Heading up through the pine woods we clocked up 3 Coal Tits, Tree Pipits, Bullfinch, Goldcrest, Caucasian Chiffchaffs, Cuckoo, Ring Ouzels and several Crossbills before we emerged onto grassland between the wood and the towering crags to the east of the village. Scrub was noticeable in its absence however and despite much searching of the area we failed to find our target bird. We did add Common Whitethroat, 20+ Red-fronted Serins, Wren, 2 Whinchats, Crag Martin, Alpine Chough, Red-billed Chough, Golden Eagle, a calling Caucasian Snowcock and a couple of Long-legged Buzzards before we headed back down to the village along the northern edge of the wood.
Tree Pipit, Kazbegi
East of Kazbegi
In the centre of the village a small park near the museum yielded 2 Willow Warblers, Common Redstarts and an Ehrenbergs Redstart before we broke for some lunch. The woodland just over the main river bridge held more Crossbills (feeding young) and 2 Common Treecreepers (despite a dudey birding tour group claiming they were Short-toed!)
Black Redstart, Kazbegi
Ehrenbergs Redstart, Kazbegi
Common Crossbill, Kazbegi
We spent the afternoon walking through the village heading south towards the obvious riverside scrub. En route, beside the main road a familiar call above our heads had us all looking up at a surprise pair of Waxwings. The nearby meadow and scrub gave us a lovely couple of male Common Rosefinches, Spotted Flycatcher, Red-backed Shrikes and more Caucasian Chiffchaffs.
Ring Ouzel, Kazbegi
Griffon Vulture, Kazbegi
Red-fronted Serin, Kazbegi
Northern Wheatear, Kazbegi
Water Pipit, Kazbegi
Other notable sightings during the day were 3 Red Squirrels (here being grey with the head and breast the only red bits), Camberwell Beauty, Painted Lady, Red Admiral and Small White.The Irish boys had found Caucasian Great Rosefinch at high altitude above Sameba Church to the west of the village today so that had pretty much decided what our plan of action was for tomorrow!
They left their digs and visited our hotel for a beer or 2 later on and we all enjoyed an evening with good craic!