turk18

Turkey, August 13 - September 7, 2000

Although we live only an hour flight away from Turkey, near Tel-Aviv Israel, this has been our first visit to this great country. In the weeks before the trip we were too busy to make any detailed plans, so we gathered as much information as we could, and took it with us. We knew that we wanted to spend most of the 4 weeks we had in eastern Turkey, but all the rest was decided on a day-to-day basis. As in our previous trips, we have again tried to combine birding with some sightseeing. Of course there were several species which we really made an effort to see, but we were not going to turn the trip into a "Tick-N-Run". We did, however, visit many birding sites, and since we were not in a hurry, we also found some new ones (or aberrations to the old ones). All in all we ended up doing a similar route to what others have done before, with some different side trips and stops.

Some Useful Information

The information bellow is based on our personal experience. We do not claim to be Turkey experts after one month, but we thought this could be helpful, at least to some people. Much more info can be found in the travel guides.

Getting Started

We flew to Antalya simply since the air-ticket was cheaper than to other destinations in Turkey. As it turned out, this was a good choice, since this is an easy place to get started. In the small streets of the old part of the city one can find dozens of small hotels and rent-a-car companies. Booking in advance is not necessary.

People and Safety

Most, if not all, Turkish people we met were extremely pleasant and hospitable. Expect to be invited to tea (by people you hardly know) several times a day. There doesn't seem to be much crime, and the cities we visited all seemed very safe. In some strict Muslim towns women are hardly seen on the streets, and female travelers are constantly stared at.

At the time of our trip, most areas even in the extreme south-east were safe to enter. It seems that after the capture of the Kurdish leader violence disappeared even from the area of Hakkari, which was considered very dangerous only a few months before. We used this opportunity to travel in that area and had no trouble. Road blocks are very common in these parts, and one can expect to be stopped by the army/jandarma every 10km or so. Always carry your passport handy and be ready to have your car searched several times a day.

Money

One US Dollar was equal to 645,000 Turkish Liras (no mistake!). Useful notes start at 100,000 and go up to 10,000,000 TL. We got all our local money from ATMs, and had no problems at all. Only a minimum amount of foreign currency needs to be carried as cash. Before going to remote areas get enough money to last till you get to the next city. In some areas along the coast it seems that the DM is used more than the TL or the USD.

The total cost of this trip came to 800$ per person (not including the air tickets). The main expenses were on the car rental (about 250$ pp), fuel (about 300$ pp) and accommodation.

Travelling by Car

Renting a car in the old city of Antalya is 50% cheaper than at the airport. Most companies offer locally made Fiats (121, 131) or Renault 9 cars, for which they were charging 20-25$ per day (free kms). These are basic cars, which are perfect for Turkey's rough roads, however they do not have air-conditioning (which is really needed when you are driving whole days through the hot plains of central Turkey in August). It is important to check the papers of the car, since they may be older than what you are told. We took a Renault 9 which was quite old and not in top mechanical condition, but still the only problem we had in the 6000km we drove was a flat tire. We managed to drive this car through some very rough dirt roads in the mountains, something that with a normal car would have been impossible.

Fuel is expensive in Turkey (about 1$ per Liter), so it's better to choose a relatively economic car (the Renault has a 1.4L engine, while the Fiat's is 1.6L). In any case this will be a major expense for those who plan on travelling long distances. There are lots of gas stations (too many), so fueling up is usually not a problem.

It's fairly easy to get along on the roads. The road signs are excellent, and turns are easy to find. The driving was not so bad either, although traffic lights are frequently ignored. It seems as if most roads are under constructions, so you will eventually get to unpaved parts, which can be long and dusty.

Accommodation

Accommodation varies a lot in quality and price. You can get an excellent double room in a Gas-Station Motel for as little as 8$, or be asked to pay 20$ or more for a much inferior room. Usually we paid around 15$ for a double with bathroom (breakfast usually included). Towels and soap are always provided. In the small towns in the east, the hotels are usually shabby, and you can relay on the Muezzin at the mosque to wake you up at least twice during the night, with a noise that can cause permanent ear damage.

Camping is not a bad option in many places. There are many opportunities for camping either in organized campgrounds or just out in the nature.

Food

Eastern Turkey is a haven for meat eaters and hell for vegetarians. Meat and bread are the basic ingredients of a typical meal. Rice, beans and yogurt are about all a vegetarian can eat in most restaurants. There are many 'market' shops, which offer a bit more selection. Food is generally cheap, with a meal for two coasting about 5$. Breakfast is included in the price of many hotels (ask).

Conservation

From what we have seen, the situation seemed pretty grim. Hunting seems to be very popular. On one occasion near Van, two people started shooting at ducks from the road. The small lake held some 14 White-headed Ducks at that time, but we didn't see them hitting anything. On another occasion we were invited by a local village man to join him as he was heading to the mountains to try to shoot Caspian Snowcocks. We also saw a bear's skin hanging on the wall of a restaurant near Sumela monastery and many skins of Ibex everywhere. Rubbish tips are another sad matter. Most of the ones we saw were located along what could have been beautiful rivers. The lorries simply throw the rubbish from the road into the river. Mining and construction also seem out of control. Along the Black Sea we saw so much construction works that we practically saw no natural habitats. The Rhododendron scrub around Sivri Kaya, which is the preferred habitat of the Caucasian Black Grouse, is cut down by the local village people and is used to feed the cows. The rate that this scrub is being cut down and grazed does not seem sustainable.

Birding

August is probably not a good month for birding in Turkey. The high altitude species go even higher, the summer visitors are leaving, there is hardly any courtship or singing, and it's hot, very hot! Still, we managed to see over 200 species, including most of the special species we were after. While Snowcocks were surprisingly easier than what we had expected, the Caucasian Black Grouse was very difficult, as were Grey-necked Buntings, See-See Partridge and other species. According to what other people have described, June is probably a much better time to see Turkey's birds.

Our site information was based on:

  1. Finding Birds in Turkey by Dave Gosney. This booklet is essential! Unfortunately we only had the first part (Ankara to Birecik) so getting to sites further in the east involved much guesswork.
  2. Where to Watch Birds in Turkey, Greece and Cyprus by Welch et al. We found this book is too general. It does not provide accurate site information and does not cover most sites in the far east.
  3. Trip Reports from the internet, mainly the one for June 1999 (see trip reports section) This helped to fill in some of the gaps, that we had in our site info.

Turkey is covered by all major European field identification guides. It is highly recommended to take a telescope, since many species are seen at a distance.

The Trip - Day By Day

This part describes our daily route, the sites we visited, and the birds seen in each site. Not all species seen are mentioned. The more common species appear in the list at the end of the report. Codes are used to describe the abundance of some species, while exact numbers are provided for others. The codes are:

A = Abundant
B= Common
C = Fairly Common
D = Uncommon
M = male
F = Female.

13/8/00 - Tel-Aviv to Antalya

We landed at Antalya airport in the afternoon and took a taxi to the old city (15$). The rest of the day was spent finding accommodation and arranging a car for tomorrow.

14/8/00 - Antalya to Akseki

Our car was ready around noon. We drove about 150km to Akseki and from there 7.9km more to the site, described by Gosney. It was easy to find. We birded till it was dark and then made a camp in a little forest clearing. Birds seen in this beautiful forest included: Goldcrest (B), Rock Nuthatch (1), Kruper's Nuthatch (B), Coal Tit (A), Sombre Tit (3), Short-toed Treecreeper (1), Mistle Thrush (6) etc. We did not manage to see White-backed Woodpecker and did not look for Olive-tree Warblers.

15/8/00 - Akseki to Aladag Mountain

In the morning we tried to see the woodpecker, but were again unlucky. We tried also the "new site" described by Gosney, but a new road was being built there, and we could not find the exact place. The rest of the day was spent driving through the hot plains. In the evening we got to the Aladag area ("dag" is pronounced "dau" and means mountain). We settled down at the Safak Pension, just outside Cukurbag village. This nice little pension and campsite was to be our base in the next few days. It is a family business, run by two brothers, Gavit and Hasan. The older brother Ali lives across the street and no longer works there. Both brothers are very knowledgeable about the mountains and the wildlife in this area. It is also possible to sleep in dormitories at the mountain center near Demirkazik village, but this seemed a much inferior option.

16/8/00 - Aladag area (the "New Road")

In the morning we drove to "the gorge" (see Gosney) and walked it for 2 hours or so. We did not see many birds there (Finsch's Wheatear, Blue Rock Thrushes, Rock Nuthatches, Crag Martins and several migrant warblers), but we did see 7 Ibex. Later, we decided to drive around and look for other interesting areas. Three kilometers north, along the road from the mountain center, we got to Pinarbasi Village. Just before this village there was a dirt road to the right which led to several nomad camps and later turned towards the mountains (see map). We drove up this road, and although it was quite steep and rough we managed to get the car up to a "saddle" high above the nomad camps. We estimate that we got to an altitude of about 2500-2800m; the scenery was quite spectacular. We continued with the road another 350m to a place where it splits, and an even steeper road continues to the right. This road is not drive-able by a normal car, only by jeep. 1.1km further on the main dirt road, on the left hand side, we got to a place where several small streams begin and unite shortly after. There were signs of an abandoned camp and a small concrete structure just next to the road. This area was excellent for mountain birds, and although it was already quite late in the morning, many birds were still arriving to drink. Some species seen along the "new road":

Golden Eagle (2-3), Lammergeier (1 adult), Chukar (4 + chicks), Shore Lark (B), Water Pipit (B), Radde's Accentor (2, seen mainly near the water), Rock Thrush, Red-fronted Serin (a few), Snow Finch (1), Rock Sparrow and both species of choughs.

In the afternoon we drove to Emli valley, the area where the walk to the snowcock site begins (see Gosney - "Aladag Mountains part two"). We only walked the first hour of the way to the end of the forest, and then returned. Birds seen included:

Nightjar (1), Coal Tit, Goldcrest and Rock Buntings.

Dinner at the pension was excellent, a good finish for a fairly successful day.

17/8/00 - Aladag area (a new Snowcock site)

After a lazy morning we drove again up the "new road" to the drinking site. Our plan was to camp there during the night, and early in the following morning to climb up the mountain as far as we could. For some unexplained reason I had a good feeling about the mountains above this area. From below it looked like good habitat for snowcocks, and so we decided to give it a try. After setting the tent at about 1800, we decided to do some preliminary climbing. There were several small trails going up, but they all disappeared later. The slope was not very steep and so we kept going up for a total of 45 min. or so, till we reached the area just beneath the steep rocky part, in between 2 peaks. About 300m above us there was still a bit of snow, and it seemed as if the jeep road described yesterday was going straight to the area between the two peaks. At 1900 our effort was rewarded by 6 Caspian Snowcocks, which flew high above us. We also saw many more birds of the species described yesterday, including a large flock of Snow Finches.

18/8/00 - Aladag area (a new Snowcock site - cont.)

We woke up at 0300 and were on the way by 0320. The moon was big and bright, so finding the way was not a problem. An hour later we got a bit beyond the spot where we saw the snowcocks yesterday. It was still dark, and the first snowcock calls were only heard at 0525. In the next 2 hours or so there was a lot of activity, but we only managed to see a single snowcock perched (and later flying) at about 0615. Again the bird was quite far, and a telescope would have been of much help. At about 0800 we started the descent, and later we birded some more around the drinking spot (Radde's Accentors (4), Red-fronted Serins (B), Rock Sparrow (B), Shore Lark (B), Ortolan Bunting (10), Wheatear (A) etc.). We then returned to the pension for a good rest.

19/8/00 - Aladag area (the Chromium mine, Looking at Snowcocks from above!)

After returning to the pension yesterday, we spoke to the Safak brothers about the new site we found, and they were very interested in seeing it themselves. We decided to try and get there by jeep (a Lada "Niva", owned by the brothers), and so at 0400 we were already on the road. We drove the same way as yesterday, but we took the steep "jeep road" and followed it to its end. As it turns out, this road leads to an abandoned Chromium mine, one of several in this area. The mine is in between the two peaks we saw yesterday, at an estimated altitude of 3500m. The road leading to the mine is not bad, although occasionally fallen rocks need to be pushed aside. Only the last bit of the road, inside the mine, is blocked.

The first snowcock was seen at 0540 as we arrived. It flew away from about 20m below the road. In the next 3 hours we saw a total of about 20 snowcocks, most of them in small family groups of 5 or 6 birds. Some of the young were still noticeably smaller than the adults. We got good looks of the birds even though we did not have a telescope (most birds were seen below us!!!). The best spot was on the road, where the mine starts. Most birds were seen across the valley on the rocky slopes of the other side, as this is the last area to get direct sunlight. At about 0700 the snowcocks seemed to be moving into this area, perhaps looking for shade. In the mine we also saw Alpine Accentor (3), Snow Finches (B) and a species of Weasel (Mustela sp.). Two Nightjars were seen on the road, early in the morning on the way up.

It seems that we have found what is possibly the most accessible site for Caspian Snowcock in Turkey. A site which is good even in August, when snowcocks are relatively difficult to see. Getting to this site by jeep can be arranged with the Safak brothers.

After the successful birding at the mine, we returned to the pension and said goodbye to the Safak family, which we felt almost a part of by now. We then drove to Cappadocia for some sightseeing. On the way we visited the underground city of Derinkuyu, and stopped at Uchisar, where the extraordinary landscape of this famous area begins. Walking through the apricot orchards next to the strange monasteries, many migrant passerine birds were seen with Garden Warblers being the most abundant species. We later drove to Goreme, where there seemed to be more tourists than locals, and more hotels than houses.

20/8/00 - Cappadocia

The day was spent sightseeing, but there were also birds to be seen in the orchards around the tourist attractions. Some of the species seen: Long-legged Buzzard, Alpine Swift, Syrian Woodpecker, Crag Martin, Woodchat, Red-backed and Lesser Grey Shrikes, Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Garden Warbler (A), Orphean Warbler (1), Stonechat, Blue Rock Thrush (4), Nightingale (2), Rock Nuthatch, Rock Sparrow (B), Tree Sparrow (1), Golden Oriole (3) etc.

21/8/00 - the Sultan Marshes

We left Goreme at about 0530, but we couldn't find the road we ere looking for, so we got to the Sultan Marshes only at about 0800. The water level was very low, and all the boats were beached. The lake was surrounded by tall vegetation and so not much could be seen. We drove also to the pump house area (see Gosney), which was a bit better, but still quite disappointing. Some of the birds seen:

Little Grebe (8), Pygmy Cormorant (12), Purple and Squacco Herons, Little Bittern, Red-crested Pochard (5), Buzzard and Long-legged Buzzard, Egyptian Vulture, Marsh and Montagu's Harriers, Quail (2), Coot (many juveniles), Little Tern (15), White-winged Black and Whiskered Terns (10, 2) Curlew (3), Black-tailed Godwit (1), Spotted Redshank (1), Isabelline Wheatear (A), Crested and Short-toed Larks etc.

Latter this day, we drove until some 90km before Sivas I felt very sick, and we had to stop at a gas-station motel. Luckily the place was nice and clean (and cheap - only 8$ for a double). The cause of this sickness was no doubt something I ate at Goreme or on the way. We had to stay in this motel 2 nights, until I felt strong enough to continue.

23/8/00 - to Sumela Monastery

In the morning I was still quite weak, but we decided to continue as much as we could. Little did we know that this was to be one of our longest days on the road (more than 500km). We passed Sivas and then Hafik, when we suddenly saw a little lake, just to the left of the road (We didn't know it at that time, but this site is called Todurge Gulu and is mentioned by Welch et. al.) There is a road that goes from the southeastern corner of the lake to a nightclub and later to a complex belonging to a university. It is possible to drive a bit further along the east shore but this track comes to an end pretty soon after. There is also a smaller marsh to the east of the main lake. We spent about 2 hours there and saw lots of birds:

Great Crested and Little Grebe (15, 1), White and Black Storks (1, 5), Red-crested Pochard (B), Short-toed Eagle (1), Common Crane (2), Yellow-legged and Black-headed Gulls, Sandwich Tern (1), White-winged Black Tern (50), Isabelline Wheatear (B), Pied Wheatear (1M), Ortolan Bunting (5) etc. We did not see Red-necked Grebes, which are supposed to bread in this lake earlier in the season.

The rest of the day was spent driving. The first part of the way was through the endless plains (lots of Long-legged Buzzards), but then we decided to leave the main road just before Erzican and to turn to Kelkit and Gumushan. There were 2 or 3 passes above 2000m on this way, and the scenery was nice. We were looking for a place to camp, but did not find one. At Gumushan we joined the main road to Trabazon. This road runs through what could have been a beautiful gully, with a river running along it. Unfortunately there was so much construction work going on along this road that all thoughts about camping were soon forgotten. The weather was rainy and foggy. We carried on till Macka, where we turned right towards Sumela. That night we slept in an organized campsite (next to a restaurant), just a few km from Sumela. The walls of the restaurant were decorated by a bear skin and several Ibex skins...

24/8/00 - Sumela to Sivri Kaya

In the morning we drove to the monastery. It is possible to drive through a narrow road to a small parking from which a 5 min (flat) walk takes you to the monastery. Alternatively one can park at the tourist center below and climb a foot path through the forest for about 20-30 min to the same place. The site only opens at 0900, so there is plenty of time for birding before the groups arrive. The Green Warblers were heard all around the monastery (B). I got some good views of them mainly near the small parking place. There was a lot of variation between individual birds, but non were as bright green as in the field guide. Other birds in that area included:

Crag Martin (B), Goldcrest (B), Dipper (1), Wren (1), Song Thrush (4), Robin (B), Siskin (6), Jay (4), Raven (2) etc.

The visit in the monastery was a disappointment. 90% of the place was under construction, and the work was very noisy. Next we drove to Trabzon, where we turned right along the Black Sea coast till Of (a town). This area was again under much construction work, and there was not even one meter of natural beach. Our next turn was supposed to be just a bit further but we missed it since the sign post was missing. At Iyidere we made a U-turn and drove 3km till we saw the sign to Ispir and Kalkahdere. This road was much more quiet and peaceful, with tea plantations and forest on both sides. There are several towns and villages along this road, of which Sivri Kaya is the last one before the mountain pass (2640m). Just a bit after Camlik village and 5km before Sivri Kaya there is a large building on the left hand side. This strange place turned out to be a 3 star hotel (Hotel Genesis), which reminded us a lot of places we have seen in China. The place was run down, overpriced and held a staff 3 times bigger than what was needed. Unfortunately, this was the only accommodation available in this area, and with so much rain, camping was hardly an option. We were charged 11.5$ per person after a hard bargain. In the evening we drove to the "road site" for Caucasian Black Grouse (see Gosney), but did not see it. Instead we saw migrating Lesser Kestrels (up to 41 birds in one group), which were flying back and forth, probably looking for a place to roost. One of the birds had something that looked much like the antenna of a radio transmitter sticking behind his tail feathers (we use such a device on Lesser Kestrels in Israel, but I do not know if anyone uses them in this part of the world).

25/8/00 - Sivri Kaya

At 0530 we tried the "Road Site" once again, but saw no Black Grouses. We did see several Lesser Kestrels, Alpine Accentor (2) and a Rock Thrush. We then drove to the pass, where we left the car and walked a bit to the south. It was a very nice area (although people have left much rubbish on the ground), but we did not see many birds: Water Pipits (A), Shore and Short-toed Larks (4, 15), Wheatear (A). Later we went to the area of the Sivri Kaya cemetery and tried to figure out where the Black Grouse site was. We did not have a map, but from the written description of Kristensen, we thought we identified the path as well as the "wide" dirt road. As it turns out, this road starts south to the cemetery (which is located south to the village, along the main road). This dirt road, although quite narrow (for a car) and slippery, was drive-able with care. It crossed on its way the Rhododendron scrub, which is home to the Caucasian Black Grouse (at 3.5 - 4.0km, see map). Driving along the road, we met Mustafa, who introduced himself as a birding guide, and said over and over again: "Tomorrow, 0500, see Blackcock, prrrrrr (=flying), ok".

After descending, we drove a few km down the main road (north) and crossed the river on a concrete bridge. On the other side there was a track, which continued up the mountain through thick forest. We walked this track for an hour or so, but 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers and a Bullfinch were our only reward. In the afternoon it rained again and we did not do any serious birding.

26/8/00 - Sivri Kaya

We woke up at 0345 and drove to the dirt road we found yesterday. The fog was heavy and it was raining, but still we managed to find the road and drive up to the Rhododendron scrub. We stood there for 2 hours but in vain. We did see:

Cuckoo (2), Rock Thrush (3), Ring Ouzel (4), Common Rosefinch (B), Mountain Chifchaff (1), Dunnock (B), Redstart (1, samamisicus), Whinchat (3) etc.

We later drove further up the dirt road and found that it led to a beautiful summer village, high up in the mountains (about 6km from the main road). Above the village, the rocky landscape looked like perfect snowcock habitat, and indeed it was here that we were invited by a local hunter to join him on his way to shoot them (an offer which we turned down politely). At the village we were also invited to breakfast by two local women. The simple food and the tea were just what we needed after the disappointing morning.

Having (almost) given up on the grouse, we drove up the pass and down the other side to Ispir. The scenery changed almost immediately after the pass, replacing the deep green by a depressing yellow. At Ispir we turned east and drove to Yusufeli. The narrow road followed a river through a peaceful valley. The scenery was very nice, but not as nice as the mountains north to the pass. Yusufeli is known as a center for rafting activities, but in August water levels are too low. The town was just a town, and so we decided to drive back to Sivri Kaya. The people in our hotel were really surprised to see us again. I think we broke the record and were the first persons to spend 3 nights in this place.

27/8/00 - Sivri Kaya to Dodubayazit (a Grouse at last)

Once again we arrived at the Grouse site at dawn. Once again we saw no Grouse for 2 hours or so. The weather today was better, the sky was clear, but the birds were not displaying nor were they calling. The grass in between the Rhododendron scrub was quite tall, so even if the birds were out there, they could not be seen. At 0630 we decided on a desperate act. We started climbing the slippery slope, trying to flush at least one grouse out of its hiding. 15 minutes later a female Caucasian Black Grouse flew off only 30m away from us and was seen for 10 seconds or so before it disappeared again. We continued the search for two more hours but did not see any more CBGs. Still this sighting was better than nothing, and we felt as if we gave it our best try.

Two Montagu's Harriers and some Marsh Warblers were the only new birds to yesterday's list, but as we returned to the dirt road we saw a Wallcreeper on the 3m wall above the road...

Later that day we drove to Ispir and from there to Erzurum, Agri and ended up at Dogubayazit, at the foot of the impressive Mt. Ararat. In the late afternoon we managed a short visit to the Isakpasa Palace, but we decided to go back into town and look for a hotel (it is possible to camp near the palace, but we did not like this campsite). Unfortunately, it turned out that the hotels in this town were old and shabby (and overpriced). Later that night we also found out that the mosques were equipped with formidable loudspeakers, and that the shopkeepers preferred heavy locks. We did not get much sleep that night.

28/8/00 - Dodubayazit to Van

We got to Isakpasa palace at 0615, which was too late. Birding around the palace produced none of the species this site was famous for. Even the few buntings we saw were all Ortolans. Birds seen around the palace included:

Golden Eagle (2), Rock Thrush (3), Isabelline, Black-eared and Northern Wheatears (B), Rock Nuthatch (B), Common Rosefinch (4), Red-fronted Serin (1), Goldfinch (A-B), Linnet (B), Rock Sparrow (B), Snow Finch (1), Chough (2).

Later we drove to a wetland named Saz Gulu, just to the north of Dogubayazit (see Welch et al.), but the area was completely dry, and the local people were busy harvesting what was left of the reeds. We then started driving south to Van. This road goes over a pass of 2600m. There was military activity on the pass, so we drove a few km down the other side, and stopped by what was once a huge lava stream. Birding along the road side produced many Bimaculated Larks (60!). We made 2 more stops along this way, at Selale waterfalls and Bendimahi marsh. The hills above Selale waterfalls looked promising (e.g. for Grey-necked Buntings), but we hardly saw any birds there. The marshes held many waders and other water birds, but nothing too spectacular. Arriving at Van, we were surprised to find a clean modern city (Dogubayazit looks like a set for a western movie). We found a good room at Hotel Bayram.

29/8/00 - Van Area

We started the day at the South Van Marshes. This little place next to the "harbor" looked more like a rubbish tip than a wetland. While we were there, trucks were constantly bringing dirt to dry the marsh, so its days are probably numbered. Still, what was left of the marsh held some interesting birds:

Little Grebe (1), White-headed Duck (1F), Ferruginous Duck (1), Garganey (5), Little/Baillon's Crake (1), Mediterranean Gull (9), Citrine Wagtail (1juv.), Barred Warbler (1) etc.

Later that morning we took the Van - Ozalp road towards Ercek Golu. Shortly after leaving Van the road passes a large reservoir and a rubbish tip on the right hand side (lots of Armenian Gulls). A few kilometers further the road passes through stony hills with a small quarry just to the right of the road. There is a dirt road to the right just 50m before the quarry. This road continues a few kilometers till it meets the railway. This area has been mentioned by Welch et al. as a good site for Grey-necked Bunting. Fifty meters to the right from where the dirt road meets the railway, there is some running water which attracts many birds (mainly Rock Sparrows). Birding around these hills did not produce much:

Crested Lark (B), Black-eared Wheater (B), Rock Thrush (5), Rock Sparrow (A) and Ortolan Bunting (10).

Continuing on the Ozalp road, the Ercek Lake appears on the left hand side. A bit further there was a small lake, just to the right side of the road. This small place was excellent for birding! Birds seen here included:

Little Grebe, Garganey, White-headed Duck (14), Water Rail (2), Spotted Crake (2), Baillon's Crake (1), Coot (B), Moorhen (B), Citrine Wagtail (1), Great Reed Warbler (1), Marsh Warbler (B), Paddyfield Warbler (3), Moustached Warbler (3), Sedge Warbler (10), Penduline Tit (2), Corn Bunting (3), Reed Bunting (4), Ortolan Bunting (1), Common Rosefinch (6), Starling (A) and Rose-coloured Starling (1).

Getting to the eastern and northern shores of the Ercek lake required driving some dusty dirt roads, but was well worth it. The number of birds seen on the water and along the shores was truly impressive. It seemed as if the whole world population of Black-necked Grebe was concentrated in this lake. Thousands of wader and ducks were seen along the shore. Species included:

Black-necked Grebe (many thousands), Greater Flamingo (200), Ruddy Shelduck (tens), Garganey (B), Shoveler (thousands), Pochard (8), Tufted Duck (10), Ferruginous Duck (4), White-headed Duck (10), Stilt (B), Avocet (70), Little Ringed Plover (B-C), Lapwing (B), White-tailed Plover (1), Dunlin (B), Little Stint (B), Temminck's Stint (2), Red-necked Phalarope (15), Redshank (B), Marsh Sandpiper (1), Green Sandpiper (2), Wood Sandpiper (A-B), Ruff (A), Black-tailed Godwit (4), Black-headed Gull (B), Yellow-legged and Armenian Gull (A), White-winged Black Tern (hundreds), Lesser Short-toed Lark (B), Citrine Wagtail (3) etc.

30/8/00 - Van to Hakkari

In the morning we returned to the small lake for another look at the Paddyfield Warblers. On the way back we stopped again at the hills described yesterday. Approching a group of 10 Ortolan Buntings we saw one bird which was different. The back was much grayer, and it lacked the distinct facial markings of the Ortolans. It was a Grey-necked Bunting. The bird flew away before we could get any closer, leaving only the Ortolans for better inspection.

Later that morning we made a decision to try and get to Hakkari, some 200km to the south. At that time we did not know if that was going to be possible, as this was formerly considered a dangerous area (because of clashes between the Kurds and the Turkish military forces). We decided to drive to the first roadblock and ask there, which we did and later repeated at the next town. All the soldiers and civilians we asked said the area was now safe and quiet, and so we decided to go along with the plan.

The way was uneventful. We were stopped many times by the military and Jandarma forces but were allowed to continue after showing our passports. On the way we passed an impressive fortress. The key keeper was a bit dubious. He changed the entrance fee a few times, and of course gave us no receipt or tickets. The road then continued up to a pass of 2700m. Like all passes in this area, there was military activity all over the place, and so we skipped birding. The last part of the road was along a fast river with gorges on both sides. We could only guess how this area would have looked 3 months ago, when it was still green and covered by snow, probably very pretty. Hakkari town was just a town. We saw a few traditional Kurdish people on the streets, but there were many more men in uniform. There are only 2 hotels in town, and both are overpriced. The newer and better of the two had a more friendly staff, and so we stayed there. Getting an electrical shock while showering is not a major concern in this town, since running water and electricity rarely coexist.

31/8/00 - Hakkari to Yuksekova and back to Van

In the morning we made some excursions to the mountains around Hakkari. Two friendly policemen invited us to breakfast and allowed us to do whatever we wanted around their post. There weren't too many birds around, but we did see: Levant Sparrowhawk (1F), Lesser Kestrel (1M), Hobby (2), Chukar (20), Rock Thrush (2), Blue Rock Thrush (1) etc.

Later that morning we drove back towards Van and then took the turn to Yuksekova near the border with Iran. To do so we had to undergo a thorough search of the car, rucksacks etc. Further up the road, we were stopped every 10km or so for passport check, and the car was also searched several times. The scenery, however, was much nicer compared to Hakkari. There were two snowy peaks on the way, and the river valleys were green. We passed Yuksekova and continued to about 20km before the border. It was laundry day and several Kurdish families were washing their carpets by the river. They were all very friendly and provided some nice photo-opportunities. On the way back to Van we passed the 2700m pass again. A bit further down the other (northern) side there was a place with running water where all truck drivers stopped to cool their engines. Bellow the road the water stream continued, and there was much rubbish. It turned out to be a good place for birding:

Twite (25, ssp brevirostris), Shore Lark (30), Crimson-winged Finch (4), Snow Finch (3), Wheatear (2), Rock Thrush (1).

Just a bit further down the road there was a small quarry on the right. This birding spot was even better: Twite (20), Linnet (2), Snow Finch (12), Grey-necked Bunting (1, good views at last!).

We arrived back at Van shortly after dark. It had been a long, but rewarding, day.

1/9/00 - Eastern Mt. Nemrut

We drove along the southern shores of Lake Van till Tatvan. After crossing this town there is a junction with Bitlis sign posted to the left. We took this turn and drove a few hundred meters to where a small road begins on the right. At the junction there is a sign to Mt. Nemrut (apparently there is another road to the mountain from Ahlat, but we did not try it). The first part of the road was paved and led to a small village. From there it continued as a good dirt road up to the mountain. Getting to the top, a magnificent view is suddenly revealed. Inside the mountain lays a huge crater which contains a large crescent shaped lake. The road continues down into the crater and soon splits. At the junction there are 2 main roads which lead to different parts of the lake, as well as several smaller tracks. Of the two main dirt roads, the left one goes through a relatively bare area and leads to a viewpoint overlooking the left side of the lake. It was here that we saw the group of Velvet Scoters swimming far in the lake. The other road leads to the extreme right corner of the lake, where there are signs of many campfires and a ruined house. In this area there is much more vegetation, a perfect habitat for White-throated Robins (which we did not see, perhaps because it was too late in the season). We did, however, see a few Ring Ouzels around this site. Birds seen on the mountain:

Velvet Scoter (12), Sparrowhawk (1), Green Sandpiper (2), Hoopoe (2), Shore Lark (B), White Wagtail (B), Tawny Pipit (2), Lesser Grey Shrike (B), Rock Thrush (5), Wheatear (B), Isabelline Wheatear (B), Stonechat (1), Ring Ouzel (5), Mistle Thrush (3), Rock Bunting (2), Red-fronted Serin (3), Linnet (20), Magpie (3).

The area was so peaceful and pretty that we would have gladly camped there. However, because of the unsafe reputation of this place (the abduction of German tourists by the PKK, a few years ago), we decided to go down and sleep at Bitlis. Bitlis turned out to be a crowded town with shabby hotels. There were only men on the streets, and we were constantly stared at. The town has at least 5 different mosques, and they were all competing on who had the better amplifying system. In short, this was to be another sleepless night.

2/9/00 - Bitlis to Sanliurfa

The way was uneventful. We stopped at Diyarbakir to look at the famous black wall. We then continued to Sanliurfa, where we found a nice room at Ipek Palace hotel. In the afternoon we did some sightseeing and found this city both pleasant and interesting. We did not do any significant birding today.

3/9/00 - Birecik and Halfeti

In the morning we drove the 80km to Birecik. We then headed to the Bald Ibis breeding center, where we left the car, and went for a walk in the 'wadi' (see Gosney). This was a pleasant site, and we soon saw lots of Menetries' Warblers. All except one were in 1st winter plumage but were still surprisingly easy to identify. We looked for See-See Partridges but saw none. We later drove up a road to the plateau above the wadi, and tried to see them there, again with no success. Birds seen in the wadi included:

Chukar (4), Pin-tailed Sandgrouse (7), Collared Dove (A), Turtle Dove (B), Crested Lark (A-B), Desert Lark (1), Masked Shrike (2), Woodchat Shrike (1), Lesser Grey Shrike (B), Whitethroat (1), Barred Warbler (1), Menetries' Warblers (20), Willow Warbler (2), Black-eared Wheatear (A-B), Rufous Bushchat (2), Rock Sparrow (B).

After we returned from the wadi, we visited the Bald Ibis breeding center. The warden was very friendly and invited us to tea (and also suggested that we camp inside the station). Our impression was that the project has not been successful so far. Also, the riversides in front of the station were used as a source of gravel, so even if the birds did return, I doubt if this place could have sustained them. We thanked the warden for his hospitality and drove across the river to the motel mentioned by several people (it was much to hot for camping). Unfortunately, it turned out that a group of archeologists has booked all the rooms for the next month. We then tried the 2 hotels in town, but they were shabby. Finally we had to drive 15km to Nizip and stayed at the hotel there.

In the afternoon we drove to Halfeti. This village is located on the shore of an artificial lake (created by a dam on the river near Birecik). In the last 500m or so, the road descends to the village, creating a serpentine. Just to the left of the road, there is a footpath, which crosses a rocky slope with many trees and bushes. This area was good for Eastern Rock Nuthatch and Menetries' Warblers. Actually, we saw both species of Rock Nuthatch on this slope, which was quite surprising, as this was not mentioned in our birding guides. We managed some good views of the nuthatches before returning to our hotel at Nizip. Birds seen in Halfeti:

Kestrel (1), Syrian Woodpecker (1), Menetries' Warblers (6), Redstart (1), Rock Nuthatch (1), Eastern Rock Nuthatch (3).

4/9/00 - Birecik to Tasucu

In the morning we walked the wadi once again. We did not see See-See! Later we made an attempt to find the Striated Scops Owl at the famous cafe, no luck here either. We then started driving west, passing Gaziantep, Adana and Mersin on our way, before reaching Tasucu. This was a long drive, but the roads were fast and so it was not so bad. Having reached the Mediterranean coast, we were once again in the "tourist land". There were more hotels than houses and more tourists than locals. Tasucu is a small harbor town, located next to the Gosku delta. It is a quiet place with not too many tourists around. We slept in a small pension near the beach (one of several in this area); there is also a big hotel near the main road.

5/9/00 - The Gosku Delta

This is truly an impressive wetland, with one big lake and several smaller ones (for more descriptions and a map of the place, see Gosney). We spent several hours birding around the lakes, and although we did not see anything too special, it was very enjoyable. While we were birding, we met a local falconer with a female Sparrowhawk on his hand, and many people who were hunting crabs with an instrument that looked like Neptune's wand. We were not sure about the legal status of these activities in Turkey, but we felt they should be prohibited, especially since this was a protected area.

We then went to the river mouth, where Audouin's Gull is supposed to be regular. We drove the car down a small track and left it by the river about 500m from the sea. We then tried to follow the river, but soon found ourselves in the middle of a bog. Somehow we managed to pass it and continue to the beach, but it was a waste of time and energy (walk at least 300m away from the river, once you reach the beach you can easily walk along it to the river mouth). On the beach we saw only one gull. It was indeed a second year Audouin's Gull, which flew off as soon as we approached. On the way back we kept our distance from the river and so avoided the bog. Some of the birds seen: Spoonbill (90), Glossy Ibis (1), Greater Flamingo (90), Mallard (A), Garganey (B), Shoveler (A), Water Rail (3), Turnstone (4), Grey Plover (10), Spur-winged Plover (5), Sanderling (5), Spotted Redshank (1), Curlew (2), Whimbrel (2), Audouin's Gull (1, 2nd year), Slender-billed Gull (10), Yellow-vented Bulbul (2), Graceful Warbler (B), Penduline Tit (2).

After the visit to the delta, we continued driving along the coast towards Alanya and Antalya. The road was narrow and went up and down many mountains. The scenery was nice, but driving was very slow. The area of Alanya was one big holiday resort stretching on for miles and miles. German was the official language here, and the DM the official currency. About 90km before Antalya we found at last what we were looking for: A quiet area of small pensions to the left of the road, just 50m from the beach. We spent here what was left of this day and the next morning swimming and resting.

6-7/9/00 - Antalya

The last day of this trip was spent shopping and resting. We returned the car only on the 7/9/00, as part of the deal was that the rental company would drive us to the airport (which they did). Our flight was delayed by one hour. We left Turkey with a feeling of almost certainty that we will come back for more.

List of the Birds Seen

List of abbreviations used:

ANTA Antalya     HAKK Hakkari
AKSE Akseki   NEMR Eastern Mt. Nemrut
ALAD Aladag Mt   SIVR Sivri Kaya
BIRE Birecik   SULT Sultan marshes
CAPP Cappadocia   SUME Sumela
DOGU Dogubayazit and Isakpasa palace   TODU Todurge Gulu
GOSK Gosku delta   VAN Van area (including Lake Ercek)
HALF Halfeti    
A Abundant   M Male
B Common   F Female
C Fairly Common    

Species List

1 Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus TODU (15), DOGU-VAN road (5).
2 Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis VAN (A, many thousands at Lake Ercek ).
3 Little Grebe Trachybaptus ruficollis SULT (8), TODU (1), VAN (10).
4 Pygmy Cormorant Phalacrocorax pygmaeus SULT (12), DOGU-VAN road (1).
5 Grey Heron Ardea cinerea TODU (2), VAN (2), VAN-HAKK road (1), GOSK (B).
6 Purple Heron Ardea purpurea SULT (1), TODU (4).
7 Great White Egret Egretta alba GOSK (4).
8 Little Egret Egretta garzetta SULT (2), DOGU-VAN road (5), GOSK (10).
9 Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis GOSK (30).
10 Squacco Heron Ardeola ralloides SULT (B-C).
11 Little Bittern Ixobrychus minutus SULT (1).
12 Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia GOSK (90).
13 Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus GOSK (1).
14 White Stork Ciconia ciconia ANTA-AKSE road (1), Between AKSE and ALAD (2), SULT (1), TODU (1).
15 Black Stork Ciconia nigra Between AKSE and ALAD (2), TODU (5).
16 Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus ruber VAN (200 at lake Ercek), GOSK (90).
17 Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea VAN (50)
18 Mallard Anas platyrhynchos GOSK (A-B).
19 Garganey Anas querquedula VAN (50), GOSK (B).
20 Shoveler Anas clypeata VAN (A), GOSK (B).
21 Red-crested Pochard Netta rufina SULT (6), TODU (30).
22 Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula VAN (10).
23 Pochard Aythya ferina VAN (8).
24 Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca VAN (5).
25 Velvet Scoter Melanitta fusca NEMR (12).
26 White-headed Duck Oxyura leucocephala VAN (24).
27 Black Kite Milvus migrans Between AKSE and ALAD (1), between SIVR and DOGU (1).
28 Short-toed Eagle Circaetus gallicus TODU (1), BITLIS - BIRE road (1).
29 Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus NEMR (1).
30 Levant Sparrowhawk Accipiter brevipes HAKK (1 F).
31 Buzzard Buteo buteo ANTA-AKSE road (1), ALAD (1), SULT (1), between CAPA and SUME (B), SIVR (2), between SIVR and DOGU (C), DOGU (1), HAKK (3).
32 Long-legged Buzzard Buteo rufinus Between AKSE and ALAD (1), CAPA (2), SULT (6), between CAPA and SUME (B), VAN (2).
33 Booted Eagle Hieraaetus pennatus TODU (1).
34 Golden Eagle Aquila chrysaetos ALAD (3 including one juv.), DOGU (2 - Ad. + Juv.)
35 Egyptian Vulture Neophron precnopterus SULT (1), VAN-HAKK road (4).
36 Lammergeier Gypaetus barbatus ALAD (1 Adult).
37 Griffon Vulture Gyps fulvus ALAD (1).
38 Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus Between AKSE and ALAD (1), SULT (8), VAN (3), GOSK (5).
39 Montagu's Harrier Circus pygargus SULT (1), SIVR (2), VAN-HAKK road (1 M), BIRE (1).
40 Hobby Falco subbuteo ALAD (2), HAKK (2).
41 Kestrel Falco tinnunculus Between AKSE and ALAD (2), ALAD (5),CAPA (2), SULT (3), SIVR (2), between SIVR and DOGU (C), VAN (2), HALF (1).
42 Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni SIVR (50), HAKK (1 M), NEMR (2).
43 Caucasian Black Grouse Lyrurus mlokosiewiczi SIVR (1 F).
44 Caspian Snowcock Tetraogallus caspius ALAD (20, at least 3 family groups with 3-4 young in each).
45 Chukar Alectoris chukar ALAD (24 adults + several chicks), HAKK (20), BIRE (4).
46 Quail Coturnix coturnix SULT (2), SIVR (1).
47 Common Crane Grus grus TODU (2).
48 Water Rail Rallus aquaticus VAN (2), GOSK (3).
49 Baillon's Cracke Porzana pusilla VAN (1).
50 Spotted Crake Porzana porzana VAN (2).
51 Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus VAN (B).
52 Coot Fulica atra SULT (A-B all in juv. plumage), TODU (A), DOGU-VAN road (C), VAN (B).
53 Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus SULT (B), DOGU-VAN road (B), VAN (B).
54 Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta VAN (70).
55 Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula GOSK (B).
56 Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius SULT (1), DOGU-VAN road (1), VAN (C).
57 Kentish Plover Charadrius alexandrinus SULT (10 inc. 2 chicks), GOSK (B).
58 Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola GOSK (1).
59 Turnstone Arenaria interpres GOSK (4).
60 Lapwing Vanellus vanellus DOGU-VAN road (6), VAN (B).
61 Spurwing Plover Vanellus spinosus GOSK (5).
62 White-tailed Plover Vanellus leucurus VAN (1 at lake Ercek).
63 Dunlin Calidris alpina DOGU-VAN road (B), VAN (B), GOSK (B).
64 Little Stint Calidris minuta SULT (20), VAN (B), GOSK (B).
65 Temminck's stint Calidris temminckii VAN (2).
66 Sanderling Calidris alba GOSK (5).
67 Red-necked Phalarope Phalaropus lobatus VAN (15).
68 Redshank Tringa totanus SULT (B), DOGU-VAN road (B), VAN (B), GOSK (B).
69 Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus SULT (1), GOSK (1).
70 Greenshank Tringa nebularia SULT (4).
71 Marsh Sandpiper Tringa stagnatilis VAN (1).
72 Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus SULT (10), VAN (2), NEMR (2).
73 Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola SULT (1), DOGU-VAN road (B), VAN (A-B), GOSK (B).
74 Ruff Philomachus pugnax TODU (30), DOGU-VAN road (B), VAN (A).
75 Curlew Numenius arquata SULT (3), GOSK (2).
76 Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus GOSK (2).
77 Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa SULT (1), VAN (4).
78 Snipe Gallinago gallinago SULT (5), DOGU-VAN road (5), VAN (1), GOSK (1).
79 Audouin's Gull Larus audouinii GOSK (1, 2nd year).
80 Slender-billed Gull Larus genei GOSK (10).
81 Mediterranean Gull Larus melanocephalus VAN (9).
82 Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus TODU (5), VAN (B).
83 Yellow-legged Gull Larus cachinnans TODU (10), DOGU-VAN road (B), VAN (A), VAN-HAKK road (3), GOSK (10).
84 Armenian Gull Larus armenicus VAN (B).
85 Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis TODU (1).
86 Little Tern Sterna albifrons SULT (15).
87 White-winged Black Tern Chlidonias leucoptera SULT (10), TODU (50), DOGU-VAN road (1), VAN (A), BIRE (100), GOSK (B).
88 Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybrida SULT (2).
89 Pintailed Sandgrouse Petrocles alchata BIRE (7).
90 Rock Dove Columba livia ALAD (B)
91 Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto Between AKSE and ALAD (B), BIRE (A).
92 Turtle Dove Streptopelia turtur TODU (10), between SIVR and DOGU (6), BIRE (B).
93 Palm Dove Streptopelia senegalensis VAN (2).
94 Cuckoo Cuculus canorus SIVR (2).
95 Little Owl Athene noctua ALAD (2).
96 Nightjar Caprimulgus europaeus ALAD (4).
97 Swift Apus apus ALAD (1), VAN (60), HAKK (2).
98 Alpine Swift Apus melba ALAD (B), CAPA (A-B).
99 Bee-eater Merops apiaster KELKIT-SUME road (8), between SIVR and DOGU (C), DOGU-VAN road (B), VAN (B-C), VAN-HAKK road (B).
100 Roller Coracias garrulus Between CAPA and SUME (12), DOGU-VAN road (C), VAN (2).
101 Ring-necked Parakeet Psittacula krameri ANTA (a few heard).
102 Kingfisher Alcedo atthis SULT (2), TODU (2), VAN (1), GOSK (B).
103 Hoopoe Upupa epops Between AKSE and ALAD (1), ALAD (3), SUME (2), SIVR (1), DOGU-VAN road (1), VAN (1), NEMR (2), BIRE (1).
104 Great Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopus major SIVR (2).
105 Syrian Woodpecker Dendrocopus syriacus ALAD (1), CAPA (5), HALF (1).
106 Wryneck Jynx tornquilla ALAD (1).
107 Shore Lark Eremophila alpestris ALAD (B), SIVR (4), DOGU (C), VAN-HAKK road (30), NEMR (B).
108 Short-toed Lark Calandrella brachydactila SULT (B), SIVR (15), GOSK (10).
109 Lesser Short-toed Lark Calandrella rufescens VAN (B around Ercek lake), VAN (B), HAKK (20).
110 Desert Lark Ammomanes deserti BIRE (1).
111 Bimaculated Lark Melanocorypha bimaculata DOGU-VAN road (60).
112 Crested Lark Galerida cristata SULT (B), VAN (5), BIRE (A-B), GOSK (B).
113 Swallow Hirundo rustica DOGU-VAN road (C), VAN (B).
114 Red-rumped Swallow Hirundo daurica GOSK-ANTA road (2).
115 Crag Martin Hirundo rupestris ALAD (B), CAPA (A-B), SUME (A-B), SIVR (B), DOGU (B).
116 Sand Martin Riparia riparia VAN (1).
117 House Martin Delichon urbica ALAD (A), SIVR (1).
118 Tree Pipit Anthus trivialis SIVR (2), VAN (3).
119 Water Pipit Anthus spinoletta ALAD (A-B), SIVR (A-B).
120 Tawny Pipit Anthus campestris ALAD (6), VAN (1), HAKK (2), BIRE (5).
121 White Wagtail Motacilla alba ALAD (2), SUME (B), SIVR (B), DOGU-VAN road (B), VAN (B-C), NEMR (B).
122 Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea ALAD (1), SIVR (B), DOGU (2).
123 Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava SULT (B), TODU (20), DOGU-VAN road (B), VAN (A-B), NEMR (C), GOSK (B).
124 Citrine Wagtail Motacilla citreola VAN (5).
125 Yellow-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus xanthopygos GOSK (2), GOSK-ANTA road (2).
126 Lesser Grey Shrike Lanius minor Seen almost everywhere (A-B).
127 Masked Shrike Lanius nubicus BIRE (1).
128 Woodchat Shrike Lanius senator CAPA (1), BIRE (1).
129 Red-backed Shrike Lanius collurio AKSE (1), Between AKSE and ALAD (5), ALAD (B-C), CAPA (B-C), between CAPA and SUME (B), SIVR (4), DOGU-VAN road (B), VAN (B), BIRE (1).
130 Dunnock Prunella modularis SIVR (B).
131 Radde's Accentor Prunella ocularis ALAD (5).
132 Alpine Accentor Prunella collaris ALAD (3 at the chromium mine), SIVR (2).
133 Reed Warbler Acrocephalus scirpaceus VAN (B-C), GOSK (B).
134 Marsh Warbler Acrocephalus palustris SIVR (2), VAN (B).
135 Paddyfield Warbler Acrocephalus agricola VAN (3 near Lake Ercek).
136 Great Reed Warbler Acrocephalus arundinaceus SULT (1), VAN (1), GOSK (1).
137 Moustached Warbler Acrocephalus melanopogon VAN (3).
138 Sedge Warbler Acrocephalus schoenobaenus VAN (10).
139 Graceful Warbler Prinia gracilis GOSK (B).
140 Whitethroat Sylvia communis ALAD (2), CAPA (2), SIVR (2), VAN (4), VAN-HAKK road (1), NEMR (2), BIRE (2).
141 Lesser Whitethroat Sylvia curruca ALAD (B), CAPA (5).
142 Garden Warbler Sylvia borin ALAD (1), CAPA (A-B).
143 Barred Warbler Sylvia nisoria VAN (1), BIRE (1).
144 Orphean Warbler Sylvia hortensis CAPA (1).
145 Meneteries' Warbler Sylvia mystacea BIRE (20), HALF (6).
146 Willow Warbler Phylloscopus trochilus ALAD (2), VAN (2), NEMR (2), BIRE (4), GOSK (1).
147 Mountain Chifchaff Phylloscopus sindianus lorenzii SIVR (1).
148 Green Warbler Phylloscopus (trochiloides) nitidus SUME (B).
149 Goldcrest Regulus regulus AKSE (B), ALAD (B-C), SUME (B), SIVR (B).
150 Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata AKSE (1), ALAD (2), CAPA (B), SUME (B), SIVR (B), DOGU-VAN road (5), VAN (B), NEMR (1).
151 Stonechat Saxicola torquata CAPA (2), VAN (2), NEMR (1).
152 Whinechat Saxicola rubetra TODU (2), SIVR (3).
153 Rock Thrush Monticola saxatilis ALAD (5), SIVR (3), DOGU (3), VAN (5), VAN-HAKK road (1), HAKK (2), NEMR (5).
154 Blue Rock Thrush Monticola solitarius ALAD (C), CAPA (4), VAN-HAKK road (2), HAKK (1).
155 Northern Wheatear Oenenthe oenanthe ALAD (A-B), CAPA (2), SIVR (A-B), DOGU (B-C), VAN (B-C), VAN-HAKK road (1), NEMR (5).
156 Isabelline Wheatear Oenenthe isabellina ALAD (2), SULT (A), TODU (B). DOGU (B), VAN (A-B), NEMR (B).
157 Black-eared Wheatear Oenenthe hispanica AKSE (2), DOGU (2), DOGU-VAN road (6), VAN (B), BIRE (A-B).
158 Pied Wheatear Oenenthe pleschanka TODU (1 M).
159 Finsch's Wheatear Oenanthe finschii ALAD (1).
160 Redstart Phoenicurus phoenicurus AKSE (1), ALAD (2), CAPA (1), SIVR (1 ssp. samamisicus), HAKK (1), BIRE (1).
161 Black Redstart Phoenicurus ochruros ALAD (A-B), CAPA (B), SIVR (B), DOGU (B).
162 Robin Erithacus rubecula SUME (B).
163 Nightingale Luscinia megarhynchos CAPA (2).
164 Rufous Bushchat Cercotrichas galactotes BIRE (2).
165 Blackbird Turdus merula CAPA (B-C), SUME (2), SIVR (4).
166 Ring Ouzel Turdus torquatus SIVR (4), NEMR (5).
167 Song Thrush Turdus philomelos SUME (4).
168 Mistle Thrush Turdus viscivorus AKSE (6), NEMR (3).
169 Penduline Tit Remiz pendulinus VAN (2), GOSK (2).
170 Coal Tit Parus ater AKSE (A-B), ALAD (B-C), SIVR (6).
171 Great Tit Parus major ALAD (1), CAPA (B), DOGU-VAN road (1), BIRE (1).
172 Sombre Tit Parus lugubris AKSE (3).
173 Kruper's Nuthatch Sitta kruperi AKSE (B).
174 Rock Nuthatch Sitta neumayer AKSE (1), ALAD (B), CAPA (B), DOGU (B), DOGU-VAN road (2), VAN (C), HALF (1).
175 Eastern Rock Nuthatch Sitta tephronota HALF (3).
176 Wallcreeper Tichodroma muraria SIVR (1).
177 Short-toed Treecreeper Certhia brachydactyla AKSE (1).
178 Wren Troglodytes troglodytes AKSE (2), ALAD (2), SUME (1).
179 Dipper Cinclus cinclus SUME (1).
180 Corn Bunting Milaria calandra VAN (3).
181 Rock Bunting Emberiza cia ALAD (B-C), DOGU (1), NEMR (2).
182 Ortolan Bunting Emberiza hortulana ALAD (10), CAPA (5), TODU (5), SIVR (5), DOGU (10), VAN (12).
183 Cretzchmar's Bunting Emberiza caesia ALAD (2).
184 Grey-necked Bunting Emberiza buchanani VAN (1), VAN-HAKK road (1).
185 Reed Bunting Emberiza schoeniclus VAN (4).
186 Chafinch Fringilla coelebs ALAD (A-B), SUME (A), SIVR (A).
187 Siskin Carduelis spinus SUME (6).
188 Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis ALAD (B), DOGU (B), DOGU-VAN road (5).
189 Greenfinch Carduelis chloris CAPA (1).
190 Bullfinch Pyrrhula pyrrhula SIVR (1 juv.).
191 Crimson-winged Finch Rhodopechys sanguinea VAN-HAKK road (4).
192 Twite Carduelis flavirostris brevirostris VAN-HAKK road (45).
193 Linnet Carduelis cannabina ALAD (B), CAPA (B-C), SULT (B), DOGU (30),VAN-HAKK road (2), NEMR (20).
194 Red-fronted Serin Serinus pusillus ALAD (B-C), DOGU (10), NEMR (30).
195 Common Rosefinch Carpodacus erythrinus SIVR (B), DOGU (4), DOGU-VAN road (3), VAN (6), HAKK (2).
196 Tree Sparrow Passer montanus CAPA (3).
197 House Sparrow Passer domesticus Seen everywhere except on high Mts. (A).
198 Snowfinch Montifringilla nivalis ALAD (60), DOGU (1), VAN-HAKK road (15).
199 Rock Sparrow Petronia petronia ALAD (B-C), CAPA (B), DOGU (B), VAN (A-B), BIRE (B).
200 Starling Sturnus vulgaris Seen in many places (A).
201 Rose-coloured Starling Sturnus roseus VAN (1 juv.).
202 Golden Oriole Oriolus oriolus CAPA (3).
203 Jay Garrulus glandarius AKSE (4), SUME (4), SIVR (C).
204 Magpie Pica pica Between AKSE and ALAD (B), ALAD (B-C), DOGU (2), DOGU-VAN road (B), VAN (B), HAKK (B), NEMR (B-C).
205 Chough Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax ALAD (A-B), SIVR (2).
206 Alpine Chough Pyrrhocorax graculus ALAD (120).
207 Raven Corvus corax SUME (2), SIVR (2).
208 Rook Corvus frugilegus Seen in many places (A-B).
209 Hooded Crow Corvus corone cornix Seen almost everywhere (A-B).
210 Jackdaw Corvus monedula Between CAPA and SUME (B), DOGU-VAN road (B).

List of the Mammals Seen

 

Ibex Capra ibex ALAD (5-7 at the gorge).
Weasel Mustela sp. ALAD (1 at the Chromium mine).
Brown Hare Lepus europaeus ALAD (4).
Souslik Spermophilus citellus ALAD (A-B), SULT (2).
Squirrel Sciurus sp. SIVR (2).
Red Fox Vulpes vulpes CAPA (2).

Ady and Keren Gancz
gancz@agri.huji.ac.il