Thursday, 29 January 2015

Mount Elbrus.West summit 18,510ft and East summit 18,442.

The Caucasus at dawn as seen from Station 1. Most days you wouldn't know they were there.

Looking north at dawn from Station 1. Many Marsh, Montagu's and Pallid Harriers would already be moving south.

Looking east towards Station 2

The white blobs are houses.

A curtain of rain just offshore.

It isn't just the migration that is extreme at Batumi, the weather can also be. Hot sunny days can quickly deteriorate into mega thunderstorms, rain and wind.

Dries and David experiencing heaven. 

Slowly clearing

Back to normality and the counting resumes.

This was the mother of all storms as seen from Station 1 on 29 September. Heavy rain stopped at breakfast time so we headed up the hill to the shelter that is like sheltering inside a cheese grater. Marsh Harriers were already battling against the increasingly strong southerly wind, one juvenile giving up and going back north with the wind. Highlight before the storm truly arrived was a Short-eared Owl emerging from low cloud right in front of our faces. I went back up to the hill at lunchtime during a very brief dry spell and was greeted by Quail, Sibe Stonechats,10 Wheatear and masses of willow/chiffs and Redstarts dropping out of the sky around me. A male Pallid Harrier skimmed the ground 5m away not knowing that I was standing there before continuing south. Alan Dalton joined me on the hill and we counted 1300+ BK and Steppe Buzzards moving south in between the torrential squalls. Even during extreme weather like this migration never stops for some species.


After the storm.

Little Ginger with a temporary transect line

Huge Hawkmoth caterpillars (Convolvulus?) were regularly found at Station 2. We even considered eating them some days after seeing what was in our pack lunches.

Praying Mantis