The Portland Naturalist

The Portland Naturalist

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Batumi - More Kettles than a Tea Room - Part 3


September 1st

I started the day nailing some of the odd sounds around the houses, recognising the calls of Short-toed Treecreeper, and seeing a male 'samamisicus' male Redstart on the way to the count station.

The weather was quite fare, and so passage was on the whole less than yesterday, but I'm certainly not going to complain, as I got into the counting groove properly. 

A Tawny Pipit flying over, and a couple of subliminal Alpine Swift were new on the passerine front, but a flock of 110 White Stork was a particularly spectacular sight.

video

We'd already had some close Lesser Spotted Eagle, when the highlight of the day came early afternoon, with an ominous shape looming out of the murk ahead of us...


...which showed the dark upperparts, the large hand, and single underwing 'comma' of a Greater Spotted Eagle! What a bird!

A particularly close male Pallid Harrier was a delight...

video


...but I was very sad to hear that the bird was shot out the sky shortly after this footage was taken. A brutal reminder that illegal hunting is a big problem in the area. There is currently a dedicated team there monitoring the hunting, and implementing educational measures to reduce it. Attempts from past years have shown some encouraging results.

A good day, with some 12,000 birds in total, mostly distant ones.

In the evening, I was amused to watch the guys from Batumi Birding branding their office - how many people does it take to stick a sticker on a window? ;-)


Come the night, I got the first taster of the quality of moths to be found in the area, with stunning Latin, Orache Moth, Splendid Brocade...


...and a darker form of Bordered Sallow...


...attracted to lit windows.  Interesting to see many species which are scarce migrants to the UK.

September 2nd

Today was a slow day, with most of the Honey Buzzard passage occurring in the distance.

Instead I took the opportunity to look at other things.

Looking out to sea was always worth a try, and today I got the Georgia ticks of Little Egret and Grey Heron as flocks migrated south.

In the bushes behind the station I found a confiding male Red-backed Shrike, and below the view point I heard my first Middle Spotted Woodpecker.

The insects were interesting to look at such as loads of Red-veined Darter and a few Long-tailed Blue.

Also this unidentified green-tailed Lizard taking refuge from the hot sun in our shelter.


Nearby was this cracking Wasp Spider - familiar to me, but no less striking for that.



In the evening, more moths were found around outside lights, including a dark Iron Prominent...


...Sub-angled Wave...


...a dark (yet another dark form, why is this? The warmth perhaps?) Porter's Rustic...


...and female Four-spotted Footman.


I looked forward to more action tomorrow!

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