- We take an overnight flight from London to Istanbul, with an onward connection to Batumi the following morning.
- On arrival in Batumi we meet our local leader, then transfer to our hotel situated close to the Black Sea Coast.. After lunch we head out on our first excursion to Sakhalvasho Raptor Watchpoint to get our first sighting of the raptor migration.
- For the last six consecutive years more than one million birds of prey have been spotted during the raptor migration in Batumi. Of the various bird species that take part in the migration, we hope to see honey and steppe buzzards in their thousands. Several species of eagle can also be spotted, including white-tailed, great-spotted and imperial eagles.
- Accommodation: Hotel in Batumi, 6-nights on full board basis.
- After breakfast we take a picnic lunch and drive along the coast to the Chorokhi Delta. This excellent birdwatching location has a diversity of habitats that range from shoreline and marshland to grassy plain. We explore the area on foot and hope to see a number of different waders, terns and passerine species. The delta is particularly good spot for seeing black-winged pratincole, whose numbers peak in late September.
- Following our picnic lunch, we return to Sakhalvasho Raptor Watchpoint to enjoy the raptor migration once again this afternoon.
- We spend the whole day at Shuamta Raptor Watchpoint to enjoy the spectacle of the raptor migration. As many as 100,000 raptors can pass over Shuamta Watchpoint during the course of a day. We take a picnic lunch so we can maximise our time here.
- Some species to keep an eye out for are short-toed, white-tailed, imperial and great-spotted eagles, red-footed falcon, honey buzzard and pallid harrier. Some other migrant species fly through at the same time as the raptors, including European bee-eater, black stork, common crane and European roller.
- Today we drive to the Kolkheti Wetlands - a journey of roughly one hour. These wetlands consist of large open lakes, water-logged forest, serene rivers, secluded creeks and fern mires. The boundaries of the Kolkheti Wetlands also encompass the Rioni River, which is one of only two rivers in the world where critically endangered European sea sturgeon still spawn. This large fish can live for up to 100 years.
- We explore on foot before taking a boat trip on pristine Lake Paliastomi. also exploring various small channels that lead off the lake. While on board we hope to see osprey and white-tailed eagle, plus flocks of both Dalmatian and great white pelicans.
- In the morning we head to Mtirala National Park which lies approximately 40 kilometres from Batumi in the foothills of the Lesser Caucasus Mountains. Mtirala is known for its broadleaf and mixed forest habitat and is a wonderful location for birdwatching, and woodpeckers in particular; white-backed, grey-headed, black, lesser and middle-spotted woodpeckers have all been recorded here.
- Mtirala is also a good place to see some of the region’s reptiles and amphibians, such as the Caucasian salamander which is endemic to the area. Once again we take a packed lunch so we can spend the whole day in the national park before returning to Batumi in late afternoon.
- We begin by travelling to the Chorokhi Delta on the Black Sea Coast to try and spot any species we may not yet have seen, or possibly to spot any new migrants that have just arrived on these shores. Golden oriole, red-breasted flycatcher, great snipe, corncrake, wryneck and a variety of plovers and lapwings are just some of the species that we hope to see.
- We have lunch near the coast before heading inland to Shuamta Raptor Watchpoint for our last opportunity to enjoy the raptor migration and marvel at its sheer scale. After this last afternoon of migration watching we return to Batumi for our final night in Georgia.
- After breakfast we transfer to the airport to check-in for our international flight back to the UK, arriving later the same day.
All prices are per person and include:
- Services of the naturalist leader
- All meals
- Guided activities
We stay at one comfortable three-star hotel throughout the itinerary. All rooms have an en suite bathroom.
All meals are included.
Breakfasts and dinners are taken at the hotel. On most days we take a packed lunches out into the field.
Batumi, on the shore of the Black Sea in the southwest corner of Georgia, is one of the best places in the world to experience a raptor migration. Bird numbers usually peak in late September each year. Many other migrants pass through, including a wide variety of passerines.
- Steppe buzzard
- Golden oriole
- Pallid harrier
- Black kite
Reptiles and amphibians
The vast areas of wetland close to Batumi - including the Chorokhi Delta and Kolkheti Wetlands - are home to an array of interesting and diverse reptiles and amphibians.
- Caucasian salamander
- Caspian turtle
- Balkan pond turtle
- Dice snake
Georgia is famed for its stunning scenery and mountain vistas. While we enjoy the birds and other wildlife, there is also time to admire the incredible and often empty landscapes.
During our visit to the Kolheti Wetlands we take a boat trip on pristine Lake Paliastomi to see osprey and white-tailed eagle, plus flocks of both Dalmatian and great white pelicans.
The countryside we visit varies from flat to mountainous, with short walks (two to five kilometres), mostly on decent tracks. Expect a few short uphill stretches along good trails in the mountains, all taken slowly.
Price includes return scheduled flights London - Batumi – London.
We travel by minibus.
In late September Batumi and the surrounding areas experience warm and sometimes humid weather. Temperatures are usually very pleasant, reaching 20-25⁰C during the day. Showers and occasional thunderstorms are not unknown, so we recommend you bring a waterproof. We also advise bringing sun screen and a sunhat to provide protection.