Two days in the Chorokhi delta

On September 18th and 19th a small group of birders from the BRC visited the Chorokhi delta for birding. In total, we observed 99 species, including some birds in the hand at the ringing station.
We visited the delta south of the bridge as well as some small ponds just north of the bridge along the road.

The highlights were:
Sociable Lapwing - one present near the military buildings
Black-winged Pratincole – 3400 birds flying overhead, biggest flock: 2200
Stone Curlew – one near the river mouth on the shore
Heuglin’s Gull – subadult on a riverbank
Blyth’s Reed Warbler (ringing station)

Especially on the 18th a lot of passerine birds seemed to have freshly arrived in the bushes. We checked some bushes, walked around the ponds near the shore, did a bit of seawatching and spent some time at the mouth of the river, which is a good spot for waders and terns. Undoubtly the two most exciting observations were that of the Sociable Lapwing and the Pratincoles. We flushed the Lapwing near one of the military buildings at the beginning of the delta. This endangered species visits the delta every year in very small numbers during migration.
Especially in the morning, huge numbers of Black-winged Pratincole were migrating over the delta. The biggest flock we counted was about 2200 birds. In total we observed at least 3400 birds and just two sitting on one of the river banks. Probably the same birds were seen from counting station 2 that morning. Has there ever been a higher number of Black winged Pratincoles counted so far in the region? We would be happy to receive your comments on facebook or to contact@batumiraptorcount.org

Albert de Jong & Jasper Wehrmann
(c) all photos by Albert

Full species list

Species Number Species Number
Mallard 1 Black-headed Gull 1
Pintail 3 Yellow-Legged Gull 5000+
Shoveler 1 Armenian Gull 1
Common Teal 3 Baltic Gull 1
Gargeney 11 Heuglins Gull 1
Quail 2 Little Gull 3
Black-necked Grebe 2 Common Tern 2
Little Grebe 5 Little Tern 1
Red-necked Grebe 1 Sandwich Tern 1
Great Crested Grebe 3 White-winged Tern 6
Cormorant 5 Whiskered Tern 1
Little Bittern 1 Turtle Dove 30
Black-crowned Night Heron 7 Scops Owl 1
Squacco Heron 2 Hoopoe 1
Cattle Egret 2 Kingfisher 10+
Little Egret 2 Bee-eater 100+
Great White Egret 2 Roller 1
Grey Heron 10 Wryneck 2
Purple Heron 5 Short-toed Lark 10
Osprey 1 Sand Martin 100+
Marsh Harrier 5 Barn Swallow 100+
Pallid Harrier 4 Tawny Pipit 6
Sparrowhawk 3 Tree Pipit 10+
Lesser Kestrel 1 Red-throated Pipit 4
Hobby 1 White Wagtail 10+
Moorhen 4 Yellow Wagtail 100+
Coot 1 Citrine Wagtail 3
Water Rail 2 Trush Nightingale 2
Little Crake 1 Bluethroat 1
Spotted Crake 1 Common Redstart 2
Black-winged Stilt 1 Northern Wheatear 4
Black-winged Pratincole 3400 Winchat 6
Little Ringed Plover 2 Stonechat ssp maura 4
Ringed Plover 50 Blackcap 1
Grey Plover 1 Common Whitethroat 3
Northern Lapwing 5 Lesser Whitethroat 4
Sociable Lapwing 1 River Warbler 2
Dunlin 10 Blyth's Reed Warbler 1
Curlew Sandpiper 1 Reed Warbler 1
Temmincks Stint 1 Great Reed Warbler 1
Little Stint 10 Booted Warbler 1
Wood Sandpiper 11 Willow Warbler 1
Green Sandpiper 3 Spotted Flycatcher 1
Common Sandpiper 1 Red-backed Shrike 10+
Common Redshank 1 Hooded Crow 10+
Spotted Redshank 1 Golden Oriole 2
Common Greenshank 1 House Sparrow 8
Common Snipe 5 Goldfinch 15
Ruff 15 Greenfinch 1
    Ortolan Bunting 1