Wednesday, 7 May 2014

The Caucasus Mountains, Georgia

I'm just back from 6 days in Kazbegi, near the Georgian-Russian border in the Greater Caucasus mountains. The landscapes were phenomenal:




There are bird species found here and nowhere else on Earth. Caucasian Snowcock:
As the old Georgian saying goes: "თქვენ იცით, რომ თქვენ არ გადაძვრა მაღალი როცა შურთხი ფრენა ქვეშ თქვენ". Or: "You know you have climbed high when the Snowcock fly beneath you". 
This is a more typical view from underneath the bird of the mountain tops:

Caucasian Grouse:


Some stunning mountain residents, Güldenstädt's Redstart



Great Rosefinch:




Mountain Chiffchaff:


Plus a fabulous selection of local residents and migrants on the East Africa-Asian flyway:

Red-throated Pipit:

Caucasian Water Pipit:

Tree Pipit:

Red-backed Shrike:

Caucasian Ring Ouzel:

Chough:

Migrating Bee-eaters:

"Turkish" Twite

Ortolan:

Red-breasted Flycatcher:

Rock Bunting

Rock Thrush

Red-fronted Serin:

Northern Wheatear:

There were also some great raptors. Migrants included many hundreds of Honey Buzzard and Steppe Buzzard; Sparrowhawks, Hobbies, Long-legged Buzzard and one Steppe Eagle. Locals included this incoming Griffin Vulture...

... and Lammergeier:

One of three adult Lammergeiers that circled low over me, as I pretended to be a rock while I photographed Great Rosefinch. These huge vultures have a 2 meter wingspan, the sky literally turned dark, before I fled for my life. 

All this, and Wallcreeper too. Highly recommended :-) 



4 comments:

  1. if this was Facebook I would have to click the like button. excellent. .. Red Fronted Serin

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    1. Thanks Graham - if you like Red-fronted Serin, take a look at the video I have just posted on the blog, cheers, Tom

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  2. Brilliant Tom, glad you got the Snowcock!

    Richard.

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    1. Thanks Richard - seeing the Snowcock was refreshingly easy in Kazbegi!

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