Major portions of this report translated from French by Urs Geiser.
Philippe J. Dubois - Marc Duquet - Serge Nicolle - Alain Perthuis - Henri-Pierre Roche. On location, Ellen V. Tavakoli (guide) and Dr. Jamhsid Mansoori (Dept. of Environment) starting March 2.
Depart from Paris-CDG at 3 pm (local time) for Frankfurt. From there depart at 6:10 pm for Tehran. Arrive at 10:10 pm (Paris time) or 1:45 am (local time).
Depart directly for the south shore of the Caspian Sea: Cross Elburz Mts. at night (lovely, in snow). Arrive at Nour. Visit Esbaran, south of Fereidoonkenar, then the forest of the Nour National Park and Caspian shore in same city.
Sunny, light north wind, "spring" weather.
Exploration of wetlands of Larim Sara/Zarin Kola,then of Seyed Mohalli and to the northeast, Zagh Narz. Finally quick (too quick) visit of the the bay of Gorgan and Miankaleh Wildlife Refuge.
Sunny, great blue sky, mild, light east wind.
Depart Nour. Stop at Ellen Tavakoli's in Ruyan (surrounding gardens), then return to Tehran, crossing Elburz in daytime. Stop before Marzanabad. Several stops in the high mountains up to Kandovan Pass at 3600 m elevation.
Sunny, nice, mild but fresh in the Elburz Mts.
Depart from Tehran at 7:20 am to Chahbahar (Konarak airport) with stop-over in Zahedan. Arrive at 11 am - Iranian Baluchistan. Quick stroll in the port of Konarak, then along the coast along the bay of Chahbahar as far as the namesake city (exploration of acacia zone).
Rather hot, sunny, nice, but bearable temperature, light west wind.
Depart from Chahbahar by the road to Negur and visit of the port of Beris, continuing until Khor Govater: exploration of the Sarbaz river mouth. Return along the coast and stop in Lipar, before Chahbahar.
Sunny, rather hot (30°C), but west wind late afternoon.
Early morning exploration around a small village 10 km east of Chahbahar. Depart from Baluchistan at 11:45 am for Bandar Abbas. Port of that city, then (fast) boat for Qeshm Island in the Straits of Hormuz. Evening stroll southwest of the city of Qeshm.
Sunny, warm in Bandar Abbas, but evening westerly winds refreshing.
Qeshm Island - stop in the steppe (and beach) north of Suza, on the south coast. Then road toward Hara National Park. Boat across mangroves to the city of Laft (great old city) and evening stroll north of Laft (acacia and zyziphus habitat).
Depart from Qeshm at 9 am for Bandar Abbas, then taxi to the Mt. Geno area (which we don't reach, since the driver doesn't know the way). Return to Bandar Abbas, plane at 7:30 pm to Shiraz.
Sunny, warm, west wind in the afternoon.
Depart for day trip to Bamu National Park (Zagros Mts.), evening visit of Persepolis. Return to Shiraz.
Sunny, cool in the morning, but nice in afternoon (light wind).
Early departure from Shiraz for Lake Arjan,at 2000 m altitude, stroll around lake and forest above up to 2600 m. Return to Shiraz in the evening and depart for Bushehr.
Sunny, very cold in the morning (frost), but nice in afternoon.
Bushehr, then depart for Hilleh River north of the city and its estuary (not reached). Return in the evening to Bushehr.
Sunny, strong northwest wind after 11 am (up to 6 Beaufort), hampering bird observations.
Bay of Bushehr south to Halileh and afternoon return toward Hilleh, especially along that river a Doroodgah near Borazjan.
Sunny, but air loaded with sand, rather strong northwest wind (less so in the interior).
Depart from Bushehr to the south, after 130 km around the mouth of the Mand River. Then late afternoon stops 10 km south of Karri.
Same weather as day before.
From Bushehr, return to the north near the Hilleh River at Abparkhash, then marshes and agricultural land along the river at sites visited previously on March 2. In the evening, lagoons of Delvar, 15 km north of Bushehr. Depart for Tehran at 10:20 pm.
Sunny, no wind in the morning, but windy (NW, 3 BF) afternoon.
Morning, gorges of Darakih, above Tehran. Short visit at Pardisan Park where the Tehran Zoo is located, then departure for Kerman at 4:45 pm.
Sunny, rather cool in Tehran.
Exploration of the research steppe of the "Podoce" (?) of Pleske betwen Sharshemeh and Shahrbabak southwest of Rafsanjan. Return in the evening to Tehran and night flight to Frankfurt and Paris, where we arrive at 9 am (local time) on Wednesday, March 8.
Sunny, cool in the morning, comfortable in the afternoon, light west wind.
All major transfers were made by plane. All the better, as the traffic in Iran is very special... On location, we had either a minibus, a taxi (Bushehr and Chahbahar), or a 4 wheel drive.
The hotels were all very acceptable, even in Bushehr after we negociated a change of rooms.
Thanks to those who helped us prepare this trip: Mikko Seppanen for giving us the address of Ellen Tavakoli, Jerzy Dyczkowski for his trip report from October 1999, Dana Tavakoli, Ellen V. Tavakoli for her generous help and her "motherly" patientce with these ornitho-fools, and our friends, the drivers and local guides.
Likewise, a big thank you for the Department of the Environment for its help on location, and especially to Mrs. Ektakar, Vicepresident of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and to Mr. A. Najafi, Deputy of the Department of the Environment, to Mr. Peyraster (Shiraz) and Mr. Rostamian (Bushehr), also to Mr. Faradhpour, ornithologist in Shiraz, and especially Dr. Jamshid Mansoori for his valuable help about the country. Finally, thanks to Alain Guillemot for the travel preparations.
|Esbaran||Damagh (open wetland bordered by poplars where a "traditional" duck hunt takes place, which consists of capturing the ducks in the evening during migration) in the middle of agricultural fields, especially rice. This is the place where the last Siberian Cranes winter.|
|Nour or Noor||Protected European-style temperate forest, mainly oak and beech.|
|Larim Sara/Zarin Kola||Bog habitat sprinkled with mowed prairie grazed by sheep (steppe landscape).|
|Seyed Mohalli||Large lake bordered by reed beds in the middle of the agricultural plain. Small marshes with reeds in the surrounding area.|
|Zagh Narz||Cultivated zone (former marshes) with hedges and orchards.|
|Miankaleh||Long tongue of land with steppe and tree vegetation on fixed dunes and bordered by immense marshes and a huge bay (Gorgan). Controlled access, but without doubt productive from the small portion that we could see.|
|Marzanabad||Woodland and open country habitat with cypress (Cupressus verticalis - endemic species), undoubtedly good in summer or later in spring, but poor during time of our visit.|
|Chahbahar Bay||Huge khor with important intertidal zone, bordered by dunes with Acacia, Zyziphus, Prosopis and Tamarisk vegetation. Salt marsh very close to city.|
|Beris Harbor||Great landscape with sandstone mountains (similar to Cappadocia), rather desert-like.|
|Govater||Estuary with intertidal zone of small extent (where we were), great but impenetrable mangroves.|
|Lipar||Oasis with palms and acacias.|
|10km east of Chahbahar||Village and acacia and prosopis habitat.|
|near Suza||Palm grove, steppe zone and beach.|
|Hara N.P.||Great habitat with water arm in the mangroves, several open mud flats.|
|Geno||Visited habitat consists of small river, a palm grove, and patches of dry and stony mountains with almond trees.|
|Bamou N.P.||Steppe with asphodel and artemisia vegetation, cliffs and landslides, mainly almond trees. Great place, wild and well protected.|
|Arjan Lake||Huge lake at 2000 m elevation, with large mud flats and large reed beds in the middle of the open water. Agricultural land around it (a small village with bushes and a creek). The forest in the mountains that surround the lake is made up mainly of oak (Quercus brantii) and almond trees.|
|Hilleh area||River bordered mainly by tamarisks with sand and gravel beaches. Around it, huge steppe and salt meadows, large reed and cane marshes with difficult access. Also, vegetable fields.|
|Bushehr Bay||Sand and mud edge bordered by desert habitat.|
|Doroodgah||Agriculture, palm groves along the Hilleh River, small cliffs plated with tamarisks.|
|Mond Estuary||Salt and sand steppe and rivere bordered by tamarisks.|
|South to Karri||Shrubs and trees on fixed dunes at seaside (very pretty landscape).|
|Abparkhash||Habitat very similar to that at Doroodgah.|
|Delvar sewage ponds||Huge evaporation pools full of birds in the middle of the steppe!|
|Darakih gorges/Tehran||Beautiful gorges with small river, very popular with hikers!|
|Zygophyllum steppe with salty soil.|
Grèbe castagneux - Tachybaptus ruficollis (Little Grebe)
15-20+ at Seyed Mohalli on 22.02, very numerous at Arjan Lake on 1.03, one on the river at Doroodgah on 3, one seen at Delvar sewage ponds on 6 (AP).
Grèbe huppé - Podiceps cristatus (Great Crested Grebe)
20+ at sea on 21.02 at Noor, some on 22 at Seyed Mohalli and 10 at Miankaleh the same day. 2 at sea on 25 at Govater (PJD), one at sea on 27 at Laft, 20-30 on 1.03 at Arjan Lake (courtship).
Grèbe à cou noir - Podiceps nigricollis (Black-necked Grebe)
2+ at sea on 21.02 at Noor, a few dozens in Gorgan Bay/Miankaleh on 22, 3 in Chahbahar Bay on 24, dozens on Arjan Lake on 1.03 and 60 on 6 at Delvar sewage ponds.
Puffin indéterminé - Puffinus sp. (Unidentified Shearwater)
One, resting at sea, on 26.02 in Hormoz Straits.
A rather large bird the size of a Cory's Shearwater.
Grand Cormoran - Phalacrocorax carbo (Cormorant)
7 sinensis on the damgah of Esbaran on 21.02, incredile roost of about 25.000 birds in the late afternoon of 22 at Miankaleh, 20 on 24 in Chahbahar Bay, at least 600 ind. in Govater on 25 (far away), one in Bandar Abbas harbour on 26, a few in Hara N.P. on 27, 80 on 1.03 at Arjan Lake, 150+ in flight at Bushehr and 10 the following day in Bushehr Bay.
The rookery of Miankaleh is made up of posts (or old tree trunks, after the level of the Caspian Sea rose). The birds are spread out over several kilometers of the bay.
Cormoran pygmée - Phalacrocorax pygmeus (Pygmy Cormorant)
Seen in Southern Caspian: 2 at Esbaran on 21.02 (SN/AP), 50+ on 22 at Seyed Mohalli.
Possibly nesting at Seyed Mohalli...
Pélican blanc - Pelecanus onocrotalus (White Pelican)
10 on 1.03 at Arjan Lake.
Pélican frisé - Pelecanus crispus (Dalmatian Pelican)
On 22.02, 3 in flight at Seyed Mohalli (2 ad. and 1 imm.), 12 in Gorgan Bay (and 3 others at sea at Miankaleh), 8 in flight on 24 in Chahbahar Bay, 15 (4 seen myself) on 25 at Govater, 4 in Hara N.P. on 28, 19 ind. on 1.03 in Arjan Lake.
This species seems to be well represented in Iran at this time of the year; without doubt, wintering birds from Russia.
Crabier de Gray - Ardeola grayii (Indian Pond Heron)
3 seen at Govater on 25 (in the mangrove), 2 on 27 in Hara N.P.
In winter plumage.
Héron gardeb¤ufs - Bulbucus ibis (Cattle Egret)
15+ near Bushehr on 2.03, 2 in Bushehr Bay on 3, 40 in fields on 5 in Hilleh area.
Apparently nominate race.
Aigrette des récifs - Egretta gularis (Western Reef Egret)
On 24.02, 2 at Konarak and 3 in Chahbahar Bay; on 25, 10 at Govater and 3 in BR; about 60 on 27 in Hara N.P. (mangroves), 16 in flight on 2.03 at Bushehr above the sea, 5 (one white) the same day in Hilleh area, a few on 3 in Bushehr Bay.
In the area of Hara N.P., 90% of the birds were dark morphs. In breeding plumage the birds exhibited violet-purple lores and red toes.
Aigrette garzette - Egretta garzetta (Little Egret)
Dozens on 21.02 at Esbaran, 70 on 22 at Miankaleh (roost), a few dozens on 1.03 on Arjan Lake, some birds on 2 in Hilleh area, 3 at Doroodgah on 4 and 2 the same day in Mond estuary and one on 5 at Abparkhash.
Grande Aigrette - Ardea alba (Great White Egret)
About 150 birds together on the damgah of Esbaran on 21.02, incredible roost of about 1.000+ birds on 22 in Gorgan Bay (Miankaleh), 3 on 25 at Govater, 20+ on 27 at Hara N.P., 20-30 on 1.03 at Arjan Lake, 5 on 2 in Hilleh area, one on 4 in Mond estuary, 3 on 5 in Hilleh area.
At Miankaleh the birds took off (from a distance) from a huge reed bed (disturbed by an eagle?) and settle a little bit farther (rookery).
Héron cendré - Ardea cinerea (Grey Heron)
Numerous on 21.02 at Esbaran, about 500 on 22 at Miankaleh, 4 in Chahbahar Bay on 24, 10 on 25 at Govater in mangrove trees, one on 26 south-east to Qeshm city, 40 in Hara N.P. on 27, fairly common on 1.03 at Arjan Lake and the following day in Hilleh area, 5 in Mond estuary on 4.
Cigogne noire - Ciconia nigra (Black Stork)
One ad. in migration over Geno area on 28.02.
Ibis falcinelle - Plegadis falcinellus (Glossy Ibis)
5 feeding along a small stream on 1.03 at Arjan Lake, one on 2 in Hilleh area (HPR), one on 5, flying in Hilleh area (marshes).
Spatule blanche - Platalea leucorodia (Eurasian Sponbill)
2 imm. on 21.02 at ES, 5 on 25 at Govater, 25 in Hara N.P. on 27 (mangrove), 20+ on 1.03 at Arjan Lake, 20 near Hilleh estuary on 2, 2 in Mond estuary on 4.
Flamant rose - Phoenicopterus ruber (Greater Flamingo)
A few tens of thousands birds, far away, in Gorgan Bay (Miankaleh) on 22.02, 50 on 25 at Govater, a few dozens near Bandar Abbas city on 26, 3 on 2.03 in Hilleh area and one ad. in Delvar sewage ponds on 6.
Oie rieuse - Anser albifrons (White-fronted Goose)
Total of 23 birds seen on 1.03 around Arjan Lake, with Greylags (including in crops).
Oie cendrée - Anser anser (Greylag Goose)
A few dozens on 21.02 at Esbaran, 5 at Seyed Mohalli on 22, 300+ on 1.03 at Arjan Lake, 100+ in Hilleh area on 2 including birds in steppe, 70 on 5 in the same area.
Tadorne casarca Tadorna ferruginea (Ruddy Shelduck)
14 on 1.03 on Arjan Lake, 4 on 2 in Hilleh area (but 60 seen by AP), 10 on 5 in the same area.
Tadorne de Belon - Tadorna tadorna (Common Shelduck)
2 on 24.02 in Chahbahar Bay, 1O at sea, off Laft on 27, 15 on 1.03 at Laft, 120 birds on 2 in Hilleh area along the river not far from the estuary, 2 in Bushehr Bay on 3, one in Mond estuary on 4, 10-15 in Hilleh area on 5 and 20 on Delvar sewage ponds on 6.
Canard siffleur - Anas penelope (Eurasian Wigeon)
Still numerous: dozens on 21.02 at Esbaran, 2-3 on 22 at sea at Noor, dozens on 22 at Seyed Mohalli and at Miankaleh, probably 1.000 ind. on 1.03 at Arjan Lake, a few dozens on 2 and 5 in Hilleh area, one m. on 4 in Mond estuary, 12 on the river at Abparkhash on 5 and 150 on Delvar sewage ponds on 6.
Canard chipeau - Anas strepera (Gadwall)
Hundreds on 21.02 on the damgah of Esbaran, dozens at Seyed Mohalli on 22, dozens the same day at Miankaleh, dozens on 1.03 at Arjan Lake, some birds on 2 and 5 at Hilleh area, 5 on 6 on Delvar sewage ponds.
Sarcelle d'hiver - Anas crecca (Common Teal)
Dozens on 21.02 at Esbaran, 7-8 at sea at Noor the same day, 500 ind. on 22 at Seyed Mohalli and a few dozens at Miankaleh, 300+ on 1.03 at Arjan Lake, a few dozens on 2 and 5 at Hilleh area, une f. at Doroodgah on 4, and dozens on 6 on Delvar sewage ponds.
Canard colvert - Anas platyrhynchos (Mallard)
Dozens on 21.02 at Esbaran and 50 at sea at Noor the same day; on 22, dozens at Seyed Mohalli and Miankaleh, a few dozens on 1.03 at Arjan Lake and in Hilleh area on 2 and 5, 10+ at Doroodgah on 4.
Canard pilet - Anas acuta (Pintail)
A very huge concentration of 15.000+ ind. on 21.02 on the damgah of Esbaran, dozens on 22 at Seyed Mohalli, a few birds on 5.03 at Hilleh area and about 10 on 6 at Delvar sewage ponds.
Canard souchet - Anas clypeata (Northern Shoveler)
Dozens on 21.02 at Esbaran and on 22 at Seyed Mohalli and Miankaleh (probably hundreds there), some birds on 1.03 at Arjan Lake, 10+ on 6 at Delvar sewage ponds.
Sarcelle marbrée - Marmaronette angustirostris (Marbled Duck)
Seen in Hilleh area: 100 on 2.03 and 150 on 5, not very visible in the marshes.
Nette rousse - Netta rufina (Red-crested Pochard)
400+ ind. seen on 22.02 at Seyed Mohalli in a loose flock, some birds the same day at Miankaleh (Gorgan Bay).
Apparently breeds in the area (cf. Hüe & Etchécopar).
Fuligule milouin - Aythya ferina (Common Pochard)
300 on 22.02 at Seyed Mohalli and dozens the same day at Miankaleh, 30 on 1.03 at Arjan Lake and 150 on 6 at Delvar sewage ponds.
Fuligule nyroca - Aythya nyroca (Ferruginous Duck)
Two m. on 1.03 at Arjan Lake╔
Fuligule morillon - Aythya fuligula (Tufted Duck)
Dozens on 22.02 at Seyed Mohalli and Miankaleh, 20 on 1.03 at Arjan Lake.
Érismature à tête blanche - Oxyura leucocephala (White-headed Duck)
10 ind. on 22.02 at Miankaleh (including some m.).
BONDRÉE ORIENTALE - Pernis ptilorhyncus (Oriental Honey-Buzzard)
One - probably m. - over Abparkhash date palms on 5.03, lands for a while at the top of a tree. First record for Iran!!
Excellent sighting: silhouette more imposing than European Honey-Buzzard, more massive. Black terminal tail band, preceded by an other, rather wide band in the middle of the tail. No black wrist marks underneath Six primaries visible, white throat. Distinct.
Milan noir - Milvus migrans (Black Kite)
Migrant birds: 15 on 22.02 around Larim Sara/Zarin Kola, 3 the same day at Zagh Narz, 2 at Bandar Abbas on 26, about 2.000+ birds - mainly (only ?) lineatus - on 28 in the morning and then late afternoon, migrating over land between Bandar Abbas and Geno, 100 on 29 between Bamou N.P. and Shiraz, some birds on 2.03 at Bushehr, on 3 in Bushehr Bay area, and 50+ on 5 north to Bushehr.
There is an intergrade zone in central Asia between migrans and lineatus (which, from below, resembles a bit Red Kite in shape and in the white markings). The migrants at Bandar Abbas are evidently lineatus migrants on their way to Asia.
PYGARGUE DE PALLAS - Haliaeetus leucoryphus (Pallas's Fish Eagle)
One ad. followed during 45 minutes in flight over Govater area on 25.02.
Excellent sighting: a perfect adult identified at great distance by AP, finally flew over us after a long soar over the Sarbaz River delta. Notable the cream colored head, as well as the belly which, on this individual, seemed totally pale! This species is currently very rare in Iran.
Pygargue à tête blanche - Haliaeetus albicilla (White-tailed Eagle)
One ad. in flight above Seyed Mohalli on 22.02 and no less than 24 birds (3 ad.) standing on poles in the Cormorants's roost the same day at Miankaleh (Gorgan Bay). Elsewhere, one ad. and one imm. on 1.03 at Arjan Lake.
Vautour percnoptère - Neophron percnopterus (Egyptian Vulture)
Seen on Qeshm island: 20 on 26.02, between near Suza and Hara N.P., mainly ad.
Vautour fauve - Gyps fulvus (Griffon Vulture)
One near Geno on 28.02.
Vautour moine - Aegypius monachus (Monk Vulture)
3 - migrants ? - on 28.02 at Geno.
Circaète Jean-le-Blanc - Circaetus gallicus (Short-toed Eagle)
One near Konarak airport on 24.02, 2 (one dark ind.) near Negur on 25.
Only seen in Balouchistan: wintering birds?
Busard des roseaux - Circus aeruginosus (Marsh Harrier)
One imm. on 21.02 at Esbaran, 10+ on 22 at Seyed Mohalli (local), dozens in Miankaleh/Gorgan Bay area the same day. 5 on Arjan Lake on 1.03, 5-6 in Hilleh area on 2 and 5.
Busard Saint-Martin - Circus cyaneus (Hen Harrier)
One m. on 21.02 between southern Elbourz and Noor, one m. on 22 at Zagh Narz, one m. on 5.03 in Hilleh area (and one f. seen by SN).
Busard pâle - Circus macrourus (Pallid Harrier)
Seen around Hilleh area: 3 m. (and a probable f.) on 2.03 in the steppe, 2 m. north to Bushehr on 3 and 3 m. and 4 f. in the steppe on 5, and a f. the same day at Abparkhash. Total of 13-14 ind.
Nice observations (finally) of this species. Rather distinct flight, fast and fluid, with "tips" almost resembling a Hobby when it pursues passerines. A male, apparently adult, still with brown markings on the back. In strong light, the gray appears darker, recalling the color of Montagu's Harrier. White rump. The female is more massive than Montagu's, the underwing secondary coverts are dusky, the inner primary tips are white (except outermost), the face mask distinct.
Probably all wintering birds.
Busard cendré - Circus pygargus (Montagu's Harrier)
One f. on 2.03 in Hilleh area. (steppe) in flight and on the ground.
Épervier d'Europe - Accipiter nisus (Eurasian Sparrowhawk)
One on 21.02 at Esbaran (AP), one f. on 22 at Larim Sara/Zarin Kola, 3 migrants on 28 at Bandar Abbas, one f. on 1.03 at Arjan Lake (MD), one f. on 6 in Darakih gorges/Tehran (PJD, HPR).
Unidentified sparrowhawks on 22.02 at Miankaleh (HPR), one on 4.03 south to Karri, one on 5 at Abparkhash and another in Hilleh area and one on 7 between Sharshemeh and Shahrbabak .
Épervier shikra - Accipiter badius (Shikra)
One m. in a tree on 25.02 at Lipar, at least one on 26 10 km east to Chahbahar (PJD, HPR), one north to Laft on 27.02, one on 29 at Bamou N.P., one on 3.03 at Doroodgah
Race cenchroides, theoretically migratory (but winters in the south of the country).
Buse variable - Buteo buteo (Common Buzzard)
6-7 in Noor forest on 21.02, one standing on a pole on 22 at Zagh Narz, one at Ruyan on 23. One vulpinus "brown" on 5.03 in Hilleh area, standing on a pole (photographed).
The birds south of the Caspian Sea are of the sedentary race menetriesi. Tail seemingly similar (maybe a little larger) to vulpinus, but most if not all birds seen are characterized by dusky brown marks below, without belly band, and lacking pale wrist mark. Similarly, from above dusky, so much that the birds appear very black from a distance.
The one vulpinus bird in the Hilleh area was certainly a migrant.
Buse féroce - Buteo rufinus (Long-legged Buzzard)
One pair near Geno on 28.02 (local), 2 near Shiraz on 29, one on rocks the same day at Persepolis, 2 on 1.03 between Shiraz and Arjan Lake, 3+ on 2 in Hilleh area, 2 at Doroodgah on 3, one south to Karri on 4, one at Abparkhash on 5, 2 the same day in Hilleh area and 3 on 7 between Sharshemeh and Shahrbabak.
Overall more common in the Bushehr area, undoubtedly wintering birds. Nominate race.
Buse pattue - Buteo lagopus (Rough-legged Buzzard)
One juv. photographed on 21.02 at Zagh Narz
Very contrasting individual (pale parts very white) and especially with almost black outer primaries. Race lagopus?
Aigle criard - Aquila clanga (Spotted Eagle)
One subad. (with white rump) on 21.02 at Esbaran (PJD, SN, AP), one ad. the same day above Noor forest (MD, AP, HPR). One ad. on 25 at Govater, one ad. on 27 near Suza, 3+ including one pale imm. on 1.03 at Arjan Lake, one ad. and one subad. on 3 at Doroodgah, one subad. on 5 at Abparkhash and 2 ad. (one seen by SN) the same day in Hilleh area. Total of 12 birds.
This species seems to be a common winter bird in Iran!
Aigle pomarin - Aquila pomarina (Lesser Spotted Eagle)
4-5 migrants on 28.02 at Geno, one ad. on 3.03 at Doroodgah.
This is the beginning of migration. The early dates suggest that the first birds reach Iran at this time of the year (cf. other migrants).
Aigle des steppes - Aquila nipalensis (Spotted Eagle)
2 ad. at Govater on 25.02 (MD), total of 30 birds in migration at Geno on 28, 3-4 near Bamou N.P. on 29, 6-7 on 1.03 at Arjan Lake and 30 migrants (at rest on the ground) near Shiraz the same day, one ad. on 2 in Hilleh area.
Aigle impérial - Aquila heliaca (Imperial Eagle)
One subad. on 24.02 at Konarak airport, then on 25, one subad. south to Negur and one imm. the same day west to Govater, near the seashore, one ad. in flight and resting 10 km east to Chahbahar on 26, one imm. (very well seen) and 2 ad. at Jijiyan/Qeshm island on 27, 3 first-year migrating over Geno on 28, 2 first-year near Bamou N.P. on 29, one ad. standing on a pylon on 1.03 at Arjan Lake (and 2 imm. seen by MD), one north to Bushehr on 3. Total of 16 birds.
Finally, very nice sightings of this species which is well represented in Iran (migrant and wintering).
Aigle royal - Aquila chrysaetos (Golden Eagle)
One ad. and one imm. flying together near Marzanabad on 23.02 and a subad. the same day between Kandovan Pass and Tehran, 1-2 on 29 in Bamou N.P.
Aigle de Bonelli - Hieraaetus fasciatus (Bonelli's Eagle)
One imm. on 4.03 at Mond estuary and another imm. on 5, in flight with a full gizzard.
Balbuzard pêcheur - Pandion haliaetus (Osprey)
7+ on 24.02 in Chahbahar Bay, 15-20 ind. on 25 between Chahbahar and Govater along the seashore, 2 near the Konarak airport on 26, one south-east to Qeshm city the same day, 5 along the sea near Qeshm city and Laft, one on 1.03 at Arjan Lake, 2 in Bushehr Bay on 3, one in Mond estuary on 4.
This species is especially numerous along the Baluchistan coast where it certainly nests.
Faucon crécerelle - Falco tinnunculus (Common Kestrel)
One on 21.02 at Esbaran, a few birds on 22 at Larim Sara/Zarin Kola and Zagh Narz, 2+ in Chahbahar Bay on 24, 5 between Chahbahar and Govater on 25, one at Jijiyan/Qeshm island on 26, 2 entre Bamou N.P. and Persepolis on 29, one seen by SN at Arjan Lake on 1.03, 2 in Hilleh area (ans one there on 5) on 2, one in Mond estuary on 4 and one south to Karri the same day, 3-4 on 7 between Sharshemeh and Shahrbabak .
Faucon émerillon - Falco columbarius (Merlin)
2 on 22.02 at Zagh Narz, one on 1.03 at Arjan Lake (HPR)
The birds at Zagh Narz are very pale and belong to the race pallidus, typically.
Faucon pèlerin - Falco peregrinus (Peregrine Falcon)
2, high in the sky, on 23.02 towards Kandovan Pass.
Undoubtedly race brookei.
Faucon de Barbarie - Falco peregrinoides (Barbary Falcon)
One subad. at rest on the ground on 1.03 on Arjan Lake mudflats.
Nice observations, notable the brown underparts (subad.), but the neck very reddish and some stripes on the breast.
Perdrix choukar - Alectoris chukar (Chukar Partridge)
2 on 28.02 at Geno (PJD, HPR), 10+ on 29 in Bamou N.P., 2 south to Karri on 4.03, 4 in Darakih gorges/Tehran on 7.
The birds were very sandy-gray (races kurdestanica and werae ?)
Perdrix si-si - Ammoperdrix griseogularis (See-see Partridge)
One at Lipar on 25.02 (AP), 4 in Bamou N.P. on 29 (SN).
Francolin gris - Francolinus pondicerianus (Grey Francolin)
One seen on 25.02 at Govater (SN).
Francolin noir - Francolinus francolinus (Black Francolin)
One on 22.02 at Miankaleh (HPR, SN), 2 (not seen by myself, one heard only) on 5.03 at Abparkhash and one m. well seen and heard the same day in Hilleh area (in bushes along a small canal).
Râle d'eau - Rallus aquaticus (Water Rail)
One found dead on 21.02 at Esbaran, 2 on 22 at Seyed Mohalli, and one on 5.03 at Delvar sewage ponds.
Foulque macroule - Fulica atra (Common Coot)
Thousands on 22.02 at Seyed Mohalli and at Miankaleh the same day, hundreds on 1.03 on Arjan Lake and 10 on 5 at Delvar sewage ponds.
Strangely, no Common Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus) was seen!!!
Grue cendrée - Grus grus (Common Crane)
At least 265 ind. leaving the Arjan Lake early in the morning of 1.03 to feeding grounds (and a few birds around the lake during the day), 2 ad. in steppic desert of Mond estuary on 4.
Still winter birds.
GRUE DE SIBÉRIE - Grus leucogranus (Siberian White Crane)
7 ind. - including one imm. - on the damgah of Esbaran on 21.02. The birds left the area and started their spring migration the following day!
For reasons unknown to us, the local authorities of the Department of the Envirenment who were present at the time of our visit (!) did not allow us to observe the birds with telescopes (only binoculars). The birds were several hundred meters away, thus this was somewhat frustrating... Nevertheless spectacular birds (feeding among the ducks). One bird apparently ringed. The last ones in Iran.
Outarde de Macqueen - Chlamydotis macqueenii (Macqueen's Bustard)
About 10 diferent birds, including 5 together on 4.03 in the steppe around Mond estuary.
Well observed, though wild birds. Traps (snares) were noted in many places around the site... Undoubtedly wintering birds from central Asia.
Huitrier pie - Haematopus haematopus (Oystercatcher)
10 on 25.02 at Govater, 4-5 on 26 south-east to Qeshm city (MD), some birds on 27 at Laft, one on 3.03 in Bushehr Bay (AP).
Échasse blanche - Himantopus himantopus (Black-winged Stilt)
7 at Konarak on 24.02, one at Bandar Abbas (city) on 26 (MD), 4-5 on 2.03 at Bushehr, 20+ in Hilleh area the same day, 15 in Bushehr Bay on 3, dozens on 5 in Hilleh area (marshes) and 40 the same day at Delvar sewage ponds.
Undoubtedly a large wintering flock.
Avocette élégante - Recurvirostra avosetta (Avocet)
9 on 27.02 in Hara N.P., 350 in feeding on 2.03 in Hilleh area, not far from the estuary, one on 3 in Bushehr Bay, 14 on 5 at Delvar sewage ponds.
Drome ardéole - Dromas ardeola (Crab-Plover)
9 on mudflats on 25.02 at Govater, 35 ind. on 27 in Hara N.P. (some imm.) on mudflats along mangroves.
Strange birds whose large size is surprising. The dark flocks of immatures are blackish-gray, not black.
╬dicnème criard - Burhinus oedicnemus (Stone-Curlew)
4 on 4.03 in Mond estuary.
Petit Gravelot - Charadrius dubius (Little Ringed Plover)
2 Chahbahar Bay on 24.02, 5 on 26 south-east to Qeshm city, 3 in Geno area on 28 (along a small stream), some on 2.03 in Hilleh area, 3 on 3 at Doroodgah along the river, some on 5 at Delvar sewage ponds.
Possibly wintering, but mainly migrants and nesting birds that have already arrived.
Grand Gravelot - Charadrius hiaticula (Great Ringed Plover)
one near Suza on 26.02 (on the beach), one on Hilleh area on 2.03 in a marshy area.
Gravelot à collier interrompu - Charadrius alexandrinus (Kentish Plover)
10 in Chahbahar Bay on 24.02 (salt pans), on in Beris harbour and one at Govater on 25, one south-east to Qeshm city on 26, 5 in Hara N.P. the following day, dozens in Hilleh area (marshes) on 2 and 5.03, a few birds on 3 in Bushehr Bay, one on 4 at Mond estuary.
Gravelot mongol - Charadrius mongolus (Lesser Sand Plover)
One ad. on 26.02 south-east to Qeshm city among Greater Sand P (PJD, AP).
Rather few! Notable the smaller size compared to Greater Sand Plover, as well as the gray-brown, darker back. The latter have fairly variable colored legs - from yellowish to brown-black - while the former have black legs.
Gravelot de Leschenault - Charadrius leschenaultii (Greater Sand Plover)
15 in Chahbahar Bay (salt pans) on 24.02, 15 in Beris harbour on 25 (SN) and 5-6 at Govater the same day, 9 south-east to Qeshm city on 26 (on the beach), 15 in Hara N.P. on 27, one in Hilleh area on 2.03 and 2 in Bushehr Bay on 3.
Race not determined, but the birds didn't have a particularly strong and long bill.
PLUVIER FAUVE - Pluvialis fulva (Pacific Golden Plover)
3 on a mudflat in Hara N.P. on 27.02 (PJD, MD, SN).
Well seen were the gray axillaries, the length of the legs, the whitish, well-marked supercilium, the somewhat warmer back color compared to Eur. Golden Plover, and the typical call (heard by SN). What is its status in Iran?
Pluvier doré - Pluvialis apricaria (European Golden Plover)
170 ind. in flight over Larim Sara/Zarin Kola on 22.02.
Pluvier argenté - Pluvialis squatarola (Grey Plover)
One on 25.02 in Beris harbour (MD), 16 south-east to Qeshm city on the beach on 26, 30 in Hara N.P. on 27 on mudflats along the mangroves, one at Halileh in Bushehr Bay on 3.03, 3 in Mond estuary on 4.
Vanneau indien - Vanellus indicus (Red-wattled Lapwing)
2 near Chahbahar on 25.02 (MD), one 10 km east to Chahbahar on 26, one in Bandar Abbas the same day, 2 pairs holding territory on 28 near Geno, 2 in Hilleh area on 2.03, 8 apparently breeding at Doroodgah on 3, 5-6 at Abparkhash on 5 (breeders) and 10+ the same day in Hilleh area (holding territories in fields and steppe).
The birds on territory are very striking, e.g. the sharp white V on the wing.
Vanneau à queue blanche - Vanellus leucurus (White-tailed Lapwing)
7 ad. on 3.03 on the river at Doroodgah, 2 on 5 at Abparkhash (SN, AP), one the same day near Bushehr (MD) and 6 at Delvar sewage ponds (same day) apparently in territorial pairs.
In breeding plumage the legs are super-bright yellow! Similarly, the lower belly is gray (superb!).
Vanneau huppé - Vanellus vanellus (Northern Lapwing)
Some birds on 21.02 at ES, 2 near Sari on 22, one in Hara N.P. (!) on 27 (MD), 14 at Persepolis on 29, 50 at Arjan Lake on 1.03, one in Mond estuary on 3, one in Hilleh area on 5.03.
Still small wintering flocks, even in the south.
Bécasseau minute - Calidris minuta (Little Stint)
10-15 birds on 27.02 on mudflats in Hara N.P., several dozens on 2.03 and 15 on 5 in Hilleh area (marshes), 4 on 4 in Mond estuary, dozens at Delvar sewage ponds on 5.
Bécasseau de Temminck - Calidris temminckii (Temminck's Stint)
2 on 5.03 in Hilleh area (marshes) and 3 at Delvar sewage ponds the same day.
Undoubtedly wintering birds.
Bécasseau variable - Calidris alpina (Dunlin)
4 in Chahbahar Bay on 24.02, 4 in Beris harbour on 25, 100+ on the beach south-east to Qeshm city on 26, 100 in Hara N.P. the following day, dozens in Hilleh area on 3.03 and 15 on 5 at Delvar sewage ponds.
Combattant varié - Philomachus pugnax (Ruff)
In Hilleh area, 50+ on 2.03 and several dozens on 5, 20+ in steppe on 3 in Bushehr Bay, several dozens on 5 at Delvar sewage ponds.
Still small wintering flocks, even in the south.
Bécassine sourde - Lymnocryptes minimus (Jack Snipe)
One well seen at Delvar sewage ponds on 5.03.
BÉCASSINE À QUEUE POINTUE - Gallinago stenura (Pintail Snipe)
2 in flight on 3.03 at Doroodgah.
What is its status in Iran? Present at least in Bahrain and Oman, but undoubtedly overlooked in passage.
Bécassine des marais - Gallinago gallinago (Common Snipe)
40 at Esbaran on 21.02, a single flock of 300 birds (!) on 22 at Larim Sara/Zarin Kola, 4 at Seyed Mohalli the same day, 2 on 1.03 at Arjan Lake, 40 on a gravel bank at Doroodgah on 3, 7-8 at Delvar sewage ponds on 5.
Barge à queue noire - Limosa limosa (Black-tailed Godwit)
Hundreds on 21.02 on Esbaran damgah, several hundreds on 1.03 at Arjan Lake.
Probably wintering flocks.
Courlis corlieu - Numenius phaeopus (Whimbrel)
5-6 on 25.02 at Govater, 7-8 in Bandar Abbas harbour and 3 south-east to Qeshm city on 26, total of 150 in mangroves of Hara N.P. including at least one (and probably several) alboxallaris birds, on 27.
One bird noted at Hara N.P. was much paler and more contrasted compared to the other Whimbrels, with a less neat cap and above all, uniform, not barred, axillaries and underwings. Very probably a bird of the (rare) subspecies alboaxillaris originating in the Russian and Kazahk steppes (and undoubtedly several present).
Courlis cendré - Numenius arquata (Eurasian Curlew)
One on 21.02 at Esbaran (MD), 20 on 24 in Chahbahar Bay, 6 on 25 at Govater, several in Bandar Abbas harbour on 26, about 500 in mangroves of Hara N.P. on 27, several on 2.03 in Hilleh area, several on 4 in Mond estuary, 2 on 5 in Hilleh area again.
Most if not all birds of race orientalis: long tail, very long bill, axillaries and underwing white, often uniformly, sometimes barely striped.
Chevalier arlequin - Tringa erythropus (Spotted Redshank)
2+ on 1.03 at Arjan Lake, one on 2 in Hilleh area,
Chevalier gambette - Tringa totanus (Redshank)
30 in flight on 22.02 at Miankaleh, some birds on 25 at Govater, 10 south-east to Qeshm city on 26, 250 ind. on 27 in Hara N.P., one at Geno (!) on 28, dozens on 1.03 at Arjan Lake, several in Hilleh area on 2 and 10 on 5, one on 3 at Doroodgah, at last 20 at Delvar sewage ponds on 5.
Chevalier stagnatile - Tringa stagnatilis (Marsh Sandpiper)
In Hilleh area, 5 on 2.03 and 3 on 5, one at Doroodgah on 4, on the river, 15 ind. on 5 at Delvar sewage ponds.
Chevalier aboyeur - Tringa nebularia (Greenshank)
One on 25.02 at Govater, 5 in Hara N.P. on 27, one on 1.03 at Arjan Lake, 2 in Hilleh area on 2, 2 on 3 at Doroodgah, one on 4 in Mond estuary.
Chevalier culblanc - Tringa ochropus (Green Sandpiper)
One heard on 21.02 at Esbaran, one in Beris harbour on 25 (MD, SN), one on 1.03 at Arjan Lake, 2 on 2 in Hilleh area, 2 on 3 at Doroodgah, one on 5 at Abparkhash and 2+ the same day at Delvar sewage ponds, at last one between Sharshemeh and Shahrbabak on 7 (SN).
Chevalier sylvain - Tringa glareola (Wood Sandpiper)
2+ on 22.02 at Larim Sara/Zarin Kola (wintering birds).
Chevalier bargette - Tringa cinerea (Terek Sandpiper)
5 on 25.02 at Govater, 100+ on 27 in Hara N.P. mangroves, 2 at Bandar Abbas harbour on 28 (PJD), 10 on 2.03 in Hilleh area, near the estuary.
Important wintering grounds in the mangrove zone. Notably unapproachable - the birds take wing at a rather great distance, even when approached by boat.
Chevalier guignette - Actitis hypoleucos (Common sandpiper)
One on the beach at Noor on 21.02, 2 in Beris harbour on 25 and 2 the same day at Govater, one in Qeshm city harbour on 26, 20 in Hara N.P. on 27.
Phalarope à bec étroit - Phalaropus lobatus (Red-necked Phalarope)
One in Hilleh area on 2.03 (in marshy area) and 5 together on a pond on 5 at Delvar sewage ponds.
Undoubtedly wintering birds (winters in numbers in Oman).
Labbe parasite - Stercorarius parasiticus (Arctic Skua)
One ad. on 26 south-east to Qeshm city (at sea) and 2 ad. at sea off Qeshm city in Hormuz Strait.
Goéland d'Hemprich - Larus hemprichii (Sooty Gull)
10 1st-summer on 25.02 in Beris harbour, one 1st-summer the same day at Govater.
Goéland ichthyaète - Larus ichthyaetus (Great Black-headed Gull)
One ad. and one 3rd-winter on 24.02 at Konarak, 20 together in flight over desert on 25 near Beris and 2 (one ad.) the same day at Govater, 3 ad. on 27 in Hara N.P., 25+ inland at Arjan Lake on 1.03, and 5 ad. in SP in Bushehr Bay on 4.
Finally rather few birds, and notably none along the shore of the Caspian Sea! Birds already headed north or declined numbers???
Mouette rieuse - Larus ridibundus (Black-headed Gull)
250 at sea off Noor on 21.02 (nocturnal roost), one in Beris harbour on 25, and 2 at Govater the same day, 600+ on 26 in Bandar Abbas harbour and 200 the same day in Qeshm city harbour, 1-2 near Suza on 27, some birds in Shiraz on 29, dozens on 1.03 at Arjan Lake, dozens in Bushehr on 2 (along the sea), several the same day in Hilleh area, dozens in Bushehr Bay on 3, and several on 5 at Delvar sewage ponds.
Goéland railleur - Larus genei (Slender-billed Gull)
70+ in flight towards a nocturnal roost on 22.02 at Miankaleh, 50 at roost on 24 in Chahbahar Bay, 40 in Beris harbour and 25 at Govater on 25, 10+ at sea in Hormoz Strait near Bandar Abbas on 26, 2 in Qeshm harbour the same day, 10+ near Suza on 27 (beach) and 10 in Hara N.P., 2+ ad. on 1.03 at Arjan Lake, several on 2 at Bushehr (along the shore) and some birds in Hilleh area, 2 in Bushehr Bay on 3, 5-6 in Mond estuary on 4.
Goéland cendré - Larus canus (Common Gull)
6 ad. and one 1st-summer on 21.02 at roost among B.-h. Gulls off Noor (Caspian), one ad. (seen by others) on 2.03 at Bushehr and 2 ad. on 3 in Bushehr Bay.
Race heinei. Honestly, the birds of the Caspian Sea (admittely seen from far) didn't seem all that different from those in western Europe. Those seen in the south (Bushehr Bay) on the other hand were rather bulky, long-legged.
Goéland de Sibérie - Larus heuglini (Siberian Gull)
On 24.02, total of 40 at Konarak and several in Chahbahar Bay, 30 in Beris Harbour and 150 at Govater on 25, several in Bandar Abbas harbour on 26 and the same day in Qeshm city harbour, 1-2 at Laft on 27 and 15-20 in Hara N.P., several on 2.03 in Bushehr , 40+ at Halileh harbour and around, in Bushehr Bay, on 3.
The great majority of the birds were of subspecies heuglini. Large size, larger than cachinnans, heavier breast, more angular head with with variably numerous stripes on the nape. Variable eye color, but most often yellow to pale yellow, sometimes amber to amber-brown. The back is slate gray like graellsi, sometimes a little paler but darker than cachinnans. Legs from pale rosy-yellow to rather bright yellow (most often). The bill is rather strong with a well-marked gonydeal angle; yellow, sometimes rather pale, and quite often marked with a black subterminal band (ca. 60% of birds).
Among the birds present, the characteristics of the race taymirensis were regularly observed like at Konarak (?), Govater, Hara, and in the harbor of Halileh/Bushehr (photo), i.e.: Back slightly paler than heuglini, rather indistinguishable from that of barabensis and "eastern" cachinnans, same streaking on the head. Legs more flesh-colored, pale yellow (but also bright yellow and yellowish-green like heuglini). Seems a little shorter-legged than heuglini. Eye of same variable color, from pale yellow (quite often) to amber brown. At Hara, a 3rd year individual (photographed) had rosy legs, a rather pale gray back, stripes in front of the nape, but not very strong ones (f.?) and shorter legs.
First summer birds photographed show quite a few gray feathers on the back, a white head, and the facial expression resembles cachinnans, with a strong bill. bec plus fort.
Goéland pontique - Larus cachinnans (Pontic/Caspian Gull)
Birds are mainly cachinnans-type (i.e. "eastern" Caspian Gull). Here are listed observations of such a type or birds without any identified form: 2 ad. on 21.02 off Noor, 10 on 22.02 at Miankaleh; on 24, several at Konarak and one 1st-winter in Chahbahar Bay, 1-2 in Beris harbour on 25, 10 at Govater the same day, one possible in Hara N.P. on 28, 15 on 1.03 at Arjan Lake, 4-5 in Halileh harbour in Bushehr Bay on 3.
Some birds show clearly ponticus-like features (i.e. "eastern" Pontic/Caspian Gull): one ad. on 25 at Govater, one ad. on 2.03 in Hilleh area (photographed). On the south coast of Iran, cachinnans seems to be more common in the east (Baluchistan) than in the west, where barabensis dominates.
Cachinnans is not easy to distinguish from barabensis, except for a slightly paler mantle, a thin pale band between the gray and the black of the outer primaries (not easily seen), slightly less black on the primaries, larger white mirrors on p10 and p9, paler yellow bill (even paler point), with a black subterminal band, longer, less bright yellow legs, longer-legged, eye appearing dark.
The ponticus-type gulls have mostly white tips of p10 (above and below), a white inner web of the outher primaries ("Venetian blinds"), and a mantle that is even slightly paler than cachinnans.
Goéland de Baraba - Larus (sp. ?) barabensis (Baraba/Steppe Gull)
At least one ad. on 25.02 at Govater, 50 in Bandar Abbas harbour and several in Qeshm city harbour on 26, 10 at Laft and 30-40 in Hara N.P. on 27, several on 2.03 off Bushehr, several dozens in Bushehr Bay on 3 (including around Halileh). 2000 unidentified gulls on 28.02, east to Bandar Abbas harbour, belong probably mainly to this form.
Always tricky identification of this little-known form. Remember: Slightly smaller than cachinnans, slimmer silhouette, rounder head (white, unstreaked), slightly dull gray mantle. Much black on primaries (up to p3 at times), limited white mirror (but not always) on p10, little or absent on p9. No white "outline" between the gray and the black of the inner primaries, rather the black sometimes reaches just to the the greater outer wing coverts. Rather variable eye color, but quite often pale yellow, bright yellow legs (adults), rather bright yellow bill, often with black subterminal band. Not much about immatures.
Note: Some birds were not specifically identified (cachinnans and barabensis), while others, undoubtedly taimyrensis, also looked very similar to barabensis. This all is worth further study.
Sterne hansel - Sterna nilotica (Gull-billed Tern)
One at Govater on 25.02 (PJD), 3-4 on 27 in Hara N.P., several dozens on 2.03 in Hilleh area, 5 at Halileh in Bushehr Bay on 3, 2 in Mond estuary on 4, 30+ over fields in Hilleh area on 5.
Sterne caspienne - Sterna caspia (Caspian Tern)
3 at Konarak along the beach and one in Chahbahar Bay both on 24.02, several in Beris harbour and 20-25 at Govater on 25, 15-20 on 27 in Hara N.P., 5-6 at Bushehr on 2.03, 5+ at Halileh in Bushehr Bay on 3, 2 in Mond estuary on 4.
Sterne huppée - Sterna bergii (Crested Tern)
5 in Chahbahar Bay on 24.02, several dozens in Beris harbour and 250 at roost at Govater on 25, a few birds in Bandar Abbas harbour on 26 and 15+ in Qeshm city harbour the same day, one in Hara N.P. on 27, 3 at Halileh in Bushehr Bay on 3.
From far, this tern looks dark gray (like the rump). Larger than Sandwich Tern.
Sterne voyageuse - Sterna bengalensis (Lesser Crested Tern)
2 ad. at roost at Govater on 25.02, 10 in Bandar Abbas harbour and 20 in Hormoz Strait on 26, 40 near Suza on the beach on 27, 10 the same day near Laft, 45 ind. fishing at Bushehr on 2.03, 20 in Bushehr Bay on 3.
Size seems slightly smaller than Sandwich Tern when standing. Dark (not white) rump.
Sterne caugek - Sterna sandvicensis (Sandwich Tern)
12 off Noor on 21.02 (winters in Caspian Sea), several dozens in Chahbahar Bay on 24, 50 in Chahbahar harbour on 25 and 15+ the same day at Govater, several in Bandar Abbas harbour on 26, 25-30 on the beach near Suza on 27, 50+ on 3.03 in Bushehr Bay.
Sterne pierregarin - Sterna hirundo (Common Tern)
500 birds on the beach near Suza on 27.02. Apparently wintering birds... What is its winter status in the south of Iran?
Sterne à joues blanches - Sterna repressa (White-cheeked Tern)
2 in WP among common Terns on 27.02 near Suza.
Size slightly smaller than Common Tern, shorter-legged, but rather long bill (recalling Black Tern). In winter plumage, slightly darker gray mantle, same as rump. Seems to be wintering (in very small numbers?) in this part of the Persian Gulf.
Guifette moustac - Chlidonias hybridus (Whiskered Tern)
4 on 2.03 in Hilleh area (marshes) and one over the river at Doroodgah on 3.
Probably wintering birds (in winter plumage).
Ganga tacheté - Pterocles senegallus (Spotted sandgrouse)
50 in the steppe on 4.03 in Mond estuary.
2 unidentified sandgrouse in flight on 7 between Sharshemeh and Shahrbabak.
Pigeon biset - Columba livia (Rock Dove)
2 in flight on 24.02 in Chahbahar Bay. Seen in villages in Balouchistan on 25 and 26 (feral), also several in cliffs at Bamou N.P. on 29.
No white rump.
Pigeon ramier - Columba palumbus (Wood Pigeon)
One in Noor forest on 21.02 (SN), 3+ above Arjan Lake in the Quercus brandii forest on 1.03,
Tourterelle turque - Streptopelia decaocto (Collared Dove)
30 on electric wires on 25.02 near Negur, 2 on 1.03 at Arjan Lake, one in Bushehr on 2, one at Doroodgah on 3, 2 south to Karri on 4, several near Bushehr on 5.
Tourterelle maillée - Streptopelia senegalensis (Laughing Dove)
Several in Tehran on 24.02, 5 on 26 10 km east to Chahbahar, 4 on 26 near Suza, several on 28 at Geno, several on 2.03 in Bushehr and in Bushehr Bay on 3, 20 in Mond estuary on 4 (SN), several on 4 south to Karri, several in Hilleh area on 5 and in Tehran again on 6 and one in Darakih gorges/Tehran the same day.
Perruche à collier - Psittacula krameri (Rose-ringed Parakeet)
One in Negur on 25.02 (MD).
Coucou gris - Cuculus canorus (Common Cuckoo)
3 (2 singing and one red morph female) on 28.02 at Geno, one heard on 29 at Bamou N.P.
Chevêche d'Athéna - Athene noctua (Little Owl)
4+ on 7.03 between Sharshemeh and Shahrbabak.
Hibou des marais - Asio flammeus (Short-eared Owl)
One in the steppe (!!) on 7.03 between Sharshemeh and Shahrbabak.
Engoulevent du désert - Caprimulgus aegyptius (Egyptian
One crossing the road at night towards Bushehr (coming from Hilleh) on 3.03.
Very pale bird without white wing marks.
Martinet noir - Apus apus (Common Swift)
Several on 26.02 in Bandar Abbas, 5-10 in migration on 26 near Suza, dozens in Bandar Abbas (including migrants) on 28, several dozens in migration on 29 between Bamou N.P. and Persepolis, dozens in Shiraz on 1.03, several on 2 in Bushehr, dozens in migration on 2 in Hilleh area and on 3 in Bushehr Bay and Doroodgah, several on 4 in Mond estuary, dozens migrating on 5 in Hilleh area and over Delvar sewage ponds.
These were of the race pekinensis, which is a little more brown than nominate.
Martinet pâle Apus pallidus (Pallid Swift)
7 together at Konarak airport on 24.02, several on 25 at Govater and on 26 at Bandar Abbas, several in migration near Suza on 27, several in migration between Bamou N.P. and Persepolis on 29, several on 2.03 in Hilleh area and at Doroodgah on 3, several on 4 in Mond estuary, dozens in migration on 5 in Hilleh area and at Delvar sewage ponds (hunting over ponds).
Nominate race here (but rather pale).
Martinet à ventre blanc - Apus melba (Alpine Swift)
Several hundreds in migration on 28.02 over Geno, 10+ in Bamou N.P. and several at Persepolis on 29, 2 on 3.03 at Doroodgah, 5 in Mond estuary on 4.
Martinet des maisons - Apus affinis (Little Swift)
2 at Doroodgah on 3.03, one on 5 in Hilleh area.
Martin-chasseur de Smyrne - Halcyon smyrnensis (Smyrna Kingfisher)
One on 25.02 at Govater (SN et al.), 4+ along the river at Doroodgah on 3.03, 3 at Abparkhash on 5.
Martin-pêcheur d'Europe - Alcedo atthis (Common Kingfisher)
3 on 21.02 at Esbaran, 2 on 22 at Seyed Mohalli, one in Beris harbour on 25 and one at Govater the same day, 2 in Hara N.P. on 27, one at Doroodgah on 3.03, on at Abparkhash on 5.
Alcyon pie - Ceryle rudis (Pied Kingfisher)
In Bushehr area: 7 on 2.03 in Hilleh area, 6+ on 3 at Doroodgah, one on 4 in Mond estuary, 2 at Abparkhash and 2 in Hilleh area on 5.
Guêpier d'Orient - Merops orientalis (Little Green Bee-eater)
One in Chahbahar Bay on 24.02 (PJD), 2 at Lipar on 25 and 4 at Govater, 10+ 10 km east to Chahbahar and 7 south-east to Qeshm city on 26, several near Suza on 27, 5 at Geno on 28, several on 2 and 5.03 in Hilleh area and on 3 at Doroodgah, one on 4 south to Karri.
Subspecies beludschicus with pale blue throat bordered with a narrow black line, rather long tail (but shorter than African birds).
Rollier indien - Coracias benghalensis (Indian Roller)
First one in Konarak airport on 24.02, then several on 25 at Lipar, at least one 10 km east to Chahbahar, one at Bandar Abbas and one south-east to Qeshm city on 26, 10 between Suza and Hara N.P. on 27, several towards Bamou N.P. on 29, dozens on 2 and 5.03 in Hilleh area and the same day at Doroodgah.
Superb birds, especially in flight with the pale blue subterminal patch on the primaries.
Huppe fasciée - Upupa epops (Hoopoe)
One on 28.02 at Geno (PJD), 2 in Bamou N.P. on 29, one on 1.03 at Arjan Lake, 5 on 2 in Hilleh area, 3 on 3 at Doroodgah, 5 on 4 south to Karri, 2 in Hilleh area on 5 and one on 7 between Sharshemeh and Shahrbabak .
Pic épeiche - Dendrocopos major (Great Spotted Woodpecker)
One seen and 2 heard (drumming) on 21.02 in Noor forest,
Race poelzami which is rather dark and dusky underneath.
Pic syriaque - Dendrocopos syriacus (Syrian Woodpecker)
4 birds (one f. seen by myself) on 1.03 at Arjan Lake (small orchards), one m. on 6 in Darakih gorges/Tehran (PJD, HPR).
Pic épeichette - Dendrocopos minor (Lesser Spotted Woodpecker)
One seen and 3 heard (song) on 21.02 in Noor forest (SN).
Moinelette à front blanc - Eremopterix nigriceps (Calandra Lark)
16 (only 2 f.) on 26.02 10 km east to Chahbahar, one m. the same day near Suza and 6 N to Laft (SN).
Ammomane isabelline - Ammomanes deserti (Desert Lark)
2 - not seen by myself - on 25.02 near Negur, 3-4 on 29 in Bamou N.P..
Sirli du désert - Alaemon alaudipes (Hoopoe Lark)
One heard on 25.02 at Lipar, one on 26 10 km east to Chahbahar (HPR, SN), 4 on 3.03 in Bushehr Bay (including 2 at Halileh),
Alouette calandre - Melanocorypha calandra (Black-crowned
One in flight on 21.02 at ES, 10 in flight on 1.03 at Arjan Lake, 1+ on 2 in Hilleh area, one at Abparkhash on 5.
Alouette calandrelle - Calandrella brachydactyla (Short-toed Lark)
One on 2.03 in Hilleh area, one well seen on 4 south to Karri, 25+ on 7 between Sharshemeh and Shahrbabak .
Alouette de Swinhoe - Calandrella cheleensis (Asian Short-toed Lark)
5-10 in steppe on 3.03 in Bushehr Bay.
Alouette pispolette - Calandrella rufescens (Lesser short-toed Lark)
One probable on 1.03 at Arjan Lake.
Cochevis huppé - Galerida cristata (Crested Lark)
2+ on 22.02 at Seyed Mohalli, 5-6 in Chahbahar Bay on 23. Elsewhere, common at very common in Baluchistan, Qeshm island, and in Bushehr area. Seen also on 1.03 ar Arjan Lake.
Alouette des champs - Alauda arvensis (Sky Lark)
several on 21.02 at Esbaran, hundreds in steppe at Larim Sara/Zarin Kola on 22 and 30 the same day at Zagh Narz, dozens on 2.03 in Hilleh area, several in the steppe on 3 in Bushehr Bay, 10-15 on 4 in Mond estuary and 10+ on 5 in Hilleh area again.
Subspecies dulcivox (grayer and paler than arvensis) in the north, armenicus in the south (even grayer)???
Alouette haussecol - Eremophila alpina (Shore Lark)
5 at Kandovan Pass on 23.02, one in between Sharshemeh and Shahrbabak on 7.03.
In the Elburz the birds have a white face (not yellow or yellowish), probably subspecies penicillata here.
Hirondelle de rivage - Riparia riparia (Sand Martin)
Dozens on 2 and 5.03 in Hilleh area, several on 3 at Doroodgah.
Subspecies not noted...
Hirondelle isabelline - Ptyonoprogne fuligula (Rock Martin)
2 at Konarak airport on 24.02, several around Negur on 25, several on 26 10 km east to Chahbahar, one near Suza the same day, one at Bandar Abbas airport on 28, one on 3.03 at Halileh, 2+ on 4 in Mond estuary.
Hirondelle rustique - Hirundo rustica (Barn Swallow)
On 24.02, several dozens at Konarak (ans local birds in the town), several on 25 around Negur, 10+ on 28 at Bandar Abbas airport, several on 29 at Bamou N.P. and Persepolis, on 1.03 at Arjan Lake, dozens on 2 and 5 in Hilleh area and on 3 at Doroodgah, several on 4 in Mond estuary, several at Delvar sewage ponds on 6.
Subspecies rustica, as in Europe.
Hirondelle rousseline - Hirundo daurica (Red-rumped Swallow)
One on 29.02 at Persepolis, 2 on 3.03 at Doroodgah, 4 on 4 in Mond estuary,
Hirondelle de fenêtre - Delichon urbica (House Martin)
2 near Chahbahar on 26.02 (PJD), one on 2.03 in Hilleh area (AP), 20 on 3 at Doroodgah.
Pipit de Richard - Anthus richardi (Richard's Pipit)
One on 22.02 at Miankaleh (SN, HPR), one possible on 29 at Bamou N.P. (PJD, HPR).
Pipit rousseline - Anthus campestris (Tawny Pipit)
6 in the steppe on 3.03 in Bushehr Bay, 20+ on 4 south to Karri (migrants).
At Karri, this species was seen side by side with the next, allowing good observations. Compared to Long-billed P., the median coverts have black centers contrasting cleanly with the cream of the feather outlines. On the Long-billed P., the median coverts are less contrasting and less visible. Also at Karri, a Tawny Pipit showed a very pale yellow face and supercilium.
Pipit à long bec - Anthus similis (Long-billed Pipit)
One at Konarak airport and one in Chahbahar Bay (SN) the same day, one in flight at Lipar on 25, one at Govater the same day, one 10 km east to Chahbahar on 26 and 3 south-east to Qeshm city the same day, one near Suza on 27, 2 on 29 at Bamou N.P., 2 south to Karri on 4.03.
Larger than Tawny Pipit, longer and more decurved bill.
Pipit farlouse - Anthus pratensis (Meadow Pipit)
Several on 21.02 at Esbaran, dozens on 22 at Larim Sara/Zarin Kola, and further south, 2 on 2.03 in Hilleh area.
Pipit spioncelle - Anthus spinoletta (Water Pipit)
30 on 21.02 at ES, several on 22 at Larim Sara/Zarin Kola. In the south, one on 1.03 at Arjan Lake, dozens on 2 and 5 in Hilleh area, one on 3 in Bushehr Bay, 3 in flight the same day at Doroodgah, 2 on Mond estuary on 4, 30+ on 5 at Delvar sewage ponds (sewage ponds).
Subspecies coutelli. The grayish head contrasts well with the brown back (more brown than in European birds), which is lightly streaked with black. Below solidly rosy, with breast streaks still present, outer rectrices clearly white. Notable two calls, one typical for Water Pipit, the other like Meadow Pipit!
Bergeronnette printanière - Motacilla flava (Yellow Wagtail)
Birds of the feldegg race: 3 m. on 1.03 at Arjan Lake, one m. on 2 in Hilleh area, 5 m. on 5 and a f. of unidentified race (not feldegg).
Bergeronnette citrine - Motacilla citreola (Citrine Wagtail)
16 birds on 22.02 at Larim Sara/Zarin Kola (f. and 1st-winter only) in wet steppe with Meadow Pipits, 2 ad. m. and one first-summer m. on 28 at Geno, 3 on 2 and 4 on 5.03 in Hilleh area (including one m.).
Subspecies citreola. The underparts are very bright yellow, including on the 1st summer male at Geno, and contrasting strongly with the white undertail. Likewise large black band on the nape. Call, well supported and sharp "pseee!" almost like a Gray Wagtail.
Bergeronnette des ruisseaux - Motacilla cinerea (Grey Wagtail)
On 21.02, one at Esbaran and one at Noor on the Caspian seashore, one on 22 at Miankaleh, 3 in Darakih gorges/Tehran on 6.03 and one m. at Pardisan Lake.
Bergeronnette grise - Motacilla alba (White Wagtail)
Birds showing characters of dukhunensis race at Esbaran and Noor on 21.02 (dozens), 4 at Miankaleh on 22, 2 on 25 at Govater probably persica race and 2 at Geno on 28. At least one in Shiraz on 29, 10+ mainly persica on 1.03 at Arjan Lake, dozens in Hilleh area on 2 and 5 and dozens on 5 at Delvar sewage ponds probably dukhunensis (and even alba ?), 2-3 on 3 at Doroodgah, 2 in Mond estuary on 4, 3 on 7 between Sharshemeh and Shahrbabak including a pair very close to personata.
A real puzzle!! South of the Caspian Sea the birds have white auriculars, a pale gray back, a black throat and cap but also a lot of white in the wing (primaries and tertials). The call is louder than alba, a more powerful "Pi-lui!" --> (pure?) dukhunensis.
At Minakaleh, a female had white on the wing, a pale gray head and back, and a reduced black throat --> dukhunensis.
At Govater, two birds (one photographed) were undoubtedly of the (unstable?) race persica with much black on the throat and the sides of the neck, but white wing panel not very prominently visible. Similarly, an individual at Geno had a large black bib that met the cap without touching it; the white wing panel was reduced. At Arjan Lake, birds had a lot of black on the breast up to the nape (touching), the cheek was pure white, and there was quite a bit of white in the wing, while others seemed inseparable from dukhunensis --> highly variable persica.
At Hilleh and surroundings, many birds looked indistinguishable from alba and didn not have the white marks of dukhunensis, while some had a little more on the tertials - variable. (Does alba winter here? This is quite possible...)
Finally near Shahrbabak, the birds (photographed) are like personata but the cheek is not completely black!
Bulbul à joues blanches - Pycnonotus leucogenys (White-checked Bulbul)
2 in Chahbahar Bay on 24.02, 4 at Lipar, 2 near Negur and 2 at Govater on 25, fairly common on 26 10 km east to Chahbahar and 2 the same day south-east to Qeshm city, common on Qeshm island on 27 and at Geno on 28, 3 in palm grove in Hilleh area on 2.03, fairly common on 3 at Doroodgah and on 4 south to Karri, abundant on 5 at Abparkhash.
Subspecies mesopotamia. Has a narrow yellow eye ring.
Cincle plongeur - Cinclus cinclus (Dipper)
1-2 along a stream near Marzanabad on 23.02, 4 on 6.03 in Darakih gorges/Tehran.
Subspecies caucasicus, rather dark brown
Troglodyte mignon - Troglodytes troglodytes (Wren)
Fairly common in Noor forest on 21.02, several in bushy dunes in Miankaleh on 22,
Subspecies hyrcanus, rather pale, more grayish (?).
Accenteur mouchet - Prunella modularis (Hedge Accentor)
One at Ruyan in a garden near Ellen Tavakoli's house on 23.02. Subspecies obscura, solid brown.
Accenteur de Radde - Prunella ocularis (Radde's Accentor)
3 on 29.02 at Bamou N.P..
Rougegorge familier - Erithacus rubecula (Robin)
One on 21.02 at Esbaran and several the same day in Noor forest, several on 22 in dunes of Miankaleh and one 23, several at Ruyan and one near Marzanabad, one calling on 5.03 at Abparkhash and one in Pardisan park/Tehran on 6.
At least south of the Caspian Sea, subspecies hyrcanus, characterized by red undertail!
Gorgebleue à miroir - Luscinia svecica (Bluethroat)
One m. on 22.02 at Seyed Mohalli (SN, HPR), 3 (including one m. singing heard by SN) on 3.03 at Doroodgah, about 10 on 5 at Abparkhash.
Undoubtedly some of subspecies magna. In the Hilleh area, a male had a red mirror with white on the breast spot (pallidogularis?)!
Rougequeue d'Eversmann - Phoenicurus erythronotus (Eversmann's
One m. on 24.02 near Konarak airport (MD), one m. on 29 in Bamou N.P., one m. on 1.03 at Arjan Lake.
Great species with complex wing pattern. The males were in worn plumage, i.e., well colored. Undoubtedly wintering birds.
Rougequeue noir - Phoenicurus ochruros (Black Redstart)
One m. on 24.02 in Chahbahar Bay, 3 m. and one f. on 26 10 km east to Chahbahar, 5 on 28 at Geno, 2 m. on 29 in Bamou N.P., one f. the same day at Persepolis, one with back back on 2.03 in Bushehr, one m. the same day in Hilleh area, one f. on 3 in Bushehr Bay, one m. the same day at Doroodgah, one m. and one f. on 4 in Mond estuary and 3 m. south to Karri.
Most of the birds in the south of Iran are undoubtedly phoenicuroides (wintering) with gray back, black breast and remaining underparts bright red. The bird seen in the city ofBushehr, with completely black back, is certainly ochruros, an otherwise highly variable subspecies (to which one has to assign also the birds with dark gray backs??).
Rougequeue à front blanc - Phoenicurus phoenicurus (Common Redstart)
2+ on 24.02 in Chahbahar Bay (srub), on at Lipar on 25, one f. on 26 10 km east to Chahbahar, 2 at Geno on 28, one f. on 2.03 in Hilleh area, one f. on 4 south to Karri, one f. on 5 at Abparkhash.
Nominate race here.
Tarier pâtre - Saxicola torquata (Common Stonechat)
One pair on 1.03 at Arjan Lake (armenica), 2 m. variegata on 4 south to Karri, one probable f. maura at the same place (HPR), 10 (all armenica except one variegata m. on 5.03 in Hilleh area agricultural fields).
Armenica: The male is rather little different from maura except for the white right at the tail, the white rump, the orange breast contrasting rather well with the white underparts. Black, well-marked white neck band. The female is not much different from those of the western European races (but seen only briefly). Note that the nesting birds south of the Caspian Sea (which winter just in the Fars or beyond?) are intermediate with variegata... Variegata: Males are very colorful with bright red throat and breast, the remaining underparts orange except for the pure white vent. Large white half-necklace. White on the tail similar to Red-breasted Flycatcher or Northern Wheatear.
Traquet isabelle - Oenanthe isabellina (Isabelline Wheatear)
One migrant m. in dunes of Miankaleh on 22.02 (early ?), 2 in Chahbahar Bay on 24 (PJD, HPR), several in Negur area and one at Govater on 25, 8 south-east to Qeshm city on 26, 2 north to Laft and 2 near Suza on 27, common at Bamou N.P. on 29, several on 1.03 at Arjan Lake, on 2 and 5 in Hilleh area, on 3 in Bushehr Bay, common on 4 in Mond estuary and south to Karri, several on 7 between Sharshemeh and Shahrbabak in semi-desert.
Traquet pie - Oenanthe pleschanka (Pied Wheatear)
One f. 10 km east to Chahbahar on 26.02, one 1st-summer m. on 29 in Bamou N.P., 2 m on 1.03 at Arjan Lake (PJD, HPR), 5 on 2 in Hilleh area. One 1st-summer m. on 1.03 at Arjan Lake showing intermediate characters between Pied and Black-eared Wheatear (vittata?).
The male immature vittata was brown-gray above, with a small cream-colored supercilium and black earpatches that drooped in the front to form a brown-black half-necklace. The wings were a little more brown than the rest of the upperparts, the lesser and greater coverts were edged with beige, the throat was white. The "T" on the tail was rather prominent. White belly but orange-tawny on the upper breast and the flanks.
Traquet oreillard - Oenanthe hispanica (Black-eared Wheatear)
One m. on 3.03 in Bushehr Bay (PJD), one f. on 4 south to Karri, another m. on 5 in Hilleh area (migrants).
Traquet du désert - Oenanthe deserti (Desert Wheatear)
One m. on 24.02 in Chahbahar Bay, 2-3 on 25 near Negur, 2 m. the same day at Govater, one m. on 26 south-east to Qeshm city, 2 m. on 27 near Suza, 3 on 2.03 in Hilleh area, 2 m. on 4 in Mond estuary and 2 others south to Karri the same day, several (singing m.) on 7 between Sharshemeh and Shahrbabak.
The breeders in the area of Sharshemeh and Shahrbabak are undoubtedly of race atrogularis.
Traquet de Finsch - Oenanthe finschii (Finsch's Wheatear)
5 on 29.02 in Bamou N.P.
Traquet à queue rousse - Oenanthe xanthoprymna
Several between Negur and BERIS HARBOUR and near Lipar, one on 29 in Bamou N.P. (SN) - all of chrysopygia race, one m on 5.03 in Hilleh area is intermediate between xanthoprymna and chrysopygia.
The race chrysopygia is rather trivial, like a female Northern with blackish lores and auriculars. The tail is reddish and more red near the black "T". The intermediate individual (male) between this race and xanthoprymna has the black throat of the latter, but the "red-cornered" tail of the former!
Traquet variable - Oenanthe picata (Variable Wheatear)
One f. before Lipar on 25.02, 4 (2m. + 2 f.) on 26 10 km east to Chahbahar, one m. the same day south-east to Qeshm city (AP), 2 m. and one f. on 28 at Geno, one m. on 29 in Bamou N.P..
The female is brown-black with fuzzy demarcation with the white underparts at breast level (which is the same brown as the throat). The male is close to Hume's Wheatear (see below for differences), but it frequents desert habitat around villages, and acacias.
Traquet deuil - Oenanthe lugens (Mourning Wheatear)
One m. on 29.02 in Bamou N.P. (SN) and another the same day at Persepolis.
Traquet de Hume - Oenanthe alboniger (Hume's Wheatear)
2 (one seen) on 29.02 in Bamou N.P., one in... steppe (!) on 2.03 in Hilleh area (migrant?).
Rather strongly marked species compared to Variable Wheatear: more glossy black upperparts, less dull, slightly longer, stronger bill. Found in rocky habitat, cliffs, scree (except the bird at Hilleh!). Rather solitary.
Monticole de roche - Monticola saxatilis (Rock Thrush)
One 1st-summer m. on 29.02 in Bamou N.P., one migrant m. on 2.03 in Hilleh area in steppe.
Monticole bleu - Monticola solitarius (Blue Rock Thrush)
One singing m. on 24.02 in Chahbahar Bay (cliffs) (PJD, MD), one m. on 26 south-east to Qeshm city, one pair and one m. near Suza on 27, 2 m. on 28 at Geno, 5+ on 29 in Bamou N.P., 2 at Persepolis the same day.
Race longirostris, slightly paler than solitarius.
Merle noir - Turdus merula (Blackbird)
Several on 21.02 at Noor forest; several at Ruyan and Marzanabad, several on 1.03 at Arjan Lake.
Race aterrimus in the north of the country, undoubtedly syriacus in the Zagros, both duller than merula.
Grive musicienne - Turdus philomelos (Song Thrush)
Several in Noor forest (songs heard) on 21.02, 4+ in dunes on 22 in Miankaleh, 2-3 on 23 at Ruyan, 4+ on 3.03 at Doroodgah and 2 on 4 south to Karri (both wintering birds), 10+ on 5 at Abparkhash (HPR), wintering birds too.
Bouscarle de Cetti - Cettia cetti (Cetti's Warbler)
2 (one seen) on 21.02 at ES, 2+ on 21 at Seyed Mohalli.
Subpecies albiventris south of the Caspian See, which is paler and grayer than European birds.
Prinia gracile - Prinia gracilis (Graceful Warbler)
Heard before Lipar on 25.02, 1+ on 27 north to Laft, 10 in Geno on 28, at least one on 4.03 in Mond estuary, 2-3 the same day south to Karri, several on 5 in Hilleh area.
Dromoïque du désert - Scotocerca inquieta (Streaked Scrub Warbler)
3 (family ?) on 28.02 at Geno (PJD), several on 29 at Bamou N.P., several on 3.03 at Doroodgah, 10+ on 7 between Sharshemeh and Shahrbabak in Zygophyllum steppe.
The subspecies striata is discerned by the near absence of a supercilium; also more gray.
Lusciniole à moustaches - Acrocephalus melanopogon (Moustached Warbler)
Several (some seen) on 22.02 at Seyed Mohalli.
Subspecies mimica. The alarm call is a rather strong and dry "teck-teck" (a little bit like Dusky Warbler), followed by a trill "rrrrrrr".
Rousserolle stentor - Acrocephalus stentoreus (Clamourous Reed Warbler)
2-3 singers on 25.02 in Govater mangrove, 10+ singers on 27 in Hara N.P. mangroves.
Rousserolle effarvatte - Acrocephalus scirpaceus (Reed Warbler)
One strange fuscus seen on 1.03 at Arjan Lake (migrant, seen below), one heard on 3 near Bushehr, one on 5 in Hilleh area (SN).
The bird seen at Arjan Lake on March 1 really looked like a Blyth's Reed Warbler (A. dumetorum): brown-green olive uniform color, flight feathers rather uniform, very horizontal posture (it kept almost the entire time to the ground, in the open), supercilium well marked before the eye, orange lower mandible, gray-flesh legs. However, the rump was very rusty, the primary projection was rather long, and the alula was well visible. So...?
Fauvette de Ménétries - Sylvia mystacea (Ménétries's Warbler)
On 27.02, one m. near Suza and 1-2 north to Laft, 4 near Qeshm-city on 28 (SN, AP), one m. on 4.03 south to Karri.
Fauvette naine - Sylvia nana (Desert Warbler)
One in Mond estuary on 4.03, 2 (holding territory ?) the same day south to Karri, 3+ on 7 between Sharshemeh and Shahrbabak.
Notable the yellow-orange legs, the yellowish lower mandibule and the yellow eye. Alarm call: a low and rather long "tchrrrrr." Nominate race.
Fauvette orphée - Sylvia hortensis (Orphean Warbler)
One m. on 24.02 in Chahbahar Bay (PJD, MD), one m. at Lipar on 25, 3-4 on 26 10 km east to Chahbahar, one the same day south-east to Qeshm city (PJD), one near Suza and one north to Laft on 27, one f. on 29 in Bamou N.P., one m. the same day at Persepolis (PJD, AP), one on 4.03 in Mond estuary, 3 on 5 in Hilleh area.
Subspecies crassirostris which shows black earpatches contrasting with the dark gray remainder of the cap. At Hilleh on 5.03, a male of the eastern race jerdoni, i.e., the head was completely jet black and the undertail white.
Fauvette babillarde - Sylvia curruca (Lesser Whitethroat)
One at Lipar on 25.02 (MD), 6 including 1-2 blythi on 26, one near Suza on 27 (SN), 3 at Geno on 28,
Another puzzle! Two types recognized:
Type 1: E.g., at Chahbahar and surrounding, individuals of type blythi (or margelanica?) with brown-gray back, very slight white supercilium in front of and above the eye. The call was a "Sardinian Warbler"-like rattle although less strong. Undoubtedly, wintering birds.
Type 2: Other birds at Chahbahar and at Geno were much paler, more gray, with unmarked auriculars (same color as remainder of head, i.e., clear gray), a sandy-gray color, same and uniform over the wings. At Geno, a bird sang on territory: a very strong babble, with some raspy notes, and an alarm call: a soft "tchrrrr." Is this an intermediate between the althea and minula groups? Impossible to know!
Fauvette minule - Sylvia (curruca) minula (Desert Lesser Whitethroat)
One on 24.02 in Chahbahar Bay (PJD, AP), 2 on 4.03 south to Karri.
Certainly some individuals of race jaxartica, conspecific with minula. Slightly smaller size than Lesser Whitethroat, short tail, dull and pale gray-brown, uniform color, unmarked head withoug dusky auriculars (similar to type 2 above, but smaller and shorter-tailed), quick birds, often in cover and low in the vegetation.
Pouillot modeste - Phylloscopus neglectus (Plain Warbler)
4 (one seen and heard and one heard by myself) on 3.03 at Doroodgah, one south to Karri on 4, 4 (including 2 singers seen by HPR) on 5 at Abparkhash.
Small leaf warbler the size of a kinglet or Pallas's Warbler, silhouette of a miniature Chiffchaff, but short primary projection and tail. Very quick like a kinglet (Regulus), also hovers like a "Pallas." General color grayish brown above, grayish beige below, buffy gray, rather well marked supercilium, especially in front of the eye, sometimes (but not always) a little less behind and tapering to a point. Black eyestripe, black bill and legs. Whitish undertail. The call is a "tchurrr" a little bit like a House Sparrow, but more hushed and not carrying far (also recalling a distant Dusky Warbler).
Pouillot véloce - Phylloscopus collybita (Common Chiffchaff )
Several abietinus types and one tristis type (MD) on 21.02 at Esbaran, one* on 22 at Zagh Narz and several* at Miankaleh, one abietinus on 23 at Ruyan, one tristis on 24 in Chahbahar Bay (MD), 2 tristis on 25 at Lipar (PJD), 5-6 tristis including 3 singers on 26 10 km east to Chahbahar, 2+ tristis singing on 27 in Hara N.P., 3 tristis singers south-east to Qeshm city on 28 (SN, AP), 15-20 abietinus types on 1.03 at Arjan Lake, 3 abietinus on 2 in Hilleh area, 30+ abietinus at Doroodgah on 3, one on 4 south to Karri, 10+ abietinus on 5 at Abparkhash and 10+ elsewhere in Hilleh area the same day, 3 at Pardisan park/Tehran on 6, including a fulvescens(?) type.
Another tricky species!
Abietinus type: The majority of birds in spring, same barely different from collybita! The call was typical of abietinus, a somewhat two-syllabic "hw-ee." However, at Ruyan, at Bushehr and surroundings (especially to the north), the call was clearly two-syllabic, sometimes closer to tristis than abietinus, a rather soft "HUH-weh" with stress on the "HUH", possibly indicating birds from an intergrade zone?
Tristis type: Certainly observed in the southeast of the country (Baluchistan) and as far as Bandar Abbas. Brown-gray color without yellow, black bill and legs, clean pale beige supercilium, slight wing bar on the coverts etc.. Also the distinct call, "hee...hee...hee..." (recorded). The song (not well heard) did not always seem all that different from collybita.
"Fulvescens" type: one ind. on 6.03 in Tehran. A very gray bird, with black-brown bill - no orange base, bill rather long and strong, black legs, no wingbar, below grayish-cream without brown tinge. Outer web of tertials light greenish, medium-marked gray-beige supercilium. Call, a "swee-ah" with slight two-syllabic quality (cf. bird in Bushehr). Is menzbieri possible (northeast of Iran)?
"South Caspian" type: birds with a rather variable pattern (indicative of either Mountain Chiffchaff or abietinus), oft with a very pronounced supercilium and a black eyestripe, somewhat greenish rump and primaries, and a particular call were noted around the Bay of Gorgan (south Caspian Sea). The call was a rather strong "Fhew-ee" or "hew-ee", somewhat recalling Hedge Accentor but also Mountain Chiffchaff, stronger than tristis or abietinus. Is this menzbieri - this could be possible given the calls - or something else? A mystery...
Pouillot de Lorenz (= montagnard) - Phylloscopus sindianus (Mountain
2 on 5.03 at Abparkhash.
Chiffchaff-like warbler with rather brown color above, large creme-white supercilium, and black, rather clean eyestripe. Bill rather thick at the base and orange lower mandibule. The primary projection seemed short (rather short wing) which makes it appear long-tailed. Call quite close to the Chiffchaffes at Bushehr, i.e., "zhew-ee".
Pouillot fitis - Phylloscopus trochilus (Willow Warbler)
2+ on 1.03 at Arjan Lake, 1-2 at Doroodgah on 3.
A bird at Arjan Lake was very gray above, whitish below, with a strong cream supercilium and dark gray legs! Undoubtedly a yakutensis or similar...
Roitelet sp. - Regulus sp. (Goldcrest/Firecrest)
heard on 23.02 near Marzanabad.
By inference, Goldcrest...
Cratérope indien - Turdoides caudatus (Common Babbler)
10+ on 24.02 Chahbahar Bay, 10+ before and at Lipar on 25, 9 the same day at Govater, 10-15 on 26 10 km east to Chahbahar and one south-east to Qeshm city the same day (MD), common near Suza on 27, several on 28 at Geno, 4 on 3.03 at Doroodgah, several on 4 in Mond estuary and south to Karri, 10 on 5 at Abparkhash.
Like all babblers, characterized by the variety of its vocalizations!
Mésange à longue queue - Aegithalos caudatus (Long-tailed Tit)
3-4 on 21.02 in Noor forest, 2 near the sea in our garden at Noor on 22, several on 23 at Ruyan and Marzanabad.
The subspecies alpinus shows a small black bib on the throat, all gray above, and a well marked white cap.
Mésange noire - Parus ater (Coal Tit)
3 on 21.02 in Noor forest.
Here this is the subspecies gaddi, characterized by a back washed in a rather warm brown-gray and by beige-grayish underparts (somewhat like Marsh Tit).
Mésange bleue - Parus caeruleus (Blue Tit)
Several on 21.02 in Noor forest.
Upper back slighly greenish, but overall hardly different from western European birds; race raddei.
Mésange charbonnière - Parus major (Great Tit)
Several on 21.02 in Noor forest, several on 23 at Ruyan and Marzanabad, 10+ on 6.03 in Darakih gorges/Tehran.
Subspecies blanfordi, barely duller (paler) than major.
Sittelle torchepot - Sitta europaea (European Nuthatch)
Several on 21.02 in Noor forest.
Sittelle des rochers - Sitta tephronata (Eastern Rock Nuthatch)
10 on 29.02 in Bamou N.P. (with birds building nest), one the same day at Persepolis (PJD, AP), 2 (one seen) on 1.03 at Arjan Lake,
Subspecies dresseri, the palest and largest.
Sittelle de Neumayer - Sitta neumayer (Western Rock Nuthatch)
3 pairs seen on 6.03 in Darakih gorges/Tehran.
Subspecies rupicola. In the gorges, a pair was busy around a nest, the male constantly singing.
Tichodrome échelette - Tichodroma muraria (Wallcreeper)
One on 6.03 in Darakih gorges/Tehran (AP).
Grimpereau des bois - Certhia familiaris (Eurasian Treecreeper)
One on 21.02 in Noor forest.
Rémiz penduline - Remiz pendulinus (Penduline Tit)
4 on 22.02 at Seyed Mohalli.
Two ind. were of "classic" type, i.e., of the pendulinus group (race caspius?). In contrast, a pair of the macronyx group was in the same location - in the same marsh. Typical: resembles from far a small male Whinchat; black head (the black seems to descend further down than in the pictures), white necklace, rusty back. Superb!
Souimanga asiatique - Nectarinia asiatica (Purple Sunbird)
Very common on 24.02 in Chahbahar Bay, several at Lipar on 25, very common on 26 10 km east to Chahbahar and on Qeshm island, also at Geno on 28.
Pie-grièche isabelle - Lanius isabellinus (Isabelline Shrike)
One m. on 27.02 near Suza, 4 in Hilleh area on 2.03, 2 (including a m. killed by the car) on 3 in Bushehr Bay, 2 f. the same day at Doroodgah, 3 in Mond estuary on 4, 7+ on 5 in Hilleh area.
Overall color beige, including the cap, which is of a slightly warmer color in the forehead, pale lores, extensive black mask. The male seen near Suza/Qeshm showed quite some white at the base of the primaries, and the white mark was quite visible; below whitish. Undoubtedly race isabellinus (or close...).
Pie-grièche des steppes - Lanius meridionalis (Southern Grey Shrike)
One near Negur on 25.02 (MD), one pallidirostris on 26 south-east to Qeshm city and one north to Laft on 26 (SN), 2 aucheri-types on 28 near Qeshm city (SN, AP), 3 on 2.03 in Hilleh area, 2 on 3 in Bushehr Bay, 2 in Mond estuary and 3 south to Karri on 4 including probably 2 intermediates between aucheri and pallidirostris, 2+ on 5 in Hilleh area.
Difficult to assign a name. The subspecies pallidirostris has the pale gray back, the lightly rosy beige tinted underparts, the pale gray bill (a little paler at the base, and sometimes horn-colored from some angles, like in a Linnet), pale gray lores, a fine black stipe in front of the eye, small white supercilium. White area on the scapulars. White spots on the primaries on the tertial tip. Throat more white, contrasting with the rest of the underparts. Intermediate birds between pallidirostris and aucheri have a lot of white in the wing and in the scapulars, but blackish lores.
Pie-grièche "grise" - Lanius meridionalis/excubitor ("Grey" Shrike)
2-3 on 24.02 at Konarak (MD, SN), several on 7 between Sharshemeh and Shahrbabak...
Pie-grièche à tête rousse - Lanius senator (Woodchat Shrike)
One m. on 1.03 at Arjan Lake (PJD), 4 on 2 in Hilleh area, 2 on 4 in Mond estuary and 2 the same day south to Karri, several on 5 in Hilleh area.
Pie-grièche à bandeau - Lanius vittatus (Bay-backed Shrike)
One m. on 24.02 in Chahbahar Bay (PJD, MD), one near Lipar on 25 (PJD).
Nice species, very distinct.
Geai des chênes - Garrulus glandarius (Eurasian Jay)
5-6 on 1.03 above Arjan Lake in the forest. Subspecies atricapillus.
Pie bavarde - Pica pica (Magpie)
Fairly common in Souhtern Caspian up to 2 500m, in Shiraz area and in Tehran area, several on 7 between Sharshemeh and Shahrbabak .
Subspecies bactriana. Quite some white in the wing.
Crave à bec rouge - Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax (Red-billed Chough)
4 on 23.02 after Marzanabad, 15 on 29 in Bamou N.P. and 400+ belonging probably to that species the same day near Zarphan, 2+ on 1.03 at Arjan Lake, 6 in Darakih gorges/Tehran on 6.
Choucas des tours - Corvus monedula (Eurasian Jackdaw)
Heard on 6.03 in Pardisan park/Tehran(AP).
Corbeau familier - Corvus splendens (House Crow)
One in Bandar Abbas harbour on 26.02 and 2 there on 28 (MD, SN), 70 on 2-4.03 at nocturnal roost near the hotel at Bushehr .
Corbeau freux - Corvus frugilegus (Rook)
Fairly common around Noor, Ruyan, and Miankaleh area, very common in Shiraz area and around Arjan Lake on 1.03.
Corneille mantelée - Corvus corone cornix (Hooded Crow)
Fairly common in Southern Caspian up to high mountain, in Shiraz area, very common in Tehran on 6 and fairly common in Sharbabak area on 7.
Corbeau brun - Corvus ruficollis (Brown-necked Raven)
10 from Chahbahar to Govater on 25.02, 2 in Govater the same day, 4-5 on 26 10 km east to Chahbahar and 2 the same day south-east to Qeshm city, 10+ between Suza and Hara N.P. on 27, 4 near Karri on 4.03.
Grand Corbeau - Corvus corax (Common Raven)
One on 23.02 towards Kandovan Pass.
Étourneau sansonnet - Sturnus vulgaris (Common Starling)
Fairly common in Southern Caspian, several on 1.03 at Arjan Lake, hundreds in Hilleh area on 2 and dozens in Bushehr Bay on 3, 2 in Darakih gorges/Tehran on 6.
Martin triste - Acridotheres tristis (Common Myna)
3 seen on 25.02 at Negur where it breeds under roofs.
Apparently not very common?
Moineau domestique - Passer domesticus (House Sparrow)
Fairly common in Southern Caspian, several near Konarak airport on 24.02, several at Lipar on 25, seen 10 km east to Chahbahar on 26 and common the same day south-east to Qeshm city, common on 28 at Geno. Seen also in Shiraz area and quite common around Bushehr, especially in Hilleh area and in Tehran.
Moineau espagnol - Passer hispaniolensis (Spanish Sparrow)
10 at Larim Sara/Zarin Kola and several at Zagh Narz on 22.02, 5-6 on 26 10 km east to Chahbahar, 4+ on 28 at Geno, about 15 on 3.03 at Doroodgah, 40+ on 4 south to Karri, dozens on 5 at Abparkhash and in Hilleh area.
Moineau friquet - Passer montanus (Tree Sparrow)
One on 21.02 at Esbaran (AP), one on 23 at Ruyan.
Moineau de la Mer Morte Passer moabiticus (Dead Sea Sparrow)
40 in tamarisks on 3.03 at Doroodgah (but 250 seen by AP), several on 5 at Abparkhash and 10+ in Hilleh area the same day.
The males starting to attain their breeding plumage.
Moineau pâle - Carpospiza brachydactyla (Pale Rock Sparrow)
One in flight on 29.02 in Bamou N.P., one on 4.03 south to Karri (PJD).
Of note the unformly colored back. In flight, the call is characteristic, trilled and sweet like a distant Bea-eater.
Moineau soulcie - Petronia petronia (Rock Sparrow)
45 on 1.03 at Arjan Lake.
Capucin bec-de-plomb - Euodice malabarica (Indian Silverbill)
22 on 26.02 10 km east to Chahbahar.
Not very common.
Pinson des arbres - Fringilla coelebs (Common Chaffinch)
Several in song on 21.02 in Noor forest, several on 22 at Miankaleh, fairly common on 23 near Marzanabad, several on 29 in Bamou N.P., on 1.03 at Arjan Lake, one f. far south on 3 at Doroodgah, 10 on 6 in Darakih gorges/Tehran.
Subspecies alexandrovi at least in the south of the Caspian Sea, a little duskier.
Pinson du Nord - Fringilla montifringilla (Brambling)
One m. in winter plum. on 1.03 at Arjan Lake, one f. on 6 in Darakih gorges/Tehran (SN, AP).
Serin à front rouge - Serinus pusillus (Red-fronted Serin)
One pair in flight on 22.02 at Miankaleh.
Verdier d'Europe - Carduelis chloris (Greenfinch)
2 on 23.02 near Marzanabad (MD).
Chardonneret élégant - Carduelis carduelis (Goldfinch)
One on 21.02 at Esbaran, several the same day at Noor and 4 there the following day, several on 22 at Miankaleh, heard on 29 in Bamou N.P., several on 1.03 at Arjan Lake.
Linotte mélodieuse - Carduelis cannabina (Linnet)
Several on 29.02 in Bamou N.P.
Tarin des aulnes - Carduelis spinus (Siskin)
2 (one in song) on 21.02 in Noor forest and 4 there the following day (SN).
Probably local breeders.
Roselin de Lichtenstein - Rhodopechys obsoleta (Desert Finch)
One m. on 1.03 at Arjan Lake, one on 3 in Bushehr Bay.
Bruant à calotte blanche - Emberiza leucocephalos (Pine Bunting)
A probable f. on 21.02 at Larim Sara/Zarin Kola (AP) and 3 f./imm. the same day in Miankaleh dunes, 25 ind., including several m., on 29 in Bamou N.P. (PJD) and 25 ind. on 1.03 at Arjan Lake (several ad. m.).
Quite distinct. Notable, among others, the gray nape and a slightly sweeter (?) call than Yellowhammer.
Bruant jaune - Emberiza citrinella (Yellowhammer)
20+ in a monospecific flock on 29.02 in Bamou N.P., 2 on 6.03 at Pardisan park/Tehran.
Bruant fou - Emberiza cia (Rock Bunting)
2 on 23.02 near Marzanabad, 2 (one in song) on 28 at Geno, 10 on 29 in Bamou N.P., several on 1.03 at Arjan Lake (mountains), one on 6 in Darakih gorges/Tehran.
Bruant striolé - Emberiza striolata (House Bunting)
One probable song on 1.03 in Shiraz (PJD, HPR).
Bruant des roseaux - Emberiza schoeniclus (Reed Bunting)
3+ on 21.02 at Noor, 4-5 at Seyed Mohalli and one in Miankaleh dunes on 23.
The bird seen briefly at Miankaleh frankly had a small bill and a more liquid call rather like a Pallas's Reed Bunting... At Seyed Mohalli, the birds were undoubtedly of the large-billed subspecies pyrrhuloides.
Bruant proyer - Miliaria calandra (Corn Bunting)
10-15, including m. in song, on 29.02 in Bamou N.P. steppe, 8 on 1.03 at Arjan Lake, one on 3 at Doroodgah, one on 4 south to Karri, fairly common singers on 5 in Hilleh area.
Subspecies buturlini, rather pale and gray.
Écureuil des palmiers - Funambulus pennantii (Palm Squirrel)
3 10 km east to Chahbahar on 26.02.
Mérione de Perse - Meriones persicus (Persian Jird)
3+ on 7.03 between Sharshemeh and Shahrbabak .
Porc-épic indien - Hystrix indica (Indian Crested Porcupine)
Quills found on 25.02 at Lipar, quills and droppings on 29 at Geno, quills on 4.03 in Mond estuary.
Lièvre brun - Lepus capensis (Brown Hare)
One on 7.03 between Sharshemeh and Shahrbabak .
Pika afghan - Ocotona rufescens (Afghan Pika)
One on 29.02 in Bamou N.P. (SN).
Loup gris - Canis lupus (Wolf)
One possible on 2.03 in Hilleh area, one well seen on 4 in Mond estuary.
The animal of 2.03 was seen from too far to be sure. However, that of the 4th was well seen, first sitting on its rear end, then ambling toward the thicket along the river. The overall color was rather tawny (as in many wolves in Iran), rather short tufted tail, large head and thick neck.
Chacal doré - Canis latrans (Golden Jackal)
One near Chahbahar on 25.02, one on 29 at Persepolis (in fields), one south to Karri on 4.03, 2 (one photographed) the same day in Mond estuary.
Renard roux - Vulpes vulpes (Common Fox)
One, by night in Elbourz on 21.02, 2 on 27 north to Laft, one on 29 in Bamou N.P. and one on 6.03 in Darakih gorges/Tehran.
Belette - Mustela nivalis (Weasel)
One on 21.02 at Esbaran.
The animals here have a large tail, almost like an ermine.
Mangouste d'Edwards - Herpestes edwardsii (Indian Grey Mongoose)
One seen on 27.02 near Suza (MD, AP).
Mangouste naine - Herpestes auropunctatus (Small Indian Mongoose)
One on 28.02 at Geno, one on 29 at Persepolis (HPR).
Hyène rayée - Hyaena hyaena (Striped Hyaena)
One on 29.02 in Bamou N.P. (SN), one found dead on 1.03 near Arjan Lake (HPR).
Sanglier - Sus scrofa (Wild Boar)
Total of 30 on 1.03 at Arjan Lake, tracks on 4 in Mond estuary.
Gazelle à goitre - Gazella subgutturosa (Goitred Gazelle)
100+ ind. on 29.02 in Bamou N.P., 25 on 4.03 in Mond estuary.
Mouflon d'Orient - Ovis "orientalis" (Wild Sheep)
80+ ind. on 29.02 in Bamou N.P.
Marsouin de Cuvier - Neophocaena phocaenoides (Finless Purpoise)
8 on 27.02 in the Hara N.P. mangrove.
The individuals seen were darker gray than shown in the field guides.
Couleuvre à collier - Natrix natrix
One on 21.02 at Esbaran, one on 22 at Seyed Mohalli.
Psammophis sp. - Psammophis sp
One on 29.02 at Bamou N.P.
Emyde lépreuse - Mauremys caspica
Several on 22.02 at Seyed Mohalli.
Cistude d'Europe - Emys orbicularis
One on 22.02 at Seyed Mohalli.
Rainette - Hyla savignii
Heard in Noor forest on 21.02.
Grenouille rieuse - Rana ridibunda
Common around Fereidoonkenar on 21.02.
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