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South & East

Turkey

 

   

28 June - 13 July 2008

Observers: F. Simpson &

L. Ketchen

 

INTRODUCTION


After birding in north eastern Greece a few years ago we had planned to continue further east into the Western Palaearctic region to add more species to our lists. The Morocco trip gave us a nice taste of desert birds and we liked the culture there so Turkey was chosen as the next destination where we hoped to catch up on many Middle Eastern species. This was a long trip (4000+ kilometre round drive) but spaced over a two week period it never at any time felt stressfull even with the long distances involved. We found around 220 species without too much trouble on a route from the capital Ankara south to the Mediterranean coast, down to the Syrian border, then east all the way to Van near the border with Iran. We then took an inland route back towards Ankara but a puncture meant we were less than keen to head north for Caucasian Black Grouse at Sivrikaya without a spare.

Some of the highlights included Caspian Snowcocks at 3200m at five in the morning in the Tarsus Mountains; Grey-headed Swamphens and Graceful Warblers in the Gksu Delta;  White-throated Kingfishers in the Tarsus Delta; Birecik so many great birds along the Euphrates including Pied Kingfisher, Striated Scops Owl, Iraq Babbler, Black Francolin and Dead Sea Sparrow; the stone heads of the tumulus of Antiochus at Nemrut Dagi with Red-tailed Wheatear, White-throated Robin, Finsch's Wheatear, Cinereous Bunting and Trumpeter Finch; driving down into the huge volcanic crater at the other Nemrut Dagi with Armenian Gull, Rose-coloured Starling, Crimson-winged Finch and Red-fronted Serin; Lake Van, more like an inland sea with its own microclimate with lightning storms and a nocturnal downpour flooding our tent (should have taken the good one) but cheered later with White-headed Duck, Paddyfield Warbler, Citrine Wagtail and Greater Flamingos; Mongolian Trumpeter Finch on the lava fields at Serpmetas; Saker, Grey-necked Bunting and Golden Eagle around the spectacular Isak Pasa Palace at Dogubayazit near the Iran border and of course the tremendous landscapes, hospitable people and good food - well, good at the time maybe shouldn't have cleared those salads every night.

 

 

 HIGHLIGHTS


 

Saker Caspian Snowcock Black Francolin See-see Partridge Pale Scops Owl White-breasted Kingfisher Pied Kingfisher White-spectacled Bulbul Radde's Accentor White-throated Robin Finsch's Wheatear Red-tailed Wheatear Graceful Warbler Paddyfield Warbler Upcher's Warbler Krpper's Nuthatch Eastern Rock Nuthatch Iraq Babbler Dead Sea Sparrow Yellow-throated Sparrow Pale Rock Sparrow Red-fronted Serin Mongolian Trumpeter Finch Desert Finch Grey-necked Bunting & Cinereous Bunting.

 

 

LOGISTICS


 

Flights
Return from London Heathrow to Ankara Esenboga with BMI cost 355 each including taxes, fees and charges.

 

Ground Transport
We used Almira Rent Turkey booked through Holiday Autos. An economy 2 door with a/c cost 375 for the period 0330h on 28 June to 1300h on 13 July. We covered 4000+ kilometres.

 

Accommodation
Hotels of varying standard were used (see daily notes for the names), some through recommendations in previous trip reports or Lonely Planet, and other were found just by turning up at a likely looking establishment on the evening. We camped one night which coincided with the only rain of the trip - and it was an all-night thunder storm! For seeing Caspian Snowcock in the Toros mountains we stayed with Ali at Ozsafak Pension in Cukurbag www.ozsafak.net (75 euros each including evening meal, lunch and jeep ride to the site at around 3100 metres).

 

Maps
The Marco Polo 1:800 000 map (7.50 from Stanfords) was used in conjunction with published trip report directions and we found this sufficient for our purposes.

 

Fuel

Petrol was not cheap in Turkey! It was around 3.14 YTL/l which meant an average fill up of 40 litres cost about 55 or 1.38/litre!! I'm not sure off hand but this allowed us to roll for 800-900 kilometres on a tank. Petrol stations are everywhere. To see six in a row is not unusual. One bonus is you may get free tea and a car wash.

 

Exchange Rate June 2008
YTL 2.25 = 1.00

 

 

LITERATURE, REFERENCES & ONLINE RESOURCES


 

     Green, I, & Moorhouse, N. 1995. A Birdwatchers' Guide to Turkey. Prion Ltd.

 

     Porter, R.F. et al. 1996. Birds of the Middle East. Helm.

 

     Svensson, L. et al. 1999. Bird Guide. HarperCollins.

 

    We used the following internet published trip reports both at the planning stage and in the field:

    Klaus Malling Olsen (2005, 2006, 2007), Kasper P Hendriks (2004), Andreas Kristensen (1999),

      Juha Niemi (2001), Troels Eske Ortvad (2004) and Mattias Gerdin, Mns Grundsten, Johan Stllberg & Micke

    Wilson (2005).

 

    Further reports can be found at Travellingbirder.com (the Internet portal to birding travel and birdwatching trip

    reports)

 

    Other useful websites:

    Western Palaearctic Yahoo Group: WestPalBirds@yahoogroups.com

 

 

ITINERARY


 

Day 00       27/06/08     Evening flight from London Heathrow

Day 01       28/06/08     Ankara Esenboga > Kulu Gl > Konya > Eregli
Day 02       29/06/08     Eregli > Adabag > Tatlikuyu > Eregli Marshes > Karaman > Silifke > Dermircili > Uzuncabur
Day 03       30/06/08     Uzuncabur > Dermircili > Tarsus > Pozanti > amardi > ukurbag > z Safak Pension
Day 04       01/07/08     z Safak Pension > Aladaglar Mountains > Tarsus > Silifke > Gksu Delta > Tasucu
Day 05       02/07/08     Tasucu > Gksu Delta > Adana > Havutlu > Gaziantep > Isikli
Day 06       03/07/08     Isikli > Durnalik > Gaziantep > Birecik

Day 07       04/07/08     Birecik > Birecik Ibis Wadi > Birecik Cliffs > River Euphrates > Gulhane Tea Gardens

Day 08       05/07/08     Birecik Gravel Pits & Orchards > Desni > Adiyaman > Khta > Arsameia, Nemrut Dagi Milli Parki

Day 09       06/07/08     Nemrut Dagi Milli Parki > Narince > Ataturk Baraji > Siverek > Diyarbakir > Tatvan, Van Gl

Day 10       07/07/08     Nemrut Dagi volcanic crater, Tatvan >Akdamar Campsite, Van Gl

Day 11       08/07/08     Akdamar Campsite > Van > Van Marshes > Van Hills > Van

Day 12       09/07/08     Van > Karahan > Deltasi, Van Gl > Serometas > Caldiran > Dogubayazit > Ishak Pasa Sarayi

Day 13       10/07/08     Dogubayazit > Ishak Pasa Sarayi > Agri > Erzurum > Sarican > Erzincan

Day 14       11/07/08     Erzincan > Tdrge Gl > Sivas > Sorgun > Ankara

Day 15       12/07/08     Ankara > Soguksu Milli Parki, Kizilcahamam > Ankara

Day 16       13/07/08     Return flight from Ankara Esenboga to London Heathrow

 

 

MAP OF MAIN SITES VISITED


Map of main sites visited in Turkey  2008 Fraser Simpson

 Click here for map scribblings made at planning stage

 

 

THE DIARY


Day 1
Saturday 28 June 2008
Ankara Esenboga > Kulu Gl > Konya > Eregli


 

HIGHLIGHTS
Spur-winged Plover, White-winged Black Tern, Gull-billed Tern, Slender-billed Gull, Greater Flamingo, Isabelline Wheatear, Asian Short-toed Lark, Bimaculated Lark, Black-headed Bunting.

ESENBOGA AIRPORT, ANKARA, TURKEY
0305h
The plane had departed one hour later than scheduled but as we were arriving in the middle of the night this was of no real consequence. After customs we walked around the terminal in circles looking for the Almira car rental office. Little did we realise that a rep had been standing at arrivals with a VIP card to welcome us! The tank was supplied empty and on leaving we immediately filled up at the first available opportunity: 38 litres of petrol cost 120 lira (i.e. 1.40/litre!!).

ON THE ROAD
0450h
It was starting to get light by 0450h. Large vocal groups of House Sparrows were active around the terminal and in the suburbs of the capital, Ankara. Magpie (2) noted at the petrol station with 9 Starlings overhead. Feral Pigeons were common and ubiquitous around the city, and many screaming parties of Swift were hawking low over the, as yet, quiet, empty roads. A large lake on the southern side of Ankara held at least 8 Great Crested Grebes close to the roadside. Also noted at the roadside on the outer limits were Crested Lark, Rook, Jackdaw, Barn Swallow and 'yellow-legged' Gulls.

KOLU
0725-0835h
[39 04' 22.9'' N  033 05' 15.9'' E] 1001m
On the approach to Kolu, around 100 Mediterranean Gulls were noted over 3-4 kilometres along the roadside, hawking insects over the wheat fields. Followed some sandy tracks looking for the lake, got lost, found no lake, then realised it was pretty much dried up. Ok, not entirely true but it had shrunk in size considerably and what little was visible was impossible to view sufficiently due to the rapidly forming heat haze. Species noted from tracks to the NW of the town, passing through cereal steppes to a stony plateau with thistles: Black-headed Bunting (2), Hoopoe (3), Bimaculated Lark (40+), Isabelline Wheatear (2), Calandra Lark (4), Asian Short-toed Lark (2), Crested Lark (2), Kestrel, Barn Swallow, Collared Dove, Jackdaw, Common Swift, and House Sparrow. Non-avian interest included a Jackal, Spur-thighed Tortoise and numerous Sousliks.

KOLU GL
[39 04' 10.1'' N  033 07' 36.4'' E] 964m 27C
By 0900h a very strong heat haze was hampering long range vision. A pink mass was due to a congregation of hundreds of Greater Flamingos. We found a lagoon to the SW of the lake which still held plenty of water and abundant birdlife. Waders, gulls, terns, wheatear and larks provided most of the interest: Asian Short-toed Lark (4), Isabelline Wheatear (26 inc b/3), Bimaculated Lark (common), Crested Lark (3), Tawny Pipit (3), Spur-winged Plover (2 prs), Gull-billed Tern (c180), Slender-billed Gull (c90), Black Tern (3), White-winged Black Tern (2), Avocet (12 inc chicks), Kentish Plover (14), Collared Pratincole (1),  Mediterranean Gull (1), Green Sandpiper (1), Shelduck (pr + b/7), Yellow-legged Gull (12), Sand Martin (3), House Sparrow (5), Common Sandpiper (1), Magpie (7). Many of the gulls and terns appeared to be commuting between the breeding colony here and feeding areas out towards the main lake. Moved on at 1125h by which time the temperature had climbed to 35C.

 Kulu Gl,  near Konya  Fraser Simpson

 

 

DRIVE TO KONYA
Species noted on the drive: Hoopoe (3), Long-legged Buzzard, Crested Lark, Hooded Crow and Common Swift. We gave up looking for a hotel here after getting stuck in noisy and crowed streets. 

DRIVE TO KARAMAN
Species noted on the drive: Roller, Lesser Kestrel (12), Turtle Dove, Kestrel, Calandra Lark (2). Stopped to sleep for a couple of hours.

DRIVE FROM KARAMAN TO EREGLI
Species noted on the drive: Montagu's Harrier, Long-legged Buzzard, Roller (3), Crested Lark.

EREGLI
1830h 30C
A flock of c200 Rooks was noted on the edge of the town. Also a White Stork, Black-headed Bunting and Hooded Crow. Found the Hotel Fuat Bey for 70 lira including breakfast for a double/twin. This was one of the nicest hotels throughout our two week travels - very clean, modern and comfortable. We feasted on lamb kebaps, salad, bread and tea at a recommended restaurant nearby, all for 11 YTL for two!

 

 

Day 2
Sunday 29 June 2008
Eregli > Adabag > Tatlikuyu > Eregli Marshes/Akgl Gl > Karaman > Mut > Gksu Kanyon > Silifke > Dermicili > Uzuncabur


HIGHLIGHTS
Isabelline Wheatear, Asian Short-toed Lark, Bimaculated Lark, Long-legged Buzzard, Roller, Yellow-vented Bulbul, Masked Shrike, Krper's Nuthatch, Sombre Tit.

EREGLI > KARAMAN road
Species noted on the drive: Isabelline Wheatear (10), Black-headed Bunting, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, Corn Bunting, Magpie, Kestrel sp.

ADABAG
[37 29' 11.6'' N  033 52' 10.3'' E] 1004m
A small village 4km from the 350 road at the right turn near Bgecik, 17km SW of Eregli.
Just before you enter the village, on the left, a large walled area with deserted and crumbling buildings holds a small colony of Lesser Kestrels that can be closely viewed without getting out of the car. Around 30 birds including fledged juveniles were actively catching orthoptera and small reptiles. Adults were observed bring food to half-grown chicks in two piles of rumble (former buildings). Also Roller (2), Isabelline Wheatear, Short-toed Lark, Hoopoe, and Tree Sparrow (6+). Asia Minor Ground Squirrels common.

 Lesser Kestrel  Fraser Simpson

 

TATLIKUYU
Took some tracks out from the village, all of them continuing to very dry areas or tamarisk patches. Within the village a pair of White Storks had a nest with two chicks on a post next to the mosque. Commensal neighbours in the form of Spanish Sparrows were nesting in the base with around 10 birds on surrounding wires. Species noted along the tracks: Isabelline Wheatear (11), Long-legged Buzzard, Bimaculated Lark, Lesser Kestrel, Barn Swallow, Jackdaw, Collared Dove and House Sparrow.

EREGLI MARSHES
[37 29' 13.3'' N  033 45' 10.4'' E] 999m 34C
Stopped at the crags/cliffs to the left and steep drop down to the right with a depth measuring stick of the (former) lake. It was completely dry... with dust devils spinning all over the place! Two Long-legged Buzzards over the hills, an Isabelline Wheatear, and a Crested Lark were all that was noted here.

DRIVE TO KARAMAN
With disappointment creeping in and lack of sleep catching up we decided to head to the south coast and out of the dust/cereal bowl. Species noted on the drive: Long-legged Buzzard (4), Roller (2), European Bee-eater (1), Hoopoe (1), Isabelline Wheatear (11), Tawny Pipit (1), Starling (10+), Collared Dove, Magpie (3) and Kestrel sp.

KARAMAN
Filled up with petrol (42.63 litres, 134.71 lira) at 1445h, 33C.

KARAMAN > MUT
Species noted on the drive south on the 715: Isabelline Wheatear, Goldfinch (7), and White Storks nests with Spanish Sparrows at Sertavul. The roads starts to quickly descend into a large gorge, after several kilometres of climbing at 36 54' 38.7'' N  033 15' 45.4'' E (1002m) and the habitat changes to pine forest sloes with some juniper: Short-toed Eagle (2), Black Kite (1), Raven (1) and several Rock Sparrows calling.

MUT > SILIFKE
Olive trees appearing below 500 metres where the first Red-rumped Swallows were seen, a few kilometres south of Mut. Crested Larks common, Roller (3), Raven, Hooded Crow, Goldfinch, Sand Martin, Collared Dove, House Sparrow and Bee-eater all noted.

SILIFKE > DERMICILI > UZUNCABURU
Drove up through the small villages with more spectacular pine-clad mountain slopes.

DERMICILI
[36 25' 49.8'' N  033 57' 00.4'' E] 392m 29C
Stopped at the lower graveyard, immediately greeted by another Spur-thighed Tortoise taking things easy. Two vocal White-spectacled Bulbuls soon grabbed our attention. There were actually two pairs present and flycatching from the sub-canopy of the surrounding trees like tyrannid flycatchers. Rufous Bush Robin singing, Greenfinch overhead, and Crested Lark singing. A Little Owl was on a telegraph wire a few hundred metres up the road in the village where a Syrian Woodpecker flew past.

UZUNCABUR
[36 32' 58.3'' N  033 56' 28.2'' E] 1062m
Good area of pines between the campsite and the start of the village provided our first Krper's Nuthatch along with Masked Shrike (male), Sombre Tit (1), Goldfinch (20+) and many Great Tit fledglings. By chance I spotted a European Nightjar resting in a branch of a pine approximately eight metres up. Stayed the night at the campsite - some communication problems - but made to feel very welcome and apparently for free! Made a donation after the excellent breakfast the following morning.

 

 

Day 3
Monday 30 June 2008
Uzuncabur > Dermircili > Tarsus > Pozanti > amardi > ukurbag > z Safak Pension


 

HIGHLIGHTS
Syrian Woodpecker, Olive-tree Warbler, Western Rock Nuthatch, Cretzschmar's Bunting, Krper's Nuthatch, Masked Shrike, Yellow-vented Bulbul, Rppell's Warbler, Red-backed Shrike, Golden Oriole, Scop's Owl.

CAMPSITE, SOUTH OF UZUNCABUR
0645h
Mature Pine woodland with well developed understorey. Observations before breakfast: Krper's Nuthatch (10+), Masked Shrike (2), Syrian Woodpecker (1), Eastern Black-eared Wheatear (1), Hoopoe (2-3), Turtle Dove (2 singing), Spotted Flycatcher (2), Raven (1), Mistle Thrush (5+), Chaffinch, Blue Tit, Great Tit, House Sparrow, Goldfinch, Greenfinch and a Swallowtail sp.

SITE 1.5Km N of NECROPOLIS, UZUNCABUR
[36 35' 59.4'' N  033 55' 03.5'' E] 1283 m 23C
Sparsely wooded hillsides and rocky gully: Eastern Olivaceous Warbler (2), Syrian Woodpecker (1), Eastern Black-eared Wheatear (1), Western Rock Nuthatch (nest) and Red Squirrel (2).

 

NECROPOLIS, UZUNCABUR
[36 35' 19.8'' N  033 55' 28.6'' E] 1189m 23C
A rocky area with small scale, terraced agriculture surrounded by apple, cherry, figs, vines and natural scrub of oak, pine and juniper. Quite productive around the Roman remains with Western Rock Nuthatch (5), Olive-tree Warbler, Masked Shrike, Jay (local race having white face), Sombre Tit (2), Hoopoe, Blackbird (4+), Syrian Woodpecker (2-3), Red-rumped Swallow (2), Black-headed Bunting, Eastern Black-eared Wheatear (carrying food for young), Great Tit (4), Coal Tit, Barn Swallow (2), House Sparrow (3), Persian Ground Squirrel (2), Spur-thighed Tortoise, and numerous butterflies including Cleopatra, Queen of Spain Fritillary and a Marbled White sp.

TIYATRO, UZUNCABUR
[36 35' 59.4'' N  033 55' 03.5'' E] 1283m 23C
A look around the theatre also yielded a few common birds: Eastern Black-eared Wheatear, Barn Swallow, Goldfinch, Blackbird and House Sparrow.

SITE 400m S of UZUNCABUR junction: ROAD 33-57
[36 31' 59.4'' N  033 56' 34.0'' E] 971m 28C
Gorge with scrub/pines and cave-like hollows in the rock: Cretzschmar's Bunting (1), Western Rock Nuthatch (6+), Eastern Black-eared Wheatear (3), Crested Lark, Jay, House Martin (2), Barn Swallow, Blackbird and House Sparrow.

Uzuncabur  (Olba, Diocaesarea)  Fraser Simpson

Stop several km lower down
[36 27' 40.3'' N  036 27' 40.3'' E] 653m 34C
Still in the pine zone: Masked Shrike (3), White-spectacled Bulbul (2), Syrian Woodpecker (2), Hoopoe, Western Rock Nuthatch, Raven, Goldfinch (4) and Barn Swallow.

Stop at graveyard on north side of DEMIRICILI
[36 26' 51.6'' N  033 57' 30.2'' E] 569m 29C
By this time it was getting pretty hot and quiet though a nice Rppell's Warbler was found along with White-spectacled Bulbul (2), Western Rock Nuthatch (2), Syrian Woodpecker, Raven (2), Barn Swallow (3), Greenfinch, and a large Agama sp.

Graveyard on south side of DEMIRICILI
Only a Masked Shrike seen on a brief stop here.

DRIVE EAST ALONG THE MEDITERRANEAN
Black Stork observed overhead on the 0-21 motorway. Other species noted on the drive: Laughing Dove (2), White-spectacled Bulbul (4), White Stork (2 perched on lamp posts in on of the resort towns), Red-rumped Swallow, Hooded Crow, Collared Dove, Goldfinch, House Sparrow and Feral Pigeon. Another two White-spectacled Bulbuls at a service station on the 0-51 motorway.

Stop c5Km south of Camardi
[37 46' 51.3'' N  035 00' 43.4'' E] 1371m 22C
Fairly green area with rich farmland, bushy fields and poplar plantations along the Ecemis Cayi (river). We stopped at the roadside and on getting out of the car immediately heard two Golden Orioles heard singing from nearby poplar plantations. Cetti's Warbler, Corn Bunting and Common Whitethroat also heard singing. A female Red-backed Shrike possibly had a nest nearby. Also noted: White Wagtail (3), Blackbird, Chaffinch, Magpie, Hooded Crow, and Starling.

OZSAFAK PENSION, DEMIRKAZIK  1193 Km
Black-headed Bunting singing from a nearby rooftop as we had tea on Ali's veranda with a mountain backdrop he described as "paradise". Tree Sparrows were coming to the balcony and nearby rooftops. European Scop's Owl calling after dark.

 1194 km

 

Day 4
Tuesday 1 July 2008
z Safak Pension > Aladaglar Mountains > Tarsus > Silifke > Gksu Delta > Tasucu


 

HIGHLIGHTS
Caspian Snowcock, Crimson-winged Finch, Snowfinch, Red-fronted Serin, Wallcreeper, Radde's Accentor, Finsch's Wheatear, Chukar, Alpine Chough, Rock Thrush, Alpine Accentor, Horned Lark, Ruddy Shelduck, Yellow-vented Bulbul.

 

SNOWCOCK SITE, CHROMIUM MINE, ALADAGLAR MOUNTAINS
We departed at 0330h with Ali and his son driving the Lada Riva 'jeep' followed by five Belgian birders in their Range Rover. This was to be a highlight of the trip and a day we had been looking forward to for months. A Nightjar was flushed off the track above Demirkazik village. Several Wheatears were observed flying off in the headlights on the slow climb up the mountain interrupted with several stops to cool the engine by dousing the engine with cold water from the streams. Arrived just before 0450h while it was still dark and cool but within a minute I had picked out the distant evocative cry of a Caspian Snowcock. As we were having a drink of tea from the flasks I found one singing on a peak, silhouetted against the skyline. Some birds are good where ever you see them but when they are located in a special habitat/landscape such as this, the surroundings just elevate the bird to a whole new level!  Just 10 minutes later it was gradually getting noticeably lighter and the first Black Redstart started singing followed by the distant calls of Alpine and Red-billed Choughs. A group of three Caspian Snowcocks flew off the crags above and over the valley, uttering clearly audible calls. After the first rays of the sun appeared, many passerines became active. A male Crimson-winged Finch was singing from a nearby rock with another two birds song-flighting. Alpine Accentor singing. Two Wallcreepers were observed chasing each other at 0530h. Finsch's Wheatear (1). Snowfinch (20+) including a singing male at 0535h. Another Caspian Snowcock was watched feeding close to the track at small building at the chromium mine. Another Wallcreeper flying past several times and feeding on the largest cliff face. Red-fronted Serin (2), Radde's Accentor and Rock Thrush were the other highlights after a bit of searching. Also Kestrel (2), House Martin, Linnet and Ibex noted.

On the walk and drive back down we noted Northern Wheatear (20+), Horned Lark (3), Finsch's Wheatear (1), Alpine Accentor (10+), Water Pipit (1), Ortolan Bunting (singing m), Chukar Partridge (6), Black Redstart (10+) and Linnet (2).

ALCADAG GORGE/NOMAD CAMP
[37 46' 16.4'' N  035 05' 26.9'' E] 1736m 22C
After lunch we headed off to explore on our own and headed into the Alcadag Gorge. The abundance and species richness of butterflies here was amazing... never seen anywhere comparable in Europe. The birds were good too with a Rppell's Warbler found in waist-high thorny scrub, Blue Rock Thrush (2 singing males), Red-backed Shrike (m), Alpine Chough (8), Western Rock Nuthatch (3), Red-billed Chough (flying over), Chukars calling, Raven (2), Hoopoe (2), Serin, Black Redstart, Linnet (5), Rock Bunting (2-3 singing mm), and Kestrel (2).

Above ALCADAG GORGE
[37 45' 52.7'' N  035 06' 19.9'' E] 1816m 23C
Chukar (7) along the track, later calling from the slopes. Rock Bunting singing from a spruce. Hoopoe (1), Red-billed Chough (6), Coal Tit singing, and Chaffinch (3).

Orchards/Poplars near OZ SAFAK
Golden Oriole and Nightingale located back down in the main valley.

Drive from DEMIRKAZIK > ADAN > TASUCU
[36 19' 32.0'' N  033 55' 41.0'' E] 0m 29C
Species noted on the drive back towards the coast: Long-legged Buzzard, Red-rumped Swallow, Crested Lark, Collared Dove and White-spectacled Bulbul.

GOKSU DELTA: rice fields  1528 Km
[36 19' 32.0'' N  033 55' 41.0'' E] 0m 29C
We found some rice fields at the GPS location noted above which held a few good birds at the end of a long day. Late evening and the humidity was high but very few biting insects. A female Marsh Harrier was hunting over a distant reedbed. Feeding in the rice fields were Ruddy Shelduck (2), Purple Heron (2), White Stork (19), Grey Heron (5), Barn Swallow (100+), Yellow-legged Gull (14), and numerous dragonflies. The surrounding tracks and drier areas held many singing Crested Larks. In a nearby village were White-spectacled Bulbul (2), Woodchat Shrike, Jay and Crested Lark.

TASUCU
Stayed in the expensive (due to the touristy nature of the spot) Lades Motel where the air-com wasn't handling the humidity that well (90 YTL breakfast not included). The owner gave us an excellent leaflet he had prepared with step-by-step photographic directions on how to find your way to the hides around the Akgol lagoon in the delta.

 1528 km

 

Day 5
Wednesday 2 July 2008
Tasucu > Gksu Delta > Adana > Havutlu > Gaziantep > Isikli


 

HIGHLIGHTS
White-breasted Kingfisher, Grey-headed Swamphen, Graceful Warbler, Marbled Duck, Red-crested Pochard, Spur-winged Plover, Moustached Warbler, Bearded Tit, Laughing Dove, Squacco Heron, White-winged Black Tern, Purple Heron

 

 

SEAWATCH FROM LADES MOTEL
0645h
A quick seawatch from the room balcony (while Lisa got ready) yielded Little Tern (20), Mediterranean Gull, Shag, Yellow-legged Gull (12). Feeding and nesting around the buildings were Red-rumped Swallow (4), House Martin (30) as well as a couple of Sand Martins. Petrol fill up 139.01 YTL for 44.27 litres (3.14 YTL/l)

 

GOKSU DELTA: Akgol Gl
[36 19' 32.0'' N  033 55' 41.0'' E] 0m 23C 0730h
There was a very strong coastal breeze making hearing any prinias impossible and most birds on the lagoon were huddled towards the southern end where we were looking in to the sun from the observation tower in the north-western corner. A good selection was uncovered following careful checking: Grey-headed Swamphen (11), Bearded Tit (12), Marsh Harrier (2), Caspian Reed Warbler singing, Purple Heron, Little Tern (10), Red-crested Pochard, Garganey, Great Crested Grebe, Black-headed Wagtail, Coot (64), Gadwall, Black-winged Stilt, Crested Lark, Mallard, Woodchat Shrike, Eastern Black-eared Wheatear and Sand Martin. I searched through the tamarisks and other scrub between the tower and the smaller (vandalised) hide to the south and eventually located three Graceful Warblers and an Eastern Olivaceous Warbler.

 

GOKSU DELTA: small green hide on S side of Akgol Gl
[36 17' 06.0'' N  033 57' 33.1'' E] 0m 30C 0935h
Some fishermen (or perhaps tramps) had been living here and despoiled the area with litter. It was more sheltered here and with the sun in an ideal position for viewing to the north. The view was largely obscured by tall reedbeds but the marshes between the track and the reedbeds held good birds: Spur-winged Plover (10 inc 2 juvs), Squacco Heron (6), Ruddy Shelduck (pr + b/4), Moustached Warbler, Marbled Duck (2), Great Egret, Spoonbill (2), Purple Heron (2), Red-crested Pochard (4 ads + b/5), Caspian Reed Warblers singing, White-winged Black Tern (7), Black Tern (1), Little Egret (7), Black-headed Wagtail (2), Marsh Harrier over mobbed by Spur-wings, Pallid Swift (1), Great Reed Warbler singing briefly, Greenshank, Little Ringed Plover, Barn Swallow, Yellow-legged Gull, Common Sandpiper, Great Crested Grebe (pr + b/2), Crested Lark, Coot (2) and a Kestrel. Another Ruddy Shelduck flew over uttering a gull-like call.

 

On the track to the next tower (with lagoon and marshes on the left and the coast to the right) in one field of view in the binoculars I had Great Egret (1), Squacco Heron (1), Purple Heron (1), Spoonbill (1) and Little Egret (2)! Also noted: Redshank (2), Mallard (f + b/2), Black-headed Wagtail, Spur-winged Plover, Crested Lark and Marsh Harrier.

 

GOKSU DELTA: southern tower
[36 17' 20.3'' N  033 58' 08.7'' E] 0m 30C 1020h
This tower was a bit unstable as it shook in the wind and had no roof for shading from the sun. Still the view was excellent with a nice range of birds observed: Marbled Duck (2), Spur-winged Plover (6), Purple Heron (5), Red-crested Pochard (7), Spoonbill (5), Graceful Warbler in tamarisk below the hide, Shoveler (3), Teal (2), Little Egret (2), Marsh Harrier, Little Tern, Black-headed Wagtail, Green Sandpiper, Crested Lark, Grey Heron (3), Yellow-legged Gull (2), Sand Martin, Great Crested Grebe, Sand Martin, and Barn Swallow.

 

 

Drive from TASUCU > ADANA
[36 17' 06.0'' N  033 57' 33.1'' E] 0m 30C 0935h
Back on the road with a Masked Shrike and Nightingale in Silifke, followed by White-spectacled Bulbuls in most towns and villages, Laughing Dove (2), on the east side of Merson, two in Tarsus and three on the Adana to Karatas road. Feral Pigeons also noted.

 

HAVUTLU (on Adana-Karatas road-815)
[36 17' 06.0'' N  033 57' 33.1'' E] 0m 30C 0935h
Shortly after passing the Pepsi factory on the left, we took a right turn immediately after the bridge over the Seyhan (Ceyhan) river with sluice gates to the right, then right again after 200 metres, down the narrow track with orchards on the left and thick riverine scrub on the right. This is a favoured site for White-throated Kingfisher. We soon heard the laughing calls of the kingfisher. Just before the first house on the left, there is a gap in the bushes to the right allowing views down to the river. After about 20 minutes the first White-throated Kingfisher appeared and landed, partially obscured in an over-hanging tree. Over the next hour, one or two passed by regularly and sometimes landing in trees, or partially submerged trees in the river. They were wary though and stayed in full view for no more than a few seconds. These are large and impressive kingfishers! A further two birds were heard calling from the orchards on either side of the river.

 

  1998 km

  

Day 6
Thursday 3 July 2008
Isikli > Durnalik > Gaziantep > Birecik
Blue sky, 19C at 0655h, 29C at 1540h


 

HIGHLIGHTS
Upcher's Warbler, Red-tailed Wheatear, Desert Finch, Eastern Rock Nuthatch, Pale Rock Sparrow, White-throated Robin, Cinereous Bunting, Olive-tree Warbler, Eastern Orphean Warbler.

ISIKLI - c2km south of the village
[37 09' 32.7'' N  037 12' 50.2'' E] 1083m
After turning off the D400 Gaziantep, on the minor roads towards Isikli we carried on through the village the previous evening and stopped approximately 2km further on. This flat area of small wheat fields, scattered orchards, surrounded by low scrubby hillsides had a small water reservoir (10 x 4 m) at the roadside on the left, near a small sign 'Satlik Arsa'.
Many species were coming to drink here early in the morning: Pale Rock Sparrow (6), Desert Finch (2), Cinereous Bunting (1), and Black-headed Bunting (juv). In the surrounding vegetation: Eastern Rock Nuthatch (several calling and observed carrying food), Upcher's Warbler (5), Sombre Tit, Syrian Woodpecker, Lesser Whitethroat, Turtle Dove, Hooded Crow and Goldfinch.

ISIKLI - hills to the east of the village
[37 08' 31.7'' N  037 12' 12.5'' E] 1120-1250m
As you go through the village there are two steep valleys to the left. We accessed the first (more northerly) one by turning left just before the village at a signpost 'Ogumsogut 8km', parked at the left-hand bend then climbed up towards the base of some cliffs before cutting across towards the small scattered orchard visible in the photograph below. From here a small track winds down into the village.
Several territories of Western and Eastern Rock Nuthatch on the barren slopes punctured outcrops and crags. A juvenile Rock Thrush observed with a very small snake. Several Upcher's Warblers found in areas holding just one or two small bushes. A Peregrines nest was discovered in the area where Kestrels had also just fledged a brood. Overhead a Short-toed Eagle appeared but didn't linger.
Searched for Red-tailed Wheatear above the orchard without luck and surprising just a single Eastern Black-eared Wheatear. The orchard itself held a male Eastern Orphean Warbler, five Desert Finches (2mm + 3ff/imms), Upcher's Warbler (7+), Sombre Tit, Rufous Bush Robin, Red-rumped Swallow (2), Barn Swallow and House Sparrow.
Back down around the small scale agricultural areas around the village were yet more Upcher's Warblers, Desert Finch, Western Rock Nuthatch, Red-rumped Swallow, Hooded Crow, House Sparrow and Barn Swallow.

YESILCE - along the main D400 road
Long-legged Buzzard and Turtle Dove near the Isikli junction.

 

 

DURNALIK - valley and hills to the south of the village
[37 09' 11.0'' N  037 10' 33.2'' E] 1222m
At the left turn into the village of Durnalik, a new road continues to the right along the hillside on the left-hand side of the valley before curling right around a large outcrop, running below a barren/lunar landscape and eventually leading to a quarry at the head of the valley.
Searched the barren/lunar-like landscape near the quarry for Red-tailed Wheatear. No success here. The best birds were along the road below the quarry (from where the photograph below was taken): Eastern Rock Nuthatch (7) and a Long-legged Buzzard on the ridge (in the left of the photograph), Pale Rock Sparrow (3), Eastern Orphean Warbler (2), Upcher's Warbler (5), Black-headed Bunting (3 inc 2 juvs), Syrian Woodpecker, Eastern Black-eared Wheatear, Turtle Dove (2), Woodchat Shrike (2), Lesser Whitethroat, Blackbird (4), Barn Swallow (4) and House Sparrow. Five Long-legged Buzzards were soaring over the valley around 1500h.
Checked the ridge (on the right in the photograph below) but found nothing.
Took the track down from the new road into the upper orchards at 1186m: Pale Rock Sparrow, Eastern Rock Nuthatch, Upcher's Warbler and Barn Swallow present.
Orchards at the start of the track close to the village [37 09' 41.6'' N  037 11' 09.7'' E] 1058m
The big surprise here was Red-tailed Wheatear - an adult and a juvenile almost at the start of the track before you enter the shade of the orchard. Also a flock of 10 Pale Rock Sparrows here. The shade of the fruit trees and poplars offered some much needed shelter from the sun and revealed a female White-throated Robin, Olive-tree Warbler, Eastern Orphean Warbler (2+), Upcher's Warbler (4+), Lesser Whitethroat (7+), a Spotted Flycatcher and singing Goldfinches. More open areas held Western Rock Nuthatch (2), Lesser Grey Shrike, Long-legged Buzzard, Linnet (2) and Feral Pigeon (10+).

 

 

DRIVE TO BIRECIK - via Gaziantep and Nizip on the D400/E90
Booked in for two nights at the Mirkelam Motel in Birecik close to the impressive Euphrates river.

 

 

   

Day 7
Friday 4 July 2008
Birecik > Birecik Ibis Wadi > Birecik Cliffs > River Euphrates > Gulhane Tea Gardens (Scops Owl Cafe)
Blue sky, max 38C at 1315h


 

HIGHLIGHTS
Pale Scops Owl, Pied Kingfisher, Dead Sea Sparrow, See-see Partridge, Mntries's Warbler, Graceful Warbler, Pygmy Cormorant, Little Swift, Ferruginous Duck, Bald Ibis.

 

BIRECIK IBIS WADI - wadi running southeast behind the Bald Ibis breeding centre on the east bank of the Euphrates
[37 02' 47.1'' N  037 59' 37.2'' E] 388m
At the time of our visit the free-flying breeding Bald Ibis group were still on the loose like wild birds. The birds are later caged over the winter period, though recent news suggests some are still migrating south with ringed birds found in Syria this year. The warden told us that 25 young had been reared this season. As we arrived a flock of around 20 Bald Ibises flew from the cliffs, heading westwards across the Euphrates. We walked the wadi searching for our target species here; See-see Partridge. The dry wadi was around 30 metres at its deepest with some bramble, reed and willow patches and the odd fig tree which held at least three Mntries's Warblers and 10 Upcher's Warblers. On several occasions I observed Mntries's Warblers flying in a direct, unwavering flight path about head height or above, between distant patches of cover in the wadi. After about 1 km, two pairs of See-see Partridges flew up from the floor of the wadi and alighted on a slope running down into the wadi where it starts to widen. The birds scurried quickly over the ground before disappearing over the hill. More good birds found included Laughing Dove (2), Yellow-vented Bulbul, Syrian Woodpecker (2), Rock Sparrow (7), Roller, Hoopoe, Bee-eater (5) and a Peregrine. Also noted: Lesser Kestrel, Woodchat Shrike, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, Collared Dove, House Sparrow (23) and Hooded Crow.

 

 

BIRECIK IBIS CENTRE
Bought a mug and some postcards and had a look around the breeding facility. The birds were currently out foraging somewhere and the warden recommended we return around 1700h to see them returning to roost. Rufous Bush Robin (2), Upcher's Warbler (3), Eastern Olivaceous Warbler, Laughing Dove, Wood Pigeon singing and House Sparrow (30+).

 

BIRECIK CLIFFS - roadside cliffs on the eastside of the Euphrates, south of the Ibis Centre 
[37 02' 46.7'' N  037 59' 01.0'' E] 338m
The cliffs and Little Swifts were easily viewed from the corner of the Ibis Centre car park. A wide 'hard shoulder' along the river also allows easy viewing of the cliffs. At least 20 Little Swifts in view at any one time and probably more birds than this present. All the features could be clearly seen on these birds. Also Bee-eater (2), Red-rumped Swallow (4), numerous Feral Pigeons, and dozens of Sand Martins and Barn Swallows over the river.

 

BIRECIK SOUTH ORCHARDS - orchards on the east side of the Euphrates, south of the tea gardens
[37 00' 21.0'' N  037 58' 14.1'' E] 340m
Most of the areas of orchards and fields are within a large fenced enclosure, lined with small trees to the right of the road as you head south. Excellent area for observing the highly vocal Dead Sea Sparrow (photograph below). At least 17 nests were found in the trees around the enclosure. Also Rufous Bush Robin, Roller, Eastern Olivaceous Warbler, Bee-eater (4), Collared Dove, Barn Swallow and House Sparrow.

 

 

EUPHRATES & BIRECIK SOUTH GRAVEL PITS - gravels pits and vegetated pools a few kilometres south of the town
[36 59' 57.8'' N  037 57' 49.2'' E] 336m
The raised track running south along the east bank of the river, south of the orchards allows good views. On our visit access along the track was restricted just south of the gravel pits due to some engineering work. The phragmites shoreline and small islands and pools with tamarisk and willow scrub provided some good birding. At this point the Euphrates appears big, deep, blue and fast-flowing here. The best birds here were Pygmy Cormorant (19 upstream/3 downstream), two singing Graceful Warblers, three Ferruginous Duck, Dead Sea Sparrow (4), White-winged Black Tern (6) and Squacco Heron (2). Numbers were provided by the hirundines with an impressive 500+ Sand Martins and 200+ Barn Swallows. Also observed: Cattle Egret (3), Bee-eater (2), Hoopoe, Great Crested Grebe, singing Reed Warblers, trilling Little Grebes, Common Sandpiper, Crested Lark, Coot (7 ads, b/3, b/2), Collared Dove (9), Hooded Crow (3), Wood Pigeon (2 o/h), Yellow-legged Gull (1), Moorhen (7) and Feral Pigeon (5).

 

KIYI RESTAURANT, BIRECIK
[37 01' 58.4'' N  037 58' 13.9'' E] 345m 41C  1730-1930h
An excellent location to relax, eat and look for Pied Kingfishers (see view in the photograph above) from a shaded spot! We had a large meal with a meat dish, salad, fruit, bread coke and tea (30 YTL for two) and looked for the second impressive kingfisher of the trip. After about 20 minutes the first two flew upstream about 30 metres from our table on the riverbank at 1745h. Another later flew upstream at 1842h... yeh, no pushy 'time to go' London waiters here! Some very tame Upcher's Warblers were creeping along the riverbank just a few feet away and later looking for bugs around the restaurant shrubs. Whiskered Tern (5) flew upstream at 1753h. Dead Sea Sparrows calling from trees around the tables. A Common Sandpiper flew downstream. A juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron was flying around at 1852h. Barn Swallow (45+) feeding along alond the riverbank and under the shade of the overhanging trees. It was starting to get dark as we crossed the bridge over the Euphrates and there was an obvious movement of Night Herons from their daytime roosts.

 

GULHANE TEA GARDENS, BIRECIK
1955-2100h
Next stop was the famous owling spot of Gulhane Tea Gardens. The Belgian group (Noah et al) had kindly lent us their large MagLite torch having been successful the previous evening. We ordered some tea before looking for the Pale/Pallid/Striated/Bruce's Scops Owl (Otus brucei)... whatever you want to call it. Nobody seemed to know much about it these days (new owners?) but some amusement followed when our tea arrived in white, china cups! This was the only place on the trip where we didn't get the traditional small tea glass (though later in the trip we bought some to take home, along with some real tea - none of this tasteless teabag nonsense). Anyway, Lisa soon spotted a movement in the denser stand of trees behind (south of) the main building at 2010h. I downed the tea and soon located an actively feeding adult brucei Scops Owl. The quiet, unused area immediately adjacent on the south side of the tea garden, where the tree cover was denser, revealed two adults and two juveniles. A raised concrete podium provided an ideal spot to observer them. They mostly showed high up in the lower canopy and some records shots were obtained. No European Scops Owls were heard or seen but a Long-eared Owl flew through the area about 2030h.

 

 

   

Day 8
Saturday 5 July 2008
Birecik Gravel Pits & Orchards > Desni > Adiyaman > Khta > Arsameia, Nemrut Dagi Milli Parki


 

HIGHLIGHTS
Iraq Babbler, Black Francolin, Yellow-throated Sparrow, Pied Kingfisher, Dead Sea Sparrow, Pale Rock Sparrow, Desert Finch, Little Bittern, Black-bellied Sandgrouse, Black-crowned Night Heron, Graceful Warbler, Bald Ibis, Levant Sparrowhawk, Finsch's Wheatear, White-throated Robin, Eastern Rock Nuthatch, Red-tailed Wheatear

 

EUPHRATES & BIRECIK SOUTH GRAVEL PITS - gravels pits and vegetated pools a few kilometres south of the town
[37 02' 51.9'' N  037 58' 24.9'' E] 338m 20C  0555-0930h
Took the track off to the right where the perpendicular pylon wires cross, then carried on for approximately 150 metres to the favoured site for Iraq Babbler. At least three Black Francolins gave great views as they perched on pile of stones around the pits as the sun was rising. Four males were heard uttering a five note squealy trumpet-like call. Soon a troupe of Iraq Babbler showed with at least seven birds, both in the reed beds around the pools and in the dry, scrubby areas. Their large tails, fanned regularly, seemed to be a characteristic trait. Several Graceful Warblers were singing and showing well. An interesting pale Little Owl was possible one of the desert/Middle Eastern races. Later, another Little Owl appeared more similar to the European race. A flock of nine Black-bellied Sandgrouse flew over as a Pied Kingfisher was hunting at 0700h. Other early morning movements involved Squacco Heron (5), Pygmy Cormorant (1), Bald Ibis (40+) circling over the river, 120+ Starlings overhead and four juvenile Black-crowned Night Herons. A good range of other species were observed: Roller (5), Little Bittern (2), Cattle Egret (5), Dead Sea Sparrow (12), Hoopoe (3), Marsh Harrier, Rufous Bush Robin, Eastern Olivaceous Warbler, Syrian Woodpecker, Bee-eater (4), Moorhen, Crested Lark, Sand Martin, Great Reed Warbler, Squacco Heron, Caspian Reed Warbler, Barn Swallow, Hooded Crow, Collared Dove (11), and a single Wood Pigeon. Another Pied Kingfisher flew in from the river to fish around the pools at 0719h.

Approximately 500 metres to the south, a shore on the river allows some good views across to the cliffs in the other side: Black Ibis (47) feeding, Pygmy Cormorant (2) and a Marsh Harrier hunting.

 

Birecik gravel pits, Iraq Babbler site  Fraser Simpson

 

BIRECIK-HALFETI road: 2nd road off to the right (signposted Innapli Ky)
[36 03' 34.7'' N  037 57' 15.5'' E] 351m 27C 0815h
Explored the orchards in this area to the north of Birecik for Chestnut-shouldered Petronia (Yellow-throated Sparrow). Dead Sea Sparrows were common and at least six Gymornis xanthocollis were located. Other species noted included: Rufous Bush Robin, Pale Rock Sparrow, Eastern Olivaceous Warbler, Syrian Woodpecker, Hoopoe, Crested Lark, House Sparrow, Barn Swallow and Hooded Crow.

 

BIRECIK-HALFETI road: 1st road off to the right (signposted Altinova Ky)
[36 03' 35.0'' N  037 57' 31.1'' E] 345m
A second stop produced three xanthocollis sparrows, Pale Rock Sparrow (3) and Dead Sea Sparrow (5), Desert Finch (2), Syrian Woodpecker, Crested Lark and numerous House Sparrows.

 

 

BESNI-ADIYAMAN
[36 41' 05.0'' N  038 3' 12.3'' E] 653m 1600h
On the drive east I located a Levant Sparrowhawk over  small village between Besni and Adiyman. Pulled in at a safe spot and then had fine views of a male bird overhead. A composite collage of three separate photos is reproduced above.

 

NEMRUT DAGI MILLI PARKI (NATIONAL PARK)
We then headed on towards the stone heads of Nemrut Dagi. An Olive-tree Warbler was found at Narince and the drive into the national park produced some good sightings: Finsch's Wheatear (1), Woodchat Shrike (12 including juvs), Northern Wheatear (6), Short-toed Eagle (1), Rock Sparrow (4), Bee-eater (4), Hoopoe (2), Western Rock Nuthatch (4), Eastern Black-eared Wheatear (2), Linnet (2) and calling Chukar.

 

A stop at a puddle beside a small stream [37 56' 28.8'' N  038 42' 23.1'' E] 1402m revealed some thirsty birds! A fantastic pair of White-throated Robins, Eastern Rock Nuthatch (2), Cretzschmar's Bunting (f), Red-tailed Wheatear (1), Rock Sparrow (7), Goldfinch (8), Black-headed Bunting (2), Turtle Dove, Pale Rock Sparrow (1), House Sparrow and even a Spur-thighed Tortoise were observed coming to drink within a short period. A Great Tit then flew and landed on the tortoise's back... well if all other stones are occupied...

 

On the drive down to the Arsameia ruins and campsite, two different groups of tephronotus Long-tailed Tits were observed, followed by two Lesser Whitethroats and more Western Rock Nuthatches.

 

NEMRUT DAGI MILLI PARKI: ARSAMEIA
[37 56' 28.8'' N  038 42' 23.1'' E] 1402m
The owner gave us a tour of the ruins where a brood of Woodchat Shrikes was being fed, and a late evening flock of hirundines held Red-rumped Swallows (20+) and House Martin (50+) with a Kestrel nearby.

 

   

Day 9
Sunday 6 July 2008
Nemrut Dagi Milli Parki (UNESCO World Heritage Site) > Narince > Ataturk Baraji > Siverek > Diyarbakir > Tatvan, Van Gl


 

HIGHLIGHTS
Trumpeter Finch, Red-tailed Wheatear, Finsch's Wheatear, Cinereous Bunting, Western Rock Nuthatch, Eastern Rock Nuthatch, Crag Martin, Whiskered Tern, Egyptian Vulture, Rose-coloured Starling.

 

NEMRUT DAGI MILLI PARKI: ARSAMEIA
[37 56' 28.8'' N  038 42' 23.1'' E] 1402m
0630h Rufous Bush Robin on the gravel around the cafeteria. Western Rock Nuthatch calling. Eastern Rock Nuthatch (2) on a nearby telegraph pole with a Syrian Woodpecker lower down. Other species noted: Eastern Black-eared Wheatear, Black-headed Bunting, Upcher's Warbler, Rock Sparrow (2), Linnet (2), Turtle Dove singing, Woodchat Shrike, House Sparrow, and House Martins.

 

NEMRUT DAGI MILLI PARKI: Drive up to the peak
Three Red-tailed Wheatears were observed on the drive up to the peak along with a Finsch's Wheatear, Eastern Black-eared Wheatear (9), Hoopoe (2), Kestrel and both species of Rock Nuthatch regularly observed.

 

NEMRUT DAGI MILLI PARKI: puddle/stream 7km E of Arsameia campsite
[37 56' 28.8'' N  038 42' 23.1'' E] 1402m
Checked the stream and puddle again this morning though being still cool and in the shade, fewer birds were attending: Cinereous Bunting (2), Black-headed Bunting (2), Goldfinch (1) and Great Tit (2).

 

 

NEMRUT DAGI MILLI PARKI: Tumulus of Antiochus
[37 58' 46.9'' N  038 44' 27.9'' E] 2175m 20C
We reached the small visitor reception and bumped into the Belgian group again! Bought a couple of small souvenir heads before walking up the final part of the peak to see the real thing. The dripping tap mentioned in other reports was dry... though we had done well earlier in finding some good birds at the puddle. The views from the top were spectacular though the wind soon picked up. A superb male Trumpeter Finch was a surprise here. At least seven Red-tailed Wheatear were observed along with Horned Lark (12 in 8 juvs), Snowfinch (3), Crag Martin (1), White-throated Robin (1), Cinereous Bunting (1), Eastern Black-eared Wheatear (1), Rock Sparrow (3), and Northern Wheatear (1).

 

NEMRUT DAGI MILLI PARKI: gorge c2.5km from the summit on the road to Narince
[37 57' 58.5'' N  038 44' 27.6'' E] 1650m
Lower down this gorge held a Long-legged Buzzard, Eastern Rock Nuthatch, Black-headed Bunting, Upcher's Warbler (2), Eastern Black-eared Wheatear (5) and a Kestrel.

 

Drive from NARINCE > TATVAN via Siverek, Diyarbakir, Silvan & Bitlis
Two dead Hedgehogs on the road at Balli, Bee-eater (5), Turtle Dove (2), Red-rumped Swallow, Woodchat Shrike and Barn Swallow.

 

ATATURK BARAJI
[37 58' 46.9'' N  038 44' 27.9'' E] 2175m 20C
This ferry trip of about 20 minutes (Feribot Hareket Saatleri) connecting the D360 route on the Adiyanam to Siverek road yielded several good birds. Whiskered Terns (40+), Common Tern (10+) and Slender-billed Gulls (30+) were feeding on the open water. On the far side, a mixed colony was breeding on an isolated shoreline holding Gull-billed Tern, Black-headed Gull, Gull-billed Tern and Whiskered Tern.

 

DRIVE E to VAN GL
We continued our journey east finding an adult Egyptian Vulture about 20 kilometres west of Sivere but the highlight was a Blue-cheeked Bee-eater perched on a roadside wire near Bekirhan. Also noted: White Stork (b/3 ready for fledging) at Catakkopru, Rollers near Kozluk and Baykan, Wood Pigeon (2) near Kozluk, Crested Larks common, Magpie (2) and a Woodchat Shrike a few kilometres west of Kozluk, Hooded Crow (30) further east in the mountains, White Wagtail in a gorge south west of Bitlis, where several kilometres of road-widening made for very slow progress over temporary surfaces with dust and mud everywhere. A Magpie was noted at Bitlis, a flock of 12 Rose-coloured Starlings flying near the village of Bisan just north east of Bitlis, and many Rooks noted between Bitlis and Tatvan.

 

Stayed at Hotel Dilek (70 TYL) in Tatvan and had dinner at Kasi Beyaz Ocakbasi (17.5 YTL for kebabs, salad and coke for two).

 

   

Day 10
Monday 7 July 2008
Nemrut Dagi volcanic crater, Tatvan >Akdamar Campsite, Van Gl


 

HIGHLIGHTS
Rose-coloured Starling, Red-fronted Starling, Crimson-winged Finch, Armenian Gull, Ortolan Bunting, Finsch's Wheatear, Cinereous Bunting, Alpine Accentor, Horned Lark, Red-backed Shrike, Ring Ouzel.

 

 

HOTEL DILEK, TATVAN
Nice views towards Lake Van from the hotel. Flock of 100+ Swifts hawking over the town, Laughing Dove on the roof of a neighbouring building. Hooded Crow and Starling also noted. Later at a petrol station on the edge of town a Hobby was chasing some of the Swifts.

 

NEMRUT DAGI: drive up the volcanic crater
Black-headed Bunting (6), Rock Sparrow (2), Isabelline Wheatear (4), Northern Wheatear (2), Crested Lark, Swift (40+), Hooded Crows and Starlings feeding in the village.

 

NEMRUT DAGI: Lip of the crater
[38 35' 52.0'' N  042 16' 37.8'' E] 2525m
Spectacular views of the crater lake, Nemrut Gl. Species noted in the sparsely vegetated ash slopes below: Tawny Pipit (2), Crimson-winged Finch (1), Linnet (2), Swift (50+) overhead and a distant Blue Rock Thrush singing from the crags to the left. Drove down towards the crater lake along the widest track that first rises over a ridge (with views of a small lake to the right): Rose-coloured Starling (12), Northern Wheatear (3) and a Whitethroat singing from small patch of poplars.

 

NEMRUT DAGI: gully with poplars/birches
[38 38' 20.1'' N  042 15' 01.0'' E] 2286m
The gully reaches a small lake on the north side of the main crater lake. The reed-fringed lake has dramatic scree slopes and ridges towering above it. Rose-coloured Starling (32+) breeding in the area, regularly flying between nest sites and feeding areas in the gully. Species found: Red-fronted Serin (2), Ring Ouzel (2mm + 1f), Ortolan Bunting singing, Black Redstart (1), Jay (3), Wood Lark (2), Western Rock Nuthatch, Black-headed Bunting, Barn Swallow (15), Kestrel, Great Tit (brood), Mistle Thrush (13), Wood Pigeon (2) and Magpie (2). Armenian Gull (4) on the lake, White Wagtail (1) and masses of Orthetrum dragonflies.

 

NEMRUT DAGI: shallow lake with mud in barren area
[38 37' 25.4'' N  042 16' 24.0'' E] 2294m
Rose-coloured Starling (22), Tawny Pipit (2 displaying), Common Sandpiper (2), Northern Wheatear (5), White Wagtail (1), Linnet (1), Swift (6) and Kestrel (1). On the drive back a female Rock Thrush was found along with four more Rosy Starlings and two Northern Wheatears.

 

NEMRUT DAGI: long hollow
[38 36' 31.5'' N  042 15' 30.8'' E] 2325m

Long hollow between the track leading to the visible area of the lake and the rocky/scrubby plateau.
Cinereous Bunting feeding young in the nest, Alpine Accentor (singing male), Finsch's Wheatear (m), Horned Lark (17 juvs + 1 ad), Crimson-winged Finch (3), Rose-coloured Starling (4), Black-headed Bunting (2), Rock Bunting (2), Tawny Pipit (1), Linnet (4) and Northern Wheatear (5, in 2 singing males).

NEMRUT DAGI: walk to crags at southern edge
[38 35' 50.1'' N  042 16' 27.8'' E] 2490m
Ortolan Bunting (3), Ring Ouzel (1) and Red-backed Shrikes (2 juvs).

 

TATVAN-VAN road
Hoopoe (1), Lesser Kestrel (1), Rose-coloured Starling (5), Magpie (32), Roller (1), Kestrel (1), Hooded Crow, Starling (including a flock of 400 in stubble), Jay, Armenian Gull, and Black-winged Stilt noted on the drive.

 

AKDAMAR CAMPSITE
Stayed at the Akdamar campsite (free) and tried Krt Tavasi (meat, tomato + pepper cooked in a clay pot) at the restaurant here. Heavy thunder and lightning storm all night. Armenian Gull, Hoopoe, White Wagtail, Goldfinch and Jackdaw (200+) noted around the campsite.

 

 3136 km

   

Day 11
Tuesday 8 July 2008
Akdamar Campsite > Van > Van Marshes > Van Hills > Van


 

HIGHLIGHTS
Paddyfield Warbler, Citrine Wagtail, Armenian Gull, Ruddy Shelduck, Red-crested Pochard, Lesser Grey Shrike, Finsch's Wheatear, Alpine Swift.

 

Drive to VAN on road D-300
Species noted on the drive: Roller (4), Bee-eater, Magpie, Barn Swallow, Hooded Crow, House Sparrow and Goldfinch.

 

VAN CASTLE
Heavy rain when we arrived but soon cleared to give a fine morning. Golden Oriole singing from poplars around the castle. Two Alpine Swifts were overhead with 100+ Common Swifts. Species noted around the castle: Lesser Grey Shrike, Little Owl, Roller, Peregrine, Lesser Kestrel, Bee-eater (2), Hoopoe, Barn Swallow, Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, Magpie and Rook. In the agricultural fields between the castle and the marshes, one Citrine Wagtail was found among 10+ Black-headed Wagtails and another Hoopoe. Views of the marshes were poor from here. Newly cut grass for silage was lying in the fields, waiting to be gathered up, so we didn't tried to cross them and access the marshes from this point. Species noted: Ruddy Shelduck, White-winged Black Tern, Slender-billed Gull, Armenian Gull, Avocet, Black-winged Stilt, Wood Sandpiper, Pochard (b/7), Marsh Harrier, Lapwing (12+), Greenshank, Redshank, Goldfinch, Starling and Hooded Crow.

 

Marshes south of VAN
[38 29' 55.8'' N  043 19' 14.0'' E] 1655m 25C
Not a particularly attractive area and much of the habitat looks disturbed and degraded. We located two singing Paddyfield Warblers in 4-5 feet high old phragmites patches approximately 20 x 10 metres, adjacent to a patch which had just been harvested! There was a lot of smelly mud around (which was attracting the birds though), a couple of people with guns and others swimming in the lake. Species counted: Ruff (9), Redshank (100+ inc many juvs), Avocet (40+), Black-tailed Godwit (80+), White-winged Black Tern (120+), Slender-billed Gull (300+, Armenian Gull (100+), Oystercatcher (4), Black-headed Wagtail (20+), Black-headed Gull (200+), Common Sandpiper (40+), Kentish Plover (30+), Little Ringed Plover (25+), Greenshank (1), Wood Sandpiper (3), Green Sandpiper (1), Lapwing (4), Hoopoe (2), Great Reed Warbler (leucistic individual), Ruddy Shelduck (14), Black Tern (20+), Citrine Wagtail (female + juv), Red-crested Pochard (2), Greater Flamingo (4), Bearded Tit (2), Lesser Kestrel (1), Sand Martin (17), Pochard (3), Coot (7), Barn Swallow (8) and Swift.

 

VAN HILLS
This is a well known area for Grey-necked Buntings, around 8km from Van on the zalp road. We stopped just past a quarry on the right after the reservoir/tip. We found no Grey-necked Buntings in two and a half hours of searching but did get seriously pestered by some kids looking for dollars... though they lived in a large house/estate across the main road! Species noted: Rock Sparrow (18), Linnet (12 inc b/3), Hoopoe (2), Long-legged Buzzard, Kestrel, Eastern Rock Nuthatch (2), Finsch's Wheatear (1), Northern Wheatear (4), Black-headed Bunting (ad + juv), and Crested Lark (10+).

 

VAN
Stayed at Hotel Bayran for 60 YTL.

 

   

Day 12
Wednesday 9 July 2008
Van > Karahan > Deltasi, Van Gl > Serometas > Caldiran > Dogubayazit > Ishak Pasa Sarayi


 

HIGHLIGHTS
Mongolian Trumpeter Finch, Grey-necked Bunting, Saker, White-headed Duck, Caspian Tern, Armenian Gull, Black-necked Grebe, Greater Flamingo, Caspian Stonechat.

 

Drive from VAN > KARAHAN E-99/D-975
Species noted on the drive: Lesser Grey Shrike (2), Roller, Bee-eater, Hoopoe, Slender-billed Gull, Rook, Jackdaw, House Sparrow and Starling.

 

KARAHAN: southern marsh/inlet of BENDIMAHI DELTASI
[38 55' 54.0'' N  043 39' 20.2'' E] 1654m 19C
Just past a police checkpoint, a superb lagoon with bare mud shoreline along the near side and tall phragmites on the far side (towards the main lake), surrounded by grazing and wheat fields. Excellent site for Black-necked Grebes with no less than 117 counted and well as 43 White-headed Ducks and 62 Red-crested Pochards! Other species observed: Caspian Tern (4), Black-winged Stilt (52), Gull-billed Tern (22), Avocet (121), Great Crested Grebe (4), Ruff (2 in breeding plumage), Common Sandpiper (2), Redshank (27), Lapwing (29), Armenian Gull (4), Marsh Harrier (1) and Black-headed Wagtail (1).

 

RIVER BENDIMAHI, KARAHAN
[38 55' 54.0'' N  043 39' 20.2'' E] 1654m 19C
Not many birds due to bridge construction work and many people and cattle along the riverbanks. Lesser Short-toed Larks near the village. Sedge Warbler singing on the east side of the bridge.

 

RIVER BENDIMAHI: marshes at Karahan village
[38 56' 41.9'' N  043 39' 20.8'' E] 1655m
Many kids here asking for money though were happy enough to look through the 'scope. When we left they chased after the car like crazy pied piper children until their parent's got angry with them and called them back! Another good site with 120 Greater Flamingos in view (probably more obscured by the extensive reedbeds), Caspian Tern (20 inc 2 juvs), Armenian Gull (300+), Ruddy Shelduck (4), White-winged Black Tern (10+), Pochard (several broods), Little Tern (15), Avocet (21), Whiskered Tern (1), Squacco Heron (4), Wood Sandpiper (1), Black-winged Stilt (27), Coot (150+), Redshank (100+), Lapwing (20+), Common Sandpiper (1), Little Grebe (5 inc juvs), Marsh Harrier (2), Black-headed Wagtail (1), Grey Heron (3), Barn Swallow, Goldfinch, Moorhen and Starling.

 

SERPMETAS lava fields
[39 10' 45.1'' N  043 54' 18.8'' E] 2087m
From Caldiran we took a left to Serpmetas and then kept left before taking a right at the obvious fork (after 4 kilometres) in the road. We stopped just where the village of Serpmetas on the other side of the lava fields comes into view, approximately 5.2 to 5.5 kilometres from Caldiran. Walked across lava and before long we located two Mongolian Trumpeter Finches flying and calling overhead. They landed behind us on the road itself and we rushed back the route we had just taken - not easy on this surface. They turned out to be a male and female and showed fairly well. Other species were scarce with just a pair of Black Redstarts, Linnet (2), Tawny Pipit (2) and Sand Martin (2). The edge of the lava field gives way to a stony plateau with grasses. Here we located a further seven Mongolian Trumpeter Finches feeding on seeds along with two Short-toed Larks.

 

 

CALDIRA
Species noted around the village: Black-headed Wagtail, Roller, Armenian Gull, Bee-eater, Jackdaw and Rook.

 

30 kilometres from DOGUBETAZIT
[39 23' 04.4'' N  043 59' 30.8'' E] 2474m
Stopped on the drive after seeing two very large falcons overhead. These turned out to be a pair of Saker Falcons. It was hard to decide what was more impressive; the birds or our first views of Mount Ararat!

 

 

ISHAK PASA SARAYI, DOGUBEYAZIT
[39 31' 08.9'' N  044 08' 22.2'' E] 2037m 23C
Took the trail up into the hills, above the second, higher car park with dry barren hills and peaks to the left and greener, more vegetated slopes to the right. After a bit of searching we found two singing male Grey-necked Buntings on the dark volcanic-like rocks to the left.. However, we also located a male Ortolan Bunting close by drinking at the stream, later dust-bathing and preening. Another was heard singing higher up to the right on the grassy slopes. Also noted: Bimaculated Lark (2 singing males), Alpine Swift (20+), Rock Sparrow (7), Western Rock Nuthatch (6), Caspian Stonechat (armenica) female with b/3, Northern Wheatear (1) and Starling (4). Back down towards the car park a family who had been having a picnic invited us to drink tea.

 

Later we went inside the palace (2 YTL) and found a pair of Crag Martins attending their mud nest with four birds overhead at times. Several Black Redstarts were present around the site. Kestrel on one of the minarets. Alpine and Common Swifts overhead. Rock Sparrows around the 'courtyard' area. Also: Western Rock Nuthatch, House Sparrow and Feral Pigeon noted.

 

We stayed at a hotel (50 YTL) in Dogubeyazit, whose name escapes me but I'm sure the Adams family used to own it. Dinner nearby consisted of kebaps, salad, bread and drinks (19 YTL for two).

 

   

Day 13
Thursday 10 July 2008
Dogubayazit > Ishak Pasa Sarayi > Agri > Erzurum > Sarican > Erzincan


 

HIGHLIGHTS
Golden Eagle, Saker, Chukar, Alpine Swift, Lesser Grey Shrike, Isabelline Wheatear, Semi-collared Flycatcher, Dipper.

 

ISHAK PASA SARAYI, DOGUBEYAZIT
[39 31' 08.9'' N  044 08' 22.2'' E] 2037m
This morning we followed the trail to the left between the palace and the mosque/ruins built into the hillside: Rock Sparrow (50+), Long-legged Buzzard, Crag Martin (4), Alpine Swift (50+) breeding on the near jagged/serrated ridge of peaks, several Western Rock Nuthatches calling, Black Redstart singing, Chukar (4) calling, Goldfinch, Magpie, House Sparrow and Barn Swallow. Higher up a pair of Golden Eagles appeared briefly over the ridge. They later reappeared and gave excellent views at a range of 3-400 metres for around 15 minutes.  A Saker then flew over (probably a female). Excellent views of Alpine Swifts passing at close range. More Western Rock Nuthatches. Black Redstart (f + 2 juvs).

 

 

DOGUBEYAZIT > AGRI
Species noted on the drive along the E80: Marsh Harrier, Hoopoe (2), Rooks common in the almost treeless landscape, Isabelline Wheatear (2), Hooded Crow, Starling, Tawny Pipit, Bee-eater (2), Black-headed Wagtail, Little Owl, Feral Pigeon, Roller (6), Lesser Grey Shrike, Lesser Kestrel (2), House Sparrow, Magpie and Barn Swallow and Common Kestrel.

We stopped, yet again, to fill up with petrol on the outskirts of Agri, and enquired about a possible car wash as we had forgotten what colour it was, or if indeed it was volcanic ash grey. While someone tackled it with a power hose we observed Hoopoe and Roller in an adjacent field. Then we learnt that the car wash was free - he wouldn't even accept a tip!

 

AGRI > ERZURUM
Species noted on the drive along the E80: Rook (1000+) on the western side of Agri, Stonechat sp., Roller (5), Long-legged Buzzard, Lesser Grey Shrike, Kestrel sp., Crag Martin, Barn Swallow, Cattle Egret, Northern Wheatear, House Sparrow, Starling, Hooded Crow, Magpie, Jackdaw and Swift.

 

GORGE near SARICAN, 47km W of HORASAN
[39 47' 44.0'' N  042 29' 55.8'' E] 1970m
This extensive gorge was not unlike the Scottish Highlands. Along the riverbanks were hogweed and willows overlooked by steep slopes with short vegetation. Higher up were bare crags and rocky peaks but some small gullies and ravines held sycamores and a few other deciduous trees. A juvenile Semi-collared Flycatcher was located in one of the sheltered gullies. A juvenile Dipper and two Common Sandpipers on the river. Other species noted: Crag Martin (15), Western Rock Nuthatch (1), Long-legged Buzzard (1), Northern Wheatear (1), Raven (2), Black-headed Bunting (2-3 singing males), Blackbird, Alpine Swift (1), Caspian Stonechat (f), Goldfinch (2), Magpie and Chukars calling - one flew high overhead across the gorge.

 

 

ERZURUM > ERZICAN
Species noted on the drive along the E80: Bee-eater (4), Ruddy Shelduck, Little Grebe, Common Tern, Roller (2), Black Kite (2 over Askale), Starling, Rook, Grey Heron, Swift, Common Kestrel, Jackdaw, Turtle Dove, Sand Martin, Barn Swallow, Magpie and Wood Pigeon.

 

 

   

Day 14
Friday 11 July 2008
Erzincan > Tdrge Gl > Sivas > Sorgun > Ankara


 

HIGHLIGHTS
Booted Eagle, Moustached Warbler, Ruddy Shelduck, Black Kite, Isabelline Wheatear, Long-legged Buzzard.

 

ERZURUM > SIVAS
Species noted on the drive along the E80/E88: Booted Eagle (1), Lesser Grey Shrike (2), Bee-eater, Long-legged Buzzard, Black Kite (3), White Stork (5), Western Rock Nuthatch, Hoopoe, Corn Bunting, Barn Swallow, White Wagtail, Crag Martin, Starling, Hooded Crow, Feral Pigeon, House Sparrow and Black Redstart.

 

SIVAS > SORGUN
Species noted on the drive along the E88: Black Kite (1), Isabelline Wheatear, Long-legged Buzzard (2), Booted Eagle (1), White Stork (3 + flock of 50 spiralling about 6km E of Sorgun), Corn Bunting, Linnet, Collared Dove,

 

TDRGE GL near HAFIK, E of SIVAS
[39 52' 07.5'' N  037 36' 11.6'' E] 1293m 30C
A large lake, reed-fringed in parts and surrounded by dry, stoney hills. On the track in there is another smaller pool off to the right. Seven rubirostris Greylag Geese were present though few other waterfowl were found. Several broods of Great Crested Grebes. Purple Heron (3) around the large reedbed on the western side of the lake At least 24 Black-headed Wagtails were counted. Caspian Reed and Great Reed Warblers singing. Four Moustached Warblers found including one carrying a faecal sac and food for young at the smaller pool. Also noted: Marsh Harrier, Ruff, Wood Sandpiper (3), Grey Heron, Corn Bunting (4) and a Black-headed Gull.

 

SORGUN > ANKARA
Species noted on the drive along the E88: Roller, Calandra Lark, Barn Swallow, Starling, Crested Lark, House Sparrow, Magpie, Sand Martin and Feral Pigeon.

 

Stayed at the Hotel Gran Sila, 10 km north of Ankara (70 YTL inc breakfast. Tried to get as far as Kizilcahaman but a horrendous road accident at Kazan had blocked the road and it was getting quite dark). The dreaded turkish tummy hit tonight!... and we thought we had been lucky.

 

   

Day 15
Saturday 12 July 2008
Ankara > Soguksu Milli Parki, Kizilcahamam > Ankara


 

HIGHLIGHTS
Grey-headed Woodpecker, Eastern Bonelli's Warbler, Krper's Nuthatch, Redstart, Egyptian Vulture, Short-toed Treecreeper, Crossbill, Eurasian Nuthatch, Crag Martin.

 

HOTEL GRAN SILA
Feeling ok but weak this morning and well enough to eat breakfast in the garden of the hotel. Species noted: Greenfinch, Magpie, Starling, Goldfinch, House Sparrow and Swift.

 

 

SOGUKSO MILLI PARK (NATIONAL PARK)
[40 27' 21.8'' N  032 37' 20.4'' E] 1145m
We explored the pine covered slopes around the buildings with 'Altin Memba Suyu' sign and the 'Ata' restaurant sign.

Good selection of woodland species including new additions to the trip list: Krper's Nuthatch (4), Jay (6), Bonelli's Warbler (2 singing mm), Eurasian Treecreeper, Eurasian Nuthatch, Robin (juv and another singing), samamisicus Redstart (pr + juv), Coal Tit (4 singing), Grey-headed Woodpecker calling, Wren singing, Song Thrush (3), Serins singing, Great Spotted Woodpecker calling, Blue Tit, Raven calling, Great Tit (broods), Greenfinch (2), Long-tailed Tit (flock of 15), Black Kite (1), Chaffinch singing, White Wagtail, Wood Pigeon singing, House Sparrow, Collared Dove (2), and several Red Squirrels.

 

Walked up a wide unpaved track after the restaurant but didn't get too far since I was still feeling weak after the food poisoning. Lots of activity along this stretch of forest: Bonelli's Warbler at the stream, Redstart (2 males), White Wagtail, Crossbill (2) overhead later located feeding in pines, Serin (5), Jay (8, one with stolen egg), Coal Tit (12), Krper's Nuthatch (10), Raven (4 o/h), Chaffinches singing and females feeding juvs, Goldcrest singing, Bonelli's Warbler (3 singing mm), Short-toed Treecreeper singing, Great Spotted Woodpecker (1), Long-tailed Tit (2), Eurasian Nuthatch (3), Greenfinch (m) and a Red Fox.

 

KIZILCAHAMAN: river on the SW side of the town
[40 27' 37.5'' N  032 39' 09.7'' E] 951m
At least 10 active White Stork nest were found in the area along with around 30 adults in the river. Some were even perched on lamp posts on the edge of the town. Many Spanish Sparrows nesting in the bases of the Stork nests. Over the hills to the west: Egyptian Vulture (1), Raven (7) and White Stork (2).

 

 

   

Day 16
Sunday 13 July 2008
Return flight from Ankara Esenboga to London Heathrow
Partly cloudy, max 10C


 

Drive to ESENBOGA AIRPORT, ANKARA
The drive to the airport produced one last Hoopoe along with Starling, Crested Lark, Swift, Magpie and Collared Dove.

 

 

 

SPECIES LIST - SOUTH & EAST TURKEY 28 June - 13 July 2008


Greylag Goose

Anser answer rubirostris

Ruddy Shelduck

Tadorna ferruginea

Common Shelduck

Tadorna tadorna

Red-crested Pochard

Netta rufina

Common Pochard

Aythya farina

Ferruginous Duck

Aythya ferruginea

Eurasian Teal

Anas crecca

Mallard

Anas platyrhynchos

Gadwall

Anas strepera

Garganey

Anas querquedula

Northern Shoveler

Anas clypeata

Marbled Duck

Marmaronetta angustirostris

White-headed Duck

Oxyura leucocephala

Caspian Snowcock

Tetraogallus caspius

Black Francolin

Francolinus francolinus

See-see Partridge

Ammoperdix griseogularis

Chukar Partridge

Alectoris chukar

Little Grebe

Tachybaptus ruficollis

Great Crested Grebe

Podiceps cristatus

Black-necked Grebe

Podiceps nigricollis

Shag

Phalacrocorax aristotelis desmarestii

Pygmy Cormorant

Microcarbo pygmeus

Little Bittern

Ixobrychus minutes

Black-crowned Night Heron

Nycticorax nycticorax

Squacco Heron

Ardeola ralloides

Cattle Egret

Bubulcus ibis

Little Egret

Egretta garzetta

Great Egret

Egretta alba

Grey Heron

Ardea cinerea

Purple Heron

Ardea purpurea

White Stork

Ciconia ciconia

Black Stork

Ciconia nigra

Northern Bald Ibis

Geronticus eremita

Eurasian Spoonbill

Platalea leucorodia

Greater Flamingo

Phoenicopterus rubber

Golden Eagle

Aquila chrysaetos

Black Kite

Milvus migrans

Egyptian Vulture

Neophron percnopterus

Short-toed Eagle

Circaetus gallicus

Booted Eagle

Hieraetus pennatus

Western Marsh Harrier

Circus aeruginosus

Montagu's Harrier

Circus pygargus

Levant Sparrowhawk

Accipiter brevipes

Long-legged Buzzard

Buteo rufinus

Lesser Kestrel

Falco naumanni

Common Kestrel

Falco tinnunculus

Eurasian Hobby

Falco subbuteo

Saker

Falco cherrug

Peregrine Falcon

Falco peregrinus

Common Moorhen

Gallinula chloropus

Grey-headed Swamphen

Porphyrio poliocephalus caspius

Eurasian Coot

Fulica atra

Eursaian Oystercatcher

Haematopus ostralegus

Black-winged Stilt

Himantopus himantopus

Pied Avocet

Recurvirostra avosetta

Collared Pratincole

Glareola pratincola

Little Ringed Plover

Charadrius dubius coronicus

Ringed Plover

Charadrius hiaticula

Kentish Plover

Charadrius alexandrinus

Spur-winged Plover

Vanellus spinosus

Northern Lapwing

Vanellus vanellus

Sanderling

Calidris alba

Little Stint

Calidris minuta

Curlew Sandpiper

Calidris ferruginea

Dunlin

Calidris alpina

Ruff

Philomachus pugnax

Common Snipe

Gallinago gallinago

Common Sandpiper

Actitis hypoleucos

Green Sandpiper

Tringa ochropus

Common Greenshank

Tringa nebularia

Wood Sandpiper

Tringa glareola

Common Redshank

Tringa tetanus

Slender-billed Gull

Chroicocephalus genei

Black-headed Gull

Chroicocephalus ridibundus

Mediterranean Gull

Larus melanocephalus

Yellow-legged Gull

Larus michahellis

Armenian Gull

Larus armenicus

Gull-billed Tern

Gelochelidon nilotica

Caspian Tern

Sterna caspia

Common Tern

Sterna hirundo

Little Tern

Sterna albifrons

Whiskered Tern

Childonias hybridus

White-winged Black Tern

Chlidonias leucopterus

Black-bellied Sandgrouse

Pterocles orientalis

Feral Pigeon

Columba livia

Common Wood Pigeon

Columba palumbus

Eurasian Collared Dove

Streptopelia decaocto

European Turtle Dove

Streptopelia turtur

Laughing Dove

Streptopelia senegalensis phoenicophila

Common Cuckoo

Cuculus canorus

Eurasian Scops Owl

Otus scops cycladum

Pale Scops Owl

Otus brucei obsoletus

Little Owl

Athene noctua indigena/lilith

Long-eared Owl

Asio otus

European Nightjar

Caprimulgus europaeus meridonalis

Common Swift

Apus apus

Pallid Swift

Apus pallidus

Alpine Swift

Apus melba

Little Swift

Apus affinis galilejensis

White-throated Kingfisher

Halcyon smyrnensis syriaca

Pied Kingfisher

Ceryle rudis

European Bee-eater

Merops apiaster

Blue-cheeked Bee-eater

Merops superciliosus

European Roller

Coracias garrulous

Eurasian Hoopoe

Upupa epops garrulous

Grey-headed Woodpecker

Picus canus

Great Spotted Woodpecler

Dendrocopos major

Syrian Woodpecker

Dendrocopos syriacus

Bimaculated Lark

Melanocorypha bimaculata rufescens

Greater Short-toed Lark

Calandrella brachydactyla artemisiana

Asian/Lesser Short-toed Lark

Calandrella cheleensis niethammeri/rufescens aharonii

Crested Lark

Galerida cristata

Wood Lark

Lullula arborea pallida

Horned Lark

Eremophila alpestris penicillata

Sand Martin

Riparia riparia

Eurasian Crag Martin

Ptyonoprogne rupestris

Barn Swallow

Hirundo rustica

Red-rumped Swallow

Hirundo daurica rufula

House Martin

Delichon urbicum

Tawny Pipit

Anthus campestris campestris

Water Pipit

Anthus spinoletta coutelli

Black-headed Wagtail

Motacilla feldegg

Citrine Wagtail

Motacilla citreola werae

White Wagtail

Motacilla alba

Eurasian Wren

Troglodytes troglodytes

White-throated Dipper

Cinclus cinclus

White-spectacled Bulbul

Pycnonotus xanthopygos

Radde's Accentor

Prunella ocularis

Alpine Accentor

Prunella collaris subalpina

European Robin

Erithacus rubecula

Common Nightingale

Luscinia megarhynchos

Rufous Bush Robin

Cercotrichas galactotes syriacus

White-throated Robin

Irania gutturalis

Common Redstart

Phonenicurus phoenicurus samamisicus

Black Redstart

Phoenicurus ochruros ochruros

Isabelline Wheatear

Oenanthe isabellina

Northern Wheatear

Oenanthe oenanthe libanotica

Eastern Black-eared Wheatear

Oenanthe melanoleuca

Finsch's Wheatear

Oenanthe finschii finschii

Red-tailed Wheatear

Oenanthe xanthoprymna

Caspian Stonechat

Saxicola maura armenica

Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush

Monticola saxatilis saxatilis

Blue Rock Thrush

Monticola solitarius solitarius

Song Thrush

Turdus philomelos

Mistle Thrush

Turdus viscivorus

Ring Ouzel

Turdus torquatus amicorum

Common Blackbird

Turdus merula syriacus

Cetti's Warbler

Cettia cetti

Moustached Warbler

Acrocephalus melanopogon

Sedge Warbler

Acrocephalus schoenobaenus

Paddyfield Warbler

Acrocephalus agricola

Caspian Reed Warbler

Acrocephalus scirpaceus fuscus

Great Reed Warbler

Acrocephalus arundinaceus arundinaceus

Upcher's Warbler

Hippolais languida

Olive-tree Warbler

Hippolais olivetorum

Eastern Olivaceous Warbler

Acrocephalus pallidus tamariceti

Lesser Whitethroat

Sylvia curruca

Eastern Orphean Warbler

Sylvia crassirostris

Common Whitethroat

Sylvia communis icterops

Mntries's Warbler

Sylvia mystacea rubescens

Rppell's Warbler

Sylvia rueppelli

Graceful Warbler

Prinia gracilis akyildizi

Eastern Bonellis Warbler

Phylloscopus orientalis

Goldcrest

Regulus regulus

Semi-collared Flycatcher

Ficedula semitorquata

Spotted Flycatcher

Muscicapa striata

Bearded Tit

Panurus biarmicus russicus

Long-tailed Tit

Aegithalos caudatus tephronotus

Sombre Tit

Parus lugubris anatoliae

Coal Tit

Periparus ater

Blue Tit

Cyanistes caeruleus

Great Tit

Parus major

Krper's Nuthatch

Sitta krueperi

Eurasian Nuthatch

Sitta europaea levantina

Eastern Rock Nuthatch

Sitta tephronota dresseri

Western Rock Nuthatch

Sitta neumayer

Wallcreeper

Tichodroma muraria

Eurasian Treecreeper

Certhis familiaris

Short-toed Treeceeper

Certhia brachydactyla

Red-backed Shrike

Lanius collurio

Lesser Grey Shrike

Lanius minor

Woodchat Shrike

Lanius senator

Masked Shrike

Lanius nubicus

Iraq Babbler

Turdoides altirostris

Eurasian Jay

Garrulus glandarius anatoliae

Common Magpie

Pica pica pica

Alpine Chough 

Pyrrhocorax graculus digitatus

Red-billed Chough

Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax docilis

Western Jackdaw

Corvus monedula soemmerringii

Rook

Corvus frugilegus frugilegus

Hooded Crow

Corvus cornix pallescens

Common Raven

Corvus corax laurencei

Common Starling

Sturnus vulgaris

Rose-coloured Starling

Sturnus roseus

Golden Oriole

Oriolus oriolus

House Sparrow

Passer domesticus

Dead Sea Sparrow

Passer moabiticus mesopotanicus

Eurasian Tree Sparrow

Passer montanus

Pale Rock Sparrow

Carpospiza brachydactyla

Yellow-throated Sparrow

Petronia xanthocollis transfuga

Rock Sparrow

Petronia petronia

Common Chaffinch

Fringilla coelebs

White-winged Snow Finch

Montifringilla nivalis leucura

Red-fronted Serin

Serinus pusillus

European Greenfinch

Chloris chloris

European Goldfinch

Carduelis carduelis niediecki

Common Linnet

Carduelis cannabina bella

Crimson-winged Finch

Rhodopechys sanguinea sanguinea

Desert Finch

Rhodospiza obsoleta

Common Crossbill

Loxia curvirostra

Trumpeter Finch

Bucanetes githagineus

Mongolian Trumpeter Finch

Bucanetes mongolicus

Cinereous Bunting

Emberiza cineracea semenowi

Ortolan Bunting

Emberiza hortulana

Grey-necked Bunting

Emberiza buchanani

Cretzschmar's Bunting

Emberiza caesia

Reed Bunting

Emberiza schoeniclus pyrrhuloides

Black-headed Bunting

Emberiza melanocephala

Corn Bunting

Emberiza calandra calandra

 

  

 

 All photographs 2008  F. S. Simpson

Fraser's Birding Website  fssbirding.org.uk

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