Finding Birds in Turkey update

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Kulu Golu


May 2008. The water level in site 2 is now very low, and the reeds are dead. White-headed duck no longer breeds here but we did have two Spur-winged Lapwings, and c.190 Greater Flamingo, 18 Slender-billed Gulls and a Squacco Heron. (Steve Preddy and Martyn Hall, trip report on www.travellingbirder.com)


Sultan marshes


June 1996. We couldn't find Ayran (who now bases himself at Barbara Pansiyon) so instead we took a boat trip with Mehsin at Attili Pansiyon. Mehsin charged £9 for a boat trip lasting about 3 hours. He spoke a little English and knew enough about birds to take special trouble to point out a White-headed Duck. There were very few birds on the main lake but over a period of time we saw Red-crested Pochard, Purple Heron, Little Bittern, Night Heron and lots of Pygmy Cormorant. En route to the lake there were several singing Great Reed Warblers, Savi's Warblers and an encouraging number of Moustached Warblers. The sign from the main road has been updated so it now says 'Sultan marshes' instead of 'Reedfields of the Sultan'. There is now an impressive observation tower located between Sultan Marshes and Yay Golu. To get there, drive to the pumping station (signposted Pompa Stasyonu) and keep left on the track labelled 6 on my map. The tower provides a general view over the whole area and is good for watching waterbirds (especially Pygmy Cormorants) flying between different sites. Pygmy Cormorants were particularly numerous in this area but we had no Marbled Ducks. (DG)


June 2003 The lake labelled Dortyol on page 35 was good for Ruddy Shelduck. To get there, drive north along the track up the west side of Kanal II for 3.5 km to view the lake. (Chris Battye trip report on www.surfbirds.com)


11th and 12th April 2010. Slightly disappointing. Many of the tracks were inaccessible after heavy rain and the observation towers provided limited viewing due to the variable water levels (caused by drainage?). From the shore at site 3 we had Lesser Short-toed and Calandra Larks, over 200 Black-headed Wagtails and Garganey, Shovelers, Pochards and Coots. Whiskered Terns, Wood Sandpipers, and Ruff. We took a boat trip and had c30 Marsh Harriers, a White-headed Duck, 2 Citrine Wagtails, over 30 Red-throated Pipits, a Savi's Warbler and 3 Reed Buntings. Around Agcasi Baraki, a small reservoir on the SE side of the marshes were a couple of Ruddy Shelduck, a few Great-crested Grebes and over 200 Teal plus a Cretzchmar's Bunting on the hillside. (Jonathan Hiley et al in trip report on www.surfbirds.com)


3rd June 2012 We arrived at the Sultan Pansiyon at the appointed time of 6am and were met by our guide. We departed immediately in his well used NAVA 4WD. After about 50m we had a Little Owl on a pylon. We drove on to a large damp area with patches of reed, Squacco, Purple and Grey Heron abound. The local var. of the Yellow Wagtail M. flava feldegg was amongst the most striking birds seen, the male is a beauty. Deeper into this area a large flock of Calandra Lark blanketed the drier ground and a Corn Bunting observed us from on top a thistle.   Not long after a Whiskered Tern flew over and a Great Reed Warbler and Reed Warbler were noted on reeds beside a nearby drain. A Great White Egret (GWE) was spotted in a small pond and Isabelline Wheatear were also becoming quite numerous, occurring in small flocks feeding on dry open ground. Not far from the GWE a Black Winged Stilt showed well along with Ruff, a Marsh Harrier and White and Black Storks, a Red-backed Shrike perched on a small bush. We hit a small flock of Lesser Short-toed Larks also feeding on open ground.   The day was warming up and Long-legged Buzzard began to appear everywhere. A Green Sandpiper, Coot, Common Tern and Black-headed Gulls were noted with disdain until an Egyptian Vulture was spotted ahead of us on our track. It reluctantly moved to allow us bye. A Mustached Warbler performed on top of a reed for us as we passed over a Bridge.   We now drove a considerable distance (~20km) to view Greater Flamingo. On the way we passed a Hoopoe nesting in the mud wall of a farmhouse, it was quite tame and very approachable. Further on we had Gull-billed Tern and Spur-winged Lapwing (plover). It was not easy to get near the Flamingo and we had to settle for rather distant views. We were out about 5 hours at this stage and the Guide decided that we should turn for home. On the way we had Collared Pratincole and Roller plus more of those outlined earlier.   A great days birding with 40 species noted including 12 life ticks.  The Guide was excellent and had good English; he knew the birds and importantly where to find them. at 200 for six hours in his transport was not cheap but well worth it in the end. (Jim Bowman)


Eregli and Hotamis


June 1996. The area labelled Akgol on my map was completely dry and birdless. There was water in the rest of the marsh but it wasn't easy to see much of this area. We had Flamingoes, Glossy Ibis, Pygmy Cormorant, Red-crested Pochard, Purple Heron and Great White Egret but no Marbled Duck or pelicans. Where the road bends over a brow just before the village of Ambar we had Rock Sparrows and, surprisingly, Shore Larks. Pat Pennington reports that there were no marshes at Yarma or Sazlipinar in April 1996. (DG)


June 2003 At least 2 pairs of Ruddy Shelduck had 24 young at site 3 (Chris Battye trip report on www.surfbirds.com)


Aladag mountains


June 1996. Hasan took us by tractor to Arpa Cukaru which is at the top of the track shown as site 4 on page 13. Snowfinches were common here and we had several sightings of Red-fronted Serin, Crimson-winged Finch, Radde's Accentor, Shore Lark and Rock Thrush. Some Lincolnshire birders found a Wallcreeper by walking down towards 'Radde's Accentor hollow'. Occasionally we heard Snowcocks but they sounded too far away to be located. On the way back down to the car we had just one Finsch's Wheatear. Hasan also took us (with a donkey carrying our gear) to site 3 on page 15. In places there was snow across the steep mountain path and this proved to be rather dangerous - I certainly wouldn't recommend that you try climbing up here any earlier in the year. Waking at dawn we probably heard about 6 Snowcocks but managed only a couple of very distant views. A larger group with more optics scanning the rocks would surely have done better. Although the Snowcocks were noisy at dawn, there was a second burst of activity at about 08:30 when the birds were noisier and apparently closer. Disappointingly, the water trough at site 4 was a complete waste of time - with so much snow around, the birds had no need for this water supply. (DG)


24th and 25th June 2003. We tried looking for Caspian Snowcock up the Chromium mine track using a hire car. We drove as far as we could then walked for 3.5 hours without success. The following morning we took the very bumpy tractor ride with Hasan Safak (75 euros), setting off at 3.30. Hasan (http://www.cenktarhan.com/safak/) soon located a snowcock right next to the buildings at the chromium mine and for the following two hours we were treated to views of at least six birds singing, atop of the crags, flying and chasing each other up and down the scree slopes. [The track is to the north of Demirkazik; continue past the gorge at site 2, the track begins on the right, by a cemetery just before Pinarbasi (37.8815N, 35.1097E)] (Chris Battye in trip report on www.birdtours.co.uk)


27/28 May 2010. 2 Crimson-winged Finch's and a dozen Red-fronted Serins at site 2. This whole area is a National Park so wardens will accost you to ask for payments for day permits and vehicle charges, all legit. (Steve Lister)


3/4 June 2010. Radde's Accentor and Crimson-winged Finch were at site 4 and Finsch's Wheatear en route. We took the track to the Chromium mine but instead of taking the steep right-hand turning to the mine we continued up a valley on the left where we had the accentor, the finch and Red-fronted Serin and could hear Snowcocks calling ('GDK' trip report on www.birdforum.net)


Gaziantep hills


June 1996. 2 Red-tailed Wheatears at site 6 (Paul Doherty)


May 2009. We found a pair of Red-tailed Wheatear as follows: From Durnalik village, head up hill (avoiding the track down into the valley) towards the quarry. About 250 meters before the quarry works [after the left turn to Isikli] there is a track off to the left which winds up and around the hill. This is driveable for a few kilometres through some amazing habitat to a radio station; however the wheatears were just 100 meters up off the main road in an area of large boulders on your right as you go uphill. [I think this will be around 37.1519N, 37.1760E - DG] (Owen, Conor and Donal Foley - trip report on birdforum.net)


July 2009. There is now a road connecting Durnalik and Isikli which runs parallel to and to the east of the track shown in my map and takes you directly to the best areas for Upcher's Warbler, Pale Rock Sparrow, Desert Finch, Cinereous Bunting and Bimaculated Lark (eg around 37.1535N, 37.1802E). This road exists to service a quarry further up the valley. When the road bends right towards the quarry, there is a track to the left which leads to Isikli. (DG)


17 May 2010. It is possible to bird from the new road at Durnalik but there are lots of lorries and dust. Two small quarries along this road had breeding E Rock Nuthatch (Steve Lister)


Birecik


June 1996. The warden Ibrahim took us to the Eagle Owl nest at site 2 where 3 well-grown chicks were hiding from the sun but we didn't see an adult. We also had poor views of See-see Partridge and Desert Finch here but no Desert Larks. [As far as I know, no-one has seen Desert Larks here since then] The building of a dam (Ataturk Baraji) upstream has upset the normal flow of water down the Euphrates. This may be why Sandgrouse are now so hard to find at site 3. It's easy enough to find Menetries's Warblers and Rufous Bush Chats around the orchards at site 5, just look in any hedgerow or overgrown bank. Dead Sea Sparrows are very common here too; their big twiggy nests and incessant loud songs are unmissable. The Striated Scops Owls at site 8 were found for us on two visits, not by the proprietor but by one of his apprentices En route to site 9. we had wonderful views of Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters in the 'sand quarry'[which I have since been told has gone]. In the eucalyptus trees behind the pit we found the nests of both Dead Sea Sparrow and Yellow-throated Sparrow. (DG)


pre 1999. The cemetery 1km to the north of Halfeti had Great Rock Nuthatch, White-throated Robin, Sombre Tit, Cinereous Bunting and Yellow-throated Sparrows as well as 3 Bonelli's Eagle and Little Swifts distantly around the gorge 200 yards further north. (Stephen Mawby)


May 2009. See-See Partridge in site 2. Took a while to dig them out. Best to watch patches of water where they may drink, and peek around the corners carefully. You probably wont get brilliant views as they tend to flush straight up to the plateau when they spot you. Yellow-throated Sparrows seem to like hiding in the pines around the Ibis center itself. We dipped Iraq Babbler in the gravel pits on the west side of the river, and had little here save for Pygmy Cormorants and passing raptors. (Pariah on www.birdforum.net)


May 2010. Long-eared Owls breeding in the plantation at the bottom of the ibis wadi; 50 ibis and a few See-see Partridge too. Iraq Babblers breeding in reedbeds at site 11. New site had See-see Partridge and Upchers etc: Continue north from Birecik, past the Halfeti turn off until you reach a village by shore of new dam; turn inland and look down into wadi (Steve Lister)


1st -3rd June 2010. See-See in site 2 and also in the wadi to the east of town (to the right of the main road as you leave the town, park in the lay-by). Iraq Babblers with young in the riverside gravel workings south of town, [reached by driving south past site 8 as far as you can then walking south along the river,past the first gravel workings to some newer gravel workings. This is not the site where they were first discovered which was at site 11]. Dead Sea Sparrow in the pistachio orchards We also saw 'Grey-necked' Swamphen with young at site 11. ('GDK' on www.birdforum.net)


Goksu delta


April 1999 Up to 3 White-breasted Kingfishers daily from the gate at Site 8. The walk to site 10 took a lot more than 20 minutes. The gravel track at site 14 was too busy with lorries but there was a quieter track 1km further up the road on the left. (Pat Pennington)


May 2009. The Lades motel is 'A true birders motel, 100 YTL per room. A bit more expensive than usual, but worth it for the wealth of bird information available here'. (Owen, Conor and Donal Foley - trip report on birdforum.net).


25/26 May 2010. Great views of Black Francolin and White-breasted Kingfisher in the grounds of the (now disused) paper mill (site 2). Not much on the lagoon from the tower hide, just a glimpse of Purple (Grey-headed) Swamphen. Plenty of (Caspian) Reed Warblers in the reeds and 7 Caspian Gulls on the water. Nearby Ruppell's Warbler and Kruper's Nuthatch breeding at Demircili cemetery in the hills north of the estuary. Also there: Sombre Tit, Cretschmar's Bunting, Middle Spotted Woodpecker and a flyover Imperial Eagle. Gate to 'runway' often closed so access via Holiday Village instead. There are several hides around the lagoon but already worse for wear. There's a tower at site 12 but half the steps have gone. Good for Moustached warblers between tower and huts. (Steve Lister)


Akseki


27th May 2004 Male White-backed Woodpecker at site 3 (Troels Eske Ortvad et al -trip report at www.netfugl.dk)


May 2008. At site 2, Olive-tree Warbler, lots of Masked Shrikes and Ruppell's Warblers, several Eastern Bonelli's Warblers and two Eastern Orphean Warblers (in scrub by the road). At site 4, no woodpeckers but a family of Kruper's Nuthatch on the edge of the clearing and three Sombre tits by the fire warning sign. (Steve Preddy and Martyn Hall, trip report on www.travellingbirder.com)


2nd May 2009. Site 1 was fantastic, literally dripping with migrants, including dozens of Eastern Bonelli's Warblers singing, Lesser Whitethroats, Blackcaps, Wood Warblers, Willow Warblers, Spotted Flycatchers and Tree Pipits. This site also produced our first Lesser Grey Shrikes, Red Fronted Serin, Western Rock Nuthatch, Eastern Orphean Warblers, and Middle Spotted Woodpecker. We also had close encounters with both Booted and Short toed Eagle here. (Owen, Conor and Donal Foley - trip report on birdforum.net)


to 2011. A good site for Olive-tree Warbler is in the orchards around the south end of Beysehir Golu, about 90 km further north on the road through Akseki (Guy Kirwan on www.birdforum.net)


October 2013 Walled plantation trees now felled.


Nemrut Dagi


A more reliable site for Red-tailed (Kurdish) Wheatear than Durnalik but much more out-of-the-way. The area also boasts many of Turkey's other specialities including Upcher's Warbler, Pale Rock Sparrow  and White-throated Robin. The site is a popular tourist resort due to the spectacular heads-carved-out-of-rocks at the summit. Located just north of Ataturk Dam, about 160 km NE of Gaziantep. Take the road through Adiyaman and the site (37.9804N, 38.7401E) is signposted on a road to the north, after Narince.


1st June 2010 On the lower slopes (before the entrance gate) we had Olive-tree, Upchers, Eastern & Rock Nuthatch, bit higher we started getting Pale Rock Finch (5 or 6 territories past the entrance gate), White Throated Robin, E. Cinereous Bunting (inc one at the summit), Finsch's Wheatear (halfway up) & Kurdish Wheatear (a few pairs in the higher slopes and a male on the summit by the metal building near the heads), along with Snowfinch, Horned Lark as picnic table species at the cafe. ('GDK' on www.birdforum.net)


7th June 2010. Several Red-tailed Wheatears on rocks and wires beside the road and at least 10 Upcher's Warblers by a wood on the lower slopes. Also: Eastern Rock Nuthatch, Cinereous Bunting, Pale Rock Sparrow, White-throated Robin, Shore Lark, Rock Sparrow, Black-eared and Northern Wheatears and Olive-tree Warbler At the summit: Finsch's Wheatear, Crimson-winged Finch and at least 50 Snow Finches (Steve Lister).



 

Finding Birds in Turkey

Ankara to Birecik

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