Birding in Armenia MAY / JUNE 2011
9700 Species of birds inhabit Planet Earth. Scientists split them to 29 orders. In its own turn these 29 orders are subdivided into 187 families based on their likeness. Armenia is rich in birds. 350 Species of birds inhabit in Armenia. A large variety of domestic and migratory birds make Armenia a must for birdwatchers. Herein are suggested routes, species of birds that you will see and probability of sighting (in percentage). Some equipment will be useful for those who want to identify most birds to the species level and to study them in more than a casual way. Binoculars, telescope will help you to see all details of a near bird. Speaking about clothing, the less conspicuous your field clothing, the more opportunity you will have to see a bird from close distance. And remember, you must reduce your movements in order not to scare the bird. Welcome to the world of Birds!
DAY 1. ARRIVAL
Arrive Yerevan at Zvartnots Airport. Passport control, issuing of visas. Check in to Hotel.
DAY 2. YEREVAN SIGHTSEENG TOUR – YEREVAN BOTANICAL GARDEN
Breakfast. Excursion around Yerevan city. Visit Erebuni Fortress (782 BC). Ancient Yerevan was founded by King Argishti in 782 BC and named Erebuni. Our tour continue to Yerevan Botanical Garden. Landscape of the garden belongs to the rocky sagebrush semi-desert foothills surrounding the Ararat valley. It holds rich herbarium as well as the collection of trees and shrubs in the Botanical garden has more than 1070 species, varieties and garden forms, dendrite flora of Caucasus and Cyprus, North America, Europe, Siberia and East Asia. The collection of Armenian flora includes around 200 species of endemic, rare and declining plant species, and provides a basis for the study of Armenian flora, and the ecological interactions of species, in a relatively natural environment. An amateur can see oak and Crimean pine, North American tulip tree, Polish larch and Manchurian walnut.
Dinner at “Our Village” Restaurant, where you can taste National Armenian cuisine and enjoy Armenian folklore. (B/-/D)
DAY 3. YEREVAN – GYUMRI – ARPI NATIONAL PARK - GYUMRI
Breakfast. Take a trip to second city of Armenia Gyumri. We are offering guided tours of the historic city of Gyumri. Gyumri is a city with a history that spans 3 millennium. Originally named Kyumari, this small trade center grew into one of the largest in Armenia, boasting over 100 trades and 34 active unions at the end of the 19th century. In recent history it has been called Gyumri, Alexandrapole, and Leninakan. The geographic location of Gyumri (and Armenia in general) has led to a unique mixture of cultures and ideas. Then our tour continue to the Arpi National Park. located at an altitude of 2,023 m and is located in the Shirak Province of Armenia, evolved in the 1950s from the small Lake Arpi. Fed by thaws and four streams, it is the source of the Akhurian River. More than 100 species of birds have been observed around Lake Arpi. There you can see Mokhraguyn Krunk, Gangrapetur Havalusn, Krnchan bad, Sev Tartar. Dinner. Overnight in Vanadzor. (B/-/D)
DAY 4. Vanadzor – STEPANAVAN DENDROPARK
Breakfast. Take a trip to Stepanavan Dendropark. Founded in 1931 by Edmon Leonovich, this 35 hectare botanical garden features a broad range of tree species from many regions and a cool, green respite in the heat of summer. 12.5 kilometers away from Stepanavan, just outside the village of Gyulagarak . In the villageyou will visit the ruins of 6th century Tormak church . Then you have a lunch “Fairytale” (or “Hekyat”) Restaurant where you can dine at tables nestled by the brook in the forest. The road ends at the Dendropark and neighboring sanatorium for lung health. Enter Dendropark through the marked gate and explore the many winding paths and well-labeled specimens. Of particular interest are the greenhouses where the founder’s son, Dr. Leonovich, cultivates evergreen seedlings for sale to re-forestation programs.(B/L/-)
DAY 5 STEPANAVAN – ALAVERDI – DILIJAN
Breakfast. Trip to Alaverdi region. Visit to Take a trip to Sanahin Monastery (10-13cc.) ( A UNESCO World Heritage site), which is comprised of several churches and chapel. Visit Haghpat Monastery (10-13cc). The construction of this monastery is associated with the glory of the Bagratuni Royal. Our tour continue to Dilijan. late afternoon birding in the forests around the town. Here we can see Middle Spotted Woodpecker , Red-breasted and Semi-collared Flycatchers and Green Warbler. Dinner. Overnight in the Guest house in Dilijan. (B/-/D)
DAY 6 DILIJAN – SEVAN – SELIM PASS – YEGHEGNADZOR
Breakfast. Trip to Lake Sevan. Today we will drive along the western shore of Lake Sevan and see the largest breeding colony of Armenian Gulls in the world and also see Black-necked Grebe and Ruddy Shelduck and then drive across the 2410m Selima Pass in the Vardenis Mountains to Yeghegnadzor for a one -night stay. En route we will look for, Black-headed Wagtail and Barred Warbler. Dinner. Overnight in Yeghegnadzor. (B/-/D)
DAY 7 YEGHEGNADZOR – NORAVANK - ARMASH – YEREVAN
Breakfast. Take a trip to Monastery of Noravank, a 13th century structure with beautiful stone crosses. This monastery is considered to be the pulpit of Syunik bishops. The main church, St. Karapet, was built in 1227. Lunch at the cave restaurant in the Noravank canyon. There visit the Noravank Gorge, where we can see Eastern and Western Rock Nuthatches, White-throated Robins, Chukkas, and Upcher's Warblers. To day we visit Armash is simply outstanding for wetland species, attracting Pygmy Cormorant, Little Bittern, Purple and Squacco Herons and Black-crowned Night-heron. The reed beds resound with calls of Caspian and Great Reed Warblers and the colonizing Paddyfield Warbler, whilst open waters have Marbled and Ferruginous Ducks and Red-crested Pochards. Whiskered, White-winged, Black and Little Terns hawk over the pools for insects, whilst water meadows and muddy areas have nesting Glossy Ibis and White-tailed Lapwing. The pools also regularly attract migrant Terek and Curlew Sandpipers and Red-necked Phalaropes. Armash is surrounded by semi-desert with Tamarisk, Camel’s Thorn and Sagebrush bushes. This unique habitat attracts Eastern Olivaceous, Ménétries’s and Upcher’s Warblers, together with European Rollers, and European and Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters. Four nights in Yerevan.
DAY 7 YEREVAN – AMBERD FORTRESS ON MOUNT ARAGATS
Breakfast. Take a trip to Amberd Fortress on Mount Aragats, where we will look for bsemi-desert and mountain steppe birds, including Isabelline Wheatear, and Bimaculated larks, Common Stonechat, Bluethroat, and Radde's Accentors as well as many species of forest raptors, including Snake-Eagle Eagles, Lesser Spotted Eagles, and Common Buzzards,. We will take lunch in the field. We return to Yerevan in the evening.
Day 8 Departure in the morning