00o00´S/00o00´W, 790m, rolling arid hills with wooded ravines 
Late April early May (30.04.12 to 09.05.12)


Birding Site Guide

This odd monastery dates back to the 6th Century and is located high on the mountains on the border with Azerbaijan consists of a good deal of rooms carved from the solid rocks with other buildings and courtyards added. 

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Eastern Spadefoot, near small lake before monastery, Georgia 2012 (BPW)

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David Gareja monastery, Georgia 2012 (BPW)

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David Gareja monastery, Georgia 2012 (BPW)

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David Gareja monastery, Georgia 2012 (BPW)

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David Gareja monastery, Georgia 2012 (BPW)

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David Gareja monastery, Georgia 2012 (BPW)

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David Gareja monastery, Georgia 2012 (BPW)

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Flower at David Gareja monastery, Georgia 2012 (BPW)


Egyptian and Griffon Vultures breed here and Long-legged Buzzard can also be seen. This semi-arid Mediterranean habitat with wooded ravines is a good place to find Green Warbler and Rock Sparrow. Blue Rock Thrush is also easily found and there were many Red-breasted Flycatcher on our visit. There is also a chance of Finch’s Wheatear, Saker Falcon and other commoner species.

On the approach to the monastery there are a couple of small roadside lakes that are well worth a look, providing a range of aquatic species. We saw passage White-winged Terns and Little Bittern amongst other species.


Species seen

  • ANSERIFORMES: Anatidae
  • Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea
  • Mallard Anas platyrhynchos
  • Garganey Anas querquedula
  • Common Pochard Aythya ferina
  • GALLIFORMES: Phasianidae
  • Caucasian Snowcock Tetraogallus caucasicus
  • Black Francolin Francolinus francolinus
  • Common Quail Coturnix coturnix
  • Caucasian Grouse Tetrao mlokosiewiczi Near-threatened
  • PODICIPEDIFORMES: Podicipedidae
  • Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis
  • Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus
  • PELECANIFORMES: Pelecanidae
  • Great White Pelican Pelecanus onocrotalus
  • Little Bittern Ixobrychus minutus
  • Purple Heron Ardea purpurea
  • Little Egret Egretta garzetta
  • ACCIPITRIFORMES: Accipitridae
  • European Honey-buzzard Pernis apivorus
  • Black Kite Milvus migrans
  • White-tailed Eagle Haliaeetus albicilla
  • Lammergeier Gypaetus barbatus
  • Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus Endangered
  • Eurasian Griffon Gyps fulvus
  • Cinereous Vulture Aegypius monachus Near-threatened
  • Short-toed Eagle Circaetus gallicus
  • Eurasian Marsh-Harrier Circus aeruginosus
  • Northern Harrier Circus cyaneus
  • Montagu's Harrier Circus pygargus
  • Levant Sparrowhawk Accipiter brevipes
  • Eurasian Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus
  • Northern Goshawk Accipiter gentilis
  • Common Buzzard Buteo buteo
  • Long-legged Buzzard Buteo rufinus
  • Lesser Spotted Eagle Aquila pomarina
  • Imperial Eagle Aquila heliaca Vulnerable
  • Golden Eagle Aquila chrysaetos
  • Booted Eagle Hieraaetus pennatus
  • FALCONIFORMES: Falconidae
  • Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni Vulnerable
  • Eurasian Kestrel Falco tinnunculus
  • Eurasian Hobby Falco subbuteo
  • Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus
  • GRUIFORMES: Rallidae
  • Corn Crake Crex crex Near-threatened
  • Spotted Crake Porzana porzana
  • Eurasian Coot Fulica atra
  • GRUIFORMES: Gruidae
  • Demoiselle Crane Anthropoides virgo
  • CHARADRIIFORMES: Charadriidae
  • Northern Lapwing Vanellus vanellus
  • Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius
  • CHARADRIIFORMES: Recurvirostridae
  • Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus
  • CHARADRIIFORMES: Scolopacidae
  • Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos
  • Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola
  • Ruff Philomachus pugnax
  • Red-necked Phalarope Phalaropus lobatus
  • Armenian Gull Larus armenicus
  • White-winged Tern Chlidonias leucopterus
  • COLUMBIFORMES: Columbidae
  • Rock Pigeon Columba livia
  • Stock Dove Columba oenas
  • Common Wood-Pigeon Columba palumbus
  • European Turtle-Dove Streptopelia turtur
  • Eurasian Collared-Dove Streptopelia decaocto
  • Laughing Dove Streptopelia senegalensis
  • CUCULIFORMES: Cuculidae
  • Common Cuckoo Cuculus canorus
  • STRIGIFORMES: Strigidae
  • European Scops-Owl Otus scops
  • Little Owl Athene noctua
  • CAPRIMULGIFORMES: Caprimulgidae
  • Eurasian Nightjar Caprimulgus europaeus
  • APODIFORMES: Apodidae
  • Alpine Swift Apus melba
  • Common Swift Apus apus
  • CORACIIFORMES: Alcedinidae
  • Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis
  • CORACIIFORMES: Meropidae
  • European Bee-eater Merops apiaster
  • CORACIIFORMES: Coraciidae
  • European Roller Coracias garrulus Near-threatened
  • Eurasian Hoopoe Upupa epops
  • PICIFORMES: Picidae
  • Great Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos major
  • Green Woodpecker Picus viridis
  • Red-backed Shrike Lanius collurio
  • Lesser Gray Shrike Lanius minor
  • Woodchat Shrike Lanius senator
  • PASSERIFORMES: Oriolidae
  • Eurasian Golden Oriole Oriolus oriolus
  • Eurasian Jay Garrulus glandarius
  • Eurasian Magpie Pica pica
  • Red-billed Chough Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax
  • Yellow-billed Chough Pyrrhocorax graculus
  • Eurasian Jackdaw Corvus monedula
  • Rook Corvus frugilegus
  • Hooded Crow Corvus cornix
  • Common Raven Corvus corax
  • PASSERIFORMES: Alaudidae
  • Calandra Lark Melanocorypha calandra
  • Greater Short-toed Lark Calandrella brachydactyla
  • Crested Lark Galerida cristata
  • Sky Lark Alauda arvensis
  • Wood Lark Lullula arborea
  • Horned Lark Eremophila alpestris
  • PASSERIFORMES: Hirundinidae
  • Bank Swallow Riparia riparia
  • Eurasian Crag-Martin Ptyonoprogne rupestris
  • Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica
  • Common House-Martin Delichon urbicum
  • Coal Tit Periparus ater
  • Great Tit Parus major
  • Eurasian Blue Tit Cyanistes caeruleus
  • PASSERIFORMES: Remizidae
  • Eurasian Penduline-Tit Remiz pendulinus
  • PASSERIFORMES: Aegithalidae
  • Long-tailed Tit Aegithalos caudatus
  • Eurasian Nuthatch Sitta europaea
  • Rock Nuthatch Sitta neumayer
  • PASSERIFORMES: Tichodromidae
  • Wallcreeper Tichodroma muraria
  • PASSERIFORMES: Certhiidae
  • Eurasian Treecreeper Certhia familiaris
  • PASSERIFORMES: Troglodytidae
  • Eurasian Wren Troglodytes troglodytes
  • PASSERIFORMES: Cinclidae
  • White-throated Dipper Cinclus cinclus
  • PASSERIFORMES: Regulidae
  • Goldcrest Regulus regulus
  • PASSERIFORMES: Phylloscopidae
  • Willow Warbler Phylloscopus trochilus
  • Common Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita
  • Mountain Chiffchaff Phylloscopus sindianus
  • Green Warbler Phylloscopus nitidus
  • PASSERIFORMES: Acrocephalidae
  • Sedge Warbler Acrocephalus schoenobaenus
  • Eurasian Reed-Warbler Acrocephalus scirpaceus
  • Great Reed-Warbler Acrocephalus arundinaceus
  • PASSERIFORMES: Locustellidae
  • Common Grasshopper-Warbler Locustella naevia
  • PASSERIFORMES: Sylviidae
  • Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla
  • Garden Warbler Sylvia borin
  • Barred Warbler Sylvia nisoria
  • Eastern Orphean Warbler Sylvia crassirostris
  • Greater Whitethroat Sylvia communis
  • Lesser Whitethroat Sylvia curruca
  • Menetries's Warbler Sylvia mystacea
  • PASSERIFORMES: Muscicapidae
  • Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata
  • Rufous-tailed Scrub-Robin Cercotrichas galactotes
  • European Robin Erithacus rubecula
  • Common Nightingale (Eastern) Luscinia megarhynchos
  • Red-breasted Flycatcher Ficedula parva
  • Common Redstart Phoenicurus phoenicurus
  • White-winged Redstart Phoenicurus erythrogastrus Rare/Accidental
  • Black Redstart Phoenicurus ochruros & semirufous
  • Rufous-tailed Rock-Thrush Monticola saxatilis
  • Blue Rock-Thrush Monticola solitarius
  • Whinchat Saxicola rubetra
  • Siberian Stonechat Saxicola maurus variegatus
  • Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe
  • Pied Wheatear Oenanthe pleschanka
  • Eastern Black-eared Wheatear Oenanthe melanoleuca
  • Isabelline Wheatear Oenanthe isabellina
  • Ring Ouzel Turdus torquatus
  • Eurasian Blackbird Turdus merula
  • Mistle Thrush Turdus viscivorus
  • PASSERIFORMES: Sturnidae
  • Rosy Starling Pastor roseus
  • European Starling Sturnus vulgaris
  • PASSERIFORMES: Prunellidae
  • Dunnock Prunella modularis
  • PASSERIFORMES: Motacillidae
  • Western Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava
  • Yellow-headed Wagtail Motacilla lutea
  • Grey-headed Wagtail Motacilla thunbergi
  • Gray Wagtail Motacilla cinerea
  • White Wagtail Motacilla alba
  • Tawny Pipit Anthus campestris
  • Meadow Pipit Anthus pratensis
  • Tree Pipit Anthus trivialis
  • Red-throated Pipit Anthus cervinus
  • Water Pipit Anthus spinoletta
  • PASSERIFORMES: Emberizidae
  • Rock Bunting Emberiza cia
  • Ortolan Bunting Emberiza hortulana
  • Black-headed Bunting Emberiza melanocephala
  • Corn Bunting Emberiza calandra
  • PASSERIFORMES: Fringillidae
  • Common Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs
  • Common Rosefinch Carpodacus erythrinus
  • Great Rosefinch Carpodacus rubicilla
  • European Greenfinch Chloris chloris
  • European Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis
  • Twite Carduelis flavirostris
  • Eurasian Linnet Carduelis cannabina
  • Fire-fronted Serin Serinus pusillus
  • European Serin Serinus serinus
  • Eurasian Bullfinch Pyrrhula pyrrhula
  • PASSERIFORMES: Passeridae
  • House Sparrow Passer domesticus
  • Eurasian Tree Sparrow Passer montanus
  • Rock Petronia Petronia petronia
  • White-winged Snowfinch Montifringilla nivalis


Other Fauna


Marsh Frog Rana ridibunda are common and Eastern Spadefoot Pelobates syriacus was found in burrows near the small lakes. 

Author: BSG.

Tour led by Nick Whitehouse This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , organised by N. Whitehouse and Lance Degnan.