Egyptian Vulture survey Georgia

This is a non-commercial expedition by SABUKO and BirdLife Sweden supported by Batumi Birding

Picture by Micha Heiss
The project
With our Egyptian Vulture surveys we aim to get an accurate picture of the population of this endangered species in the Caucasus. With a team of Swedish and Georgian birders, you will spend a week going around the country, looking for nests and territories. While looking for Egyptian Vultures, you will visit some outstanding natural areas where few birders have been, and get a chance to see many of the rare birds and mammals of the Caucasus. After the survey, we will all travel to the famous mountain village of Kazbegi, the best place to find the ‘Caucasus big 5’, a number of spectacular range-restricted species that are high on every birder’s wishlist.
 
Who can take part?
To join this project you need to be a birder with a keen interest in contributing to conservation. The itinerary will be determined by the scientific needs of the survey, which means that you may spend some of the days in less attractive sites as well. You need a good physical condition to hike for a couple of hours to the areas we cannot reach by car.

 
Picture by Hugh Jansman
How much does it cost?
To take part in the survey and the trip to Kazbegi afterwards, we ask each participant a contribution of 900 EUR. This covers the organizational costs, accommodation, food, transportation. Any left-over from the survey will be used to launch conservation efforts for Egyptian Vulture by SABUKO (BirdLife Georgia). In addition, you need to cover the flight from Stockholm to Tbilisi yourself, which costs 150-250 EUR. Travel insurance and personal expenses are not included. So the total costs of your trip will be 1050-1150 EUR. 

How can I sign up?
Please fill out the webform here. Places will be offered on a first-come-first-served basis. We will get in touch with you shortly to confirm your participation. We will request a 200 EUR non-refundable advance payment to secure your participation, while you need to pay the remaining sum in cash upon arrival.
 
How do I get there?
We will meet you at Tbilisi airport. Flights from Stockholm to Tbilisi are available trough Atlasglobal, AirBaltic, Turkish Airlines or Ukraine International. You need to arrive in Tbilisi in the evening of May 5th at the latest, and we will be back in the evening of May 15th (most flights depart in the early morning). We will be happy to assist with your flight booking.

What will a survey day look like?
Three small teams (3 Swedish plus one or two Georgians) will leave early morning to drive a transect by 4x4, scanning cliffs for nests and keeping an eye out for foraging individuals. Occasionally, you will leave the cars to cover a transect on foot. In the evening, all teams will gather at the accommodation and enjoy a hearty meal.
 
What about accommodation and food?
We will mostly stay in hostels and small hotels, and have meals in local restaurants. For a couple of nights, we may stay in tents (these should be brought by the participants; we will coordinate ths in advance) and cook ourselves. The Georgian cuisine is very tasty and utilizes lots of vegetables. Let us know if you are vegetarian, and we will ensure that alternatives are available.
 
Are there any health and safety risks?
Georgia is a very safe country, and there are no diseases you need to take precautive measures for.

What other wildlife can I expect?
The arid regions we visit are also home to Black and Griffon Vultures, while neighbouring river valleys hold a high breeding density of Eastern Imperial Eagle. Steppe breeders include Calandra, Greater and Lesser Short-toed Larks, Spanish Sparrow and thousands of Rosy Starlings. On cliffs you will see Pied, Finsch’ and Black-eared wheatear, Eastern Rock Nuthatch and Blue Rock Thrush. Golden Jackal, wolves, bears and lynxes inhabit the area, but are hard to see. After the survey, we will visit the mountain village of Kazbegi, where Caucasian Snowcock and Black Grouse, Guldenstadt’s Redstart, Caucasian Chiffchaff and Great Rosefinch should not be too difficult to find, and we have a good chance of seeing East Caucasian Tur. Wallcreeper, Bearded Vulture, Red-fronted Serin, Chough and Alpine Chough, White-winged Snowfinch and Alpine Accentor are other typical mountain species found here. Migration is still very good in mid-May, and usually includes nice flocks of Demoiselle cranes.
 
More questions?
Please drop us an email at brecht.verhelst@birdlife.org
When: 
May 5 to 16 2018
Price: 
900 EUR excl. flights
Booking: