Birding The Silk Road

Leaving Areni

Today was the day to say goodbye to the Areni Wine Cellar B&B. After breakfast on the terrace we packed up and paid our bills to Anna. It is an excellent base for exploring both the immediate area and the Vedi/Armah region. You can find my review, along with other positive comments on Trip Advisor.

Much of our route to the Dilijan region would be along the Silk Road. Initally we would head for the Selim pass then drop down to the western shore of Lake Seven. The at north-west we would diverge from the Silk Road (which carries on to Yerevan) and drive in the direction of Dilijan.

Selim Pass

Just over an hour after leaving Areni we reached the top of the Selim Pass. We parked just north of the Caravanserai, the traditional resting place for medieval travellers. Walking out onto the mountain pasture under grey skies we were serenaded by Skylarks. Meadow Pipits and Whinchats were also very much in evidence.

Whinchat (Saxicola rubetra)

Overhead a few Long-legged Buzzards patrolled and a late party of Honey Buzzards hurried north.

In these open expanses there was no habitat that would favour our target species – Radde’s Accentor. We drove about 1 km further north and explored another area of pasture criss-crossed by ditches. Here at >2000 m we kicked out a Great Snipe. Our disbelief meant that we didn’t really notice where it landed and after 20 minuted abandoned our search.

Continuing along the road we dropped into a wide valley and could see a settlement to our right. The farm building and dry stone walls tallied with the descriptions from some trip reports.

A Good Deed

Meeting Duncan LSE Requestf or Help

After this excitement we said our goodbyes to Duncan who naturally was keen to press on Noravank. Not least as he already had seen Radde’s Accentor on Mount Aragat. We drove a short distance upstream and parked. First bird we saw on a dry stone wall on the far side of the stream was a Bluethroat of teh Caucasian subspecies luristanica. Crossing the stream we asked the owner if he minded us birding his property and he waved us on.

If Armash was the fantasy fish pond then Selim was a surreal sweetieshop stocked with desirable WP taxa.

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