Monday 20 May 2013

Armenia; Dilijan to Yeghegnadzor

So onto Armenian. We collected Paul in Tbilisi on the way South. We had a singing Nightingale in no man's land while walking between the border of Georgia and Armenian, not countable on either country list?
We had our first encounter with close proximity of the Azerbaijan border, the first of many. A lot of houses were abandoned in the area due to previous conflict and ongoing sniping from each end. Several military are killed yearly on each side still, not the best areas to bird in!

Near Voskepar (I  think) with Azerbaijan in the background.
Our first real stop and overnighter was at the beechwoods of Dilijan. We stayed in some ex-Soviet holiday homes which had all seen better days. Some of the dwellings we encountered both in Georgia and Armenia were so dilapidated it was often hard to make out if they were occupied. Another odd feature of some of the two-storey houses was that only the ground floor would be live in with the first floor just being a complete shell.
Anyway the beechwoods at Dilijan were excellent with a large selection of woodland species. The main target here was Green Warbler. They were without doubt the commonest warbler present in the woods that evening and the following dawn. We had managed to miss them at Kazbegi, possibly a little early although Paul had a few the previous week there. Other good species seen included breeding Lesser Spotted Eagles, Middle spotted Woodpecker, Red-breasted Flycatcher (no Semi-collared Flycatcher though), samamisicus Common Redstart, Hawfinch and Common Rosefinch.

Dilijan, nice spot for Middle spotted Woodpecker...
Next day we continued on South and spent a few good hours around Sevan Lake, one of the largest high attitude (1900m) freshwater lakes in the world. It's also home to a large proportion of the world population of Armenian Gull.

Black-headed Wagtail

Adult Armenian Gulls

Adult Armenian Gull

Adult Armenian Gull
Adult Armenian Gull

Adult Armenian Gull (head & bill structure vaguely cachinnans-like)

Third-summer type Armenian Gull.

Glossy Ibis

Male-type Red-throated Pipit

Female-type Red-throated Pipit

caspia Reed Bunting, nice thick bill and pale rump area.

Female Ortolan Bunting

Armenian Gull colony in the background.

Azerbaijan border with the defensive structures (Hesco-like bastions) along ridgeline.
Further South we jammed in on a male Finsch's Wheatear. Just on the far side of Yeghegnadzor the following morning we had a great selection of birds in a semi-arid valley which included three lifers for myself - Levant's Sparrowhawk, White-throated Robin and Eastern Rock Nuthatch. also here were Western Rock Nuthatch, Black-eared Wheatear, Rock Sparrow and Black-headed Bunting.

Valley between Yeghegnadzor and Vayk.

Eastern Rock Nuthatch

White-throated Robin

Lesser Kestrel colony.

Spandarian Reservoir

Finsch's Wheatear

No comments:

Post a Comment