The Portland Naturalist

The Portland Naturalist

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Batumi - More Kettles than a Tea Room - Part 5

September 5th
Today I spent my first day on the 2nd station. To get there we had to take a minibus, playing the 'best of' Georgian music. 
The station was well positioned, though lacked the purpose-built shelter of the other.

The site immediately showed its different set of wildlife, with a singing Green Warbler, and a gigantic Convolvulus Hawk-moth caterpillar (green from).

The day was fairly busy for raptor passage, but it also happened to be quite gloomy.  The good news about this situation was that some of Honey Buzzard seemed reluctant to continue their journey, and landed in trees around us.

The bad news about the weather, was that birds were constantly 'gluxing' (flying in and out the clouds), which meant counting was difficult.  It also meant that the bird of the day, a female Crested Honey Buzzard, almost immediately kettled up into the clouds on being found.  It was clearly bigger, but it was a very unsatisfactory 'bimbo' (French word meaning lifer - I learned a whole new raptor-counting vocabulary in Batumi!).

Also among the top raptors were an adult White-tailed Eagle, apparently making a brief sortie from its breeding territory to the north, and yet another poorly-seen Steppe Eagle.

A Middle Spotted Woodpecker was again heard, and it was joined in the dawn chorus by a Black Woodpecker - I really hoped I'd see one at some point.

In the evening, there were a few more moths to see, such as Olive CrescentEpiblema foenella, and this familiar Straw Dot (pale).

September 6th

A day with nothing new to be seen, but the raptor passage was good.

I finally saw a Green Warbler, and I yet again heard Middle Spotted and Black Woodpecker.

I was beginning to realise how demanding the counting process is, particularly when concentrating on the distant streams!

September 7th

I continued at station 2.

Despite the poor passage today, we had a total of THREE Crested Honey Buzzard, two of which I saw well, finally!  They really are quite distinctive birds, with their large proportions and striking tail pattern of the males.

A Georgia tick was Jay.

I was staying at different accommodation for a couple of nights, and a bit of a novelty was this Bear paw hanging from an outbuilding!  Apparently it belonged to a rogue animal which was killed after finding its way into the village and terrorising the residents!  From now on I became rather anxious about wandering away alone from the stations!

A week gone, and I was thoroughly enjoying the whole experience. Not just the birding, but the people too, both the locals and the other counters. So much fun was being had!

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