Tomorrow we start to count
Tomorrow we will launch the 9th edition of the Batumi Raptor Count! Coordinators and first volunteer counters have settled in Sakhalvasho, Georgia, during the last days in order to complete preparations. Everything is in order, we are ready to take position on the hilltops. Tally clickers music will soon be heard through the place!
For the start of the season, we were happy to receive new equipment, as two stores from Finland donated some essential tools for the count.
The two copies of the new Flight Identification of Raptors - guides by Dick Forsman were donated by Lintuvaruste, a store owned by BirdLife Finland. The new fieldguides help us to illustrate the basics of raptor identification for newcomers, study different plumages and moult stages and solve the trickiest identification puzzles with the best possible knowledge at hand.
The two brand-new Finnsticks (you might have seen one of these in Batumi before) were donated by FotoFennica. The sticks will help us with the count performance, as they prevent stress of arms and shoulders when binoculars are held continuously, especially counting raptors flying in long streams.
To warm up, this morning part of the team visited Chorokhi Delta, a wetland area just south of Batumi. Some raptors were flying around, highlights were a juvenile White-tailed Eagle and 2 Long-leg ged Buzzard juveniles. The delta is already filled with plenty of White-winged Black Terns which gave very good views. But the most interesting sightings were definitely a group of 4 Terek Sandpipers (5 birds in total) and a group of 7 Ferrugineous Ducks.