turk12

Birdwatching Trip in Turkey

Report for August 1998

Introduction This is a report of the birdwatching trip done in august-98. We are four birdwatchers from Barcelona. We decided to go to Turkey because we like Mediterranean countries and because of the great number of interesting species that can be found. To plan the route and know the places where some particular species could be seen, two Birdwatchers guides were used:

Green, I., and Moorhouse, N., A Birdwatchers Guide to Turkey, Prion Ltd, Perry, 1995.
Welch, H., Rose, L., Moore, D., Oddie, B., and Sigg, H., Where to watch birds in Turkey, Greece and Cyprus, Hamlyn, London, 1996.

In our opinion both of them are very good and useful and we recommend both of them.

We decided the route in Barcelona, but we had to modify the last part of it because we did not have time, as we spent more time than we expected driving. We rent a car, Tofas Karpal (turkish version of Fiat). The car worked really well and took us everywhere we wanted. We slept in a tent, that allowed us to wake up some days in really good locations for birdwatching.

In the lists of species seen at each place, worth-mentioning species to us are marked with a * symbol.

Abstract

Here follows a brief summary of the report.

August 6: day in Istanbul, in the evening we drove to Kulu lake, a lake 108 Km south of Ankara.

August 7: most of the day bridwatching in Kulu lake, in the afternoon we drove to Acigol, stopping where birds were seen.
Most interesting species: Spoonbill, White-headed Duck, Ruddy Shelduck, Long-legged Buzzard, Common Crane, Greater Sand Plover, Spur-winged Lapwing, Marsh Sandpiper, Slender-billed Gull, White-winged Black Tern, Black-bellied Sandgrouse, Isabelline Wheatear, Rose-coloured Starling, Black-headed Bunting.

August 8: the route we followed: Acigol-Nevsehir-Kardak-Kabac-Uchisar-Urgub-Kayseri-Pinarbasi-Gaziantep-Birecik. All day birdwatching in the Cappadocia, going to tourist places. At night we drove the section Gaziantep-Birecik.
Most interesting species: Long-legged Buzzard, Roller, Syrian Woodpecker, White-throated Robin, Orphean Warbler, Western Rock Nuthatch, Spanish Sparrow, Olive-tree Warbler, Black-headed Bunting.

August 9: all day birdwatching in Birecik, watching birds in a Wadi close to town during the morning, birdwatching in the Euphrates river at midday, in the afternoon birwatching again in the wadi, and at night we went to the tea garden where Striated Scops Owl could be found.
Most interesting species: Chukar, White-winged Black Tern, Pied Kingfisher, Roller, Syrian Woodpecker, Rufous-tailed Scrub-robin, Isabelline Wheatear, Olivaceous, Olive-tree, Ménétries´s Warbler, Dead Sea Sparrow, Desert Finch, Black-headed Bunting.

August 10: we slept in the Wadi close to Birecik and we drove to Halfeti. We watched birds in the rocky slopes situated before arriving to the town. In the afternoon we went to Yesilce, a village passed Gaziantep, and we stayed birdwatching there until sunset. At night we drove to Demirkazik, a village that lies in the Aladag range of the Taurus Mountains.
Most interesting species: Long-legged Buzzard, Chukar, White-winged Black Tern, Laughing Dove, Little Swift, Syrian Woodpecker, Red-rumped Swallow, Rufous-tailed Scrub-robin, White-throated Robin, Isabelline Wheatear, Olivaceous Warbler, Sombre Tit, Eastern and Western Rock Nuthatch, Yellow-throated Sparrow, Desert Finch, Cinereous Bunting.

August 11: all day birdwatching in Demirkazik. In the morning we went to Arpalik and we walked around, at midday we went down to the town. In the afternoon we went to a gorge close to the town until sunset.
Most interesting species: Chukar, Shore Lark, White-throated Robin, Isabelline and Finsch´s Wheatear, Western Rock Nuthatch.

August 12: we woke up before sunrise and went to find the Caspian Snowcock in Arpalik. During the sunrise we were ascending the mountain and watching lots of birds. At 8 we saw the Caspian Snowcock and we started descending. At midday we drove to Eregli marshes, we stayed there birdwatching and we drove to the Goksu delta at night.
Most interesting species: Caspian Snowcock, Shore Lark, Radde´s and Alpine Accentor, Isabelline Wheatear, Snowfinch, Red-fronted Serin, Pygmy Cormorant, Ruddy Shelduck, Red-crested Pochard, Tufted duck, Lesser Kestrel, White-winged Black Tern, Isabelline Wheatear.

August 13: we slept in Keven-Silifke, and we spent all day birdwatching in the Goksu delta. At night we drove to Akseki.
Most interesting species: Squacco Heron, Spur-winged Lapwing, Temminck´s Stint, Smyrna Kingfisher, Yellow-vented Bulbul, Rufous-tailed Scrub-robin, Isabelline Wheatear, Graceful and Olivaceous Warbler, Masked Shrike, Black-headed Bunting.

August 14: we stayed birdwatching in an old forest close to the town. In the afternoon we went to have lunch in a river, and in the afternoon we went birdwatching around. At night we drove to Pamukkale.
Most interesting species: Middle Spotted Woodpecker, Isabelline Wheatear, Kruper´s Nuthatch, Masked Shrike, Cretzschmar´s Bunting.

August 15: in the morning we stayed in Pamukkale. In the afternoon we went to the Bafa lake Buyuk-Menderes delta, particularly to Karine.
Most interesting species: Short-eared Owl, Roller, Finch´s Wheatear, Cretzschmar´s Bunting.

August 16: during the morning we stayed in the Bafa lake, and in the afternoon we went to Karine. In the evening we drove Istanbul, stopping in the Manyas lake.
Most interesting species: Squacco and Night Heron, Eleonora´s Falcon, Spur-winged Lapwing, Temminck´s Stint, Isabelline Wheatear, Rüppell´s Warbler.

Report

6-8-98

All day in Istanbul, as regular tourist. In the evening we drove to the Kulu lake, situated 108 Km south of Ankara.

7-8-98

We woke up at 9 and started birdwatching at 10, until five o'clock. We went by car around the lake, stopping at different sites of the lake where birds were seen. We took one of the roads that goes from Kulu to the lake and before we arrived to the lake, we saw a pair of Isabelline Wheatear and some Yellow Wagtails (M.f. feldegg) in a pool close to the road. The lake was all surrounded by wheat fields, some burned and some cut, with Mediterranean Gulls flying across them, fact that was really surprising for us. The road completely surrounds the lake, what makes quite easy to observe birds. Due to evaporation, the lake was divided in two parts, a bigger one with waves due to the wind and without vegetation, and a smaller one with reeds and calm water. In the big one, there were some Flamingos, Greylag Geese, Common and Ruddy Shelducks, Spoonbills, some of them in the water and some in small islands, and waders all along the shore, worth mentioning were Marsh Sandpiper and Red-necked Phalarope. In the smaller one there were more ducks and coots, pointing up White-headed Duck, and also waders like Spur-winged Plover and Greater Sand Plover. At the northern side there where also wheat fields with lots of Calandra Larks and Short-toed Larks and we saw a couple of Long-legged Buzzards, one of them being black morph.

We saw 62 species:

Little Grebe, Tachybaptus ruficollis, +10
Black-necked Grebe, Podiceps nigricollis, +10
Grey Heron, Ardea cinerea, +30
White Stork, Ciconia ciconia, 3
Spoonbill, Platalea leucorodia, 9 *
Greater Flamingo, Phoenicopterus ruber, 2-300
Greylag Goose, Anser anser, +20
Ruddy Shelduck, Tadorna ferruginea, +175 *
Common Shelduck, Tadorna tadorna, +40
Garganey, Anas querquedula, +100
Common Pochard, Aythya ferina, +50
White-headed Duck, Oxyura leucocephala, 3 *
Marsh Harrier, Circus aeruginosus, 2
Long-legged Buzzard, Buteo rufinus, 3, one black morph. *
Kestrel, Falco tinnunculus, 3
Common Coot, Fulica atra, +100
Common Crane, Grus grus, 4
Oystercatcher, Haematopus ostralegus, 3
Black-winged Stilt, Himantopus himantopus, +80
Avocet, Recurvirostra avosetta, +40
Stone-curlew, Burhinus oedicnemus, 1
Collared Pratincole, Glareola pratincola, 1
Little Ringed Plover, Charadrius dubius, +25
Kentish Plover, Charadrius alexandrinus, +20
Greater Sand Plover, Charadrius leschenaultii, 1 *
Golden Plover, Pluvialis apricaria, +40
Spur-winged Lapwing, Hoplopterus spinosus, 4 *
Lapwing, Vanellus vanellus, +40
Little Stint, Calidris minuta, +100
Curlew Sandpiper, Calidris ferruginea, 2
Dunlin, Calidris alpina, +7
Black-tailed Godwit, Limosa limosa, 5
Curlew, Numenius arquata, 1
Ruff, Philomachus pugnax, +20
Common Redshank, Tringa totanus, +40
Marsh Sandpiper, Tringa stagnatilis, 2 *
Green Sandpiper, Tringa ochropus, +25
Wood Sandpiper, Tringa glareola, +40
Common Sandpiper, Actitis hypoleucos, +7
Red-necked Phalarope, Phalaropus lobatus, 1 *
Mediterranean Gull, Larus melanocephalus, +125
Slender-billed Gull, Larus genei, +100 *
Gull-billed Tern, Gelochelidon nilotica, +15
Little Tern, Sterna albifrons, 1
White-winged Black Tern, Chlidonias leucopterus, +20 *
Black-bellied Sandgrouse, Pterocles orientalis, 2 *
Rock Dove, Columba livia, +30
Collared Dove, Streptopelia decaocto, +20
Little Owl, Athene noctua, 2
Hoopoe, Upupa epops, 2
Calandra Lark, Melanocorypha calandra, +100
Short-toed Lark, Calandrella brachydactyla, +150
Crested Lark, Galerida cristata, 2
Sky Lark, Alauda arvensis, +5
Sand Martin, Riparia riparia, +30
Barn Swallow, Hirundo rustica, +20
Tawny Pipit, Anthus campestris, +20
Yellow Wagtail, Motacilla flava, +30, some "feldegg" *
Isabelline Wheatear, Oenanthe isabellina, +20 *
Jackdaw, Corvus monedula, +20
Starling, Sturnus vulgaris, +200
House Sparrow, Passer domesticus, +300
Goldfinch, Carduelis carduelis, +10

After we had lunch, we went to Acigol, stopping where we saw birds. During the trip, we twitched Black-headed Bunting (a female).

We saw these species during the trip:

White Stork, Ciconia ciconia, +30
Greater Flamingo, Phoenicopterus ruber, lots of them at Tuz Golu
Marsh Harrier, Circus aeruginosus, 2
Long-legged Buzzard, Buteo rufinus, 1 *
Kestrel, Falco tinnunculus, 4
Little Owl, Athene noctua, 1
Sky Lark, Alauda arvensis, lots
Lesser Grey Shrike, Lanius minor, 1 *
Magpie, Pica pica, +10
Jackdaw, Corvus monedula, +10
Starling, Sturnus vulgaris, +20
House Sparrow, Passer domesticus, lots
Black-headed Bunting, Emberiza melanocephala, 1 *
Rose-coloured Starling, Sturnus roseus, +30 *

8-8-98

We woke up at Acigol and drove to Goreme (Cappadocia). The route we followed was: Acigol - Nevsehir - Kardak - Kabac - Uchisar - Urgub - Kayseri -Pinarbasi - Gaziantep - Birecik. Passed Acigol, at the right side of the road there was a kind of crater with low vegetation where we saw White-throated Robin and Rock Thrush. Entering the village of Kardak, we saw a group of Shore Larks and Rock Nuthatchs in a typical rocky formation of the Cappadocia. In Uchisar, a typical tourist place of the Cappadocia, we found one Syrian Woodpecker, Orphean and Olivaceous Warbler in the olive trees close to the road. Once passed Urgub, we twitched Olive-tree Warbler in a shrub. We left Cappadocia and we drove to Birecik. Between Urgub and Kayseri we saw lots of Rollers perching on the electric lines. We had lunch after Kayseri in a petrol station in the middle of a huge plateau: the road was in the middle of a wide valley with wheat fields and huge mountains very far from the road. We took a walk around the place and we saw adults Black-headed Buntings feeding their youngs, Whinchats and Lapwings and a couple of Marsh Harrier in a small wet area. During the trip we saw lots of Long-legged Buzzards and one Spanish Sparrow. At the sunset we drove to the south crossing the mountains between Pinarbasi and Gaziantep. We stopped next to a small river with grass fields and surrounded by poplars. There we saw species such as the Chaffinch, Red-backed Shrike, Ortolan Bunting and Spotted Flycatcher. At night we drove the section from Gazientep to Birecik.

Species seen during the day:

White Stork, Ciconia ciconia, 1
Marsh Harrier, Circus aeruginosus, 2
Common Buzzard, Buteo buteo, 1
Long-legged Buzzard, Buteo rufinus, +15 *
Kestrel, Falco tinnunculus, +4
Quail, Coturnix coturnix, 2
Lapwing, Vanellus vanellus, +40
Rock Dove, Columba livia, +100
Collared Dove, Streptopelia decaocto, 1
Turtle Dove, Streptopelia turtur, +10
Common Swift, Apus apus, +20
Alpine Swift, Apus melba, 1
Bee-eater, Merops apiaster, +30
Roller, Coracias garrulus, 6 *
Hoopoe, Upupa epops, 1
Syrian Woodpecker, Dendrocopos syriacus, 1 *
Sky Lark, Alauda arvensis, +30
Shore Lark, Eremophila alpestris, 1 *
Short-toed Lark, Calandrella brachydactyla, +15
Crag Martin, Ptyonoprogne rupestris, +5
Barn Swallow, Hirundo rustica, lots
House Martin, Delichon urbica, +30
Yellow Wagtail, Motacilla flava, +30
White-throated Robin, Irania gutturalis, 1 female *
Black Redstart, Phoenicurus ochruros, 2
Whinchat, Saxicola rubetra, 3
Rock Thrush, Monticola saxatilis, 1 female
Blackbird, Turdus merula, 1
Olive-tree Warbler, Hippolais olivetorum, 1 *
Orphean Warbler, Sylvia hortensis, 1 female *
Spotted Flycatcher, Muscicapa striata, +5
Great Tit, Parus major, 1
Western Rock Nuthatch, Sitta neumayer, +10 *
Lesser Grey Shrike, Lanius minor, +70 * in the electric-cable close to the road, lots of young.
Red-backed Shrike, Lanius collurio, 1 young.
Magpie, Pica pica, +6
Raven, Corvus corax, 1
Starling, Sturnus vulgaris, +150
House Sparrow, Passer domesticus, +50
Spanish Sparrow, Passer hispaniolensis, 1 *
Chaffinch, Fringilla coelebs, +15
Rock Sparrow, Petronia petronia, 1
Serin, Serinus serinus, +5
Goldfinch, Carduelis carduelis, 3
Greenfinch, Carduelis chloris, 1
Linnet, Carduelis cannabina, +50
Corn Bunting, Miliaria calandra, 1
Ortolan Bunting, Emberiza hortulana, +1
Black-headed Bunting, Emberiza melanocephala, +7 * male and female feeding young.

9-8-98

We slept in a field close to Birecik, a town on the banks of the Euphrates river close to the Syrian border. In the morning we went to the WWF Bald Ibis breeding station to see this threatened species in captivity. We tried to speak with the keeper about some species but he did not speak english, so we took some pictures and left, gone to the main Wadi, situated on the right side of the road: the Wadi was very dry and the hillsides where full of pistachio orchards. Just on the bridge close to the road that goes to the Wadi we saw Menetries Warbler, Olivaceous Warbler and Rufous-tailed Scrub-robin. We drove the road that follows the Wadi stopping where we saw birds, but there was not too much bird movement. The place was extremely hot and dry and at 11 we had to stop birdwatching because we needed to be in a shadow fresh place, so we decided to go to the opposite side of the Euphrates and have a drink. Then we went to the sandbanks where Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters breeds, but we only found empty nests and we only saw European Bee-eaters. Passing the gravel works, we saw one Pied Kingfisher flying across the river!! And we continued walking following the river until we found orchards with small houses, and we saw one Desert Finch flying across the orchards. We walked to the orchards and we sat down in the shadow of one tree and we saw some Desert Finches and Dead Sea Sparrows!! While we were twitching them, the owner of the orchards came to us with some fresh water, something we really appreciated and shows how friendly agricultural people are in Turkey. After we had seen these three new species, we went to the tea garden where the Striated Scops Owl can be seen, and we talked with one waiter about it, and he explained us that the best time to see it is after the sunset.

In the afternoon, we went again to the Wadi and we saw a group of Chukars flying from the Wadi to the pistachio orchards. In the walls of the Wadi we saw Olive-tree Warbler, Roller and Syrian Wooddpecker. At sunset we took a shower in a really small cascade of just some drops. When we moved away from there, lots of Rock Sparrows went to drink water where the drops were falling from: they were waiting that we had finished. We went to have dinner to the tea garden where Striated Scops Owl breeds and we talked to the waiter: he said to us that the owl every night drinks water in a fountain close to the tables where we were eating. We ate and waited for the owl, but nothing happened, so we decided to go around the garden with flashlights trying to find it, and we found one Otus spp flying across the trees, but with the flashlights light we could not identify it. People there tried all the time to show us where the owl was, but they were not successful at all and they asked for money all the time. We decided to go to sleep where we had the shower.

Species seen during the day:

Kestrel, Falco tinnunculus, 1
Chukar Partridge, Alectoris chukar, 7 *
Little Ringed Plover, Charadrius dubius, 1
Green Sandpiper, Tringa ochropus, 1
Common Sandpiper, Actitis hypoleucos, 1
White-winged Black Tern, Chlidonias leucopterus, +50 *
Rock Dove, Columba livia, +20
Turtle Dove, Streptopelia turtur, +20
Collared Dove, Streptopelia decaocto, +30
Cuckoo, Cuculus canorus, 1
Pied Kingfisher, Ceryle rudis, 1 *
Bee-eater, Merops apiaster, +30
Hoopoe, Upupa epops, 2
Roller, Coracias garrulus, 2 *
Syrian Woodpecker, Dendrocopos syriacus, +10 *
Short-toed Lark, Calandrella brachydactyla, 1
Crested Lark, Galerida cristata, +20
Sky Lark, Alauda arvensis, +15
Grey Wagtail, Motacilla cinerea, 1
Sand Martin, Riparia riparia, +200
Rufous-tailed Scrub-robin, Cercotrichas galactotes, +10 *
Isabelline Wheatear, Oenanthe isabellina, 5 *
Barn Swallow, Hirundo rustica, +200
Black-eared Wheatear, Oenanthe hispanica, +10
Olivaceous Warbler, Hippolais pallida, +10 *
Olive-tree Warbler, Hippolais olivetorum, 1 *
Ménétries´s Warbler, Sylvia mystacea, +20 *
Red-backed Shrike, Lanius collurio, 2
Lesser Grey Shrike, Lanius minor, +5
Woodchat Shrike, Lanius senator, 2
Hooded Crow, Corvus corone cornix, +20
House Sparrow, Passer domesticus, lots
Dead Sea Sparrow, Passer moabiticus, +20 *
Rock Sparrow, Petronia petronia, +50 *
Goldfinch, Carduelis carduelis, +20
Desert Finch, Rhodospiza obsoleta, +15 *
Black-headed Bunting, Emberiza melanocephala, +8 *
Corn Bunting, Miliaria calandra, +10
Little Bittern, Ixobrychus minutus, 2 adult and first year
Moorhen, Gallinula chloropus, 2

10-8-98

We woke up early and we had a shower to refresh. After breakfast we started birdwatching in the wadi, and saw a group of Yellow-throated Sparrows in the tall poplars. We decided to go to Halfeti because the species that we had not seen there, like the Blue-cheeked Bee-eater, Striated Scops Owl or See-see seemed very difficult to be found, and we decided to maximize our time and try some new species in Halfeti. During the trip to Halfeti we saw our first Laughing Dove, a species that we supposed to see quite easily and took time to see. Before we arrived to Halfeti, we started to see the deep gorge created by the Euphrates, and we tried in the rocky slopes: the view was impressive and we saw a pair of Little Swifts flying on the top of the slopes and the Eastern Rock Nuthatch: really huge, flying above the rocks and singing loudly, what made it easy to locate. We were really thirsty, so we decided to go to Halfeti to drink something cold and eat some fruits, and after that, we went to the Euphrates river to have a bath and we had the surprise that the water was extremely cold. Perching in a electric cable that crosses the river we saw a young Red-rumped Swallow in middle of a group of Sand Martins.

Species seen during the morning-midday:

Little Egret, Egretta garzetta, 1 Birecik
Chukar Partridge, Alectoris chukar, 2 *
White-winged Black Tern, Chlidonias leucopterus, +15 *
Rock Dove, Columba livia, +25
Collared Dove, Streptopelia decaocto, +15
Turtle Dove, Streptopelia turtur, +10
Laughing Dove, Streptopelia senegalensis, 3 *
Little Swift, Apus affinis, 2 *
Bee-eater, Merops apiaster, +30
Roller, Coracias garrulus, 2 *
Syrian Woodpecker, Dendrocopos syriacus, 1 *
Crested Lark, Galerida cristata, +20
Sand Martin, Riparia riparia, +50 Euphrates (Halfeti)
Barn Swallow, Hirundo rustica, +20 Euphrates (Halfeti)
Red-rumped Swallow, Hirundo daurica, 1 young Euphrates (Halfeti) *
House Martin, Delichon urbica, +30 Euphrates (Halfeti)
Rufous-tailed Scrub-robin, Cercotrichas galactotes, 2 *
Isabelline Wheatear, Oenanthe isabellina, 5 *
Black-eared Wheatear, Oenanthe hispanica, 1
Blue Rock Thrush, Monticola solitarius, 1
Olivaceous Warbler, Hippolais pallida, 5 *
Common Whitethroat, Sylvia communis, 1 Wadi at Birecik
Eastern Rock Nuthatch, Sitta tephronota, 2 *
Lesser Grey Shrike, Lanius minor, 5 *
Woodchat Shrike, Lanius senator, 1
Yellow-throated Sparrow, Petronia xanthocollis, +10 *
Goldfinch, Carduelis carduelis, +10
Linnet, Carduelis cannabina, +5
Desert Finch, Rhodospiza obsoleta, 5 *

In the afternoon we went to Yesilce, a village on the way back once passed Gaziantep, and we ate a kebab in a restaurant close to the road. While having lunch, we saw a pair of White-throated Robins in the orchards close to the tables. After eating, we went to Durnalik, passed the village and continued by the road that goes to a small valley with a small river. Close to the river there were orchards and scrub in the hills. We searched for the Red-tailed Wheatear but we were not lucky… but we saw some Sombre Tits in the scrub while we heard all the time the Eastern and Western Rock Nuthatch. The orchards were quite fresh and we spent time there searching for warblers, and saw Lesser Whitethroat, Garden Warbler, and one Cinereous Bunting eating wheat in a small field. At night we drove way to Demirkazik, a village that lies in the Aladag range of the Taurus Mountains.

Species seen in the afternoon:

Long-legged Buzzard, Buteo rufinus, 1 *
Collared Dove, Streptopelia decaocto, +10
Tawny Owl, Strix aluco, 1 heard
White-throated Robin, Irania gutturalis, 2 *
Black-eared Wheatear, Oenanthe hispanica, +10
Blue Rock Thrush, Monticola solitarius, 1
Blackbird, Turdus merula, 1
Garden Warbler, Sylvia borin, 1
Lesser Whitethroat, Sylvia curruca, +5 *
Sombre Tit, Parus lugubris, +5 *
Eastern Rock Nuthatch, Sitta tephronota, 1 *
Western Rock Nuthatch, Sitta neumayer, 4 *
House Sparrow, Passer domesticus, lots
Greenfinch, Carduelis chloris, 1
Cinereous Bunting, Emberiza cineracea, 1 *

11-8-98

At Demirkazik we woke up early and we had a problem with the car, and a guide said to us that we would have problems to drive through the road that takes to Arpalik, and he offered to take us with his tractor, so we agreed. We started to gain altitude and to see lots of birds going around, such as Shore Larks, Isabelline and Northern Wheatears, Black Redstarts and Linnets. The scenery was incredible, with huge mountains without a tree. We arrived to a summer camp and the guide left us, and we started birdwatching and walking through the western side of the mountain. It looked like birds had gone away because at that moment there was not as much movement as when we were on the tractor, probably because of the heat. We found the great mystery of the trip: in a slope plenty of rocks, approximately 2500 m high we saw a wheatear that looked completely such as a Red-tailed Wheatear: white supercilium, throat and breast (upper parts) black, nape greyish, mantle dark grey, breast (underparts) and ventral area whitish; but the problems arised with the rump-tail pattern: first it looked for two of us that the rump was light-brownish, and at the base of the rectrices there was one white triangle at each side and the rest of the rectrices were black, so it looked completely as Red-tailed Wheatear, but after whatching it more time, we started to see the rump whitish and the triangle-pattern at the base of the rectrices disappeared. We were for more than one hour watching that bird, that was alone, and at the end we did not decide which species it was.

Besides that Wheatear, we twitched a clearer one: Fihnsch´s Wheatear in a lower altitude. We decided to go down to the town walking and during the trip we saw a group of 50 Red-billed Choughs. We went to eat a delicious trout with the guide, and he explained that at 7 he will take us to the gorge close to the town, where each night the Caspian Snowcocks go down from the mountains to spend the night. We were very excited about that, because we did not expect to see that species in august, so as soon as possible, we started to ascend. After a while, the guide explained us that was not 7 P.m. but 7 A.m. when we would be able to see the birds, because at sunset is very difficult to find them.We were quite annoyed with him because we had explained him that we had planned to go to Eregli at night, he said that he did not understand and that he was sorry. We thought that he had been pulling our leg, but we could do nothing. We decided to stay at Demirkazik until tomorrow morning, and go to Eregli tomorrow at midday. During the walk in the gorge, we saw Alpine Swifts and Crag Martins, we saw very well a group of Chukars and we heard the Caspian Snowcock, so we felt like perhaps tomorrow we could see it.

Species seen during the day:

Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Accipiter nisus, 1 young
Kestrel, Falco tinnunculus, 1
Chukar Partridge, Alectoris chukar, +7 adult and youngs at the gorge *
Caspian Snowcock, Tetraogallus caspius, 1 heard in the gorge *
Rock Dove, Columba livia, +30
Scops Owl, Otus scops, 2 heard at the gorge
Little Owl, Athene noctua, 1 heard at the gorge
Alpine Swift, Apus melba, +50 gorge
Common Kingfisher, Alcedo atthis, 1 at the river where we ate
Hoopoe, Upupa epops, 2
Shore Lark, Eremophila alpestris, +100 *
Crag Martin, Ptyonoprogne rupestris, +100 at the gorge
House Martin, Delichon urbica, +20 at the gorge
Wren, Troglodytes troglodytes, 1 at the gorge
White-throated Robin, Irania gutturalis, 2 *
Black Redstart, Phoenicurus ochruros, +20
Isabelline Wheatear, Oenanthe isabellina, +10 *
Northern Wheatear, Oenanthe oenanthe, +20
Finsch´s Wheatear, Oenanthe finschii, 1 *
Blue Rock Thrush, Monticola solitarius, 2
Lesser Whitethroat, Sylvia curruca, +5 *
Western Rock Nuthatch, Sitta neumayer, +10 *
Red-backed Shrike, Lanius collurio, +5
Magpie, Pica pica, 2
Red-billed Chough, Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax, +50 *
Hooded Crow, Corvus corone cornix, 1
House Sparrow, Passer domesticus, +100
Goldfinch, Carduelis carduelis, +30
Linnet, Carduelis cannabina, +150
Rock Bunting, Emberiza cia, 1

12-8-98

We woke up at 5 A.m., at 6 we started to ascend the mountain with the guide by tractor. Another guide, called Ilhan Karamik,was coming with us, and he knew exactly where to see the Capian Snowcock, so we thought that perhaps that guide knew more about birds. It was quite cold at that time, and when we started ascending it was still dark but starting to dawn. We took the same road as the day before, we arrived to the summer camp and we continued ascending to the mountain until we arrived to a nomadic camp formed by three old women and one girl, with some tents and a lot of goats, approximately 3000 meters high. There was one drinking trough plenty of birds around it. First, we saw some Red-fronted Serins, Linnets, Chaffinchs, and suddenly a group of Snow Finches appeared while one of us saw one young Radde´s Accentor. The excitement was really high because we did not have time to see all the birds that were around us, and the guide that was going to take us to see the Caspian Snowcock said that we had to go because we had to walk for a while and we had to arrive before 8. We started to rise to the mountain. While we started to rise we saw we saw some Alpine Accentors in the crags. We arrived to a place where there was a small gorge, and the guide said to us that the birds come from one side of the gorge and pass to the other, usually singing. We sat down and we started to search in the crags, that had few vegetation and it looked possible to see them if they appeared. Suddenly, we heard them and we saw 4 of them crossing the gorge and stopping on a big rock. We saw them very well with the telescope during 3 or 4 minutes, really amazing!! Then, another individual came from the same side and followed the others, until they flew away. We let the guide watch with the telescope and he was really surprised and happy. If you ever go there and want to see this species, we recommend that you ask for him in the town, because he took us exactly to the place and was very friendly. After, we decided to go down and we realized how much we had walked, because there was a long way back, and was starting to be hot. We arrived to the nomadic camp, and the guide said that we could eat something there, so we had a really good "crepe", yoghurt and tea. We saw again Radde´s Accentor, but no Snow Finch or Red-fronted Serin. We went back to town by the gorge where we were the evening before walking, and we saw Crag Martins, House Martins and Rock Nuthatch. When we arrived to the town where we had the car, we had a problem with one guy that said that he was the "keeper" of the Natural Park and we had to pay some money to him because we had spent two days in the park. Incredible, we did not see anything about a Natural Park in the area, and no guards or Information Centre , but he had his tractor in front of our car, so we could not leave if we did not pay him, so at the end we gave him the money. We left the town thinking that they had robbed us.

Species seen during the morning in Demirkazik:

Kestrel, Falco tinnunculus, 1
Caspian Snowcock, Tetraogallus caspius, 5 *
Shore Lark, Eremophila alpestris, +20 *
Crag Martin, Ptyonoprogne rupestris, +30
House Martin, Delichon urbica, +50
Rock Dove, Columba livia, +20
Wren, Troglodytes troglodytes, 1
Radde´s Accentor, Prunella ocularis, 4 all first year *
Black Redstart, Phoenicurus ochruros, +40
Isabelline Wheatear, Oenanthe isabellina, +5 *
Northern Wheatear, Oenanthe oenanthe, +20
Blue Rock Thrush, Monticola solitarius, 2
Willow Warbler, Phylloscopus trochilus, 2 at the nomadic camp
Western Rock Nuthatch, Sitta neumayer, +15 *
Red-backed Shrike, Lanius collurio, 5
Magpie, Pica pica, 2
Red-billed Chough, Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax, +30 *
Hooded Crow, Corvus corone cornix, +5
House Sparrow, Passer domesticus, +50
Snowfinch, Montifringilla nivalis, +40 *
Chaffinch, Fringilla coelebs, +20
Red-fronted Serin, Serinus pusillus, +20 *
Linnet, Carduelis cannabina, +10
Rock Bunting, Emberiza cia, 2
Alpine Accentor, Prunella collaris, 3-4 *

We decided to go to the Eregli Marshes, a marsh situated close to the road that goes from Ulukisla to Konya. The place was extremely dry and there was not much water left, and was very difficult to find good places to see the marsh because the vegetation was quite high. Before arriving to the marsh we saw few Lesser Krestels and Rollers perching on the cable next to the road. We saw a group of Pygmy Cormorants in a small channel, lots of Garganey, Greylag Goose, Red-crested Pochard, Tufted Duck and other ducks and shorebirds in the marsh. We expected more from that place, but perhaps because there was few water left and also the hour was not the best for birdwatching, we did not see some species that we expected.

Species seen at the Eregli Marshes:

Great Crested Grebe, Podiceps cristatus, 4
Pygmy Cormorant, Phalacrocorax pygmeus, +10 *
Little Egret, Egretta garzetta, +15
White Stork, Ciconia ciconia, +10
Greater Flamingo, Phoenicopterus ruber, +50
Greylag Goose, Anser anser, +30
Ruddy Shelduck, Tadorna ferruginea, 5 *
Common Shelduck, Tadorna tadorna, 4
Mallard, Anas platyrhynchos, +10
Garganey, Anas querquedula, +200
Red-crested Pochard, Netta rufina, +30 *
Common Pochard, Aythya ferina, +20
Tufted Duck, Aythya fuligula, 1 *
Marsh Harrier, Circus aeruginosus, +5
Lesser Kestrel, Falco naumanni, 3 *
Common Coot, Fulica atra, +100
Black-winged Stilt, Himantopus himantopus, +40
Lapwing, Vanellus vanellus, +10
Curlew, Numenius arquata, 2
Ruff, Philomachus pugnax, +20
Common Redshank, Tringa totanus, +20
Greenshank, Tringa nebularia, 1
Green Sandpiper, Tringa ochropus, +5
Black-headed Gull, Larus ridibundus, 5
Yellow-legged Gull, Larus cachinnans, 1
White-winged Black Tern, Chlidonias leucopterus, +10 *
Collared Dove, Streptopelia decaocto, 1
Little Owl, Athene noctua, 1
Common Kingfisher, Alcedo atthis, 1
Bee-eater, Merops apiaster, +20
Roller, Coracias garrulus, +20 *
Hoopoe, Upupa epops, +5
Short-toed Lark, Calandrella brachydactyla, +50
Sky Lark, Alauda arvensis, 2
Sand Martin, Riparia riparia, +10
Barn Swallow, Hirundo rustica, +30
Yellow Wagtail, Motacilla flava, +10
Isabelline Wheatear, Oenanthe isabellina, +30 *
Lesser Grey Shrike, Lanius minor, +30 *
Magpie, Pica pica, +15
Hooded Crow, Corvus corone cornix, +25
House Sparrow, Passer domesticus, +100

13-8-98

The night before we decided to go to Goksu Delta, as we arrived there, we started to feel the salt of the seawater and we felt like we would not be able to sleep there, so we went 30 Km inland and we went to sleep in Keven-Silifke. We slept in a place plenty of fruit orchards. In the morning we saw our first Masked Shrike, one female, and also our first Yellow-vented Bulbul. We went to the Goksu delta and started birdwatching at the west side: we passed the airstrip and tried to arrive to the lake, but the vegetation again made quite difficult to see the lake well. While we were trying to watch birds in the lake, we also searched in the sand dunes with low shrubs and we found some Graceful Warblers!! We continued in this side of the delta and found one place where we had a good view of the lake, and we found one Smyrna Kingfisher: really big and magnificent the blue on back, tail and wings, with the big red-bill!! There we saw a group of Temminck´s Stints and Little Stints. We went to had a swim on the sea, but the water was very warm and the swim was not refreshing at all. In the afternoon we followed birdwatching around the Delta, mainly in fruit tree orchards looking for Yellow-vented Bulbul: we found it but it was getting dark and could not see it well. After filled the tank we drove to Akseki, a long distance trip through the southern coast of Anatolia.

Species seen during the day:

Little Grebe, Tachybaptus ruficollis, 4
Night Heron, Nycticorax nycticorax, 1
Squacco Heron, Ardeola ralloides, +20 *
Little Egret, Egretta garzetta, +10
Grey Heron, Ardea cinerea, 2
Purple Heron, Ardea purpurea, 5
White Stork, Ciconia ciconia, 25
Mallard, Anas platyrhynchos, 2
Garganey, Anas querquedula, +100
Marsh Harrier, Circus aeruginosus, 5
Common Buzzard, Buteo buteo, 1
Kestrel, Falco tinnunculus, 1
Black-winged Stilt, Himantopus himantopus, 5
Stone-curlew, Burhinus oedicnemus, 4 *
Collared Pratincole, Glareola pratincola, +20 adults and youngs *
Little Ringed Plover, Charadrius dubius, 5
Great Ringed Plover, Charadrius hiaticula, 1
Spur-winged Lapwing, Hoplopterus spinosus, 5 *
Little Stint, Calidris minuta, 5
Temminck´s Stint, Calidris temminckii, 3 *
Dunlin, Calidris alpina, 2
Greenshank, Tringa nebularia, 3
Green Sandpiper, Tringa ochropus, +10
Wood Sandpiper, Tringa glareola, 2
Common Sandpiper, Actitis hypoleucos, 3
Yellow-legged Gull, Larus cachinnans, 1
Whiskered Tern, Chlidonias hybridus, 1
Rock Dove, Columba livia, +50
Collared Dove, Streptopelia decaocto, 5
Smyrna Kingfisher, Halcyon smyrnensis, 1 *
Common Kingfisher, Alcedo atthis, +20
Bee-eater, Merops apiaster, +20
Hoopoe, Upupa epops, +5
Short-toed Lark, Calandrella brachydactyla, +20
Crested Lark, Galerida cristata, +40
Sand Martin, Riparia riparia, 1
Barn Swallow, Hirundo rustica, lots,
House Martin, Delichon urbica, +10
Tawny Pipit, Anthus campestris, 1
Yellow Wagtail, Motacilla flava, +20
Yellow-vented Bulbul, Pycnonotus xanthopygos, 2 *
Rufous-tailed Scrub-robin, Cercotrichas galactotes, 2 *
Isabelline Wheatear, Oenanthe isabellina, +20 *
Blackbird, Turdus merula, 2
Fan-tailed Warbler, Cisticola juncidis, 1
Graceful Warbler, Prinia gracilis, +20 *
Great Reed Warbler, Acrocephalus arundinaceus, +5
Olivaceous Warbler, Hippolais pallida, +40 *
Garden Warbler, Sylvia borin, 1
Common Whitethroat, Sylvia communis, 1
Western Rock Nuthatch, Sitta neumayer, 1
Penduline Tit, Remiz pendulinus, 1 *
Lesser Grey Shrike, Lanius minor, +10
Woodchat Shrike, Lanius senator, 2
Masked Shrike, Lanius nubicus, 3 2 female and 1 young *
Raven, Corvus corax, 2
House Sparrow, Passer domesticus, lots,
Goldfinch, Carduelis carduelis, +7
Black-headed Bunting, Emberiza melanocephala, +5 *

14-8-98

Woke up in Akseki. We went to the old forest 8 Km north of the village to search for Woodpeckers. The pines and cedars are really high and old, and it really looks like a good place for Woodpeckers and other forest birds. We walked in the forest, trying to hear any call, but did not hear woodpeckers, but we heard a kind of Nuthatch, and found it: Krüper´s Nuthatch!! We also saw one Goldcrest, Coal and Major Tits. After that, we looked for a place to bath and eat and found a river quite far away from where we were. After lunch we heard a woodpecker flying across the river: Middle Spotted Woodpecker, two of them!! Really excited because of the two new species we had already seen, we decided to just watch birds around the fields because we thought that we would not able to find White-backed Woodpecker, so we spent the afternoon watching birds in good spots that we saw by car. We stopped in one area of fields, with smalls trees on the sides of the fields and a lot of birds around. We found a group of Buntings feeding in the ground and flying to the trees, and we realized that some of them were Cretzschmar´s Bunting and the others Ortolan Buntings. At sunset, hundreds of grasshoppers came out from the shrubs and adult and young Masked Shrike fed on them voraciously. At night we drove to Pamukkale.

Species seen during the day in Akseki:

Northern Goshawk, Accipiter gentilis, 1
Middle Spotted Woodpecker, Dendrocopos medius, 2 *
Crested Lark, Galerida cristata, +20
Isabelline Wheatear, Oenanthe isabellina, 1 *
Black-eared Wheatear, Oenanthe hispanica, +20
Mistle Thrush, Turdus viscivorus, +15
Goldcrest, Regulus regulus, 1
Coal Tit, Parus ater, +10
Great Tit, Parus major, +10
Krüper´s Nuthatch, Sitta krueperi, 3 *
Short-toed Treecreeper, Certhia brachydactyla, 1
Red-backed Shrike, Lanius collurio, +6
Masked Shrike, Lanius nubicus, +10 *
Jay, Garrulus glandarius, 4
Hooded Crow, Corvus corone cornix, 5
House Sparrow, Passer domesticus, +30
Goldfinch, Carduelis carduelis, +5
Ortolan Bunting, Emberiza hortulana, +15 *
Cretzschmar´s Bunting, Emberiza caesia, +10 *

15-8-98

During the morning we visited Pamukkale. During the tourist visit, we saw very well one Finsch´s Wheatear. After lunch, drove to the Bafa Lake - Buyuk Menderes Delta, and went to Karine to see if we found pelicans there. The place was very windy and did not see much species in the sea, but going back to the Bafa lake, we saw very well a group of Cretzschmar´s Bunting on the rocks close to the road. Driving at night, one Short-eared Owl passed close to the car and turned back to the fields. We stopped and we searched with flashlights and carlights, but did not find it.

Species seen during the day:

Kestrel, Falco tinnunculus, 1
Yellow-legged Gull, Larus cachinnans, +5
Collared Dove, Streptopelia decaocto, +20
Short-eared Owl, Asio flammeus, 1 *
Roller, Coracias garrulus, 1 *
Crested Lark, Galerida cristata, +20
Barn Swallow, Hirundo rustica, +40
Finsch´s Wheatear, Oenanthe finschii, 1 seen at Pamukkale *
Lesser Grey Shrike, Lanius minor, +30 *
Hooded Crow, Corvus corone cornix, +10
House Sparrow, Passer domesticus, lots,
Greenfinch, Carduelis chloris, 2-3
Goldfinch, Carduelis carduelis, +20
Linnet, Carduelis cannabina, +10
Cretzschmar´s Bunting, Emberiza caesia, +7 *

16-8-98

We slept in a scrub area south of the Bafa, and when we woke up we searched for Rüppell´s Warbler, as the place was very similar as where we find Sardinian Warbler at home, and after a while, we heard a sylvia-call. We searched for a while, and finally we could see it well and it was a Rüppell´s Warbler, specifically an adult female. It was our last day in Turkey, and it looked like we would be lucky… During the morning we looked birds in the Bafa lake, there was still some water left and the place was really good for birdwatching, as we saw lots of Little Terns, Common Terns different species of shorebirds and a young Eleonora´s Falcon. Again, no pelicans seen, so we decided to try again to Karine, but we were not lucky. We had to start going to Istanbul, and we decided to try to arrive to the Manyas Lake before sunset, but when we arrived there it was almost dark and we only saw there Squacco and Night Herons. During the trip to Manyas Lake we saw some migrating White Storks.

Species seen during the day at Bafa Lake and Karine:

Little Grebe, Tachybaptus ruficollis, 3
Little Egret, Egretta garzetta, +30
White Stork, Ciconia ciconia, 7
Eleonora´s Falcon, Falco eleonorae, 1 young *
Black-winged Stilt, Himantopus himantopus, 3-4
Collared Pratincole, Glareola pratincola, +15 adults feeding youngs
Little Ringed Plover, Charadrius dubius, +20
Kentish Plover, Charadrius alexandrinus, +15
Grey Plover, Pluvialis squatarola, +10
Spur-winged Lapwing, Hoplopterus spinosus, +20 *
Temminck´s Stint, Calidris temminckii, 2 *
Curlew Sandpiper, Calidris ferruginea, +10
Common Redshank, Tringa totanus, +200
Greenshank, Tringa nebularia, +20
Wood Sandpiper, Tringa glareola, +5
Common Sandpiper, Actitis hypoleucos, 1
Mediterranean Gull, Larus melanocephalus, +50
Gull-billed Tern, Gelochelidon nilotica, +10
Common Tern, Sterna hirundo, +30
Little Tern, Sterna albifrons, +50
Collared Dove, Streptopelia decaocto, +10
Bee-eater, Merops apiaster, 2
Calandra Lark, Melanocorypha calandra, +10
Short-toed Lark, Calandrella brachydactyla, +20
Crested Lark, Galerida cristata, +30
Barn Swallow, Hirundo rustica, +50
Tawny Pipit, Anthus campestris, 2
Yellow Wagtail, Motacilla flava, +10
Isabelline Wheatear, Oenanthe isabellina, +15 *
Rüppell´s Warbler, Sylvia rueppelli, 1 ad female *
Magpie, Pica pica, 3
House Sparrow, Passer domesticus, +50
Goldfinch, Carduelis carduelis, +10
Cretzschmar´s Bunting, Emberiza caesia, 1 where we slept
Night Heron, Nycticorax nycticorax, Manyas at sunset *
Squacco Heron, Ardeola ralloides, Manyas at sunset *

Conclusions

In general, most of the species that we expected to see when we were planning the trip were found. Perhaps, some summer species that we expected, such as the Blue-cheeked Bee-eater, had already left as mid august can be quite late for some summer species in very hot places. Some places were really spectacular for birdwatching, as the Kulu lake, Demirkazik, Birecik or the Bafa lake, and one was quite disappointing: the Eregli marshes, probably because there was few water left and the hour we were there was not th best for birdwatching.

For those that will go to Turkey for birdwatching, we would advise them that if they go to Birecik to see the Striated Scops Owl, beware about what people will explain you as it seemed us that they just care about money.

One think that surprised us sadly was the lack of big raptors: we did not see any Aquila spp., this can be due to hunting, as we saw some shepherds with shotguns.

We expected to see both pelicans species, as we went to different places where one or two of them can be seen, like the Kulu, Bafa and Goksu lake and Eregli marshes, but we did not find any pelican at all. Another failed species was the Red-tailed Wheatear. In the Bafa lake we expected to see some Levant Sparrowhawk migrating, but we were not lucky and also we were just one day and a half at the Bosphorous, so it was foreseeable.

Another surprising thing was that we only saw Laughing Dove in one town going from Birecik to Halfeti, and we thought that was a quite common species relatively easy to see.

Due to we wanted to go to quite distant places, we went to sleep almost every night quite late and so we were not able to wake up very early.

Despite those species the we did not see, we saw quite a lot of interesting species and we are very satisfied with the trip.

Arnau Bonan Barfull
Raimon Faus Colomer
David Giralt Jonama
Oriol Soler Ferrer