Interesting records - 2007 - Non-passerines

Red-throated Loon = Red-throated Diver (Gavia stellata)
Rare irregular winterer along the whole length of the Georgian section of the Black Sea coast.
- four were in port of Batumi on 7 January;
- 15+ were along sea coast between Grigoleti village and southern edge of Poti town on 29 January;
- at least 22 (three flocks of eight, six, three and five solitary) individuals were recorded on 4 February at Black sea coast between Sarpi village (Turkish border) and Chorokhi River mouth, Ajaria, SW Georgia;
High concentration.

Arctic Loon =Blach-throated Diver (Gavia arctica)
Rare winter visitor to Black Sea coastal waters. Occasionally recorded inland.
Two solitary were recorded on 1 February 2007 at Narionali lakes, W Georgia.
A very rare inland occurence.

Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis
- about 220 were on 1 February 2007 at Narionali lakes, W Georgia. High concentration;
- at least 25 were watched on 12 March 2007 in central part of Tbilisi near Ortochala Hydr.Electr.Station. Vagrant to area.

Horned Grebe (= Slavonian Grebe) Podiceps auritus
Rare in small numbers passage and winter visitor along Black sea coast and coastal wetlands.
- single was watched in flock of Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus) on 7 January 2007 at sea coast in southern environs of Batumi;
- single was observed in flock of Great Crested Grebe on 19 and 20 March 2007 at Nurio Lake in central part of Batumi, Ajaria, SW Georgia.
Very rare, occasional visitor to sites.

Mediterranean Shearwater (Puffinus yelkouan)
Rare but regular winter visitor in coastal waters with dates of presence from end of October to the end of March. Usually observed as single specimens, rarely by two or three individuals.
- 16 were counted during 4 h observation on 21 March 2007 at Black Sea coast near Turkish border between Sarpi and Gonio villages, Ajaria, SW Georgia.
High concentration.

Pygmy Cormorant (Phalacrocorax pygmeus)
252+ were counted on 4 December 2006 and at least 140 on 30 January 2007 at Jandari Lake;

Great White Pelican (Pelecanus onocrotalus)
- died was found in the end of January at sea coast near Batumi Airport, Ajaria, SW Georgia. Vagrant.

Dalmatian Pelican (Pelecanus crispus)
- a flock of 11 individuals was on 9-11 January and 4 were on 3 February at small pond at Kakhaberi plain (SE environs of Batumi town, Ajaria, SW Georgia). High concentration.
- flying flock of 17 individuals was observed on 24 April near Madatapa Lake (8,9 sq.km, 2113m a.s.l., 41.10''-17'' N, 43.45''-49'' E), Ninotzminda district, Javakheti Upland, Lesser Caucasus, S Georgia.

Great Bittern (Botaurus stellaris)
- single was recorded on 12 March at bank of Mtkvari (Kura) River in central part of Tbilisi City under Metekhi Church.
- single was watched at Lisi Lake (northern environs of Tbilisi City) on 6 May.
Vagrant to areas.

Little Bittern (Ixobrychus minutus)
At least 23 were counted at 1,2 km distance along western shore of Paleostomi lake on 11 May.
High concentration for spring passage.

Black-crowned Night-Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax)
12 were observed on 22 April and 16 on 24 April at flooded bank of Kvirila River near Vartsikhe reservoir, southern environs of Kutaisi town, W Georgia.
High concentration.

Black Kite (Milvus migrans)
- from 30 to 50 and from 20 to 25 individuals were observed at two communal roosts during second half of December 2006 at old oak trees in western part of Ajameti Nature Reserve near Dimi village (Baghdati district, Imereti region, W Georgia) and at least 20 individuals regularly were presented at communal roost in Khanistskali River valley near Rokiti village (Baghdati district, Imereti region, W Georgia) in winter 2006/2007.
High concentration.
- at least 350 were counted on 3 January along 3 km of left bank of Rioni River lower Vani town (W Georgia). High concentration;
- 483+ were counted during 2,5 hours in morning (9.50-12.15) and 121+ during 3 hours in evening (15.10-18.10) on 12 April from the slope at right side of Aragvi River valley 0,5-1,0 km N from Zhinvali reservoir (Great Caucasus, E Georgia).
The highest day count for spring passage 2007.

Griffon Vulture (Gyps fulvus)
- at least 14 soaring individuals were watched on 18 March directly at border with Azerbaijan at Udabno Ridge near David Gareji, SE Georgia;
- two were observed soaring near Shio-mghvime monastery (environs of Mtskheta town, E Georgia) on 15 April. Vagrant to area.

Short-toed Eagle (Circaetus gallicus)
Rare breeding summer visitor in Eastern Georgia. In 1960-70''s number dropped catastrophically owing to excessive use of pesticides in agriculture and as result of sharp degradation of the Reptilia populations. So, perhaps not more than 5 pairs were in 1970s, 5-10 in the end of 1980''s, about 10 breeding pairs in the beginning of 1990s, about 15 in the mid-1990s and 25-30 pairs in 2001-2003. At present this species is more common at the Iori Table-land (about 15 pairs) and in Alazani River valley (3-4 pairs) and Kvernaki Ridge (2 - 3 pairs). Widespread in small numbers passage visitor across Georgia.
- single was recorded in Rioni River valley lower Vani town on 2 April 2007. Early spring record;
- a flock of six birds migrated over northern part (Saburtalo district) of Tbilisi City on 14 May 2007. Unusual size of migrating flock.

Bonelli''s Eagle (Hieraeetus fasciatus)
Single flying to NE direction was recorded on 20 March in Mtkvari (Kura) River valley in Gori town, E Georgia.
Occasional breeder and passage visitor (vagrant). Very few records for Georgia about 20.

Shikra (Accipiter badius)
Single was seen on 12 May in field near Sadakhlo village, Gardabani district SE Georgia.
Vagrant. 8th known record to Georgia.

Lesser Kestrel (Falco naumanni)
Four individuals (three males and one female) were watched on 29 March 2007 at northern bank of Tbilisi reservoir. Early spring record.
Earliest spring record was registered on 24.03.1991.Common spring passage across Georgia took place during second-third weeks of April.

Merlin (Falco columbarius)
Rare to uncommon passage and winter visitor to Georgia.
- at least three individuals regularly were watched in the end of December 2006 January 2007 in some districts of Tbilisi City (near hippodrome in Saburtalo district, at Hudadovistke and in Dighomi). Occasional winterer to urban areas;
- single was watched on 1 May in Tetri-tskaro, E Georgia, that is very late spring record of wintering species.

Eurasian Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus)
Rare but regular passage visitor across country and rare irregular non-breeding summer visitor at banks of some large rivers in eastern areas. Probably in very small numbers breeds on stony, pebble plots of Mtkvari (Kura) River, lower Rustavi town (Abuladze, Kandaurov, 1990).
22 individuals (two flocks 7 and 5, two pairs and 6 single) were recorded on 25 March at left bank of Mtkvari River at the territory of Gardabani sanctuary, SE Georgia. High concentration.

Knot (Calidris canutus)
Rare in small numbers passage visitor and occasional irregular winterer.
At least 132 individuals were recorded in three flocks in evening on 29 April 2007 at Black sea coast near resort Magnetiti, W Georgia.
The highest spring count and to Georgia and the highest concentration since 1995.

Greater Black-headed Gulls (Larus ichthyaetus)
Rare but regular winter visitor at Black Sea coastlands, some large lakes and large rivers in Western Georgia. Rarely recorded in Kura (Mtkvari) River Valley from Khashuri town to border with Azerbaijan. Vagrant to other areas. Dates of presence: mid-November - mid-March.
- three were on 23 March 2007 at Jandari lake and single was at Mtkvari (Kura) River bank in Dighomi district of Tbilisi City on 28 March, that is very late winter records.

Mediterranean Gull (Larus melanocephalus)
Regular but rare migrating and wintering species at Black Sea coast and some large lakes in Western Georgia. Rare and irregular (occasional) winter visitor to Eastern Georgia.
- three were in port of Batumi and three at sea coast in Makhinjauri on 3 January 2007;
- single was in flock (about 100) of Armenian Gulls at Mtkvari (Kura) River near Metekhi bridge in Tbilisi City on 7 April, that is very late record of wintering species;

Armenian Gull (Larus armenicus)
Rare irregular breeder in southern areas. Irregularly nests in small numbers on the some lakes and marshes of eastern part of Lesser Caucasia - at Javakheti Upland (Khanchali, Khozapini, Madatapa and some other lakes). Several times small colonies (10-15 pairs) were found at Tabatskuri Lake. Rare year-round non-breeding visitor in Mtkvari (Kura) River valley, more often recorded during post-breeding movements. Occasional visitor in wetlands in other areas. Vagrant at the Black Sea coast and coastal wetlands. Number of wintering individuals in Eastern Georgia increased since the middle of 1990''s.
- 2338+ were counted along Mtkvari (Kura) River banks within the limits of Tbilisi City on 28 March, 540+ were on 6 April and 61+ on 17 April;
- from 12 to 236+ wintering individuals were in January-February at the Mtkvari (Kura) River banks within the limits of Gori town, E Georgia;
- seven solitary individuals were recorded on 25 March at left bank of Mtkvari River at the territory of Gardabani sanctuary, SE Georgia.
- four were at banks of Mtkvari (Kura) River lower Akhaldaba village, Borjomi district and eight near Khashuri town on 1 April;

Lesser Black-backed Gull (Larus fuscus)
Rare irregular passage and winter visitor at Black Sea coast, vagrant to inland waters.
- single was observed in flock of 50-60 Yellow-legged Gulls lower Baratashvili bridge in Tbilisi City on 28 March 2007. Vagrant. First modern record to area.

Arctic Skua (Stercorarius parasiticus).
Rare in small numbers winter visitor (or vagrant) to Georgia.
- two were watched in mixed flock of gulls in port of Batumi on 19 March 2007.

Nightjar (Caprimulgus europaeus)
Common summer breeder and passage visitor in various forests.
First transit migrants were observed at Kobuleti lowland (Black Sea coast, Ajaria, SW Georgia) on 2 May 2007, in Ajameti Nature Reserve (Imereti region, W Georgia) on 7 May 2007 and at Gombori Ridge (Kakheti region, E Georgia) on 4 May.
Early spring passage, common spring passage and arrival falls during second week of May (10-15), very rare earlier.

Roller (Coracias garullus)
Uncommon summer breeder and rare passage visitor in eastern areas. Local population slowly decreased during last three decades.
First observations of single individuals were on 14 May near Patardzeuli village, near Krasnogorski village and at bank od Jiqurebistba Lake in Udabno semi-desert (Sagarejo district, Kakheti region, E Georgia). Late arrival, common date is end of April-1st decade of May.

Alpine Swift (Apus melba)
Common breeder in dry open areas with presence of precipices, rocks, cliffs in middle and upper belts of mountains, table-lands, beyond over to 800 m a.s.l. and in semi-deserts. More common in East. Scarce on passage. Nests by small colonies (20-40 pairs), located at cliffs.
- at least 15 were observed in western part of Kvernaki Ridge (E Georgia) on 10 April;
- about 40 were recorded near Pantiani village, in Orbeti Gorge and in sources of Vere River (eastern part of Trialeti Ridge, E Georgia) on 14 April.
First spring observations.

Swift (Apus apus)
Some phonological dates:
- first birds were watched at Black sea coast in Batumi on 9 April and on 10 April in Tbilisi;
- transit passage 9 21 April;
- first arrival on nest was registered on 19 April in Tbilisi;
- first egg on 2 May in Tbilisi.

Interesting records - 2007 - Passerines

Horned Lark =Shore Lark (Eremophila alpestris)
At least 30 individuals were counted in two flocks in field near Alaverdi Cathedral, 18 km from the town of Telavi in the Alazani-River valley, on 4 January.
Unusual size of flocks, wintering birds usually recorded at lowlands by single individuals or small groups (2-4 ind.).

Sand Martin (Riparia riparia)
- first records of transit migrants in 2007 were: in Western Georgia in Kvirila River valley lower Zestaphoni town on 11 April; in Eastern Georgia in Mtkvari (Kura) River valley near Khashuri, Agara and Gori towns on 14 April. Arrival of local birds was recorded on 17 April in Rustavi town.
- colony (about 50 pairs) was found at left bank of Mtkvari (Kura) River within the limits of Rustavi town, E Georgia. New colony.

Eurasian Crag-Martin (Ptyonoprogne rupestris)
The first observations of the year were in Eastern Georgia - in the Vere River gorge at around 3:20pm on 12 April 2007 and two days later in Dabakhanka gorge near Okrokana village.

Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)
- first records of transit migrants in 2007 were at Black sea coast in Batumi on 4 April and in eastern part of Kolkheti Lowland in Rioni River valley between Kutaisi and Samtredia (Imereti region) on 5 April; firs migrants in Eastern Georgia (i.e. in Caspian Sea basin) and on 7 April in Tbilisi. Arrival of local birds was recorded on 10 April in the environs of Tbilisi.

Northern House-Martin (Delichon urbica)
- two flying to eastern direction along Mtkvari (Kura) River were recorded in evening on 28 March 2007 in locality Avtchala in environs of Tbilisi City. Extremely early spring record.
- intensive passage of numerous flocks was registered along Black Sea coast in Batumi on 6-8 April, on 8 April in Kutaisi (W Georgia) on 8 and 10 April in Tbilisi City, on 8 along Mtkvari River valley in Gori (E Georgia);
- in Tbilisi firs local birds arrived on 10 April 2007.

Rufous-tailed Scrub-Robin =Rufous Bushchat (Cercotrichas galactotes)
Rare sporadic breeder in south-eastern areas, mainly at Iori Table-land. Modern data on the distribution, numbers and biology in Georgia is very scant.
At least nine pairs were counted on 12 may at the gentle arid slopes (ca.2,5-3,0 sq.km) around David Gareji monastery in Udabno semidesert, Sagarejo district, E Georgia.

White-winged Redstart =Gldenstdt''s Redstart (Phoenicurus erythrogaster)
Rare, locally uncommon year-round resident with some seasonal vertical local movements. During breeding season occurs only in the most upper belt of Main Caucasian Ridge and its southern spurs at central and eastern parts of Great Caucasus. Nests in the sub-nival belt at narrow, dark gorges with glaciers, rocky plots of steep slopes, alpine meadows. In winter goes down to river valleys, occurs in thickets of sea-buckthorn, other berry species (October-March).
23 were recorded on 29 March along motor-road near between locality Zemo Mleta and resort Gudauri, Dusheti, N Georgia (about 1200 1700 m a.s.l.).
High concentration.

Bearded Parrotbill =Bearded Reedling (Panurus biarmicus)
At least seven (3 in one group + 4 single) were recorded on 12 March in reed-beds along bank of Kumisi Lake, E Georgia..
Rare irregular winterer to area.

Western Rock-Nuthatch (Sitta neumayer)
- breeding of three pairs was confirmed in the middle of May 2007 in central part of Kvernaki Ridge, E Georgia;
- two single individuals were watched on 15 April under cliffs in Shio-mghvime monastery (environs of Mtskheta town, E Georgia).
Rare year-round resident to areas.

Wallcreeper (Tichodroma muraria)
Rare year-round resident.
Solitary wintering birds were observed in the following sites:
- in Mtatsminda park, environs of Tbilisi City on 24 December 2006;
- near Telavi town, Kakheti region, E Georgia on 4 January 2007;
- at ruins near Uplistsike, Kvernaki Ridge, Gori district on 30 January 2007;
- at rocks near Jvari church, Mtskheta district, E Georgia on 19 February 2007;
- at motor-road under Surami pass on 16 March 2007.

Northern Shrike =Great Grey Shrike (Lanius excubitor)
Rare in small numbers winter visitor to Georgia.
Single wintering individuals were recorded in the following sites:
- near Alaverdi Cathedral, 18 km from the Telavi town in the Alazani-River valley, Kakheti region, E Georgia on 4 January;
- near Dzveli Shuamta in Kakheti region, 7 km from the town of Telavi, on 5 January;
- at bank of Liakhvi River in Gori town, E Georgia on 25 February;
- in garden in Phersathi villige, Baghdati district, Imereti region, W Georgia on 3 March.

White-winged Snowfinch (Montifringilla nivalis)
Generally uncommon, locally fairly common resident. Breeding range covers pre-alpine and alpine belts at Great Caucasus and Lesser Caucasus. During non-breeding period it carries out nomadic movements quite widely, forming sometimes great flocks to several hundred birds.
At least 120 birds were in several flocks recorded on 7 December at motor-road between Tsalka town and Edikilisa village (Tsalka district, Lesser Caucasus).
Occasional winter visitor to area. A few of records.

Reed Bunting (Emberiza schoeniclus)
About 25 birds were counted in several small flocks along Vere River banks at the territory of Tbilisi ZOO on 26 March.
Occasional winter and passage visitor to area.

All your remarkable and interesting sightings of birds at the territory of Georgia in 2007 ARE WELCOME !





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