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  • A professional Birdingpal guide can customize your tour, and you will see the birds you want.
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  • You will enjoy the advantage of all the attention you get in a small group, for the same price or perhaps even less, than you will pay if you travel with the large tour groups from other countries
  • Remember, the next time you travel, you do not have to miss the birdwatching if your partner or travel companions are non birders; a local guide is flexible, and will easily accommodate other needs too
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Birdwatching in Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan is a widely unknown country to birdwatchers although it offers a high number of very attractive species to look for and a wide variety of great landscapes and different habitats. On a trip to Azerbaijan you will encounter wide lowland steppe and semi desert ecosystems, huge wetlands with amazing birdlife, mountain deserts with lush floodplains, rich beech and dry oak forests as well as the stunning scenery of the high Caucasus Mountains.
Among the top species are Caucasian Snowcock, Caucasian Black Grouse, Great Rosefinch, Güldenstadt’s Redstart and Shikra which has its only breeding site in the WP in the southern lowlands of Azerbaijan. Other highlights are e.g. White-throated Robin, Radde’s Accentor, Bimaculated Lark, Crimson-winged and Trumpeter Finch, but also more common species like Semi-collared Flycatcher, Green Warbler or Caucasian Chiffchaff.

"Zuvand Uplands"



Nearly twenty years after the breakdown of the Soviet Union the country becomes more and more open to westerners and international tourism is slightly developing. Travelling in Azerbaijan is not difficult with a guided group as the people are very friendly and hospitable and also the infrastructure of hotels and resorts is meanwhile well established.

"Trip map"


Electronic map of Azerbaijan

Tour I
15 day birdwatching tour to Azerbaijan.

Itinerary

Day 1.
Arrival at Baku airport (usually at night) we check in and have breakfast at the hotel in Baku.
Trip to Gobustan Rock Paintings and the mud volcanoes.
Species to see: Rock Nuthatch, Rock Sparrow, Finsch’s Wheatear, Chukar, Lesser Short-toed Lark, Long-legged Buzzard.
Further on to Shirvan NP with semi desert, numerous Goitered Gazelles at close range and a wetland.
We will look for Larks, Isabelline Wheatear, Rufous Bush-Robin, Black Francolin, Menetrie’s and Olivaceous Warbler, Stone Curlew, Herons, Terns and more.
In the evening back to Baku

"Stone Curlew"



Day 2.
Trip to the south, birding stops along the way looking for Flamingos, Waders and Marsh Terns at a lake beside the road.
Night in Masalli tourist resort, where we can relax in the hot sulphur spring (great!)

"Whiskered Terns"


Day 3.
Talysh Mountains, Hirkan Forest around the tourist resort we will look for forest species such as Semi-collared Flycatcher, Black Stork, Lesser Spotted Eagle, Shikra in the lowlands, only breeding site in the WP.
Trip to Kizil Agach, the largest wetland complex in Transcaucasia, very good observation conditions (all Herons, many Gulls, Terns, Waders, Purple Swamphen and more.
Night in a tourist resort in beautiful forest along the road to Lerik.

"Shikra"


Day 4 and 5.
Lerik and Zuvand region, mountain semi desert and floodplains looking for Bimaculated Lark, Shore Lark, Eastern Black-eared Wheatear, Upcher’s Warbler, White-throated Robin, Trumpeter Finch, Grey-necked Bunting, Pale Rock Sparrow, Caspian Snowcock, Radde’s Accentor and Crimson-winged Finch.
Nights in the same resort as above

"White-throated Robin"


Day 6.
Trip through the lowland with stops on the way, especially at Ag-Gel NP. Very rich birdlife and we will be looking for White-tailed Plover, Collared Pratincole, a huge and very impressing colony of Blue-cheeked Bea-eater and more.
Night in hotel in Agjabedi, close to the park.

"Blue-cheeked Bea-eater"


Day 7.
Turianchay SPA, dry landscape with steep loam cliffs and juniper forest, broad river valley with poplar forest with many raptors. Imperial Eagle on the nest, Vultures, Black Stork, many Rollers, Bea-eaters and more.
Night in a resort at the foot of the mountains in Qabala.

"Turianchay SPA"


Day 8.
Southern and eastern slopes of Greater Caucasus, on the way beech forest, changing into dry oak forest, then steppes and at the end semi desert where many different species can be found such as colonies of Rose-coloured Starling and Lesser Kestrel along the roadside. Colourful slopes in the famous “Candy Cane Mountains”.
Night in a hotel in Alti-Agach NP.

"Rosy Starlings"


Day 9.
Alti-Agach NP, steppes and oak forest, broad gravel bed of a mountain river with many raptors and songbirds such as Pied Wheatear, Green Warbler and more.
Night in a hotel in Alti-Agach NP.

"Asian Imperial Eagle"


Day 10 and 11.
Northern slopes of Greater Caucasus, beech forest to sub-alpine belt around Khinalik where we wil hike looking for White-winged Snowfinch, Alpine Accentor, Red-fronted Serin, Bearded Vulture, Güldenstad’s Redstart, Great Rosefinch, Caucasian Snowcock, Alpine and Red-billed Chough.
Nights in tourist resort in a canyon in the forest zone.

"Guldenstadt's Redstart"


Day 12, 13 and 14.
High mountains, sup-alpine to alpine belt, stunning mountain scenery where we will hike looking for Caucasian Black Grouse, all other high mountain species, East Caucasian Tur (Mountain Goat) and much more.
Nights in the beautiful Suvar Resort at 1800 m in Laza.

"Birch Shrubs with Caucasian Black Grouse"


Day 15.
Back to Baku by bus, old town, souvenir shopping etc.
Last dinner in superb Georgian Restaurant if you like, very recommendable and to the airport in the night for your flight (depending on the flight time another night in a hotel).


15 Days tour price is: 2 pax 3200 Euros per person double room. 4 pax 2575 Euros per person double room.
315 Euros single supplement.
Due to currency fluctuations and fuel cost we reserve the right to adjust any pricing prior to departure.

Convert your tour cost into your currency of choice.

Included:
Complete organisation and guidance. Transport in the country and terminal transfer. All meals and drinks. Entrance fee to the protected areas.
Excluded:
International transportation, Travel insurance, Visas and items of personal nature.
Notes:
The above birding itineraries are based on what are essentially popular routes for birders. It can be shortened or extended.
Birding season: For Breeding Birds in May-June. Also Trips in autumn and winter are possible.
All the date of itineraries include arrival and departure dates.
All trips are available year round, but prices may be adjusted around special holidays.
Minimum lead time six (6)weeks.
To check availability for tours on short notice, fill out “Request for Quote” form with desirable dates.
Fitness:
The tour does not require a high level of fitness but participants should be in good general health. Hiking trips in the high mountains can last a whole day.
Equipment:
Besides binoculars, scopes and of course also cameras if you like, you should bring suitable clothing for warm weather in the lowland, but also for lower temperatures in the mountains as well as good footwear.


Should you only need a guide for a day please send a message to Kai.   

Birding guide Kai Gauger, your local Birdingpal guide
Kai Gauger will be your personal tour guide and is a most experienced ornithologist in Azerbaijan. He has worked there in many different projects for the University of Greifswald, the Michael Succow Foundation and the German NABU in cooperation with national organisations and the Minitry of Ecology. He did studies concerning breeding bird communities, migration and wintering birds all over the country. In the last years he organised and guided several tours for birdwatchers but also botanists. He is furthermore author of the only comprehensive bird and nature guide to Azerbaijan which came out in 2008.
Kai speaks German (mother tongue), English (fluent) and Russian.

Testimonials.

Being fond of nature and birds, in particular, I have travelled the world a bit and taken part in quite a few special birding trips, self-organized or offered by various companies specialized in this field (Algirdas Knystautas, Rockjumper Birding Tours, Dr. Koch). Lately I attended two trips to Azerbaijan, i.e. in January/February 2006 and May/June 2007. The first one having been initiatated by NABU (of which I have been a member for long) in order to assist the Azerbaijanian colleagues in conducting a waterfowl count in winter. Here I met Kai Gauger for the first time when he was still a student of the University of Greifswald. He had travelled to Azerbaijan a couple of times already pursuing his studies on a special bird project i.e. the Little Bustard (Tetrax tetrax). This made him cross the country from east to west and south to north, exploring all National Parks and Nature Reserves as well as the Important Bird Areas. He masters the Russian language more or less fluently and thus was able to make easily friends with park rangers and people all over the country. It was him who organized the complete tour in all respects i.e. arranging for transportation, lodging (hotels and private accommodation), catering, etc. He is a skilled personality, friendly and very sociable behaving very well with people notwithstanding their age. His profound knowledge about nature and environmental subjects, in general, and birds - the Azerbaijan list comprising about 400 species - where and how to find them, in particular, inspired me suggesting to arrange for another trip to this exciting country in springtime to be able to get access also to the higher ranges of the Caucasus Mountains. In May 2007 we started on the second trip. This time the group consisted of four new members and me. Kai again had arranged for everything and showed that he was able to handle odd situations as well due to the experience he had gained before in respect of knowing the country and its people. Again the group was very successful seeing a huge numer of birds including a few outstanding specials in the higher ranges (3000 m) of the Caucasus Mountains. Last not least it should also been mentioned that whenever possible, along the general route, cultural sites have also been visited e.g. the Rock paintings and mud volcanoes in Gobustan, the Khan's Palace at Sheki, Baku and some others. To me these were rewarding trips and I am looking forward to taking part in some others hopefully to come.
Horst Köhler
In May 2009 Kai Gauger organized a wonderful tour to amazing places in Azerbaijan. We visited the mountains in the south as well as the central lowlands and the High Caucasus. Everything during those two weeks was perfectly organized, even details. Kai also showed flexibility - we have been a group of varied interests - and all of us enjoyed these days in this interesting country with its fantastic sceneries and birdlife.
Joachim Genser
In May 2009 we travelled to Azerbaijan in a group of six persons who were interested in both ornithology and botanic. Kai organised a great trip and thanks to his broad knowledge of the country and its nature we got to know an amazing variety of landscapes, plants and birdlife. We were very pleased with the birding spots and also transport, accommodation and catering were well selected. We saw more than 200 species in two weeks with Shikra, White-throated Robin, Güldenstad´s Redstart, Caucasian Black Grouse and Caucasian Snowcock being my personal highlights. This was an excellent trip to a very interesting country with a competent guide – highly recommendable!
Max Schulz


Some facts about Azerbaijan.

The Republic of Azerbaijan lies between the mountains of Greater and Lesser Caucasus and the Caspian Sea. The capital Baku is located on the Absheron Peninsula at the Caspian shore.
The territory includes the exclave of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic which is divided from the larger part of Azerbaijan by Armenia. Azerbaijan is bordered by Iran, Armenia, Georgia and Russia. Nakhchivan boarders Turkey, Iran, and Armenia. Around fifty percent of the country is mountainous. The Greater Caucasus in the north and the Lesser Caucasus and the Talysh Mountains in the south surround the Central Lowland. Coastal plains border the Caspian Sea. The main rivers are Kura and Aras. The climate ranges from hot and dry semi deserts and steppes in lower altitudes to forest and up to high alpine regions in the mountains. The mean rainfall per year is as low as 200 mm on Absheron but reaches more than 1,800 mm in the subtropical Lenkoran region.
Area: 86,600 km²
Altitudes: Caspian shore at -28 m.a.s.l., highest peak is Bazardüzü 4485 m.a.s.l.
Population: 8,2 Million in 2009
Religion: over 90 % Muslims, minorities of Russian Orthodox, Christians, Jews and others
Language: mainly Azeri, Russian still widespread, minorities of others.


More facts about Azerbaijan.

Guide books and CD’s recommended:

Collins Bird Guide: Birds of Britain and Europe. Svensson et al.
Birdwatching in Azerbaijan - a guide to nature and landscape. Schmidt, Gauger, Agayeva (2008).
Birds of Azerbaijan. Patrikeev (2004).
The Bird Songs of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. Schulze, Dingler (2007).


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Last update 20/02/2014