Good start of spring count

The first day of spring count in Batumi was dominated by the migration of Steppe Buzzards and Black Kites. In the morning we saw them flying close to the mountains and were afraid of a long day with distance observations only. But shortly after 11 a.m. before the switch of the land sea breeze system the raptors came closer and closer to our station 1 and finally took their routes in the west along the coast and in the east over the ridge and Big Mama. It was fantastic to see the diversity of raptors already on the first day of counting, which also shows us that we are maybe 2 weeks late with the count. However, as a pilot study we aim to record a good set of phenology data and an overview of the season. The counting posts are occupied by two persons every third day in average which gives us enough time to similarly count in the Chorokhi Delta.

Results from station 1 (1. April):

  • Black Kites: 1.531
  • Steppe Buzzards: 952
  • Medium Unidentified Raptors: 5.974
  • Lesser Spotted Eagles: 53
  • Steppe Eagle: 2
  • Greater Spotted Eagle: 3
  • LesGrSteps: 64
  • Booted Eagle: 11
  • Short-Toed Eagle: 12
  • Pallid Harrier: 2 (adult male)
  • European Sparrowhawks: 36
  • Common Kestrel: 1
  • Goshawk: 1
  • Marsh Harrier: 2

with a total of 8.654 raptors and one beautiful Swift coming close to our station.

The results from the Chorokhi Delta:

  • Green Sandpiper
  • Common Greenshank
  • Little Ringed Plover
  • Dunlin
  • Ruff
  • Black tailed Godwit
  • Blue-Throat
  • Common Wheatear
  • Steppe Buzzard
  • Black Kite
  • Marsh Harrier
  • Osprey
  • Siberian Stonechats
  • Little Egret
  • Great Egret
  • Meadow Pipit
  • Common Snipe
  • Ruddy Shelduck
  • White Wagtails
  • Little Grebe
  • Garganey
  • Sedge Warbler
  • Barn Swallows
  • House Martin
  • Purple Heron
  • many uncounted Gulls

When visiting the harbour area we observed several Blue-Throats, a single Ruff, Semicollared Flycatcher, Hoopoe, Field Lark, Common Wheatear, Wood Lark, Yellow Wagtail feldegg, and a few Siberian Stonechats.

The first day we arrived was a big surprise. Instead of wearing sandals we had to grab our huts, gloves, boots and all layers of clothes to get started in the field. The temperature dropped to -1°C in the night and brought lots of snow to Sakhalvasho. Snowy palms, freezing emotions, but a warmly welcome of the families sitting together around their oven and tasting the regional cuisine.

The next day the temperature rose to 25°C, only a slow wind chilled us down. That's how the weather can be in Georgia.