Visit your favourite destinations
Western Europe
North America
Eastern Europe
South America
Middle East
East Indies

A Report from

A report on birds seen on a trip to Georgia, 27 April – 4 May 2012,

Henk Hendriks

View of Mount Kazbeg (5035 m.altitude), towering over Kazbegi village  01-05-2012

Other participants: Hemme Batje, Peter Maaskant, Wiel Poelmans


This report covers the short trip I made to Georgia with the main purpose to observe some most wanted west-palearctic species.

Ever since the publishing of the excellent article of Arnoud van den Berg and René Pop (Dutch Birding 27: 241-247, 2005) I intend to visit this area and after reading the report of the trip Jan van de Laan made in 2010, I decided that it was time to go.

I knew that the best time to visit the Kazbegi area was the end of april as most likely all the target species were then present at lower altitudes and as a result easier to observe. This way you do not have to undertake the heavy climb up the mountain to find the specialties. The tricky point is that there is also a possibility that end of april the Krestovyy pass is closed because of heavy snowfall and risks of avalanches and as a result Kazbegi cannot be reached.

We were very lucky with the weather conditions as most days were sunny with beautiful clear, blue skies. Only one afternoon we had some rain.

As the early mornings can be rather cold you definitely need some good warm clothes.

We did very well as we easily scored our targets. For me, as I never visited the north-east of Turkey, these were Caucasian Snowcock, Caucasian Black Grouse, Mountain Chiffchaff and Caucasian Rosefinch. Actually we found them all on our first morning in the Kazbegi area!! Surprisingly to obtain good views of the Grouse turned out to be the greatest challenge.

Another specialty of the area is the Guldenstadt’s Redstart, which we also saw but I had seen this species before in Ladakh and Kazaksthan.

We knew we were probably too early for Green Warbler as the species normally returns to the valley in the second week of May. A group of Birdfinders observed 1 bird in the small woodland near the bridge in Kazbegi.

When Wiel and I birded in the Manglisi area in the south a few days later, we easily found several very vocal Green Warblers.

The first 2 days I birded with Hemme Batjes, Peter Maaskant and Wiel Poelmans. Hemme and Peter returned home, while Wiel and I continued for another 3 days of pioneering birding in the Ninotsminda lake area in south-west Georgia, near the Armenian border. Main target species for me was Armenian Gull, a lifer, which we easily found, together with a host of other interesting species. (See annotated list)


You do not need a visa for Georgia, when you are a citizen of the Netherlands.

Getting there – Flight

We flew with Turkish Airlines from Brussels to Istanbul and Istanbul to Tbilisi. Total flying time was 5 hours and 10 minutes and we had a 4 hour stopover on our way in and a 2 hour stopover on our way out in Istanbul.

These flights were all on time, trouble free and we paid 325€ for a return ticket Brussels – Tbilisi.


The currency used in Georgia is the Lari. 1 Euro = 2 Lari
We brought some cash dollars with us for paying transport and we changed cash euros for our expenses for accommodation, food and drinks.
It is easy to change cash euros at banks at the airport, Tbilisi and some other larger cities. Even in Kazbegi is a bank where you can change money!
I totally spent around 750 Euros for this week-long trip, including my international flight.

Getting around – Car – Accommodation – Food & Drinks

We arrived at 3.20 am in the early morning and for the transport by minibus straight from the airport to Kazbegi we had to pay 250 US$. Hemme had pre-arranged this transport through a company called Exotour. (

Wiel and I paid another 600 US$ for a Mercedes Vito for our 3 day trip from Kazbegi to the Ninotsminda area and back to Tbilisi.
For the 4x4 Lada Niva which brought us up (and down) to the Samebi Church above Kazbegi we paid 50 Laris.

A double room in our Kazbegi hotel cost us 45 US$. Double bedrooms in Akhalkalaki and Tsalka cost us 100 Lari.

Food and drinks were rather inexpensive and generally good. Beer is widely available. Several times we took packed breakfast/lunches with us into the mountains.


Surprisingly few people speak English in this country. So communicating with our driver was quite challenging from time to time.

Health & Safety

Though Kazbegi is only a few kilometres from the Russian border and also not too far from Chechnya, the area is completely safe. Ninotsminda is close to the Armenian border but also completely safe. The danger in Georgië is coming from the crazy drivers in the country. They also do not have any problems in having quite a few drinks and then to step into their vehicles.


As I said earlier the weather during our stay was absolutely great. Sunny with beautiful blue skies. One afternoon some rain at Kazbegi and on our last morning at Lake Lisi in Tbilisi we encountered rain.


Kazbegi Area

I found the birding in the Kazbegi area great and the best areas are east of the village.

(1).The scrub area, east of the small powerplant (along the main road, just south of Kazbegi) is best for Güldenstadt’s Redstart, Mountain Chiffchaff and Caucasian Rosefinch.

For the Snowcocks the best area is the (2).steep scree slope( Kuro Mountains) east of Kazbegi, east of the scrub area. Just follow the stream up the mountain, up the scree slope. Early morning you will hear the Snowcocks and from time to time they fly from one slope to another. The challenge is to find them in the scope.

(3).The slopes east of the small chapel, east of Kazbegi. These are also reliable for Snowcocks and especially Caucasian Black Grouse.

We also visited one morning the area west of Kazbegi, (4).west of the Samebi Church. It takes 40 minutes by 4x4 to reach this church from Kazbegi. Continue west up the slope for the specialties. We did see Caucasian Black Grouse.

(5). The tunnel area near the Krestovyy Pass. This area is good for Twite, Snowfinch, Shorelark and Alpine Accentor. At the pass itself one can find Caucasian Black Grouse.

Ninotsminda Lake Area

We did not have any real info about this area, only that it is supposed to have Armenian Gull colonies. We did find a huge colony on an island on Lake Mada, near the Armenian border. Actually we found the birding very enjoyable in this area. The landscape, habitat, the birds, migration in full swing, we really enjoyed the birding here.

Best species seen during these 3 days were Dalmatian Pelican, Armenian Gull, large numbers of Western Marsh Harriërs, Pallid Harriër, Citrine Wagtail, Barred Warbler, Rock Nuthatch, Blue Rock Thrush, Thrush Nightingale, White-throated Robin and at least 15-20 Red-breasted Flycatchers in a small fragment of forest. See annotated list for more details.


We brought 2 scopes with us, which you really need for getting good views of the Caucasian Snowcock and Caucasian Black Grouse. Also Canon bodies and 400 and 420 mm tele lenses.



Collins Bird Guide: Field guide to the birds of Britain and Europe by Lars Svensson,Killian Mullarney, Dan Zetterström, and Peter J.Grant (2010).

Trip reports & articles

High birding at Kazbegi, Georgia – Arnoud van den Berg & René Pop (Dutch Birding 27: 241 – 247,2005)
Georgia May 2008 – Richard Bonser
Georgia 14-20 May 2010
Georgia 28 April – 2 May 2010 – Jan van der Laan.


Kaukasus (Armenia/Azerbejan/Georgia) 1:650.000 –


It turned out to be a short but very nice birding trip, also because of the good company of my fellow birders Wiel, Hemme and Peter. Thanks also to Janna of hotel Kazbegi, who helped us straighten out some logistic issues.


They can arrange the taxi/car to drive you straight from the airport to Kazbegi. Through them you can also book accommodation in Kazbegi.


April 27: Geldrop – Brussels – Istanbul
April 28: Istanbul – Tbilisi – Krestovyy Pass – Kazbegi.
April 29: Kazbegi
April 30: Kazbegi
May 1:    Kazbegi – Akhaltsikhe – Vardzia - Akhalkalaki
May 2:    Akhalkalaki – Ninotsminda – Tsalka
May 3:    Tsalka – Tbilisi.
May 4:    Tbilisi – Istanbul – Brussels - Geldrop

DETAILED Itinerary

Friday April 27

At 11.00 am we left Geldrop by car for the 1½ hour drive to Brussels Airport.
At 15.30 we flew from Brussels to Istanbul where we arrived at 19.40 (1 hour time difference). During our stopover in Istanbul we had dinner and a beer which cost us a ridiculous 7.50€.
Just after midnight we flew from Istanbul to Tbilisi.

Saturday April 28

We arrived at Tbilisi airport at 3.20 am, local time (another 1 hour time difference). After clearing customs and collecting our luggage we met our taxi driver. After another 10 minutes Hemme en Peter arrived on a Lufthansa flight.

We changed some money at a money changer’s facility (our driver took us there) and then we continued through the deserted streets of Tbilisi to the north. Around 7.00 am we arrived at the Krestovyy pass. The weather was fine but it was also rather cold. We scoped the surroundings for half an hour but were unable to locate any grouse and/or snowcock. We did see a single migrating male Pallid Harrier.

As our driver had another trip to make that day we drove more or less straight to Kazbegi. He dropped us at hotel Stepatsminda in the centre of the village, near the bridge but it turned out that we were booked in another hotel, hotel Kazbezi.(A biological centre) This hotel is situated in the eastern part of Kazbegi and so closer to for instance the small chapel area.

We took a taxi to this place and were warmly welcomed by Janna. After dropping our gear we decided to explore the scrubby area just east of the power plant of Kazbegi. It takes only 10-15 minutes to walk to this area from our accommodation.

We slowly birded this area uphill and soon we had our first Mountain Chiffchaff. In the process we met a group of Birdfinders with Vaughn Ashby and Dutch birder Bart Briefjes, coming down from the slope. Suddenly one of their team shouted Rosefinch and sure enough within moments we all had great views of a pair of Caucasian Rosefinches.

Higher up they had seen both Caucasian Black Grouse and Caucasian Snowcock and so we decided to give it a try. They had pointed out that a snowcock had landed just behind a small ridge. Wiel and I decided to climb up to that ridge to try to relocate the bird, while Hemme and Peter continued along the main scree slope.

In the end they found a pair of snowcocks and a pair of grouse, while Wiel and I were climbing the grassy slope!! At one time the snowcocks flew of, calling loudly in flight, and flew right past us, giving excellent flight views. I also saw were they landed and we had good but rather distant views of both birds on a patch of snow.

We also had a flybye Wallcreeper along the slope.

We walked back to our hotel for a short rest.

Unfortunately it started to rain. Despite the rain, Hemme and I decided to check the area east of the small chapel, east of our hotel.

We saw many Ring Ouzels and near the chapel we heard several Caucasian Snowcocks. But we were unable to locate the birds, also because the rain became serious rain. We walked back and we finally had excellent and close views of Red-fronted Serin.

When the rain ceased we spent the last hour of the day in the scrubby area again. Several males Güldenstadt’s Redstart were seen by others but we failed to locate any.

Excellent dinner at our hotel together with some cold beers. It had been a very successful first day.

A party of Georgian biologists were also present in the dining room and it was interesting to see how they had their dinner interrupted by speeches and plenty of alcoholic toasts.

Later that evening they started to dance and asked Peter and Wiel to join them. At that time I was already fast asleep.

Before that I made arrangements for a taxi early next morning to the Samebi Church and for a packed breakfast.

Sunday April 29

At 6.30 am we left by Lada Niva 4x4 for the drive up to the Samebi Church on the west side of Kazbegi. We were really cramped together and we were all happy to get out at Samebi.

Unfortunately we took the wrong track. Instead of taking the small path up the ridge to the west of Samebi Church we took the wide dirt track going west, which finally peters out at a house. So we had to climb up the steep ridge to the right path. The landscape was breathtaking but the birding was very slow. During a break, we scoped the opposing slope and here we had both a male and a female Caucasian Black Grouse.

As it was no use climbing further up, we decided to turn around and head down again. To our surprise our taxi driver was still waiting for us. We had anticipated to walk down from Samebi Church to Kazbegi but now we could drive down again with his car.

In Kazbegi we had a very nice lunch in the small establishment, next to hotel Stepantsminda.

After lunch we birded the woodland and scrub in and north of Kazbegi where we scored Treecreeper, Willow Warbler, a single Chiffchaff and a Hoopoe.

Later we walked through the scrubby area, to the area east of the small chapel. Some Finnish and Swedish birders Peter met in the scrub, observed a male Güldenstadt’s Redstart only 10 minutes earlier and after a small wait at the site pointed out by them, he managed nice views of the bird. We decided to continue while Hemme opted to stay as the Redstart was a lifer for him. We birded around the chapel where we regularly heard snowcocks but no views. Hemme joined us, all smiles, after having excellent views of the Redstart.

Again a nice dinner at our hotel.

Monday April 30

At 6.30 am we walked to the small chapel, east of Kazbegi.

When scoping the slopes Peter found a single male Caucasian Black Grouse. Though distant, the bird could be observed well in the scope. We also succeeded in getting distant views of Caucasian Snowcocks in the scope, mostly high up on the steep crags.

Hemme en Peter walked back to the hotel as they would leave by taxi for Tbilisi at 10.00 am. Wiel and I continued to the scree slope and during our walk we had fantastic views of a pair of Caucasian Rosefinches. We climbed pretty high on the scree slope and at one time we had Snowcocks calling at close range. After some searching I found a pair of Caucasian Snowcocks and these gave great views in the scope. Several more pairs were seen both in flight as well as perched on steep slopes. Satisfied we walked back down through the scrubby area to Kazbegi village. We finally connected with a fine male Güldenstadt’s Redstart.

We checked the area near the river but this was rather unproductive. After another lunch on the small terrace of the restaurant, next to hotel Stepantsminda, we birded several areas around Kazbegi. Late afternoon I wandered on my own in the area east of Kazbegi, concentrating on photographing birds while Wiel opted to stay at the hotel.

In the evening we finally made the last arrangements for our 3 day trip to the south-west of Georgia.

Tuesday May 1

In the early morning we spent a few hours at the scrubby area again and this time we managed to observe at least 2 males Güldenstadt’s Redstart. On my walk back to the hotel I observed 1 Corn Bunting and 2 Ortolan Buntings.

Back at the hotel we packed our stuff and met Murman, our driver for the next 3 days. At 10.00 am we left for Tbilisi.

At the tunnel area we met the Birdfinders group again. They were trying to entice a singing male Alpine Accentor to show itself. After a while we all had good views of the bird in the scope. Several Twites were also seen.

A little further at a dripping stream Snowfinches were regularly observed the last couple of days. Initially we could not find any but just when we were about to give up, we noticed 3 birds just next to the road.

Just after the Krystovyy pas the road was blocked by a big truck, that got stuck in the mud. With some careful manoeuvring we were able to get through.

Some 20 km before Tbilisi we turned west towards Akhaltsikhe. We had a quick lunch along the way and after a long drive we finally arrived at the cave city of Vardzia at 18.00 pm. We visited and birded the area for 1 hour and best species seen were Blue Rock Thrush and Rock Nuthatch. We also made a quick stop when I noticed a large gull along the river. We scoped the bird: Armenian Gull!

Just before it got really dark we arrived at Akhalkalaki where we had a spacious double room in a very fancy hotel in the centre of town. The hotel had a real atmosphere of grandeur and we were surprised to find such a hotel in a place like Akhalkalaki. We had to pay 100 Lari for our room.

Wednesday May 2

After an early breakfast we left for the short drive to Ninotsminda. We had to find our way from Ninotsminda to the southern shore of Lake Khanchali.(altitude 2100 m.)

From the potholed dirt road, just outside Ninotsminda and south of the lake, we walked to an obvious vantage point. During our walk we encountered flocks of Red-throated Pipits and Black-headed Wagtails.

During the time we scoped the lake shore we saw some interesting birds.

At least 40-50 Western Marsh Harriërs patrolled the area, while single White Storks were foraging at the marshy edge of the lake. Huge numbers of White-winged Black Terns were present above the lake and we saw a nice selection of water birds as well. Several pairs of Red-necked Grebe and Horned Grebe were present and we also scoped a pair of Ferruginous Ducks. At the edge we observed and photographed at least 2 Citrine Wagtails.

After spending an enjoyable hour or so at the site we walked back to our car. We then drove back to Ninotsminda where we discovered a colony of Rooks, right in the middle of town.

We continued towards the Armenian border to Lake Mada. When driving through the small village of Gorelovka we saw many nesting White Storks.

The south side of Lake Mada is situated right on the Georgian/Armenian border. We scoped the lake from the west and later south west.

On an island in the lake we discovered thousands of nesting Armenian Gulls. We also saw a small flock of Dalmatian Pelicans above the lake, while Bee-eaters were migrating above our heads as well as a mixed pair of Booted Eagles. In the south west corner we made a short stroll along the lake shore. Here we observed Little Egret, Great Egret, Purple Heron, Pallid Harriër, Armenian Gull and our first Red-backed Shrike.

At 14.00 pm we drove back to Ninotsminda where we had lunch.

We decided to continue east towards Tbilisi and to spend the night in a place called Tsalka. The plan was to make several birding stops on the way to Tsalka. In the end we spent most time at a nice forest patch at the west side of Lake Sanghamo, which gave us quite a few interesting birds.

Migration had really started. Species seen included Spotted Flycatcher, Red-breasted Flycatcher, Thrush Nightingale, Common Nightingale, Barred Warbler, Red-backed Shrike and a male White-throated Robin by Wiel.

We drove further to Tsalka where we found accommodation at a shabby place in the centre of town. Initially we thought we had to pay 50 Lari for a double room but the next day we were told that this was per person! So we had to pay 100 Lari and this was really a rip-of.

Thursday May 3

After an early breakfast at a nearby restaurant we drove to a forest patch nearby where we birded a while. Single Black-crowned Night Heron and Squacco Heron were added to the list. Between 15-20 Red-breasted Flycatchers were present in this small forest fragment. We also had a flyby male Golden Oriole and great views of an adult Long-legged Buzzard.

We continued east towards Tbilisi and we made a birding stop at some good looking forest at Manglisi. As soon as we stepped out of the car we heard a Green Warbler singing. In the next hour or so we saw and heard at least 3 different birds, giving good views.

Early afternoon found us at Lake Lisi in Tbilisi. I read in one of the reports that this is a reliable site for Paddyfield Warbler. Unfortunately it started to rain and this hindered our birding considerably. No singing Paddyfield Warbler but we did see and hear Great Reed Warbler, Sedge Warbler, booming Bittern and at least 2 singing Corn Buntings.

We decided to drive to a small hotel at the outskirts of Tbilisi (Rose Hotel) for which we had to pay 70 Lari. We had a late, but excellent lunch and took a siesta. We arranged with Murman that he would drive us to the airport at midnight.

At midnight we drove to the airport (30 Lari) and said goodbye to Murman.

Friday May 4

04.15 we left for Istanbul where we arrived at 6.00 am local time.
08.00 we left for Brussels where we arrived at 10.15 am.

We were picked up by Wiels girlfriend and at 12.30 I was back in Geldrop.

Geldrop 12-05-2012

Henk Hendriks

Caucasian Great Rosefinch Carpodacus rubicilla, Kazbegi 01-05-2012


Caucasian Black Grouse   Lyrurus mlokosiewiczi
28-04           male + female Kuro Mountains, east of Kazbegi
29-04           male and female on slope west of Samebi Church
30-04           male on slope east of small chapel, east of Kazbegi
All our observations were of distant birds, which only gave reasonable views using a scope.

Caucasian Snowcock Tetraogallus caucasius
28-04           several heard and a pair seen perched and in flight in the Kuro Mountains, east of Kazbegi.
29-04           Heard in the area east of the small chapel, east of Kazbegi.
30-04           Heard and 1 pair scoped in the area east of the small chapel.
                   Heard and at least 3 pairs seen in the Kuro Mountains, east of Kazbegi. One pair gave really great and close views in the scope.

Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea
02-05           1 pair between Tsalka and Manglisi.

Gadwall  Anas strepera
02-05           10 on lake Khanchali, Ninotsminda area.

Mallard Anas platyrhynchos
02-05           20 on Lake Khanchali, Ninotsminda area.
03-05           2 on Lake Sanghano, Ninotsminda area.

Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata
02-05           4 on Lake Khanchali

Northern Pintail Anas acuta
02-05  male on Lake Khanchali, Ninotsminda area.

Garganey Anas querquedula
02-05           30 on Lake Khanchali, Ninotsminda area.

Common Pochard   Aythya farina
02-05           40 on Lake Khanchali, Ninotsminda area.

Ferruginous Duck   Aythya nyroca
02-05           1 pair  on Lake Khanchali, Ninotsminda area.

Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula
02-05           15 on Lake Khanchali, Ninotsminda area.

Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis
30-04           Heard at pool, edge of Kazbegi
03-05           Heard at Lake Lisi, Tbilisi

Red-necked Grebe Podiceps grisegena
02-05           5 pairs at Lake Khanchali, Ninotsminda area.
02-05           1 pair at lake Sanghano, Ninotsminda area.

Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus
02-05           Common on several lakes in the Ninotsminda area.
03-05           10+ at lake Lisi, Tbilisi.

Horned Grebe Podiceps auritus
02-05           3 pairs at lake Khanchali, Ninotsminda area.

White Stork Ciconia ciconia
02-05           10+ at Lake Khanchali, Ninotsminda area.
02-05           At least 10 breeding pairs at Gorelovka, Ninotsminda area.

Eurasian Bittern Botaurus stellatus
03-05           At least 2 birds heard at Lake Lisi, Tbilisi.

Black-crowned Night-Heron Nycticorax nycticorax
03-05           1 at Lake Tsalkis near Tsalka.

Squacco Heron Ardeola ralloides
03-05           1 at Lake Tsalkis near Tsalka.

Grey Heron Ardea cinerea
02-05          2 at Lake Mada, Ninotsminda area.

Purple Heron Ardea purpurea
29-04           1 at Kazbegi, along ?? river.
02-05           3 at Lake Khanchali and 2 at Lake Mada, Ninotsminda area.

Great Egret Casmerodius albus
02-05           2 at Lake Mada, Ninotsminda area.

Little Egret   Egretta garzetta
02-05           2 at Lake Mada, Ninotsminda area.

Dalmatian Pelican Pelecanus crispus
02-05           10 at Lake Mada, Ninotsminda area.

Black Kite Milvus migrans
29-04           A single observation in the Kazbegi area.

Bearded Vulture Gypaetus barbatus
28-04           An adult bird east of Kazbegi.
29/30-04       An imm. bird near the small chapel, east of Kazbegi

Griffon Vulture Gyps fulvus
29-04           A single bird above the center of Kazbegi.
30-04           A small flock of 8 above the small chapel, east of Kazbegi.

Western Marsh Harriër Circus auriginosus
02-05           40+ birds at Lake Khanchali, Ninotsminda area.
02-05           10+ at Lake Mada, Ninotsminda area.
03-05           10+ at Lake Lisi, Tbilisi.

Pallid Harriër Circus macrourus
28-04           1 male at the Krestovyy pass.
01-05           1 female Kazbegi area.
02-05           1 male at Lake Mada, Ninotsminda area.

Eurasian Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus
29-04           1 at Kazbegi
02-05           1 at Ninotsminda
03-05           1 near Tsalka

Common Buzzard   Buteo buteo ssp vulpinus
28-04           2 kazebgi area.
03-05           1 near Manglisi

Long-legged Buzzard Buteo rufinus
28-04           1 Kazbegi.
02-05           1 near Ninotsminda.
03-05           1 at Tsalka

Golden Eagle Aquila chrysaetos
28-04           1 pair near the small chapel, east of Kazbegi.

Booted Eagle Hieraaetus pennatus
02-05           2 (1 light phase + 1 dark phase bird) Lake Mada, Ninotsminda area.

Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus
A total of 5 birds on 3 dates in the Kazbegi area.
02-05           2 near Ninotsminda.
03-05           1 Lake Lisi, Tbilisi

Eurasian Coot Fulica atra
Abundant on the lakes near Ninotsminda.

Northern Lapwing Vanellus vanellus
01-05           A single observation near Akhalkalaki

Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus
02-05           Heard at Lake Khanchali

Greenshank Tringa nebularia
02-05           Single birds at Lake Khanchali and Lake Mada, Ninotsminda.

Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola
02-05           1 at Lake Mada, Ninotsminda area.

Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos
02-05           1 at Lake Mada, Ninotsminda area.

Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus
02-05           8 at Lake Mada, Ninotsminda area.
02-05           3 at Lake Sanghano, Ninotsminda area.

Armenian Gull Larus armenicus
01-05           5 between Vardzia – Akhalkalaki.
02-05           A few regularly observed in the Ninotsminda area and a huge colony of thousands of birds on an island at Lake Mada.
03-05           A few at Lake Paravani and small numbers between Tsalka and Manglisi.

White-winged Tern Chlidonias leucopterus
02-05           Very common at Lake Khanchali and Lake Mada, Ninotsminda.

Rock Dove Columba livia

European Turtle Dove Streptopelia turtur
01-05           1 near Akhaltsikhe

Common Cuckoo Cuculus canorus
Daily heard and 2 single birds seen on 2 dates at Kazbegi.
03-05           1 at Tsalka

Common Swift Apus apus
02/03-05       Observed in the Ninotsminda area.

European Roller Coracias garrulous
02-05           1 near Ninotsminda.

European Bee-eater Merops apiaster
28/29-04       Heard in the Kazbegi valley.
02-05           20 Ninotsminda.
03-05           4 near Tsalka.

Eurasian Hoopoe Upupa epops
28/29-04       heard and 1 seen in the Kazbegi valley.
01-05           1 on transit
02-05           1 at Ninotsminda

Great Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopus major
28-04           1 at Kazbegi village
03-05           3 at Manglisi

Green Woodpecker Picus viridis
28-04           1 at Kazbegi (Wiel only)

Red-backed Shrike Lanius collurio
02-05           4 in the Ninotsminda area.

Eurasian Golden Oriole Oriolus oriolus
03-05           1 at Tsalka

Eurasian Jay Garrulus glandarius ssp.krynicki
29-04           2 at Kazbegi.
03-05           2 at Manglisi

Eurasian Magpie Pica pica
Up to 10  daily in the south.

Red-billed Chough Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax
Recorded on 4 dates in the Kazbegi area.
29-04           150 – 200 Kazbegi.

Alpine Chough Pyrrhocorax graculus
29-04           Flock of 50, east of Kazbegi.

Western Jackdaw   Corvus monedula
02/03-05       20+ Ninotsminda area.

Rook Corvus frugilegus
02-05           50+ in colony in the middle of Ninotsminda.

Hooded Crow Corvus cornix
Up to 20 daily. Recorded on 6 dates.

Northern Raven Corvus corax
Recorded in small numbers on 6 dates.

Coal Tit Parus ater
29/30-04       2 at Kazbegi
02/03-05       4 + 2 at Tsalka

Great Tit Parus major
Small numbers recorded on 5 dates.

Eurasian Blue Tit Cyanisted caeruleus
28/29-04       1+2 at Kazbegi.
03-05           2 at Manglisi

Woodlark Lullula arborea
28-04           1 heard and seen at Kazbegi

Eurasian Skylark Alauda arvensis
28/30-04/      heard and seen at Kazbegi
02/03-05       Common Ninotsminda area.

Sand Martin Riparia riparia
28/29-04       4 at Kazbegi.
02/03-05       4+10 at Ninotsminda area

Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica
Recorded on 5 dates.

Eurasian Crag Martin Ptyonoprogne rupestris
A total of 17 on 4 dates in the Kazbegi area.

Common House Martin Delichon urbicum
01-05           10 at Vardzia
02-05           10 at Ninotsminda

Willow Warbler Phylloscopus trochilus
29-04           1 at park in Kazbegi.
02-05           10+ at forest patch, Lake Sanghano

Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita
29-04           1 at park in Kazbegi

Caucasian Chiffchaff Phylloscopus lorenzii
Common at Kazbegi

Green Warbler Phylloscopus nitidus
03-05           3 singing at Manglisi. Some great views.

Great Reed Warbler Acrocephalus arundinaceus
03-05           Heard and at least 2 seen at Lake Lisi, Tbilisi.

Sedge Warbler Acrocephalus schoenobaenus
03-05           1 heard at Lake Lisi, Tbilisi

Icterine Warbler Hippolais icterina
02-05           1 at forest patch, Lake Sanghamo, Ninotsminda area.

Eurasian Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla
01-05           2 at Vardzia
03-05           3 at Manglisi and 1 at Lake Lisi,Tbilisi.

Garden Warbler Sylvia borin
02-05           1 at forest patch, Lake Sanghamo, Ninotsminda area.

Barred Warbler Sylvia nisoria
02-05           1 at forest patch, Lake Sanghamo, Ninotsminda area.

Lesser Whitethroat Sylvia curruca
02-05           1 at forest patch, Lake Sanghamo, Ninotsminda area.

Common Whitethroat Sylvia communis
02-05           3 at forest patch, Lake Sanghamo, Ninotsminda area.

Eurasian Wren Troglodytes troglodytes
03-05           Heard at Manglisi.

Western Rock Nuthatch Sitta neumayer
01-05           1 at Vardzia

Wallcreeper Tichodroma murania
28-04           1 at scree slope, east of Kazbegi.

Eurasian Treecreeper Certhia familiaris ssp.caucasia
29/30-04       2+1 at Kazbegi village park.

Common Starling Sturnus vulgaris
Daily observed in the south.

Ring Ouzel    Turdus torquatus ssp.amicorum
Up to 10 daily in the Kazbegi area.

Common Blackbird Turdus merula
Recorded on 6 dates.

Mistle Thrush Turdus viscivorus
28/29-04       3+4 east of Kazbegi near the small chapel.
03-05           3 at Manglisi

European Robin Erithacus rubecula
28-04           1 at Kazbegi

Thrush Nightingale Luscinia luscinia
02-05           3 seen at forest patch, Lake Sanghamo, Ninotsminda area.
More were heard singing.

Common Nightingale Luscinia megarhynchos
02-05           1 at forest patch, Lake Sanghamo, Ninotsminda area. (Wiel only)

White-throated Robin Irania gutturalis
02-05           1 at forest patch, Lake Sanghamo, Ninotsminda area.(Wiel only).
This was an adult male.

Black Redstart Phoenicurus ochruros ssp.ochruros
Up to 10 daily in the Kazbegi area.
01-05           4 at Vardzia
03-05           10 around Tsalka

Redstart Phoenicurus phoenicurus ssp.samamisicus
29-04           1 Kazbegi
Phoenicurus phoenicurus
02-05           2 at forest patch,Lake Sanghamo, Ninotsminda area.

Güldenstadt’s Redstart Phoenicurus erythrogaster
28-04           1 female Kazbegi
29-04           2 males scrub area east of Kazbegi.
30-04           1 male scrub area east of Kazbegi.
01-05           1 pair in the same area.

Whinchat Saxicola rubetra
28/29-04       2+1 scrub area, east of Kazbegi.
02-05           2 near Lake Khanchali, Ninotsminda area.

Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe
Daily recorded in small numbers

Blue Rock Thrush Monticola solitarius
01-05           2 males at Vardzia.

Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata
02-05           20+ at forest patch,Lake Sanghamo, Ninotdminda area.
03-05           2 near Tsalka

Red-breasted Flycatcher Ficedula parva
02-05           1-2 at forest patch,Lake Sanghamo, Ninotsminda area.
03-05           15-20 near Tsalka

House Sparrow Passer domesticus
A few daily at Kazbegi.

Tree Sparrow Passer montanus
01-05           4 at Vardzia

White-winged Snowfinch Montifringilla nivalis
01-05           3 at one of the tunnels near the Krystovyy pass.

Alpine Accentor Prunella collaris
01-05           1 at one of the tunnels near the Krystovyy pass.

Dunnock Prunella modularis
Common around Kazbegi

Syke’s Wagtail Motacilla beema
28-04           1 at Kazbegi
01-05           4 at Kazbegi
02-05           10+ at Lake Khanchali, Ninotsminda area.

Grey-headed Wagtail Motacilla thunbergii
01-05           2 at Kazbegi

Black-headed Wagtail Motacilla felldegg
02-05           10+ at Lake Khanchali, Ninotsminda area.

Citrine Wagtail Motacilla citreola
02-05           2 Lake Khanchali, Ninotsminda area.

White Wagtail Motacilla alba
Recorded on 6 dates

Tree Pipit Anthus trivialis
29/30-04       2+1 near the small chapel, east of Kazbegi.
03-05           4 near Tsalka

Red-throated Pipit Anthus cervinus
02-05  30+ at Lake Khanchali, Ninotsminda area.

Water Pipit Anthus spinoletta
Common around Kazbegi

Common Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs
Recorded on 6 dates.

Red-fronted Serin   Serinus pusillus
10+ daily around Kazbegi

Greenfinch Chloris chloris
01-05           1 at Vardzia
02-05           1 at Ninotsminda
03-05           3 at Tsalka.

European Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis
Daily recorded in small numbers

Twite Carduelis flavirostris ssp.brevirostris
28-04           4 Krystovyy pass
01-05           3 at one of the tunnels, Krystovyy area.

Common Linnet Carduelis cannabina
02-05           2 near Ninotsminda

Caucasian Great Rosefinch Carpodacus rubicilla
28-04           1 pair in scrub area, east of Kazbegi
30-04           6 including 2 males in the mountains, east of Kazbegi.
01-05           2 females scrub area, east of Kazbegi

Eurasian Bullfinch Pyrrhula pyrrhula
29/30-04       2+3 in Kazbegi park.

Corn Bunting Emberiza calandra
01-05           1 at Kazbegi
03-05           2 singing birds at Lake Lisi, Tbilisi

Ortolan Bunting Emberiza hortulana
01-05           2 at Kazbegi village.

Kazbegi area. (Not to scale)

Black Grouse: We saw them on the grassy slope near the chapel, along the scree slope in the Kuro Mountains, east of Kazbegi and on the slopes west of the Samebi Church.

Caucasian Snowcock: We saw them on the steep crags east of the chapel and east of the scree slope.

Caucasian Great Rosefinch: We saw them in the scrub area and along the trail up to the scree slope.

Caucasian Chiffchaff: Common in the scrub area.

Güldenstadt’s Redstart: We saw them in the scrub area, east of the powerplant.
The small park south of hotel Stepantsminda and the small woodland north of the bridge can be good for migrants and later in may for Green Warbler.


Why not send us a report, or an update to one of your current reports?