Interesting Articles

On 2nd October 2014 our counting team witnessed the largest passage of raptors ever seen outside of the Panamerican Flyway and counted 264.891 raptors in a single day! The early morning started with outstanding Marsh Harrier migration. Later on, some flocks of Black Kites migrated one by one in a lazy flight. But suddenly after noon Steppe Buzzards started to kettle east and west of both our stations. Their large and wide streams covered all the sky, ending up in monster kettles, where complex kettles just merged with other nearby kettles. It was impossible to draw a line between...
After 5 years monitoring of raptors at the Batumi bottleneck, we have surpassed all expectations this autumn. We tallied ONE Million migrating birds of prey passing our two count stations along the eastern Black Sea route. Here is the report on this great bar hitting event! The beginning of the autumn season started promising with a good amount of Honey Buzzard. The first peak day was the 30th of August, when we  counted over 100,000 raptors of which 99,038 Honey Buzzards. This overwhelming day was already above our previous day record and we celebrated well with local dishes,...
So far, the season brought us many surprises. Although we were expecting another peak of Honey Buzzards in the first week of September, we had to be happy with a first season peak day of roughly 68.000. Of course, we knew it would be hard to compete with last year's high, but another higher peak day stayed out and in the end we did not break that record. On consecutive days we had roughly 42.000 (3 September) and 52.000 (4 September)  more, mainly over station one. Now that the majority of the Honey Buzzard migration has passed, we seem to have had a fairly average total of Honeys...
Few days ago on August 30th we were happy to report to you our all time record of 99,000 Honey Buzzards passing our observatories. With that BRC record set, the whole team was sure to have experienced the biggest peak of the season; and given the favorable flight conditions and steady migration over the last week, the last thing we were expecting was to set the mark even higher. But so we did … and how! With a day total of 179,342 Honey Buzzards yesterday (September 3rd) we shattered the previous autumn migration world record which was set in 1982 at Israel’s Northern Valleys. It...
Raptor migration at the Eastern Black Sea Flyway in Batumi has a long history and has been undertaking since decades in different ways. Here we present the results of a long way to the million, a fascinating story about the increasing monitoring efforts at the edge of Europe and Asia. The Batumi Bottleneck for raptor migration The autumn migration consists mainly of Honey-buzzard (Pernis apivorus, ca. 400,000 each autumn) and Steppe Buzzard (Buteo buteo vulpinus, 250,000+), both with daily totals peaking at 60,000 - 80,000 ind. Other numerous species include Black Kite (50,000+)...
That the unique convergence of migratory raptors in Georgia is much determined by the weather conditions in the region is something the BRC team has realized for a long time. Rain events, often lasting several days along the Black Sea shore, regularly inhibit migrating birds to travel here. And rather than circumventing these bad weather events over the inland of the Caucasus, most of the raptor species observed here tend to pile up in huge numbers to the north of bad weather events,  finally arriving in enormous numbers at Batumi, as soon as conditions have cleared. We have regularly...
Since the start of the count we have seen a lot of Marsh Harriers. At least 16 of them were adult males of the rare dark morph. In former years only a handful of dark birds passed the stations. Little is known about this morph, e.g. where it originates from and what percentage of the population shows this plumage. Forsman (1999) noted that this morph comes from more eastern populations and migrates through the Middle East. Adult males can be rather easily distinguished from the Western European plumages of the species. They show a dark brownish colour, a distinct white distal part of...
On the 23rd of September two Finnish volunteers of BRC had a day off exploring the bird diversity of Chorokhi delta. We were blessed with a good weather for the stop-by vagrants; strong south winds and a few rain showers. The strong wind did not help us to find small passerines, but luckily the wind calmed down by the end of the day and we had some shrikes and whinchats on our list. We started the day by following the river to the delta and the seashore. By the first hours we were amazed by the diversity of birds – nothing really extraordinary, but nice species popped up...
On our first pilot count in 2007, which lead to BRC's birth, the first Crested Honey-buzzard (also referred to as Oriental Honey-buzzard, Pernis ptilorhynchus orientalis) was recorded on migration over Batumi. And during the 5 years of standardized counting in autumn, with more eyes and better understanding of the identification of this odd-looking heavy Honey-buzzard, this number increased. With caution and only if documented or very well seen, we were able to pick-out two individuals in 2009, four in 2010, eight in 2011 and at least twelve individuals...
The 9th consecutive Batumi Raptor Count has come to an end, and we are proud to present you some of the results. Again we managed to count a total of more than one million migrating birds of prey, for the fifth year in a row! We managed to count historical totals for Black Kites, Booted Eagles and Red-footed Falcons, but poor numbers of Harriers. Read on for more! After a good first half of the season (read the half season Raptor Migration report 2016 here) - with over half a million Honey Buzzards (including the peak day of 94.000 individuals), some nice days for Montagu's...