Saturday, 31 January 2015

Batumi City

The waste ground behind and to the left of the big wheel is an amazing place to see falls of migrants. One such day I walked around the grass and scrub with Alan Dalton, both of us uttering very few words other than f--k me every few seconds. Locustella's and acro's were everywhere, Eastern Stonechats littered the weed stems whilst Wrynecks, Redstarts, Bluethroats, Quails, and Red-throated Pipits flushed at your feet. Following a Great Reed Warbler into a bush revealed a roosting Little Bittern and on it went. Without doubt the best days migrant watching I have ever done.

Little Bittern, Juvenile


Great Reed Warbler

Great Reed Warbler responding to a Red-backed Shrike that had landed above it. The warbler had good reason to be wary when you see photos further down

They look so much bigger when seen in among weeds rather than 6ft reeds.

Reed Warblers. The waste ground was covered in 'Reed' Warblers of all shades of brown. I guess the geographical position of Batumi means that both western and eastern Reed's pass through so you don't really know what you are dealing with in the first place. The gist of the last article in British Birds on the Reed Warbler complex said that fuscus came in at least three colour types and without a feather sample for molecular analysis you were generally screwed. Nominate scirpaceus is probably just as variable across it's range. You decide what they are.

Migrant acro's can look so different when not in reeds.

Savi's Warbler. Many present but most only seen in flight or scurrying like mice through the grass

Rollers. Never imagined seeing flocks of 30-50+ migrating.