June 7th : After a walk round our cottage and breakfast we left Shirvan at 08:30 heading for Makkhmod Chalar Lake a 20,000 hectares wetland where we hoped to pick up some water birds. We birded our way along the causeway and donated another couple of pints of blood to the local insect population. Under darkening skies we arrived at the farm where our guide had arranged for us to have refreshment at one of his local contacts house and Shahin and family duly obliged. Just as we were discussing whether to take a boat trip out onto the lake it started raining very hard and we had to beat a hasty retreat guided by one of Shahins sons back to the paved road. The highlights here were White-tailed Plover and Penduline Tit.
June 9th : After breakfast out on the hill by 07:30 birding the meadows and valley above the village. Right at the head of the valley at about 2200 meters we found the holy grail, a superb singing male White-throated Robin. After this the rest of the day turned into a bit of a non event despite some hard birding and walking several kilometres in some excellent habitat in the Xanagan area about 1Km from the Iranian border we failed to find anything of any consequence, except Bimaculated and Horn Larks, Black-eared and Pied Wheatears, a single Booted Eagle, Rock Nuthatch and a Ruffous-tailed Rock Thrush. Headed back to Alexeevka, very tired for a late supper and bed.
June 10th: After breakfast visited Hyrcan National Park an area of ancient woodland. Lots of Red-breasted Flycatchers and an Icterine Warbler been the pick of the birds on offer. Set off back towards Baku and after a relatively uneventful (by now dodging cattle on the motorways, been overtaken from every direction and not stopping at red lights, were accepted as been normal) journey we arrived back in Baku at 19:50.
June 11th: After a lie in and leisurely breakfast, sorted out kit and did a bit of sun worship before getting ready for the trip home. Back at the airport Patrick and myself checked in for our scheduled late afternoon flight home, again via Istanbul. Dave Bowes
13 Deep Ghyll Walk
Ripon, North Yorkshire