End of May we did a short 5-day trip to Georgia with the goal of seeing a handful of lifers in the Caucasus mountains. The best time to visit is earlier in the year (end of April/ beginning of May) when most birds are found lower down in the valleys because of the snow. Our late visit meant we had to hike higher up, but still we managed to find 5+ Caucasian Snowcocks (more were heard) and 8+ Caucasian Grouses on the ridges above us. Great Rosefinch and Güldenstädt’s Redstart turned out to be more tricky but we managed to find both (and luckily bright plumaged males). And with singing Mountain Chiffchaffs in the valley and an additional stop for Krüper’s Nuthatch near Tbilisi the trip ended with 6 lifers but also a long list of cool birds along the way: Ring Ouzels, Twites, Alpine Accentors, Common Rock Thrush, Bearded Vulture, singing Barred Warblers, Greenish Warblers and Common Rosefinches, and a nice roadside stop for Red-breasted and Semi-collared Flycatcher.
It had been too long since we had been to Africa, and since Helen did not visit Ethiopia, East Africa was the biggest gap in her life list. Kenya was a perfect destination for a three-week self-driving trip in April, with a great variation in habitats, lots of species and a nice set of endemics.