I took a more relaxed approach to birding on my last day in Batumi. Following a late breakfast I caught a mastruka to the city centre. I visited a local barber then walked along the seafront towards Batumi Lighthouse.
The decomissioned lighthouse is at the northern tip of the promontory on which Batumi is built. The lighthouse is dwarfed by many surrounding structures including the distinctive Alphabet Tower and a large ferris wheel. The patch grass known as the “Ferris Wheel Field” is a migrant trap. And despite the blue skies and light winds did not disappoint.
I encountered a nice selection of early migrants including a juvenile Red-backed Shrike
along with several Yellow Wagtails and Whinchats.
Under the shade of a large tree I met a young couple who had birded nearby Batumi Boulevard that morning. For the most part we had seen the same species. But they reported a Booted Warbler and a European Nightjar roosting in a pine tree both of which I was keen to see. Armed with directions I headed off to search for their birds.
Batumi Boulevard runs from the lighthouse down the East side of the promontory. The broad concrete path divides a strip of mature pines on the seaward side from an area of parkland. Both habitats provide excellent cover for tired migrant birds and in poor weather must be absolutly alive with birds. Today I found birding hard work and spent two hours seeing very little before I located the Nightjar. Unfortunately the height of it’s favoured branch did not give the best angle for a photograph. That aside I was excited for my first day roosting European Nightjar in nearly fifty years of birding!
I finally caught up with the candidate Booted Warbler which spent 20 minutes in a dense shrub less than ten metres away. In over an hour it did not show itself well let alone submit to a photograph. Frustrated I opted for a late lunch in a nearby cafe. Feeling better I took a taxi back to my hotel to pack for my return to the UK the following morning.