Out car stops on the edge of a wide sandy beach. The wind dies down for a moment. The sea stretches wide and overwhelming, outlined by black and white foam caps and a distant, dark gray horizon. Dozens of Little Gulls (Hydrocoloeus minutus) dot the white of sky and earth.
On the way back from Besh Barmag in northern Azerbaijan yesterday, we had already seen the turnoff to a kite surfing base, the Blueplanet Kite Beach. So today, on a stormy and rainy day at the beginning of November, we drive to Cape Gilazi, about 50 km north of Baku. Until Sumqayıt we have showers again and again, but then the cloud cover tears up again. At the junction, however, the sky has completely overcast again. We want to try out whether you can also walk along the sea on the tongue of land that juts out into the Caspian Sea and what birds are romping around there. The rock of Besh Barmag can already be seen in the distance. The headland is well signposted and accessible via a narrow road from the village of Shurabaad. The road is good and paved to the end. But we can’t resist the temptation and turn in the first corner. A few beach pavilions, whose time is long gone, greet us from afar. Then we go to the beach. Great, firm sand that is easy to drive. The tracks show that you can also trust the sand. The sea definitely has North Sea quality. The waves foam white, the sea is really turbulent. Then a dark gray sky above it, which really emphasizes the contrast to the whitecaps. Like in Holland, I still think to myself. As we approach we see that the first line behind the beach is formed with a barrier of transverse rocks. On the one hand, this takes the force out of the water on the beach, but supports the white foam of the waves. Bird watching is quiet at first but steadily increases as it progresses. A decent wind is blowing. There are also a few raindrops. Interesting species include the many Little Gulls. When the first little gull flies towards us, I euphorically jump out of the car to take a picture of it. It has a remarkable hooded cut. The front half of the head, the face, is mostly white. The rest of the hood, on the other hand, is still black and forms an almost complete dark ruff. But then there will be more and more Little Gulls. After all, this individual has a broken lower beak. The next individual looks – probably in the moult – as if plucked. You don’t see all this every day. A few Little Gulls stand as a flock at the waterline. The little gulls are mainly associated with the Black-headed Gulls (Larus ridibundus). But there are also big gulls there. I can see 17 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, ie Heuglin’s Gulls (Larus fuscus heuglini) and 27 Caspian Gulls (Larus cachinnans) and even a single Great Black-headed Gull (Larus/ Ichthyaetus ichthyaetus) all on a lightly washed sandbank.
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