Raptor migration, Shuamta, Georgia, September 2022

Shuamta raptor count point, Georgia, September 2022

Shuamta raptor count point, Georgia, 11 September 2022

This photo shows the raptor migration observation point in Shuamta, Georgia. It is not far from Batumi city, like the other hilltop observation point Sakhalvasho which is a few kilometres more to the west.

On 11 September, many black kites passing.

Shuamta raptor count point, honey buzzard, Georgia, 11 September 2022

Shuamta raptor count point, honey buzzard, Georgia, 11 September 2022

Of course, also honey buzzards again.

Shuamta raptor count point, honey buzzard flying, Georgia,11 September 2022

Shuamta raptor count point, honey buzzard flying, Georgia,11 September 2022

Bee-eaters, not officially counted, like usually.

Booted eagles, who are counted.

A painted lady butterfly.

Two sparrowhawks overhead.

A snake eagle circling.

In a flock of bee-eaters, an Alpine swift.

A long-legged buzzard.

A hummingbird hawk-moth.

Two hobbies.

Honey buzzards migrating, photos Georgia, September 2022

Honey buzzard, Sakhalvasho, September 2022

Honey buzzard, Sakhalvasho, September 2022

This photo shows a honey buzzard, landing on a branch near Sakhalvasho bird migration watchpoint near Batumi in Georgia.

Honey buzzard lands, Sakhalvasho, September 2022

Honey buzzard lands, Sakhalvasho, September 2022

Honey buzzards are the most numerous species of the millions of birds migrating in autumn along the Black Sea coast of Georgia.

Honey buzzard landed, Sakhalvasho, September 2022

Honey buzzard landed, Sakhalvasho, September 2022

The honey buzzard finds out that the branch is a bit thin for its weight.

Honey buzzard flies, Sakhalvasho, September 2022

Honey buzzard flies, Sakhalvasho, September 2022

So, it flies away again.

Honey buzzards fly, Sakhalvasho, September 2022

Honey buzzards fly, Sakhalvasho, September 2022

If flies along with many fellow honey buzzards (sometimes also black kites and other birds of prey join in), circling in the air, to profit from thermals.

Honey buzzards flying, Sakhalvasho, September 2022

Honey buzzards flying, Sakhalvasho, September 2022

It flies with still more other birds.

Honey buzzards flying, near Sakhalvasho, September 2022

Honey buzzards flying, near Sakhalvasho, September 2022

And still more other birds.

Purple heron, red-backed shrike migration, Batumi Georgia

Purple herons, Batumi, 7 September 2022

Purple herons, Batumi, 7 September 2022

This 7 September 2022 photo shows purple herons migrating along the Black Sea coast near Batumi, Georgia.

Red-backed shrike, Batumi, 7 September 2022

Red-backed shrike, Batumi, 7 September 2022

These photos, also 7 September 2022, show a young red-backed shrike near the Black Sea coast near Batumi, Georgia.

Red-backed shrike, near Batumi, 7 September 2022

Red-backed shrike, near Batumi, 7 September 2022

Migrating birds near Batumi, Georgia photos

European roller, September 2022

European roller, September 2022

4/5 September 2022. At the Batumi Raptor Count point near Sakhalvasho village in Georgia.

Although it is called Raptor Count, also some non-raptor birds on their southwards autumn migration are counted. Like the European roller on the photo above. Hundreds of them flying daily past the counting point in these September times.

Most non-raptor bird species are not counted. Like bee-eaters, numerous and filling the air with their beautiful calls.

Gulls at the Black Sea, September 2022

Gulls at the Black Sea, September 2022

Lower in the Batumi area, closer to the Black Sea. Many gulls. Mostly yellow-legged gulls. Also at least one Armenian gull.

Greater short-toed lark, 5 September 2022

On the stony beach of Batumi city, not only wheatears, but also greater short-toed larks like this one.

Nightjar, Batumi park, 5 September 2022

Nightjar, Batumi city park, 5 September 2022

In Batumi city park, various nightjars like this one, resting during daytime, before migrating toward Africa again during the night.

Stay tuned for more posts about bird migration in Georgia!

Ex-Georgian dictator, refugee from Ukraine to the Netherlands?

This 20 September 2013 video is called Torture Tape Rage: Thousands protest Georgian prison horror.

That scandal of sexual torture in the prisons of Georgia led to the downfall of dictator Mikheil Saakashvili.

Eventually, Saakashvili lost not only his job as dictator, but also his Georgian passport.

It was not a total downfall. In Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, Panama Papers billionaire because of chocolate and military production corporations, had become president after the violent expulsion of his predecessor. Poroshenko gave Saakashvili a new, Ukrainian, passport. More still: he gave Saakashvili the governorship of Odessa province.

However, not so much later, Saakashvili and Poroshenko quarreled. Poroshenko canceled Saakashvili’s governorship and his Ukrainian passport.

What then?

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Saakashvili explores moving to the Netherlands

Today, 16:44

The Georgian former president Mikhail Saakashvili may come to the Netherlands to be with his wife Sandra Roelofs. He is now in Ukraine, where he is at odds with the authorities.

Saakashvili’s lawyer has requested that the stateless Georgian be brought to the Netherlands on the basis of family reunification. According to the Immigration and Naturalization Service, Saakashvili is eligible because he is married to a Dutch woman with whom he has two sons.

Saakashvili can not return to Georgia and has a quarrel in Ukraine with his former ally, President Poroshenko. He was governor of Odessa in Ukraine. … Poroshenko finally tried to have his old friend arrested, but Saakashili managed to escape from a police van with the help of his supporters.

Will the Dutch government now welcome Saakashvili as a political refugee; maybe even give him a third, Dutch, passport? Possible, as Saakashvili was a ‘pro-Western’ dictator; who, eg, like the Dutch government, sent soldiers to Iraq and to Afghanistan to help George W Bush in his wars.

However, if one looks at hardline anti-refugee policies in the European Union, including the Netherlands, then Saakashvili has reasons to be not so optimistic. According to governments like the Dutch government, even war zones like Iraq or Afghanistan are supposedly ‘safe’ countries to forcibly return refugees to. Say, a poor unemployed Ukrainian worker, fleeing to the Netherlands because he is scared of neofascist paramilitary gangs which not only steal paintings from Dutch and from Italian museums, but also kill fellow Ukrainians in Ukraine, will probably get to hear from Dutch authorities: ‘War in Ukraine? That is only in the east. Ukraine is a safe country and a friendly country to us. We will deport you’.

Family reunification for refugees from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan etc. is also hard in the Netherlands.

Still, Saakashvili’s status as a former pro-NATO dictator may earn him privileged treatment from Dutch authorities compared to that hypothetical Ukrainian poor worker refugee, or these Syrian, Iraqi, Afghan etc. refugees.

Dutch corporate media are usually very uncritical on Saakashvili, in which a factor is that his wife is Dutch.

It is not self-evident that Saakashvili’s Dutch wife will really welcome him. As in 2013, as quoted in an earlier post on this blog, she sounded rather critical:

Roelofs herself has remained in Georgia and let the newspaper know that she feels more like being married to the country than being married to her husband. She also criticized the political actions of her husband. He had too much haste and then “you will make mistakes and you will make enemies.” She says that Saakashvili refused to listen when she mentioned criticism she had heard on her travels through the country.

VAGABOND former Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili was deported from Ukraine to Poland today after armed men wearing masks nabbed him in a Kiev restaurant and drove him to the airport: here.

Birdlife and bird photography news

This video says about itself:

2 October 2013

A meadow in the Chorokhi River delta, next to the Black Sea shore in Batumi (Georgia), is filled with migrant birds, stranded here because of bad weather in early September. Hoopoes, Yellow Wagtails, Wood Sandpipers, Wheatears, Lesser Grey Shrike, White-winged Black Tern, Whinchats, etc etc. Unfortunately this river delta is heavily (over!!-)hunted so every single one of these birds is really in danger when staying here. This delta is lying on a very strategic place for bird migration at the Batumi bottleneck. There is a huge turnover of resting and feeding migrant birds, but disturbance, pollution, ongoing urbanization and killing through hunting (poaching) are threats.

From BirdLife:

22 Sep 2017

The Bird Bulletin – vol. 14

By Gui-Xi Young

The Bird Bulletin – bringing you beak-sized updates from across Europe & Central Asia and beyond!

Stunning success on the Black Sea coast! – SABUKO (BirdLife Georgia) is celebrating a major victory after years of hard work. Georgia’s Ministry of Environment has officially banned hunting activities in the Chorokhi Delta. The site has also been recognised as a BirdLife IBA (Important Bird & Biodiversity Area) and added to the Emerald Network of Areas of Special Conservation Interest. Read more…

LUNGS OF THE EARTH – Can the EU’s climate and energy policies see the wood for the trees? Learn more about Europe’s forest policies at BirdLife and FERN’s ‘Lungs of the Earth’ event at the European Parliament on 28th September. Register here

A SEA CHANGE FOR SEABIRDS – The European Parliament has declared that management measures for fishing fleets in the North Sea should be set to minimise their impact on the marine environment and not just fish stocks. This is a huge win for seabirds threatened by incidental bycatch in commercial fishing gears. Read more…

An American abroad – A North American Yellow Warbler has been causing a stir in the South-west of England. Find out why here!

(Bird)Life through a lens – Across the pond, Audubon (BirdLife USA) this summer announced the winners of the 2017 Audubon Photography Awards. The judges whittled down over 5,500 entries to just one ‘Grand Prize Winner’ which went to Deborah Albert for her stunning shot of a Gentoo penguin and chick in Antarctica. Check out the ‘best of the best’ here.

That’s all for today’s Bird Bulletin – tune in next week for more cheeps, chirps and chatter.

Bye bye birdies!

70,000 honey buzzards migrating in one day

This 4 October 2016 video, recorded in Georgia, is called Raptor migration in Batumi (in Danish; with English subtitles).

From the Batumi Raptor Count in Georgia:

Batumi – Saghalvasho

Sunday 3 September 2017

Counting period: 6:37 – 17:55

Count type: Storks and raptors

Weather: The day was sunny and the high clouds covered the mountains in the middle of the afternoon

Observers: Aki Aintila, Hélène Larnac, Simon Cavailles, Fabrice Cochard, Michiel de Koster, Jaime Escobar, Martha Mutiso, John Wright, Kaarel Vohandu, Thijs Schipper, Janosch Becker, Andrea Maier, Felix Timmermann, Diego Jansen, Anne Grohmann.

Black Stork 5
White Stork 56
Honey Buzzard 69670
Black Kite 3235
Marsh Harrier 150
Pallid Harrier 29
Montagu’s Harrier 347
Hen/Montagu’s/Pallid Harrier 99
Levant Sparrowhawk 50
Steppe Buzzard 1
Lesser Spotted Eagle 3
Greater Spotted Eagle 1
Booted Eagle 77
Osprey 2
European Roller 39

Totals: 73764 individuals, 15 species, 11:18 hours

Bold = Remarkable observation (scarce or rare species or large number)

Comments: More birds coming! An incredible day for the harrier migration, also for the Pallid Harrier. Moreover, it was a big day for the Honey Buzzards who crossed sometimes very close of the station. Many broad streams glided over the Black Sea in the begining of the afternoon and later, all the streams crossing far in the mountains.

A bump in the road – our Georgian partner SABUKO has launched a Change.org petition to save the High Caucasus Mountains from road construction threatening the natural habitats of numerous endemic and endangered species. Sign the petition!

Ex-dictator of Georgia now expelled from Ukraine

This 20 September 2013 video is called Torture Tape Rage: Thousands protest Georgian prison horror.

That prison sexual torture scandal cost Mikheil Saakashvili his job as dictator of Georgia.

It even cost him his Georgian nationality.

However, another iffy politician, President Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine, well-known from the Panama Papers scandal, gave Saakashvili a new, Ukrainian, passport; and a new job: governor of Odessa.

Another however: in 2016, Poroshenko quarreled with Saakashvili, and sacked him as governor of Odessa.

Today, Poroshenko annulled Saakashvili’s Ukrainian nationality as well.

Translated from Dutch daily De Volkskrant today:

Michail Saakashvili, Georgia’s former president … has become stateless. Two years after Georgia put him out on the streets, Ukraine is now also canceling Saakashvili’s citizenship.

By Tom Vennink

The decree was signed by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. He gave no reason for the decision. …

[Saakashvili] blamed Poroshenko. The president, he said, covers up crimes of various gangs.

The Volkskrant article is very uncritical on Saakashvili’s role in the conflict and one-sidedly anti-Poroshenko. While Poroshenko is certainly up to his neck in financial scandals, ex-dictator Saakashvili is certainly not squeaky clean in corruption issues. The conflict is more like the pot calling the kettle black and vice versa.

Dutch corporate media are usually very uncritical on Saakashvili, in which a factor is that his wife is Dutch.

US Defense Secretary James Mattis declared during a trip to Ukraine on Thursday that the American government is actively considering moving forward with a plan to arm Kiev with lethal weaponry for the first time: here.

Eurasian bird news update

This video is called Eastern Imperial Eagle.

From BirdLife:

31 Mar 2017

Welcome to the second edition of ‘The Bird Bulletin’ – our new weekly news brief. Every Friday morning, we’ll bring you bite-sized updates from all across Europe & Central Asia – now you can kick start every weekend with ‘what a little bird told me!’

EAGLE TRAGEDY – Sad news from our Georgian partner SABUKO. The state energy company JSC has destroyed an active nest of the red listed Eastern Imperial Eagle (Aquila helica). There were previously only 9 breeding pairs in the country – and now this falls to 8. As the great Ray Charles sang ‘oh Georgia, No peace I find’. Read more…

BREATH IN DEEPLY – Sea air is good for you right? Unfortunately, exhaust gases from cruise ships in the Mediterranean are harming human health and the environment. This week, a wide alliance of e-NGOs – including our partners BirdLife Malta, NABU (Germany) and HOS (Greece) – adopted the ‘Rome Declaration’ to designate the Mediterranean Sea as an Emission Control Area (ECA). Read more…

Picture Perfect – A picture tells a thousand words, so many thanks to Greek photographer Anastasios Sakoulis for kindly donating a collection of stunning bird photos to BirdLife. See more….

ACT NOW – have your say in the future of EU food and farming! Only 4 weeks until the European Commission’s Public Consultation on the CAP (Common Agricultural Policy) closes. Next Monday, BirdLife’s LIVING LAND campaign is launching a public E-Action to help citizens voice their support for nature-friendly farms. Keep updated and follow #LivingLand.

Stamp of approval for birds of Belarus: Belpochta, the Post Office of Belarus, has just issued a postage stamp celebrating the ‘Bird of the Year, 2017’ – an APB-BirdLife Belarus initiative that saw the Crested lark soar to glory. Start writing your love letters now…See more…

And the winner is….THE BIRDS! Finland’s ‘Arctic Redpolls’ team has won the Champions of the Flyways 2017 – and annual real-time bird spotting ‘race’ organised by SPNI (BirdLife Israel) at the migration hotspot of Eilat. £50,000 raised by the all the teams goes to Doğa Derneği (Birdlife Turkey) to fund their fantastic work to make Turkey safer for migrating birds – the real ‘champions of flyways’.

The Lark Ascending….As the triggering of Article 50 makes Brexit a reality, we listen to Vaughan Williams’s orchestral masterpiece ‘The Lark Ascending’ – an ode to the skylark and its song –  in the knowledge that we shall continue working side-by-side with RSPB (BirdLife UK) to protect the birds of our shared continent.

This classical music video from Britain says about itself:

29 mei 2012

Like Vaughan Williams’ Tallis Fantasia, this is a pastoral work of transcendent beauty and power. The Lark Ascending was inspired by George Meredith‘s 122-line poem of the same name about the skylark (Alauda arvensis). He included this portion of Meredith’s poem on the flyleaf of the published work:

He rises and begins to round,
He drops the silver chain of sound,
Of many links without a break,
In chirrup, whistle, slur and shake.

For singing till his heaven fills,
‘Tis love of earth that he instils,
And ever winging up and up,
Our valley is his golden cup
And he the wine which overflows
to lift us with him as he goes.

Till lost on his aerial rings
In light, and then the fancy sings.

Georgian ex-dictator quarrels with Ukrainian president

This 20 September 2013 video is called Torture Tape Rage: Thousands protest Georgian prison horror.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Protesters demand justice in shocking prison abuse scandal

Sunday 23 September 2012

Thousands rallied again on Friday in Georgia to demand the prosecution of ministers fired in a prison abuse scandal.

The protests, sparked by graphic videos showing guards in the Gldani prison in Tbilisi brutally beating prisoners and raping them with truncheons and broom handles, have ratcheted up the pressure on President Mikheil Saakashvili.

This sexual torture scandal led to the downfall of the regime of Saakashvili. He fled Georgia, as the post-dictatorship government might prosecute him for abuse of power. After Saakashvili had fled from justice, his Georgian citizenship was declared forfeited.

Saakashvili went to Ukraine. He still knew its president Poroshenko from his student days. Poroshenko granted Saakashvili asylum. He also gave him Ukrainian citizenship. And the governorship of Odessa province. Quite a different treatment from most refugees coming to Ukraine, some of whom land in torture prisons.

This video about Ukraine says about itself:

President Poroshenko’s Secret Offshore Deals Revealed

3 April 2016

There’s no ‘blind trust’. President Poroshenko lied about his business assets, a tax evasion scheme is involved.

Today, however, there is news that Saakashvili is no longer governor of Odessa. He quarrels now with Poroshenko, whom he accuses now of covering up corruption.