Interesting records in 1998

Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis) [mcire murtala]
346 individuals were counted in December 1998.
The highest winter count since winter 1989/1990.

Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus) [didi murtala]
23040+ individuals were counted in December 1998 during waterfowl winter census:
in Western Georgia - along Black Sea coast (from Inguri River mouth in north to Turkish border in south), at wetlands of Kolkhida Lowland (Paleostomi Lake basin, complex of Narionali lakes and ponds), Rioni River (between Kutaisi and Samtredia), Vartsikhe reservoir;
in Eastern Georgia - at Jandari Lake, Kumisi Lake, Nadarbazevi Lake, Lisi Lake and Tbilisi Reservoir.
The largest concentration were found at Chorokhi River mouth, near Batumi and in environs of Poti town, Western Georgia.

Slavonian Grebe (Podiceps auritus)
One was observed at Poti harbour among 60+ Great Crested Grebes on 15 February 1998.
Very rare winterer to Georgia. Only one winter record in 1998.

Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo) [didi chvama]
Min. 830 individuals were counted in Batumi harbour, about 180 - near moorage in southern part of Batumi, up to 315 along sea coast between Batumi town and Makhinjauri village (2 km) and two flocks (about 110 and 35) north of Chorokhi River mouth, southern environs of Batumi, Ajaria Autonomous Republic, SW Georgia on 22 January 1998 . Totally in area ca. 1470.
Significant high numbers.

European Shag (Phalacrocorax aristotelis) [grdzelniskarta chvama]
Irregular, occasional visitor or vagrant to Georgia. All known records were at Black sea coast or at coastal wetlands and only one time species was recorded at inland wetland.
- at least seven were in flock of Great Cormorants (Phalacrocorax carbo) on 7 October sitting on rock and stones at Black Sea coast near Kvariati village in Ajaria, SW Georgia. A few of records to area.

Pygmy Cormorant (Phalacrocorax pygmaeus) [mcire chvama]
520-525 individuals were counted at Jandari Lake, E Georgia on 11 December 1998.
The highest winter concentration since 1985.

Dalmatian Pelican (Pelecanus crispus) [khutchutcha varkhvi]
Rare but regular visitor without breeding at large lakes of Javakheti Upland in Samtskhe-Javakheti Region, S Georgia. The nearest site of breeding is southern, Turkish, part of Khozapini Lake ["Aktas Golu" in Turkish language] (Yarar, M.1995. Aktas Golu: a new pelican breeding site on the Turkish-Georgian border. OSME Bulletin 35: 46-48). Rare in small numbers irregular winter visitor at Black Sea coast, vagrant to wetlands in other areas.
Three were on 17 February at eastern side of the Patara Paleostomi Lake, Western Georgia.
Rare winter visitor to site.

White Stork (Ciconia ciconia) [karkati (=laklaki)]
First spring record was on 4 March 1998 in Bashkei village, Tsalka district, Eastern Georgia.
The earliest spring observation.

Marbled Duck (Marmaronetta angustirostris)
One bird in mixed flock of ducks (up to 60) at small pond near Keshalo village, Gardabani district, Eastern Georgia on 22 February.
Vagrant (or very rare passage and winter visitor) to Georgia.

Ruddy Shelduck (Tadorna ferruginea)
Nine individuals were recorded on 23 March 1998 at Nadarbazevi Lake, east of Gori, Eastern Georgia. The highest number for site.

White-headed Duck (Oxyura leucocephala)
Two birds were recorded on 17 February 1998 at Paliastomi Lake, Western Georgia.
Birds were observed in large mixed concentration of waterfowl.
One individual was on 22 February 1998 at Jandary Lake, Gardabani district, E Georgia (in mixed flock of ducks (270+), mostly Mallards.
Rare winter visitor in small numbers to Georgia.

Honey Buzzard (Pernis apivorus)
"Several at Saguramo National Park, 2/08". (***)
A few summer records for area.

Black Kite (Milvus migrans) [dzera]
Common year-round resident, passage migrant and winter visitor to Georgia.
- Three communal roosting-sites were found in the middle of February 1998 at banks of Rioni River, between Vani and Samtredia, Western Georgia (280+, 180-185 and 130+ kites);
- 7741+ individuals were counted in January-February 1998 within the limits of Georgia: 7725+ - in West, i.e. in Black Sea basin, mainly in western and southern parts of Kolkhida Lowland and only 16 birds were recorded in Eastern Georgia, i.e. in Caspian Sea basin (Abuladze, 1998).

White-tailed Sea Eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla) [phsovi]
29 individuals were counted in Western Georgia and 2 in Eastern Georgia during mid-winter
counts in February 1998. 21 birds were recorded at and around
Paleostomi Lake, Kolkhida Lowland.
The highest winter count for over 30 years (Abuladze, 1998).

Egyptian Vulture (Neophron percnopterus) [phaskunji]
" ... and one below Gudauri on 3/08" (***).
A few summer records at this site.

Short-toed Eagle (Circaetus gallicus) [dzeraboti]
- single was recorded on 12 July 1998 at left bank of Rioni River, 2 km lower Vartsikhe reservoir, Western Georgia. The first breeding record for Western Georgia since 1970''s.
- single was observed within limits of Tbilisi, in Saburtalo district on 17 July 1998. Unusual locality.
- "Singles in Tbilisi (7/08) and along the Lagodekhi-Tbilisi road on 10/08" (***). Unusual locality.

Osprey (Pandion haliaeetus) [shaki]
Solitary was observed on 10 February at Patara Paleostomi Lake, Western Georgia. Occasional winter visitor to Georgia; 7th winter record and first since January 1991 (Abuladze, 1998).

Common Crane (Grus grus) [rukhi tzero]
Single was observed on 7 December 1998 at at the bank of Chorokhi River, southern environs of Batumi town, 4 km to north from Turkish border and 0.5-0.6 km from the mouth of Chorokhi River, Ajaria Autonomous Republic, SW Georgia.
First modern winter record to Georgia and South Caucasus (for details see - Abuladze, A.V. 2002 The first winter record of the Common Crane in Georgia. Cranes of Eurasia (Distribution, number, biology). Collection of papers. Moscow, Crane Working Group of Eurasia: 12-14. Text in Russian & English).

Knot (Calidris canutus)
Single was observed on 15 February at Rioni River mouth, Black Sea coast, Western Georgia.
Occasional winter visitor to Georgia. A few of records.

Great Black-headed Gull (Larus ichthyaetus) [kharkhara tholia]
Rare winter visitor in small numbers to Georgia.
Four were recorded along banks of Kura River, lower Tbilisi, between Krtzanisi and Rustavi on 26 December 1998;
two at Gori town on 26 February 1998;
12 single birds were recorded in January-February 1998 (7 in western areas and 5 in eastern areas);
two at Kumisi Lake on 16 December 1998;
single on 30 December at Kura River in center of Tbilisi.

Mediterranean Gull (Larus melanocephalus) [shavthava tholia]
Rare winter visitor in small numbers to Western Georgia, occasional to East.
During winter survey of waterbirds in February 1998, four were recorded at Black Sea coast, one at Supsa fish-pond, one at Narionali Lake, Western Georgia and one near Gardabani Forest-Game Reserve, Eastern Georgia.

Eagle Owl (Bubo bubo) [zarnasho]
Single was observed on 29 July 1997 near Orbeti village, west of Tbilisi.
A few of records to area.

Great Grey Shrike (Lanius excubitor) [rukhi ghazho]
Four singles were recorded on 14 December 1998 at left side of Vere River gorge, western environs of Tbilisi. Birds were counted on 5,5 km route. Unusual high number for Georgia.

Rafous-tailed Scrub-robin (Cercotrichas galactotes)
"Single on 1/8 at David Gareji". (***). The first record of very rare species in new locality.
Addition: Three years later, on 6 July 2001, pair (two times) and single were observed at the same site, 1,5 NW of cave monastery David Gareji in Udabno semidesert, Sagarejo district, Eastern Georgia.
A new, earlier unknown, location for the species.
Very rare breeder in SE Georgia - at the Iori Table-land Sikarulidze, 1974; Kutubidze, 1985, Zhordania, 1999).

Guldenstadt''s Redstart (Phoenicurus erythrogaster)
This species breeds in low densities just below the snow-line between 2,800 and 3,700 m. So, observations of the ten individuals at 2050-2100m a.s.l. were significant.
Ten individuals - two adult males, min. three adult females and five juveniles (or females ?) were counted on 4 August 1998 on 8,5 km route at the slopes of right side of Snostzkali River Gorge between villages Jutha and Karkucha, Kazbegi district, Northern Georgia.
A new summer location for the species, unusual locality for post-breeding movements and high number of rare bird.

Spanish Sparrow (Passer hispaniolensis)
A flock of ca. 25 adult birds was recorded on 31 July 1998 at locality Didi Lilo, NE environs of Tbilisi.
One of the westernmost summer records.

Snow Bunting (Plectrophenax nivalis)
Min. 15 individuals were counted in large mixed flock of wintering Passerines (250-300 Acantes cannabina, up to 40 Fringilla montifringilla, 15-20 Carduelis carduelis, about 20 Passer domesticus, 10-15 Fringilla coelebs and solitary Galerida cristata) on 7 January 1998 near airport Kopitnary, west of Kutaisi, Western Georgia.
4th record since 1895 (Vilkonskii, 1897; Abuladze, 1977).

Great Rosefinch (Carpodacus rubicilla)
This bird breed only in the highest central part of the Main Caucasian Ridge, between Mt.Elbrus (5642m a.s.l.) in west and Mt.Kazbek (5033m a.s.l.) in east ["Mghkinvartzveri" - in Georgian maps , at 3,000-3,500m a.s.l. just below the snow-line and glacier line and feed in alpine and subalpine meadows at 2,500-2,700 m in the summer and 1900-2000m in winter. Lower, in the foothills, they appear only in the most severe winters (Boehme, L.B., 1954; Boehme, R.L., 1958; Lipkovich, 1985, 1986; Loskot, 1991).
Two individuals (females or young birds ?) were observed during
several minutes in the evening (16.35) on 1 August 1998 in 1,2km
SSW of Kobi, Kazbegi district, Northern Georgia (about 2100m a.s.l.).
Unusual locality for summer.

Several presented records were taking from the "Georgia 1998 Trip Report: Republic of Georgia, July 31-August 11, 1998 by Phil Benstead" (
This data are marked with asterisks in brackets (***).


The series of counts of birds of prey during spring passage in 1998 were carried out in Ajaria, south-western part of Georgia.
In spring survey were undertaken in the following sites:
- on 1-9 March at coastal lowland in northern environs of Kobuleti,
- on 12-17 March in Chorokhi River valley near Gvara vill.
- on 20-22 March at the Black sea coast near Chakvi.
20514+ individuals of 27 raptor species were counted in spring 1998;

In autumn 1998 counts were undertaken in the following five sites:
- on 19-20 September and 4-6 October in Chorokhi River mouth,
- on 21-27 September in Chorokhi River valley, near Maradidi vill., Khelvachauri district near Turkish border,
- on 29 September - 2 October at coastal lowland in NE environs of Kobuleti,
- on 28 September in Chakvistzkali River valley,
- on 3 October in Kintrishi River valley Aсентября по долине
In total, 40575+ individuals of 28 raptor species were counted in autumn 1998.

The main results of survey of migrating raptors in spring and in autumn 1998 in SW Georgia were published: ABULADZE, A.V., EDISHERASHVILI, G.V. 2003. Raptor migration in Georgia in spring and in autumn 1998. Materials of the 4th Conference on raptors of Northern Eurasia. Penza, 1-3 February 2003. Edited by Prof. Dr. Vladimir Galushin. Rostov-on-Don State Pedagogical University 106-109 (text in Russian).






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