Sunday, 11 August 2013

Birding around Baku

I've been in Azerbaijan for two weeks now and finding somewhere permanent to live has taken precedence over birding but I have managed to get out and explore a couple of times so far.

Botanical Gardens, Baku

A somewhat scruffy botanical garden, more of an arboretum, in the west of the city. It's a quiet place behind high walls and appears to have a reasonable number of common woodland birds such as blue tit and blackbird. I've also seen two golden oriole and three cuckoo. It may be easier to bird in the winter after the leaf fall.

Qanli Gol, Baku

A medium sized lake in western Baku, unfortunately the citys unofficial rubbish tip too. Fair numbers of common late summer waders such as green sandpiper with several great crested grebe, moorhen and coot further out on the water. The reed beds gave up a little bittern both times I was there and they contain breeding reed warbler. Again likely to be more interesting in the winter when waders and ducks return. Surprisingly I've seen no herons or egrets except for purple heron in two visits.

Gorbustan National Reserve

This reserve some 40 kms. south of Baku is a protected area because of its ancient petroglyphs but the rocky hillside provides plenty of birding opportunities. I spent an afternoon hiking the hills and added 19 species to my Azerbaijan list including egyptian vulture, lesser kestrel and peregrine, black-eared, isabelline and pied wheatear, several lark species and a rufous-tailed scrub-robin but one of the commonest birds, and a lifer for me, was western rock nuthatch. It's a site I'll definitely visit again later in the year.

Pied wheatear, Gobustan National Reserve

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Azerbaijan frogs

Some photos I took birding Baku Botanical Gardens and a lake called Qanli Gol in the western suburbs. I haven't managed to identify them yet.