn't stop until dawn. At dawn it began to snow and we were then subjected to blizzards for almost the entire time we spent searching the boulder fields and scree below the Gergeti Glacier for our three target birds. Despite this we located 3 Güldenstädt's Redstarts (2 singing males and a female), 4 Great Rosefinches (a singing male and a party of 1 male and 2 females) and - when the low cloud lifted briefly - 2 Caucasian Snowcocks were seen briefly on a crag (although we had earlier heard at least 6 others calling). In the event, the poor weather may possibly have been a blessing in disguise as it may have forced the Güldenstädt's Redstarts lower, as some literature suggests that in the summer months they occur only above 3,600 masl.
On the descent to Gergeti village the birch woodlands held many Green Warblers and Caucasian Chiffchaffs. Other abundant birds in the area included Eurasian Griffon Vulture, Alpine Swift, Shore Lark, Eurasian Crag Martin, Water Pipit, Alpine Accentor, Black Redstart, Alpine Chough, Red-billed Chough, White-winged Snow Finch, Red-fronted Serin, Common Crossbill and Common Rosefinch.
As in Armenia, Caucasian Grouse eluded us at Kazbegi. In May they have been described as common in the general area with seemingly every suitable slope being occupied. They apparently favour steep slopes between 1,500 and 3,000 masl in the transition zone where birch woodland meet areas of dwarf rhododendron scrub and boulder-strewn slopes. From mid June, when display finishes, until September this species is extremely difficult to locate.
Southeast of Rusthavi, near the border with Azerbaijan, this area of rocky steppe supports Eurasian Black Vulture, Imperial Eagle, Pied Wheatear and perhaps Saker but we did not have time to visit.
Selected target birds
Georgia: from the literature we knew this species occurs commonly on steep slopes with rocky outcrops and scree at 3,000-4,000 masl and we were advised they are considerably commoner through their range than Caspian Snowcock is in e.g. Turkey and that they are not usually too difficult to see. During May they can sometimes be seen distantly on the crags from Kazbegi town. By late June it is necessary to explore at higher altitude and the easiest way of reaching the required height seems to be by following the steep grassy ridge west (uphill) from the Gergeti Sameba Trinity Church for around 4 hours until you drop down slightly into an area off scree and boulder fields (click here for a map). We heard at least 8 snowcocks singing from many of the high crags in this area and saw 2 together on crags on the left before you drop into the boulder fields.
Armenia: at least 1 flew over the gorge in the Oorts Mountains and another was seen near Hrazdan
Armenia: a pair present in Victory Park, Yerevan gave superb views.
Lesser Spotted Eagle
Armenia: we saw at least 3 in the hills near Hrazdan and at least 2 over the lower slopes of Mount Aragats.
Armenia: the private Armash Fishponds is the only regular site in Armenia
Armenia: very Common at Lake Sevan with a huge colony on the western shore at Gull Island. Also seen at Armash Fishponds and at the roadside.
Georgia: present on the River Kura in Tiblisi
Armenia: we located a colony, perhaps hosting more than 25 birds, in a bund at the private Armash Fishponds.
Armenia: 2 were seen in Victory Park, Yerevan.
Armenia: at least 2 at Lake Sevan, a new site for this rare species in Armenia.
Armenia: a family showed very well on the lower slopes of Mount Aragats.
Armenia: several seen in a gorge in the Oorts Mountains
Georgia: 3 (2 singing males and a female) were seen on Mount Kazbek in the boulder fields below the snout of the Gergeti Glacier.
Armenia: a juvenile male was present by the entrance track to Armash Fishponds and a pair was seen on the lower slopes of Mount Aragats. Also several European Stonechats noted.
Armenia: present in Vedi Hills
Armenia: 2 were seen in a gorge in the Oorts Mountains. Previously it was necessary to visit quarries by the Iranian border near Meghri for this species. Meghri is about a 12 hour drive from Yerevan.
Armenia: several were singing in the reeds at the private Armash Fishponds.
Armenia: present in arid areas in Vedi Hills and Oorts Mountains.
Armenia: several were singing in the reeds at the private Armash Fishponds and once in reeds by the roadside.
Armenia: very common in woods near Hrazdan.
Georgia: common in the birch woodland by the track between Gergeti and Gergeti Sameba Trinity Church.
Armenia: common in woods near Hrazdan and at Lake Sevan.
Georgia: common in the birch woodland by the track between Gergeti and Gergeti Sameba Trinity Church.
Armenia: a recently fledged juvenile was seen in the woods at Dilijan. More satisfactory was a male in poplars on the lower slopes of Mount Aragats.
Eastern Rock Nuthatch
Armenia: present in arid gorges in Vedi Hills and Oorts Mountains.
Pale Rock Sparrow
Armenia: present in arid gorges in Vedi Hills and Oorts Mountains.
Georgia: present on Mount Kazbek and by the Georgian Military Highway south of Kazbegi.
Armenia: at least 3 seen on the lower slopes of Mount Aragats
Armenia: the Vedi Hills are the only site in Armenia for this species and we saw a pair here, although they required time to locate. First discovered here in 2001 and present again in 2002 and 2004.
Georgia: We knew this species to breed from mid July at 3,000-3,500 masl, feeding below the snow and glacier line in alpine meadows at 2,500-2,700 masl. We saw 4 (a single male and a party of male and 2 females) on Mount Kazbek in the boulder fields below the snout of the Gergeti Glacier.
Armenia: we saw at least 4 in the Vedi Hills.
Shortly after we returned home Georgia made the BBC News with renewed threats of conflict. If you are planning a trip it is well worth keeping an eye on the travel advice issued by the Foreign Office.
Complete trip list of 199 species (following taxonomy and nomenclature used at Western Palearctic Birds)
Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea
Red-crested Pochard Netta rufina
Common Pochard Aythya ferina
Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca
White-headed Duck Oxyura leucocephala
Gadwall Mareca strepera strepera
Eurasian Wigeon Mareca penelope
Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos platyrhynchos
Northern Pintail Anas acuta acuta
Garganey Anas querquedula
Common Teal Anas crecca crecca
Caucasian Snowcock Tetraogallus caucasicus
Chukar Alectoris chukar
Common Quail Coturnix coturnix coturnix
Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis capensis
Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus cristatus
Pygmy Cormorant Microcarbo pygmeus
Little Bittern Ixobrychus minutus minutus
Black-crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax nycticorax
Squacco Heron Ardeola ralloides
Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis ibis
Little Egret Egretta garzetta garzetta
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea cinerea
Purple Heron Ardea purpurea purpurea
White Stork Ciconia ciconia ciconia
Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus falcinellus
Eurasian Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia leucorodia
European Honey Buzzard Pernis apivorus
Black Kite Milvus migrans migrans
Lammergeier Gypaetus barbatus aureus
Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus percnopterus
Eurasian Griffon Vulture Gyps fulvus fulvus
Short-toed Eagle Circaetus gallicus gallicus
Western Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus aeruginosus
Eurasian Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus nisus
Levant Sparrowhawk Accipiter brevipes
Common Buzzard Buteo buteo menetriesi
Long-legged Buzzard Buteo rufinus rufinus
Lesser Spotted Eagle Aquila pomarina pomarina
Golden Eagle Aquila chrysaetos homeyeri
Booted Eagle Hieraaetus pennatus
Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus tinnunculus
Eurasian Hobby Falco subbuteo subbuteo
Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus brookei
Water Rail Rallus aquaticus aquaticus
Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus chloropus
Eurasian Coot Fulica atra atra
Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus himantopus
Collared Pratincole Glareola pratincola pratincola
Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius curonicus
Kentish Plover Charadrius alexandrinus alexandrinus
White-tailed Lapwing Vanellus leucurus
Northern Lapwing Vanellus vanellus
Little Stint Calidris minuta
Ruff Philomachus pugnax
Common Redshank Tringa totanus
Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia
Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus
Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos
Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus
Armenian Gull Larus armenicus
Gull-billed Tern Gelochelidon nilotica nilotica
Common Tern Sterna hirundo hirundo
Little Tern Sterna albifrons albifrons
Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybrida hybrida
White-winged Tern Chlidonias leucopterus
Rock Dove Columba livia
Stock Dove Columba oenas oenas
Common Wood Pigeon Columba palumbus
Eurasian Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto decaocto
European Turtle Dove Streptopelia turtur
Laughing Dove Streptopelia senegalensis
Common Cuckoo Cuculus canorus canorus
Little Owl Athene noctua indigena
Common Swift Apus apus
Alpine Swift Apus melba melba
Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis atthis
Blue-cheeked Bee-eater Merops persicus persicus
European Bee-eater Merops apiaster
European Roller Coracias garrulus
Eurasian Hoopoe Upupa epops epops
Great Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos major tenuirostris
Syrian Woodpecker Dendrocopos syriacus transcaucasicus
Bimaculated Lark Melanocorypha bimaculata bimaculata
Greater Short-toed Lark Calandrella brachydactyla artemisiana
Lesser Short-toed Lark Calandrella rufescens pseudobaetica
Crested Lark Galerida cristata subtaurica
Wood Lark Lullula arborea pallida
Eurasian Skylark Alauda arvensis armenica
Shore Lark Eremophila alpestris penicillata
Sand Martin Riparia riparia riparia
Eurasian Crag Martin Ptyonoprogne rupestris
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica rustica
Common House Martin Delichon urbica
Tawny Pipit Anthus campestris boehmei
Tree Pipit Anthus trivialis trivalis
Meadow Pipit Anthus pratensis
Water Pipit Anthus spinoletta coutellii
Black-headed Wagtail Motacilla feldegg
Citrine Wagtail Motacilla citreola
Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea cinerea
White Wagtail Motacilla alba dukhunensis
White-throated Dipper Cinclus cinclus caucasicus
Winter Wren Troglodytes troglodytes
Dunnock Prunella modularis obscura
Radde's Accentor Prunella ocularis
Alpine Accentor Prunella collaris montana
Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin Cercotrichas galactotes familiaris
European Robin Erithacus rubecula caucasicus
Common Nightingale Luscinia megarhynchos africana
Bluethroat Luscinia svecica magna
White-throated Robin Irania gutturalis
Black Redstart Phoenicurus ochruros ochruros
Common Redstart Phoenicurus phoenicurus samamisicus
Güldenstädt's Redstart Phoenicurus erythrogaster erythrogaster
Whinchat Saxicola rubetra
European Stonechat Saxicola rubicola rubicola
Siberian Stonechat Saxicola maura armenica
Isabelline Wheatear Oenanthe isabellina
Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe libanotica
Eastern Black-eared Wheatear Oenanthe melanoleuca
Finsch's Wheatear Oenanthe finschii
Persian Wheatear Oenanthe chrysopygia
Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush Monticola saxatilis
Blue Rock Thrush Monticola solitarius
Ring Ouzel Turdus torquatus amicorum
Common Blackbird Turdus merula
Song Thrush Turdus philomelos philomelos
Mistle Thrush Turdus viscivorus viscivorus
Cetti's Warbler Cettia cetti orientalis
Savi's Warbler Locustella luscinioides
Sedge Warbler Acrocephalus schoenobaenus
Paddyfield Warbler Acrocephalus agricola
Marsh Warbler Acrocephalus palustris
Reed Warbler Acrocephalus scripaceus fuscus
Great Reed Warbler Acrocephalus arundinaceus arundinaceus
Eastern Olivaceous Warbler Acrocephalus pallidus tamariceti
Upcher's Warbler Hippolais languida
Ménétries's Warbler Sylvia mystacea mystacea
Eastern Orphean Warbler Sylvia crassirostris
Barred Warbler Sylvia nisoria
Lesser Whitethroat Sylvia curruca caucasica
Common Whitethroat Sylvia communis icterops
Garden Warbler Sylvia borin woodwardi
Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla
Green Warbler Phylloscopus nitidus
Northern Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita
Caucasian Chiffchaff Phylloscopus lorenzii
Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata striata
Semi-collared Flycatcher Ficedula semitorquata
Bearded Reedling Panurus biarmicus
Coal Tit Parus ater
Blue Tit Parus caeruleus
Great Tit Parus major major
Eurasian Nuthatch Sitta europaea caucasica
Eastern Rock Nuthatch Sitta tephronota obscura
Western Rock Nuthatch Sitta neumayer rupicola
Eurasian Treecreeper Certhia familiaris caucasica
Eurasian Penduline Tit Remiz pendulinus menzbieri
Eurasian Golden Oriole Oriolus oriolus oriolus
Red-backed Shrike Lanius collurio kobylini
Lesser Grey Shrike Lanius minor
Woodchat Shrike Lanius senator niloticus
Eurasian Jay Garrulus glandarius
Common Magpie Pica pica
Alpine Chough Pyrrhocorax graculus graculus
Red-billed Chough Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax docilis
Western Jackdaw Corvus monedula soemmerringii
Rook Corvus frugilegus frugilegus
Hooded Crow Corvus cornix
Common Raven Corvus corax corax
Common Starling Sturnus vulgaris purpurascens
Rose-coloured Starling Sturnus roseus
House Sparrow Passer domesticus mayaudi
Eurasian Tree Sparrow Passer montanus transcaucasicus
Pale Rock Sparrow Petronia brachydactyla
Rock Sparrow Petronia petronia exigua
White-winged Snow Finch Montifringilla nivalis alpicola
Common Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs caucasica
Red-fronted Serin Serinus pusillus
European Greenfinch Chloris chloris loudoni
European Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis
Common Linnet Carduelis cannabina bella
Twite Carduelis flavirostris brevirostris
Common Crossbill Loxia curvirostra caucasica
Crimson-winged Finch Rhodopechys sanguinea sanguinea
Mongolian Finch Bucanetes mongolicus
Trumpeter Finch Bucanetes githagineus crassirostris
Common Rosefinch Carpodacus erythrinus kubanensis
Great Rosefinch Carpodacus rubicilla rubicilla
Eurasian Bullfinch Pyrrhula pyrrhula rossikowi
Hawfinch Coccothraustes coccothraustes nigricans
Rock Bunting Emberiza cia prageri
Ortolan Bunting Emberiza hortulana
Grey-necked Bunting Emberiza buchanani cerrutii
Common Reed Bunting Emberiza schoeniclus caspia
Black-headed Bunting Emberiza melanocephala
Corn Bunting Emberiza calandra calandra
(Photos from this trip)
Chris Batty July 2004