Harriers, harriers, harriers

The last week of August and 1st week of September of the Batumi Raptor Count are great for Harriers, as the migration of Montagu's peaks and some Pallids are already in the mix. In hindsight I wish I had taken more photos of them, but in the heat of the moment, identifying and finding loose flocks of harriers is hectic enough as is. And it's definitely more enjoyable without a camera in front of your face…

Juvenile male Montagu's (Circus pygargus)

Juvenile male Pallid (Circus macrourus)

Adult male Montagu's (Circus pygargus). Truly gorgeous birds, despite the generally bad condition of the plumage by this time of year (or the typical Batumi overcast skies).

Loose flocks of ringtails that often either pop up out of the valley, like these birds, or are high in or above the streams of Honey Buzzards.

Adult male Montagu's (Circus pygargus) passing in between flocks of mainly Honey Buzzards.

And the cracker: A dark morph adult male Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus). Luckily I got to see 3 of these during my stay, but I'm still waiting for the moment one passes by close at eye level.

An almost empty beach

Today I made a walk along the beach in search of interesting and color-ringed gulls, but the beach was mostly empty. Four color-ringed birds were present on a total of ~200 birds (mostly Herring Gulls) along 6 kilometers of beach. A disappointingly small number of birds for this time of year, despite the relatively good number of ringed individuals. However, there was one visitor that I don't often see up close here: a nice Harbor Seal. And when there are seals on the beach, seal ‘rescuers’ are always close. This animal made the wise decision to go back in the water on their arrival. Luckily I had already made some photos beforehand.

Harbor Seal (Phoca vitulina

Harbor Seal (Phoca vitulina)

Harbor Seal (Phoca vitulina)

Harbor Seal (Phoca vitulina)

Harbor Seal (Phoca vitulina)

Harbor Seal (Phoca vitulina)

Seal 'rescuers’ and the enemy of all gull-loving beach visitors: a pack of dog-walking-service-dogs (sorry for the bad English, but you get the point)