Surrounded by mountains, the birdlife of the volcanic lakes of Javakheti is truly astounding. Here, you will see white and curly-billed pelicans, grey cranes, a variety of herons, ducks, marsh terns, Western marsh harriers, cormorants, and many other species of water and shore birds.
From the marshes, among many other sounds comes the muffled cry of the Eurasian bittern, which is a rare delight. On the shores of the lakes, yellow-bellied wagtails traipse around, again making for a wondrous sight.
Elsewhere, in Javakheti's fields, you will often see groups of white-tailed ciconias and red-tailed hawks hunting rodents.
In addition, Tabatskuri Lake is a nesting place for the white-winged scoter, which mainly lives in Scandinavia or even further north, in the Arctic. Ornithologists pay extra care to them as Tabatskuri Lake is their only habitat in Georgia, and their population amounts to only a few dozen.
You can visit all of the lakes of Javakheti by car, but due to the cold climate in winter months and the rapidly-changing weather, you should bring warm clothes and wear hiking boots.
You should plan at least a two-days-trip to properly observe the birds inhabiting the lakes and mountains of Javakheti.
If your needs are modest, you can stay in hotels in Ninotsminda and Akhalkalaki, or in guesthouses in the nearby villages of Gandzani, Zhdanovi, and Sulda. But if you’d like something a bit more upscale, book a hotel in the vicinity of Vardzia.