WINTER 2000/2001- SPRING 2001

WINTER 2000/2001:

Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis). From 11 to 34 individuals were
observed during the second half of December 2000 - first decade of January 2001 at small (about 2ha) lake in one of the Parks of Batumi town, Western Georgia. Max number (34) was noted on 4.01.2001.
Largest wintering concentration at site.

Pygmy Cormorant (Phalacrocorax pygmeus). 430-435 individuals were counted on 11 January 2001 at Jandary Lake (41.24''N 45.12''E; 11.4 sq.km; 290m a.s.l.; Eastern Georgia, Georgia-Azerbaijan border). Not less than 53 individuals were counted at Kumisi Lake (41.45''N 44.51''E; 3.4 sq.km; 475m a.s.l.; Eastern Georgia, Marneuli district). Rare in small numbers winterer.

Black Kite (Milvus migrans). Flock consisting of not less than 220 birds was observed on 27 January at garbage dump in environs of Kutaisi, Western Georgia. Largest wintering concentration at this area.

Saker Falcon (Falco cherrug). Not less than three (probably four) Sakers regularly were observed in the end of January - first half of February 2001 in north-western part of Tbilisi, at the territory of Gldani district and two individuals - at the banks of Tbilisi Reservoir. Latest observations were 16 and 19 February. Rare winter visitor, especially in urban areas.

Arctic Skua (Stercorarius parasiticus). Died was found on 9 December 2000 at Rioni River bank near Vani, Western Georgia. Vagrant. Third inland occurence and the most distant site from the Black sea coast.

Lesser Black-backed Gull (Larus fuscus). Single was observed among 35-40 adult and immatures Yellow-legged Gulls at Vartsikhe reservoir on 1 February 2001. Vagrant.

Eagle Owl (Bubo bubo). Solitary individual was recorded on 7 February at the bank of Kura River in central part of Gori town, Eastern Georgia.
Unusual locality.

Eurasian Jackdaw (Corvus monedula). Solitary bird was observed in large (up to 150 individuals) flock of Rooks on 22 February 2001 in Lagodekhi district, Eastern Georgia. Vagrant, first record at this area.


SPRING 2001:

Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus). Around 160 individuals were
recorded on 30 March at Black Sea coast near Kobuleti, Ajaria Autonomous Republic, Western Georgia.
The largest spring concentration and one of the latest spring records in Georgia.

Pygmy Cormorant (Phalacrocorax pygmeus). Up to 45 individuals were recorded on 18 March 2001 at Jandari Lake, Eastern Georgia, near Azerbaijan border.
Unusual late record of rare winter visitor.

Black Stork (Ciconia nigra). Solitary individual was observed on 24 March 2001 at flood-land of Khanistzkali River near village Rokiti, Baghdadi district, Western Georgia. Rare summer breeder and passage migrant.
A new location for the species.

Mute Swan (Cygnus olor). Died was found on 10 March 2001 at Black sea coast in Khelvachauri district, Ajaria, Westren Georgia - between village Gonio and Turkish border.
Unusual locality for rare winterer.

Osprey (Pandion haliaeetus). Single was recorded on 22 March at bank of Nadarbazevi Lake, Gori district, Eastern Georgia. Very rare passage visitor.
A new location for the species.

Lesser Kestrel (Falco naumanni). Two small flocks - 4 and 3 individuals were observed on 2 April 2001 at Kura River valley in eastern environs of Gori town, Eastern Georgia.
Very rare passage visitor in small number.

Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus). Solitary bird (sub-species F.p. brokei) was recorded on 7 April at the bank of Phrone River near village Abisi, Agara district, Eastern Georgia.
Rare resident. A new location for the species.

Demoiselle Crane (Anthropoides virgo). Small flock (11 birds) was observed on 12 April 2001 in fields near Tbilisi Airport, Eastern Georgia.
Unusual locality.

Greater Black-headed Gull (Larus ichthyaetus). Two individuals were observed in large (up to 300 gulls, mostly Larus cachinnans) mixed flock of gulls on 11 April 2001 at mouth of Chorokhi River in Ajaria, Western Georgia (southern environs of Batumi).
Very late record of rare wintering species.


Dalmatian Pelican (Pelecanus crispus). Three individuals several times were observed 22, 23 and 24 August 2001 at Madatapa Lake (8,9 sq.km, 2113m a.s.l., 41.10''-17'' N, 43.45''-49'' E), Ninotzminda district, Southern Georgia.
Accidental visitor for Georgia. The nearest breeding site is known in the southern, Turkish, part of ["Khozapini" in Georgia] [ "Aktas Golu" in Turkey] Lake (Yarar, 1995).

Black Stork (Ciconia nigra). Not less than four pairs were counted in Tsalka hollow, Ktsia River valley and southern slopes of Trialeti Ridge in Borjomi and Tsalka districts. Unknown earlier location for the species.
Rare summer breeder (25-30 pairs) and passage visitor for Georgia (Abuladze, 1993, 1996).

White Stork (Ciconia ciconia). Nine nests (seven occupied) were found in Tsalka district. The highest number since 1975. Rare breeder in Southern Georgia (Abuladze, Eligulashvili, 1986; Abuladze, 1987) between vertical limits from 1250 to 2400 m above sea level. 78-92 pairs in 1974-2001. Very rare on passage along Black Sea coast (Abuladze, Kandaurov, Eligulashvili, Edisherashvili, 1986).

Red-crested Pochard (Netta rufina). Rare breeder on mountain lakes of Southern Georgia. There were the following observations in three sites in Southern Georgia: - two solitary adult males were recorded on 21 July 2001 in mouth of Paravani River at Sagamo Lake (5.0 sq.km; GPS Data - 1998m a.s.l.; 41.18'' N 43.44'' E), Ninotzminda district, Javakheti Upland;
- not less than six adult males, two adult females and nine young individuals were observed on 4 July 2001 in NW part of Khanchali Lake (13.7 sq.km; GPS Data - 1928m a.s.l.; 41.14'' N 43.33'' E), Ninotzminda district, Javakheti Upland;
- one adult male and three adult females were recorded on 22 July 2001 (1 male + one female on 23 July 2001) at Tabatskuri Lake (14.2 sq.km; 1989m a.s.l.).

Ferruginous Duck (Aythia nyroca). Rare breeder and passage visitor on some lakes of Southern Georgia. There were the following observations in summer 2001:
- four adult males, seven adult females and six young individuals on 4 July 2001 along western bank of Khanchali Lake (13.7 sq.km; GPS Data - 1928m a.s.l.; 41.14'' N 43.33'' E, 1928m above sea level), Ninotzminda district, Javakheti Upland, Southern Georgia;
- one adult female on 22 July 2001 at Tabatskuri Lake (14.2 sq.km; 1989m a.s.l.).
- about 45 individuals, including not less than ten adult males and seven adult females, were counted on 26 August 2001 in northern part, mosly along north-eastern bank of Kartsakhi Lake (1798m above sea level), Ninotzminda district, Southern Georgia, 3-4km from Turkish border;

Bearded Vulture (Gypaetus barbatus). Rare resident at Great Caucasia and very rare at Lesser Caucasia (Abuladze, 1981, 1995, 1998; Abuladze, Shergalin, 1998). The breeding by single pairs, high level of residentness, presence of the constant hunting territories and mostly solitary behavior are typical for birds of local population.
- five soaring individuals together in one group - four ad. + one imm. were observed during 6-7min on 30 June 2001 in Dariali Gorge near locality Lars, Kazbegi district, Northern Georgia (at the Georgia-Russian border).
One nest and one territory are known in this area. Unusual concentration.
- one adult was recorded on 10 July 2001 at Aspindza pass (GPS Data - 41.56''N 43.38'' E, 2485m a.s.l.), Trialeti Ridge, Lesser Caucasus.
Very rare visitor at this area. The easternmost summer record at Trialeti Ridge.

Short-toed Eagle (Circaetus gallicus). One individual was recorded on 23 July 2001 in Ktsia River sources, watershed area of the Trialeti Ridge, Lesser Caucasus (GPS Data - 41.63'' N 43.68'' E, 2070m above sea level). Bird was watched with little snake in the bill. A new location for species and unusual high altitude.

Steppe Eagle (Aquila nipalensis). Single was recorded in field near Imera Lake, Tsalka district (GPS Data - 41.65'' N 44.21'' E, 1690m above sea level).
Passage migrant and occasional summer non-breeding visitor (Abuladze, 1997). A few summer records.

Booted Eagle (Hieraeetus pennatus). Solitary individual was recorded on 10 July 2001 at Aspindza pass (GPS Data - 41.56'' N 43.38'' E, 2485m above sea level), Trialeti Ridge, Lesser Caucasus. Unusual locality. Scarce summer breeder. Occurs in mixed and deciduous forests with clearings, commonly in low mountains (250-1200 m a.s.l.)

Bonelli''s Eagle Hieraeetus fasciatus. Single individual was recorded on 21 July 2001 1,5km north of Thiqmathashi Pass (2168m a.s.l.) in
northern part of Javakheti Ridge, Lesser Caucasus, Southern Georgia.
Occasional breeder. Very few records for Georgia.

Lanner Falcon (Falco biarmicus). Single bird was recorded on 2 July 2001 at Jalguja Ridge, south-eastern environs of Tbilisi. Very rare resident (Abuladze, Eligulashvili, Rostiashvili, 1991). 12th record for Georgia.

Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus brookei). Rare resident. Very few recent records for Georgia, especially during nesting period. Solitary individuals were observed in following sites, which are a new, earlier unknown, locations for the species:
- on 8 July 2001 at left bank of Kura River between villages Qvishkhethi and Akhaldaba, Borjomi district;
- on 19 July 2001 near Sanda, other name Uzungel'' Lake, Tsalka district, SE part of country (GPS Data - 41.66'' N, 44.01'' E, 1815m a.s.l.

Caucasian Black Grouse (Lyrurus mlokosiewiczi). Three solitary adult individuals, two females and one male, were recorded during 7,5hrs excursion on 11 July 2001 in high-grass thickets along upper tree-line at slopes of Mt.Kodiani, (GPS Data - 41.72'' N, 43.38" E, 2080-2425m a.s.l.), Trialeti Ridge, Borjomi district. Very few recent records at Trialeti Ridge (Kutubidze, 1961, 1966, Zhordania, 1962, Vitovich, 1986).
Widespread but rare resident, decreasing, especially at Lesser Caucasia (Abuladze, Eligulashvili, Rostiashvili, 1990).

Common Crane (Grus grus). Two breeding pairs were counted at wet mountain meadows in upper parts of Ktsia River valley, west to Mt. Thavkvethili (2582m a.s.l.), Lesser Caucasus. Rare summer breeder at the mountain wetlands of Southern Georgia; 11-16 breeding pairs in 1991-2001.

Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus). At the bank of saltish lake Jiqurebistba Lake in Udabno semidesert in western part of Iori Table-land, Sagarejo district, SE Georgia. First recent breeding record, previous were in 1973, 1977, 1981 and 1987.
Rare irregular summer breeder in small numbers.

Armenian Gull (Larus armenicus). Six adult birds were recorded on 5 August 2001 in southern corner of Sioni reservoir (12,8 sq.km, 1088m a.s.l.), Akhmeta district, E Georgia. Unusual location.

Eagle Owl (Bubo bubo). Rare resident. Nest of the Eagle Owl, located in cave on vertical rock, was found at Kvernaki Ridge in Kura River valley, E Georgia. Under and near the nest, among other prey remains, adult Long-legged Buzzard was recorded. The first documented case for Georgia.

Blue-checked Bee-eater (Merops superciliosus). Four individuals were observed in flock of European Bea-eaters (up to 25 birds) on 31 August 2001 at Kvernaki Ridge, Gori district, E Georgia. 8th record since 1973 and the earliest autumn record. All previous records were in September. Very rare passage visitor in arid areas of East and vagrant in other parts of country.

Middle Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos medius). One solitary individual was recorded on 18 July 2001 near Algeti Nature Reserve in Mangtlisi and one solitary individual was observed on 12 August 2001 in old deciduous forest near Kojori village, south-western environs of Tbilisi. Rare resident. Very few recent records for Georgia.

Rafous-tailed Scrub-robin (Cercotrichas galactotes). Pair was observed near cave monastery David Gareji in Udabno semidesert, Sagarejo district, E Georgia. A new, earlier unknown, location for the species.
Very rare breeder in south-eastern part of country - at the Iori Table-land (Sikharulidze, 1974; Kutubidze, 1985, Zhordania, 1999). Modern datas on distribution and numbers is very scant.

Western Rock Nuthatch (Sitta neumayer). Two occupied nests were found on 7 June 2001 on the rocks near Uphlistsikhe monastery, Gori district, Eastern Georgia. The westernmost known site (Kutubidze, 1985). Resident breeder in arid rocky habitats on lowlands, table-lands, pre- and low-mountainin areas of E Georgia. Vertical limits of species distribution - 250 - 800m a.s.l. During recent decades in some areas was marked slow decline.

Wallcreeper (Tichodroma muraria). Two solitary individuals (probably pair) was observed with 3-4min interval on 1 July 2001 at the ruins of stony fence , 250-300m north of Mletha village, Dusheti district. A new location for the species. Resident breeder with local seasonal vertical movements.

Eurasian Penduline Tit (Remiz pendulinus). Single bird was watched on 16 August 2001 at territory of Tbilisi botanical garden. Unusual location.
Resident breeder or partial migrant.

Crimson-winged Finch ( Rhodopechys sanguinea). One adult male was observed on 21 July 2001 near Orlovka village, Ninotzminda district, Southern Georgia, about 15km from Georgia-Armenian border. Very few records for Georgia. Status uncertain (Kutubidze, 1985; Zhordania, 1961, 1999). Resident non-breeding, accidental visitor. A small population may survive on mountain meadows in Southern Georgia at Javakheti Upland, along Armenian and Turkish borders, but breeding here not confirmed by any factual materials.


Autumn & December 2001 (1 September - 31 December 2001):

Slavonian Grebe (Podiceps auritus). Three individuals were counted at 22 December 2001 at Black Sea coast between Gonio and Sarpi, near Georgia-Turkish border, SW Georgia. Birds were in flock of Great Creasted Grebe (130+).
Very rare winter visitor to Georgia.

Pygmy Cormorant (Phalacrocorax pygmeus). Two flocks, composing in total 460+ individuals were observed on 27 December 2001 at Jandari Lake, SE Georgia.

Spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia). Not less than 225 birds were counted at flooded meadows between Paleostomi Lake and Supsa fish-ponds on 26 September 2001.
The largest flock since 1981.

Griffon Vulture (Gyps fulvus). Single was recorded on 9 November 2001 at the Black Sea coast in 2,5-3 km south of locality Gonio, Khelvachauri district, Adjaria Autonomous Republic, Western Georgia (2km north of Turkish border).
Bird was observed, when was feeding on the corpse of dead dolphin - Common [harbour] porpoise Phocoena phocoena (Linnaeus, 1758).
Unusual location.

Rough-legged Buzzard (Buteo lagopus). Two solitary birds were recorded on 1 September 2001 in western environs of Gori and one near Agara, Eastern Georgia.
The earliest autumn records to Georgia.

Common Crane (Grus grus). Small flock (nine individuals) was recorded in fealds near villages Tzkneti and Akhaldaba, 10 km west of Tbilisi on 4 October 2001.
Flock, composing up to 45 individuals, was observed at bank of Rioni River, 1,5 km lower of Vartsikhe reservoir, Western Georgia on 8 October 2001.
New locations for migrating birds.

Eurasian Nightjar (Caprimulgus europaeus). 20-25 birds regularly were observed during 2nd decade of September at the territory of about 3 hectares in Seaside Park of Batumi, Ajaria, SW Georgia.
Unusual high concentration for migrationg birds; commonly 1-3 birds were seen here in previous years.

Middle Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos medius). Single was recorded on 14 December 2001 in park of central part of Rustavi town, Eastern Georgia. Very rare resident breeder.

Black Lark (Melanocorypha yeltoniensis). Formerly very rare irregular winter visitor to Georgia, vagrant at present. Four individuals (flock of 3 and single) were watched during 4 hrs excursion on 17 December 2001 around Tbilisi reservoir, E Georgia. No known records since 1979.

Bearded Tit (Panurus biarmicus). Three small flocks (4, 4 and 7+ individuals) were recorded on 27 December 2001 at Jandari Lake, Eastern Georgia.
Rare resident breeder.

Kruper''s Nuthatch (Sitta krueperi). Resident breeder to NW of country (Abkhazia). Data on occurence in other parts of Georgia is very incomplete. Recorded from sea coast to tree limit, perhaps 2000m a.s.l. Single birds were observed on 29 November and 1 December 2001 in Kobuleti, Ajaria, SW Georgia.

Goldcrest (Regulus regulus). Numerous flocks (from 5 to 20 birds) were observed in parks and around Tbilisi during the second half of December. Unusual concentration, caused probably by extremely unfavorable weather conditions at Lesser and Greater Caucasus.





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