World Shorebirds Day at Batumi

About half of the world’s shorebird populations are in decline, and the rate of habitat loss is worse than ever before. The World Shorebirds Day aims on raising public awareness about the need to protect shorebirds and their habitats throughout their life cycles and about the need for ongoing shorebird research.

This year 756 registered locations worldwide participated in the event. Sabuko, Society for Nature Conservation Georgia, was one of them. We decided to focus on the threatened Chorokhi delta along the Eastern Black Sea Coast flyway at Batumi, Georgia, and conduct a shorebird count there.

Written by Robrecht Debbaut

On 05/09 we celebrated the Wordl Shorebirds Day  with a team of  volunteers of the BRC and headed out to the Chorokhi delta. Our plan was to look in the morning in Batumi for passerines and afterwards, when it was too hot for passerines, to go to the delta where we would focus on waders and crakes.

When we arrived at the delta around 9:30 a.m. it was already pretty hot, but that did not distract us from the quest. Some highlights upon arrival in the delta were squacco heron, citrine wagtails and lesser grey shrikes. An unpleasant sighting however were the numerous hunters and shot birds we encountered on our way to the beach. We saw some hoopoes and turtle doves shot dead and wounded purple herons and glossy ibises.

At the beach we came to well suited areas for waders. There we observed black-winged pratincoles, temminck’s stints, little stints and broad billed-sandpipers. After checking the waders it was so hot that we went for a swim in the Black sea. The water was refreshing and we only swum 15 meters away from a red-necked-grebe.


Before we had to head back, we hurried to the ponds which are well suited for crakes. At the ponds we saw a little crake, several short-toed larks and a red-necked phalarope! We could approach the phalarope up to 2 meters and thus had very close looks on it.  On the way back to the bus we saw a cattle egret and ruddy shelducks. We were all tired of the exhausting day but satisfied as well. Without rushing to see as much species on one day, we still saw 74 species.

Species list:

Wryneck Jynx torquilla
White wagtail Motacilla alba
Whinchat Saxicola rubetra
Yellow-legged gull Larus michahellis
Tree pipit Anthus trivialis
Eurasian reed warbler Acrocephalus scirpaceus
Great reed warbler Acrocephalus arundinaceus
Eastern-olivacious warbler Iduna pallida
Common whitethroat Sylvia communis
Lesser whitethroat Sylvia curruca
Willow warbler Phylloscopus trochilus
Great cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo
Rosy-starling Sturnus roseus
Booted warbler Iduna caligata
Black-headed bunting Emberiza melanocephala
Little egret Egretta garzetta
House sparrow Passer domesticus
Tawny pipit Anthus campestris
Hooded crow Corvus cornix
Great egret Ardea alba
Hoopoe Upupa epops
Garganey Anas querquedula
Little grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis
Black-necked grebe Podiceps nigricollis
Squacco heron Ardeola ralloides
Grey heron Ardea cinerea
Purple heron Ardea purpurea
Glossy ibis Plegadis falcinellus
Black kite Milvus migrans
Marsh harrier Circus aeruginosus
Montagu’s harrier Circus pygargus
Levant sparrowhawk Accipiter brevipes
Eurasian coot Fulica atra
Black-winged pratincole Glareola nordmanni
Little ringed plover Charadrius dubius
Northern lapwing Vanellus vanellus
Dunlin Calidris alpina
Broad-billed sandpiper Limicola falcinellus
Temminck’s stint Calidris temminckii
Little stint Calidris minuta
Wood sandpiper Tringa glareola
Green sandpiper Tringa ochropus
Common sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos
Eurasian curlew Numenius arquata
Common snipe Gallinago gallinago
Ruff Philomachus pugnax
Caspian gull Larus cachinnans
Heuglin’s gull Larus heuglini
Little tern Sterna albifrons
Sandwich tern Thalasseus sandvicensis
White-winged tern Chlidonias leucopterus
Turtle dove Streptopelia turtur
Common kingfisher Alcedo atthis
Bee-eater Merops apiaster
Great spotted woodpecker Dendrocopos major
Short-toed lark Calandrella brachydactyla
Sand martin Riparia riparia
Barn swallow Hirundo rustica
Yellow wagtail Motacilla flava
Citrine wagtail Motacilla citreola
Thrush nightingale Luscinia luscinia
Common redstart Phoenicurus phoenicurus
Northern wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe
Lesser-grey shrike Lanius minor
Cattle egret Bubulcus ibis
European goldfinch Carduelis carduelis
European greenfinch Chloris chloris
Ruddy shelduck Tadorna ferruginea
Red-necked phalarope Phalaropus lobatus
Little crake Porzana parva
Water rail Rallus aquaticus
Common moorhen Gallinula chloropus
Red-necked grebe Podiceps grisegena
Great crested grebe Podiceps cristatus