Experience Bird-watching Tour in Azerbaijan
A 10-Day Spring Birding Tour in Azerbaijan which is moderately paced available on request. The entire country comes alive in spring. The countryside is in bloom, the temperature is pleasant, and returning breeders, adorned in their summer best, join the residents in their droves, with all species at their most conspicuous as they sing and display, driven by the insatiable urge to reproduce.
What's more, huge numbers of northbound migrants move through on their way to higher latitudes, where they will soon fill the vast expanses of steppe, taiga and tundra across Siberia.
A concoction of residents, summer migrants and passage visitors ensure that spring (specifically mid-April until early June) produces the highest trip lists. In a ten day, spring trip to Azerbaijan and its autonomous enclave of Nakhchivan, which is easily reached via a short internal flight from Baku, a trip list in excess of 250 species is entirely realistic.
May is probably the perfect time to visit for the greatest range of species as the last of the winterers still hang on in the early part of the month, while the vast majority of summer visitors will be in and migration will still be conspicuous.
* This tour is customisable. We are ready to work with you to create the best tour program for you
Arrival in Baku. Meeting at the airport and transferring to Boutique Hotel Baku.
After breakfast, drive straight for the Shirvan National park 120 km south of Baku. You will see many birds, an excellent start to get familiar with the birds of the steppe habitats.
The national park was established to protect and increase the numbers of endangered Goitred Gazelles that occur within the park. Thankfully, the population is rapidly increasing in numbers and we will be able to observe them at fairly close quarters.
There is also a large lake, some old fish-ponds and lots of scrub, where we will search for such interesting species as Grey and Purple Herons, Marbled teal , Ferruginous Duck, Lesser Kestrel, Black Francolin, Grey-headed Swamphen, White-tailed Lapwing, White-winged and Whiskered Terns, Blue-cheeked and European Bee-eater, European Roller and Olivaceous and Menetriés's Warblers, Isabelline Wheatear, Isabelline Shrike, Lesser short-toed lark and more. Late afternoon we will drive to Mahmudchala lake which is only 30 min away from the park. Besides quite similar species we will look for White-headed duck and wader species.
After spending some time nearby the lake we will head to our hotel in Masalli town.
Accommodation: Massali Hotel, Massali city.
Food: Breakfast at hotel in Baku, packed lunch in Shirvan, dinner at the restaurant in Masalli
After enjoying our breakfast we will have a short ride to the Shikra Breeding side. Then most of the day in Gizilagaj National park- visiting the coastal lagoons of the park with lots of wetland stuff; hundreds of waders including Terek Sandpipers, White-tailed Lapwings, Caspian Stonechat, terns, gulls and egrets. If we are lucky we may spot Buff-bellied pipit among the many pipits. Before sunset, we will drive to Lerik district.
Accommodation: Cenub Hotel & Resort, Lerik.
Food: Breakfast at hotel, packed lunch in Gizilagaj, dinner at the restaurant
Breakfast at the hotel. Getting to the high forestry mountainous altitude near Mastail village by Niva Lada (off-road cars). Looking for our main target species for the region- Caspian Tit. We will also see species such as Semi-collared Flycatcher, Black Stork, Lesser Spotted Eagle and some subspecies.
Lunch will be served by the local family in the guesthouse in Mastail. Next part of the day will be spent in the rocky and higher mountainous side of the Talysh Mountains called the Zuvand area. Crimson-winged Finch, Blue and Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush, Rock Bunting, Alpine Accentor are the species expected to see. We will come back to the same hotel for an overnight stay.
Accommodation: Cenub Hotel & Resort, Lerik.
Food: Breakfast at hotel, lunch in the guesthouse in Mastail , dinner at the restaurant
Leaving early in the morning as it will be a long drive to the north- Greater Caucasus region.
On our way to Gobustan rock art preserve we should stop to see flocks of Rosy Starlings, Black-headed Buntings and Great Sand Plover breeding site. In Gobustan Rocks species will be Rock Nuthatch (Western), Rock Sparrow (Common), Finsch’s Wheatear, Chukar, Long-legged Buzzard. We will have our lunch at the restaurant in Baku. Late afternoon birding break at the Besh Barmag Bird Migration Counting spot. Pallid Harrier, Lesser Spotted and Steppe Eagles, as well as the local Black Vultures and some migrating passerines will be seen from the site. In another 2 hours we will reach to our hotel in Grizdehne village
Accommodation: Panoramic Hotel, Guba
Food: Breakfast at hotel, lunch at the restaurant in Baku , dinner at the restaurant
After breakfast, off-road cars will take us to a ~2600 m altitude. Some hike up towards the rocks at 3000 m on the slopes of Gizilgaya Plateau, Caucasian Snowcock, White-winged Redstart, Great Rosefinch, Alpine Accentor, Shore Larks, White-winged Snowfinch, Horned Lark, Red-billed Chough, Lammergeiers and much more will be our rewards. We will take our time to enjoy the breathtaking view of surrounding high Caucasus mountains. Food and samovar tea will be prepared by our drivers while we are birding. We will be back at the hotel earlier to grab our luggages and drive to Laza - north face of Gizilgaya Mountains.
Accommodation: Laza guesthouse, Gusar
Food: Breakfast at hotel, lunch in the mountains, dinner in the guesthouse
In the morning before breakfast we will quickly scan the green meadows for Caucasian Grouse just from the guesthouse by scopes. After breakfast we walk the short but slightly exhausting tracks towards the Suvar Resort and spend a few hours on the green slopes with spectacular sceneries.
You will find Mountain Chiffchaffs, hear Caucasian Snowcock calls, enjoy Golden Eagles and more Lammergeiers in the sky as well as Caucasian Grouse from a distance. After lunch, drive back to Baku and out to the airport, to take Azerbaijan Airlines flight to Nakhchivan. Landing in the Autonomous Republic of Nakhchivan (NAR), Nakhchivan city.
Accommodation: Grand Hotel, Nakhchivan city
Food: Breakfast in guesthouse, lunch in guesthouse, dinner at restaurant in Nakhchivan
Breakfast. 2 full days in NAR and with some distinct targets. The birding in this forgotten corner of the Western Palearctic, is equally impressive; the mountain juniper is the most widespread species of tree in the picturesque valleys of Nakhchivan and the scattered groves are a prime habitat for many of the most interesting birds such as Upcher’s Warbler and Grey-necked Bunting. Other species we hope to encounter include Booted Eagle, Lanner Falcon, See-see Partridge, Armenian Gull, the attractive Black-bellied Sandgrouse, the beautiful White-throated Robin, Radde’s accentor, the extremely range restricted Red-tailed Wheatear, three species of attractive ground frequenting finches, Trumpeter, Mongolian and Desert and more nice species.
Flight back to Baku.
Final dinner at the restaurant.
Accommodation: Grand Hotel in Nakhchivan city, Boutique Hotel Baku in Baku
Food: Breakfast at the hotels, packed lunch in field, dinner at restaurants
Every evening we discuss what we plan to do the next day. Please note that the following itinerary is a sample, depending on the interest of the group, local weather and bird news we can exchange the order of the days.
During this trip you will see over 250 species in just 10 days of birding.
Wildlife species expected to see:
Grey and Purple Herons, Marbled teal , Ferruginous Duck, Lesser Kestrel, Black Francolin, Grey-headed Swamphen, White-tailed Lapwing, White-winged and Whiskered Terns, Blue-cheeked and European Bee-eater, European Roller, Olivaceous and Menetriés’s Warblers, Isabelline Wheatear, Isabelline Shrike, Lesser short-toed lark, Terek Sandpipers, White-tailed Lapwings, Caspian Stonechat, terns, gulls and egrets, Caspian tit (Poecile hyrcanus), Caucasian black grouse (Lyrurus mlokosiewiczi), Caucasian snowcock (Tetraogallus caucasicus), White-winged wheatear (Phoenicurus erythrogastrus), Red-tailed wheatear (Oenanthe chrysopygia), Mountain chiffchaff (Phylloscopus sindianus), Great rosefinch (Carpodacus rubicilla), Buff-bellied pipit (Anthus rubescens), White-winged lark (Alauda leucoptera), Shikra (Accipiter badius), Booted Eagle, Lanner Falcon, See-see Partridge, Armenian Gull, the attractive Black-bellied Sandgrouse, the beautiful White-throated Robin, Radde’s accentor, the extremely range restricted Red-tailed Wheatear, three species of attractive ground frequenting finches, Trumpeter
What is included?
- All accommodations
- Domestic flights
- Ground transportation and driver throughout the tour
- English speaking bird guide
- Meals as mentioned in the itinerary
- Unlimited water supply and snacks during the whole trip
- All entrance fees for nature reserves
What is not included?
- International flights
- Airport departure taxes or visa fees
- Excess baggage charges
- Additional nights during the trip due to flight cancellations or reasons beyond our control
- Alcoholic beverages
- Insurance of any kind
- Phone calls or messages
- Reconfirmation of flights
- Items of personal nature
- Anything that is not mentioned in the itinerary and "what is included"