In the far south-eastern border of Armenia, the Araks river forms the border with Iran. The largest town of this area, Meghri, is famous for its pomegranites. The climate is milder than anywhere else in the country, largely because at 650 m, Meghri lies 1150 m below the average national elevation. We visited Meghri in the vain hope of finding Red-tailed Wheatears Oenanthe chrysopygia in an arid valley immediately east of it. It was tempting to look for them in similar habitat along the Araks river, but the conspicuous military presence on both sides put us off. An encounter with displaying and copulating Levant Sparrowhawks Accipiter brevipes in woodland along a smaller river more than made up for missing the wheatears.

Meghri, Armenia

Levant Sparrowhawk Accipiter brevipes, Meghri area, Syunik, Armenia, 8 May 2011 (René Pop). Female.

Levant Sparrowhawk Accipiter brevipes, Meghri area, Syunik, Armenia, 8 May 2011 (Magnus Robb). Calls while copulating, followed by a burst of diagnostic keVIkeVIkeVIkeVIK calls from the female, which is the bird in the photograph.

Meghri, Armenia

Red-fronted Serin Serinus pusillus, Meghri, Syunik, Armenia, 7 May 2011 (René Pop). Male.

Red-fronted Serin Serinus pusillus, Meghri, Syunik, Armenia, 6 May 2011 (Magnus Robb). Flight trills and song of a male, with other flock members nearby. Background: Eastern Orphean Warbler Sylvia crassirostris.

Meghri, Armenia

Rock Sparrow Petronia petronia, Meghri, Syunik, Armenia, 8 May 2011 (René Pop)

Rock Sparrow Petronia petronia, Meghri, Syunik, Armenia, 8 May 2011 (Magnus Robb). Flight calls perched then in flight. Background: Eastern Rock Nuthatch Sitta tephronota and Eastern Orphean Warbler Sylvia crassirostris.

Meghri, Armenia

Eastern Orphean Warbler Sylvia crassirostris, Meghri, Syunik, Armenia, 8 May 2011 (René Pop)

Eastern Orphean Warbler Sylvia crassirostris, Meghri, Syunik, Armenia, 8 May 2011 (Magnus Robb). Scolding calls of a very distressed individual. Its attention seemed to be focussed on the ground, so perhaps it had found a snake that we could not see. Background: Eastern Rock Nuthatch Sitta tephronota and Eastern Black-eared Wheatear Oenanthe melanoleuca.