Saturday, 25 June 2016

Broadwater GP - 24 June 2016

MRB, BC and Margaret were running a session at Broadwater so I joined them as I've not seen them for a good few weeks. Having a swollen ankle, I decided to remain at the base but timed my arrival perfectly as they were just about to release a bird that they felt I would want to see.

The Garden Warbler was already fitted with a ring from the French ringing scheme.

Garden Warbler 6739068

The captures were slow but steady with a rush of birds in the same net at the end, it looked as though birds were already starting to band into small feeding flocks.

Totals: 16 (3)

Robin -2
Dunnock - 2 (2)
Blackbird - 1
Garden warbler - 1 (1)
Blackcap - 1
Chiffchaff - 2
Long-tailed Tit - 1
Blue Tit - 1 
Great Tit - 2
Treecreeper - 2
Bullfinch - 1 

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Azerbaijan - 4th to 14th June 2016

This birding trip was organised by a person who originally was supposed to be taking part on the trip but backed out. We nearly didn't go as there were serious questions about logistics, accommodation, timing and access but there was a party of 7 flying out so we decided to fly on to Baku rather than dessert them and return to the UK.

That was where the problems started. Having booked our flights around those advised as being booked for the party, we found that they arrived several hours after us - so a room was hastily booked from Istanbul airport. Unable to confirm before the flight, we were most grateful to find a man with our name on a whiteboard at arrivals. The room was clean and comfortable - and I (Denise) began to think that my worries about 'standards' having experienced accommodation in Georgia, were groundless. We can not recommend Hasanov's Villa highly enough. Reasonably priced accommodation and very obliging regarding unsociable hours airport transfers - also reasonably priced. We found him on Booking.com

At 5am we were back to meet the party. The day before we had had an email with an itinery that removed the organiser's name and stated that Chris was the leader - with no prior discussion or agreement - and straight into the itinery without so much as a chance to even see the book that held information on the sites - as that was also arriving with another trip participant.

Our guide, Elvin (who was to prove invaluable) and whose number Chris was only given the day before, met the nine of us and took us to the three hire cars. The drivers were Chris, Elvin and another participant who had agreed to drive at quite late notice.

4th June - the itinery read " Depart Manchester (it was actually Birmingham) with Turkish Airlines flying to Baku via Istanbul - although people had actually left on a flight late on the 3rd, travelling over night. Stop at Candy Cane Mountains if time allows. Night in Nazli Bulag".

We were actually to stay at Khinalik (as booked by the ground agent) in order to try for the Caucasian. Snowcock the next day, some 219km from Baku, with an added diversion, en route, for the Candy Cane Mountains.

At Candy Cane we started off with thick cloud cover, obscuring any raptors that may be above the valley. We enjoyed good views of Pied Wheatear, Rosy Starling, Black-headed Bunting, Rufous Bush Robin and Eastern Olivaceous Warbler, then got on to some raptors when the sky cleared.

 Black Vulture

 Griffon Vulture
Candy Cane mountains

Short-toed Eagle, Booted Eagle, Griffon Vulture and Black Vulture were seen before we set off for Khinalik, birding as we went.

Ortolan Bunting

On the road to Khinalik, you pass through Cloud Catcher Canyon.

Cloud Catcher Canyon

The road, by this point is narrow with steep drops below. It was hard to find places to pull off the road and the cloud completely closed in, forcing us to leave, but not until after Green Warbler had been heard and seen a couple of times by most of us.

We pushed on to our home stay.


 On arrival it was clear things were not good. We had been booked into a single room where all 10 of us were expected to sleep on cushions. The outside sink was fed by a hose pipe. Yes, it was clean, but none of us were prepared to sleep on the floor, and none of us (except Elvin) is under 50  - and he would not stay there either!


The homestay that we rejected was unsuitable for 10 people who would suffer if they slept on cushions on a hard floor. We never got so far as to check toilet facilities.

A few calls were made by the guide and an alternative found. This was best described as a walkers' bothy. There were 4 rooms with beds, cushion style mattresses and quilts, one toilet and a shower. The toilet wasn't bad after it had been scrubed for us - but we all thought hot water extremely unlikely - so no one showered and some even slept in their clothes. This was the night after their overnight flight.

A work in progress - no seat or cistern but the bucket was quite efficient.

Dinner and breakfast were provided. Bread, cucumber, tomato and cheese became a staple part of our diet.


5th June - the itinery read "Birding Khinalik, in the lower reaches of the Greater Caucasus should give us our first Caucasian Snowcocks and Guldenstadt's Redstarts and a chance of Great Rosefinch. Night in Nazli Bulag.'

We breakfasted at 6am (a bit too late I thought) then set off in convoy to the high tops.

 White-winged Snowfinch

 Elvin negotiates a stream across the track

We traversed some difficult terrain then were brought to a halt by the ranger/guide from the State Park (whose house we had declined to stay at the previous night). We then set off on foot but people gradually had to stop. Chris, myself and one other went the furthest, not being allowed beyond a white tent, on to the park as permits are required and these should be arranged through the military. We knew we were not close enough - Chris had seen reports from other visits and they clearly drove much further than we were allowed to.

 The group spreads out on the trek to the cliff face

We spent a good part of the morning searching the rocks but didn't even hear the Snowcocks - and there was not so much as a glimpse of the Great Rosefinch or Guldenstat's Redstart.

Horned Lark

 Later, there were few tracks to check out and one that was seen went straight past some sort of military base. We took one road up to the rock face but had to be content with a day's list of Griffon Vulture, Lammergeier, Golden Eagle, Hobby, Rock Dove, Swift, Shore Lark, Rock Thrush, Ortolan Bunting, Red-billed Chough, Caspian Stonechat, Black Redstart, Rock Sparrow, Common Rosefinch and White-winged Finch along with other species that we're used to seeing in the UK.

Red-billed Choughs

So, we missed out on Great Rosefinch - to be expected I guess, and the snowcocks and Guldenstat's Redstart. Timing issue - already moved much higher up (where we were not allowed to go) to breed. The clouds closed in at around 2pm forcing us to descend the mountain in a total white out. This was usual we were told.

Once lower, whenever possible, we checked out the riverbanks to see a few extra birds.

Red-backed Shrike

This and the next three nights were due to be spent in homestay accommodation - but after the reaction to the rejected offer and where we stayed, we were booked into the Olympic complex at Quba for three nights. There have been several of these facilities built to support the efforts of Azerbaijani athletes. I would liken the rooms to staying at Uppingham School for the bird fair. There was a bar and dining room - we seemed to be the only foreign guests. The change also added a lot of travelling kilometers to each day.



6th June - Itinery read "Drive Khinalik to Laza birding on route. Night in Laza."
We drove to Laza from Quba and went to the Shadag Park entrance. We again had a park guide who waved in the general direction on the rock face and said we may not enter. After some negotiation with our guide we were told we may walk up towards the scree slope as long as we remained outside the fence - and then the park guide was gone. We scoured the slopes for any of the speciality birds, and Caucasian Black Grouse as the area had a known lek. Again we drew a blank - one of the party thought they had a female Guldenstadt's Redstart but it was from quite a distance and not seen by any others.


We had several Water Pipits, Wheatears, Rosefinches with some Ravens and raptors.

 Park gate - no entry

Common Rosefinch


 Water Pipit


 Lunch was lovely with Corn Crake calling behind the house where we ate. We spent the afternoon stopping off where space allowed as we returned to Quba.

 Common Sandpipers are very common along the river bed

7th June - Itinery read "Birding Laza. Higher than Khinalik (wrong - actually 700ft lower), a better chance of Great Rosefinch. We should also see Caucasian Black Grouse in this region. Night at Laza."

 The breed of sheepdogs have very small ears so wolves can't get hold of them.

Well having failed so miserably the day before the guide took us to a site where he has shown good numbers of Guldenstadt's to visitors before. Unfortunately that was in May and we saw none. He gestured that we follow him on a path across the valley side. Most didn't attempt it. I stopped midway, put off by the wet grass and steep drop.

 The path - the slope dropped away to a sheer drop with nothing to break a fall.

 Chris made it across - still nothing! The grouse went weeks before and the Redstarts are now well above at their breeding altitude.

A decision was taken to spend a lot of time in the cars the next day and push on to Shivran for an early start at that location.

8th June - Itinery read "Drive Laza to Baku birding en route. Night in Baku." - This was a joke as the overland pipeland reduces tracks around the rough areas and most lakes etc are inaccessible. We were also mindful that many roads, in Baku, were already closed off for the F1 Grand Prix 17-19 June.

 Over land gas pipes

The pipes are run outside of property walls and up and over junctions.

We decided to drive on to Salyan to get an early start at Shivran.
We found some large pools and added a number of species to the list from the road including Avocet, Greater Flamingo,  Little Tern and Marsh Sandpiper. By following a track just up from the pools a White-tailed Lapwing was found and seen by some of the group.

As birding opportunities were limited we drove to Salyan Olympic Complex dropping off at the Gobostan Petroglyphs and Mud Volcanoes.

 Elvin points out some petroglyths at Gobostan

 Dark and Light faced Pied Wheatears


We still kept an eye on the birds and Greater Sand Plover and Mediterranean Gull were picked up at the mud volcanoes.


 Greater Sand Plover 

 Mud volcanoes

video

Oil rises to the surface nearby
We continued towards Salyan in the wind and rain.

Roads are not fully paved so the rain caused havoc and everywhere was muddy.
9th June - Itinery read "Drive south, visiting Shirvan. Shirvan National Park has a huge variety of avifauna owing to the large variety of habitats including Flamingo Lake with Greater Flamingo, White-headed and Ferruginous Ducks, Marbled Teal and Dalmation Pelican. Night in Salyan OC".
 On checking the literature, Dalmation Pelican no longer breed and are a passage migrant. There were actually no Marbled Teal to be seen - or White-headed Duck.

We arranged to met out bird guide at Shirvan ay 6am. We had found, and most of us, seen Menetries Warbler before heading into the gatehouse with our passports for registration - and to sign the visitor book (that incidently meant a list of conditions at the front of the book, written in Azerbaijani, was also signed). We found out about that a couple of hours after when the second track became an issue.

Things started well with a several Short-eared Owls seen close to the path.

 Short-eared Owls


We also saw large numbers of Lesser Kestrels along the track to the freshwater pool. We were told that the birds arrived on the previous day. One party member, with a click-counter, took counts of over 200 each way along the track.

 Freshwater pools viewable from the viewing platform above a small house.


 Lesser Kestrel feeding on crayfish.



 European Starling female

We spent most of the morning at that hide since the track was wet and we were advised not to go to the pools closer to the coast. We delayed trying the 23km track until the afternoon.

 Goitred Gazelle

 Walk out to view from the reeds' edge.

 Marsh Harrier and Hooded Crow


After lunch off site, we returned to try the 23km track. There were other tracks but they were off limits, snakes being the reason given. Some tracks also lead to nodding donkeys, but we were not to use these tracks.

Oil production on the Shirvan reserve.

The track was challenging. Chris went first, followed by the other two cars. We soon came across a digger, piles of earth and the track became yet more challenging. Car three stopped and waited while Chris and Elvin pushed on. Eventually it became clear that work was being undertaken. With 7km left to go, we had to turn back - that was not just a case of water on the track. So we missed the pool near the coast altogether and there was no other access than that which we had tried.

 Heading back, once the track disappeared completely under the piles of soil - really, they might have told us about this.

10th June - Itinery read "Drive to Baku via Masalli, birding en route. Night in Baku. Stand out birds here are Shikra, Black Stork and Semi-collared Flycatcher." - The itinery had us driving to Baku on two separate days - we were actually booked to stay in Masalli for this night after travelling from Salyan. We were all very disappointed to find that our accommodation was not the 'Shikra Cottages' referred to in various emails, from which a nest can be seen, even more so when the map proved impossible to interpret and when 'Shikra Cottages' turned out to be a nickname! It looked as though we had zero chance of locating the site, although we all knew there was a good chance that chicks would have fledged by now.

It rained for a great deal of the day. We spent a lot of time in the car. There were a couple of sites mentioned in 'the Azerbaijan book' but there was nowhere to walk off the road except a few extremely steep and muddy tracks that looked impossible. The foliage was extremely dense.

 Isti-Su

This unlikely area was where a Red-breasted Flycatcher appeared above our heads. We walked down a few steps to overlook the river valley where the clear area might help turn up some birds.

There was a Mulberry Tree where Chaffinches,a few tits and a Blackcap fed on the berries.

 Nightingale 

After a short while we pushed on along the mountain road towards Yardimli to look for likely habitat for Caspian Tit, and the birds themselves (although remarks of other seekers, from the literature, who had failed made this seem unlikely) and other new birds.We found more Black-headed Buntings, some Turtle Doves, a few other odds and ends, and hundreds of large  Grasshoppers - but no Caspian Tits.



 The road to Yardimli - devastated forest but no Caspian Tit

 Gerbil or Jird, not really sure

 Mists enveloped the area in the early afternoon and we made our way back.

We went to a restaurant close to the Salyan Olympic Complex. The garden held Golden Oriole, Blackbird, Roller, Scops Owl, Great Spotted Woodpecker and Long-eared Owl.

11th June - Drive to Baku. Flight to Nakhchivan. Night in Avtovagzai Hotel (Actually the Qrand Otel). We planned to try for the Shrika then travel north. Elvin couldn't make sense of the roads on the map, but Chris put more time in and by superimposing one map over another found that the site was actually opposite the Masalli Olympic Complex.

  This Olympic Complex was opposite a restaurant where people have watched Shrika, earlier in the season.

We arrived and while Elvin spoke to the nightwatchman, we began to scour the area. There was a belt of very tall, mature trees behind the buildings with no immediate evidence of Shikra still feeding young. The sound of juvenile birds calling attracted the group to one end of the trees and it turned out to be adult and juvenile Syrian Woodpeckers.

Syrian Woodpecker

Chris had gone off to find a clear area, across which to scan for the Shikra. He was soon calling us down as he had seen an adult and juvenile fly across the field from above his head. We got distant views of the birds perched on wires to our left. A European Sparrowhawk also flew through while we watched and waited for a better view.

Shikra - record shot

No time to waste, we headed back towards Baku wanting to stop off at the roadside lake that we found on the way down. 

This time the Greater Flamingoes were closer. Other spots included Black-necked Grebe, Great White Egret, Cattle Egret, Mute Swan, Common and Ruddy Shelduck,Teal, Pochard, Moorhen, Bar-tailed Godwit, Marsh Sandpiper, Common Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Pied Avocet, Red-necked Phalarope, Little Gull, Gull-billed Tern, Black-headed Gull, Common Tern, Little Tern, Whiskered Tern, White-winged Black Tern, White Wagtail, Yellow Wagtail, Lesser Grey Shrike, Reed Warbler, Great Reed Warbler, Olivaceous Warbler and Eastern Greylag.

 Greater Flamingoes

 Black-necked Grebe

Lesser Grey Shrike on the nest

Whilst there, some of the party became nervous about getting to the airport on time, despite the assurances of our guide.  They sped off. This was one thing I had feared since the start of the trip, the group becoming separated. For most times when we became too spread out, it had been sufficient for us to wait at the roadside or for Chris to go back and reconnect with the stragglers, but it seemed that the red mist had descended - and they were gone. 

We set off after them but seemed to be travelling a long way with no sign of them. We couldn't see the car - they had not pulled over. We went through a couple  of villages - but still nothing. Elvin pulled over - we had got to the place where we were supposed to get the cars washed. So that's what we did. While we waited two of us thought we saw the third car travelling in the opposite direction. Oh no! I went up to the road to stop them if they went by again. I hadn't thought about what other drivers might think while I (Denise) waited by the road. There were a couple of vehicles that nearly ran into each other, some drivers shouted and gestured - just curious I'm sure, but when a car stopped, that was enough! Still no sign of the third car, and the others had seen Penduline Tit while I stood by the road. Oh joy!

So the two cars were all cleaned up, but we didn't know if they were ahead or behind us. I would say at this point that our phone was locked out after all the calls to  ****  before we even got to Azerbaijan. We decided that Elvin would drive back to where they first left us, some 25km. The other car parked Police style to check the traffic. By the time Elvin got back, we were worried about missing the flight. We drove on - and after a few more kilometers there they were. There were a few choice words. We took our last chance to get their car cleaned - but missed lunch, relying on the airport for something to eat.

We were there on time and caught the 5.40pm flight, but were turned back due to bad weather and didn't arrive at our hotel in Nakhchivan until after 1am.

12th June - Birding Nakhchivan. Night in Avtovagzai Hotel (Qrand Otel). The autonomous Republic of Nakhchivan, whilst part of Azerbaijan is entirely  surrounded by Armenia (Iran, Georgia and Turkey with Russian involvement at the Armenian border.) Here birdlife is typical of north-west Iran and Eastern Anatolia and we hope to find White-throated Robin, Pale Rock Sparrow, Trumpeter and Mongolian Finches and Grey-necked Bunting.

We were pleased to have a local bird expert for this part of the trip, but he didn't speak English so the English speaking guide was to be Emil. We were picked up at 6.30am. I asked about food - since so much was unknown to us, and we stopped to pick up some water and food (bread, tomatoes and soft cheese) as lunch was supposed to be included - and we may not be near anywhere when we needed to eat. Then, it was noticed that the coach had a flat tyre, so we spent another half hour waiting for that to be changed.

 Flat tyre - 30 minutes lost! We only had two days there.

We had Laughing Dove before we left the town, with White Stock and  a live Northern White-bellied Hedgehog as we travelled. The first rocky area we were taken to gave us Eastern Rock Nuthatch, Pale Rock Sparrow, Blue Rock Thrush, Rock Bunting and Tawny Pipit.

Watch your step on that gas pipe

 Chris found a White-throated Robin in the stream bed next to the track as we walked back to the coach. Then, on returning to the coach, it wouldn't start. We were parked on a slope and the engine eventually started when the hand brake was let off and it rolled forward. 

The second site was by a lake. The vehicle couldn't be taken down the muddy track so most of us walked down the track, then we found the bird was over the next two outcrops. Only one person needed Radde's Accentor - and thunder was rumbling 'round the hills, so he went off with the guide and we birded the immediate area,  then set off back to the coach. The heavens opened and when the pair eventually returned it wasn't really clear whether they'd seen the bird or not. The guide put a questionmark on the list so who knows. Meanwhile, we'd seen Redshank, Sedge Warbler and Whitethroat.

 Gathering clouds




Chris gave a list of our 'wants'. Allowing for all the species that were needed by single individuals there was rather a lot there so key species were also highlighted. We still had no idea what was planned for us.

On the road back a Green Warbler was heard from the office where we had stopped for chai. Jen still needed Green Warbler, and at last with a bit of help, she saw it.

 Green Warbler

After the chai I decided to make use of the Ladies toilet, after all, this was a National reserve - it may be a notch above what we've come to expect. It had actually been turned into a store cupboard. Perhaps they don't expect women there - you certainly don't see many women drivers. The gents wasn't anything to shout about - given the choice I think a bush would have been prefereable.

Impossible to use - toilet for ladies.

So, now we were headed to an area of stoney desert, with a lot of ups and downs. I knew I really should have taken my hiking pole. The bird guide led the way and was off like a mountain goat. He didn't take account of the abilities of the party - most were less able than myself.

 Buzzard (menetrieze)


 Lammergeier

 Trumpteter Finch

Rock Nuthatch

While in this area we had Trumpeter Finch, Finsch's Wheatear, Grey-necked Bunting, Persian Wheater and Upcher's Warbler. There were wild goats on the rockface. We also disturbed a Scheltopusik.
It was also the place where I injured my leg - so there are fewer photoes than I would have liked.

13th June - Itinery read "Birding Nakhchivan. Night in Avtovagzai Hotel." Qrand Otel
Second day out with a 6.30am start. I had the hiking pole but rather too late. I was restricted to a painful hobble. We were taken to a site where many of the remaining 'wants' were possible. Our guide set off in his usual manner

 Off he goes again - in search of Mongolian Trumpeter Finch

 They're out there somewhere.

 Finsch's Wheatear




I couldn't manage the terrain and made for a stream bed that gradually took us to the cliff face. We had close Finsch's Wheatear and Trumpeter Finch. Birds were visiting an area where there was still water in the stream bed. We got quite near to a See-see Partridge but it was flushed and my best view was of a colourless outline. Less than satisfactory for a first look. We also had brief flight views of Mongolian Trumpeter Finch. Again, we would prefer to get a second look. Walking back to the mini-buses we saw and heard Black-bellied Sandgrouse.

Lunch in the desert, temperatures in the mid 30s, no shade or air-con.

 Ford minivan - rough and ready

Moving on, a Red Fox was disturbed by the group and Short-toed Lark were next to the road. 

This watery stop for See-see Partridge was at least slightly shady and cool.

 Most of the group sat on the gas pipe in the shade. Eddie even lit a cigarette.

 Jen had a paddle

Meanwhile I stayed in the van because getting in and out was such a struggle.

This is the guide showing two people a See-see Partridge. Neither got on to it.

Being so hot all but the same two people opted to go back due to heat and generally not getting to places where the birds were. The two were left both guides and a van - but were still brought back for approximately 3.45pm.

We found a nice river lined with shrubs, right next to a restaurant that evening. From here Nightingale and Penduline Tit were heard while we ate.

14th June - Itinery read "Fly Nakhchivan to Baku. Overnight Baku." A wasted birding day!

The flight was in the morning. There was some time available in the afternoon but we had no transport arranged. There was not even transfers arranged to the hotel (or back to the airport the next day). The ground agent arranged this without charge - apparently an email had gone unanswered and no arrangements put in place. We looked into transport so we could get out birding in the afternoon in advance, but $400 for the day was a bit steep - all down to the F1 Grand Prix.

 Road closures and minibus rental at a premium as our visit coincided with the preparations for the European Grand Prix.

Elvin graciously offered to take the group on a cultural walking tour of Old Baku. I still couldn't walk far so couldn't go. The only new bird reported was Ring-necked Parakeet in a town park.

15th June - Itinery read "Fly via Istanbul to Manchester arriving late afternoon." We left for Baku Airport at 8am and the whole party flew to Istanbul. Chris and myself then got our flight to Heathrow while the other seven returned to Birmingham. The last bird seen was House Sparrow in the airport terminal - not new for the list 'though.

Eternal thanks to our guide Elvin for sorting out so many changes to accommodation, changes to plans, negotiations with non-English speaking locals and generally looking after us.We can not recommend him highly enough. Emil was also most helpful during the Nakhchivan section of the visit.

Contact details for guides.

Azerbaijan
Elvin Alimuradov  +994506323243           elvinalimuradov@gmail.com

Nakhchivan
Emil Pashali           +994705672506           emilpashali@yahoo.com
www.natigtravel.com

Do mention our names if you make contact with a view to planning a visit.

Birdwatching in Azerbaijan - Schmidt, Gauger, Agayeva, publisher Michael Succow Foundation 2008 ISBN 978-3-000-24158-1


Birds recorded on the trip
Black-necked Grebe, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Little Egret, Great White Egret, Grey Heron, Purple Heron, Cattle Egret, Black-crowned Night Heron, Little Bittern, White Stork, Greater Flamingo, Mute Swan, Ruddy Shelduck, Common Shelduck. Mallard. Garganey, Eurasian Teal, Red-crested Pochard, Common Pochard. Ferruginous Duck, European Honey Buzzard, Lammeregeier, Egyptian Vulture, Eurasian Griffon, Black Vulture, Short-toed Eagle, Western Marsh Harrier, Montagu's Harrier, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Shikra, Common Buzzard, B. buteo menetrieze, Steppe Buzzard, Long-legged Buzzard, Lesser Spotted Eagle, Imperial Eagle, Golden Eagle, Booted Eagle, Lesser Kestrel, Common Kestrel, Eurasian Hobby, See-see Partridge, Chukar, Black Francolin, Common Quail, Corncrake, Common Moorhen, Common Coot, Little Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Greater Sand Plover, Northern Lapwing, White-tailed Lapwing, Bar-tailed Godwit, Common Redshank, Marsh Sandpiper, Common Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Black-winged Stilt, Pied Avocet, Red-necked Phalarope, Collared Pratincole, Yellow-legged Gull, Caspian Gull, Black-headed Gull, Slender-billed Gull, Mediterranean Gull, Little Gull, Gull-billed Tern, Common Tern, Little Tern, Whiskered Tern, White-winged Black Tern, Black-bellied Sandgrouse, Rock Dove, Wood Pigeon, European Turtle Dove, Laughing Dove, Eurasian Collared-dove, Common Cuckoo, Scops Owl, Little Owl, Long-eared Owl, Short-eared Owl, Alpine Swift, Common Swift, Little Swift, Kingfisher, Blue-cheeked Bee-eater, European Bee-eater, Roller, Hoopoe, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Syrian Woodpecker, Green Woodpecker, Calandra Lark,Short-toed Lark, Lesser Short-toed Lark, Crested Lark, Wood Lark, Shore Lark, Sand Martin, Crag Martin, Barn Swallow, House Martin, White Wagtail, Citrine Wagtail, Yellow Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, Tawny Pipit, Tree Pipit, Meadow Pipit, Water Pipit, Red-backed Shrike, Lesser Grey Shrike, Woodchat Shrike, Winter Wren, Dunock, Rock Thrush, Blue Rock Thrush, Ring Ouzel, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, European Robin, Nightingale, White-throated Robin, Rufous-tailed Bush Robin, Black Redstart, Redstart, Whinchat, Caspian Stonechat, Northern Wheatear, Finsch's Wheatear, Pied Wheatear, Persian Wheatear, Isabelline Wheatear, Black-eared Wheatear, Cetti's Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler, Great Reed Warbler, Olivaceous Warbler, Upcher's Warbler, Chiffchaff, Green Warbler, Caucasian Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Common Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Menetries's Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Red-breasted Flycatcher, Bearded Reedling, Long-tailed Tit, Penduline Tit, Coal Tit, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Nuthatch, Western Rock Nuthatch, Eastern Rock Nuthatch, Eurasian Treecreeper, Rock Bunting, Grey-necked Bunting, Ortolan Bunting, Black-headed Bunting, Corn Bunting, Chaffinch, Red-fronted Serin, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Twite, Linnet, Mongolian Finch, Common Rosefinch, Hawfinch, House Sparrow, Tree Sparrow, Rock Sparrow, Pale Rock Finch, White-winged Snowfinch, Rosy Starling, Common Starling, Eurasian Golden Oriole, Eurasian Jay, Magpie, Red-billed Chough, Yellow-billed Chough, Eurasian Jackdaw, Rook, Raven, Hooded Crow, Eastern Greylag.   198species

If you hope to see specialities of the region such as Caucasian Snowcock,Guldenstadt's Redstart, Great Rosefinch, Caucasian Black Grouse and a better chance of the others that we managed to see     (some were not seen by all and others, we only got distant views of one or two individuals) then you must go in May. I can not reinforce enough - JUNE IS TOO LATE. That had been our gut instinct all along, but the organiser would not listen and we were the ones who ended up missing the local gems, the very reason why we made the trip, while he stayed at home.

It is also imperative to ensure that you get access onto the park for any chance of the snowcocks.