turk21

Turkey

31 May - 28 June 2002

This was our first trip to Turkey. We had hoped to cover as much of the country as possible, though our main purpose was bird photography rather than trying to see as many species as possible. In total, we saw 225 species, photographed 104 of these and drove 9700 km. All in all, we had a wonderful trip and saw and photographed some exciting birds. We would love to come back one day. Perhaps our timing could have been better, as almost all migrants had gone, but work commitments made it impossible for us to travel earlier. Its was quite warm at midday in central Anatolia and along the south coast, but very pleasant in the eastern part of the country.

We found Turkey a wonderful country for birdwatching and traveling and the people almost without exception very friendly and helpful. Driving was easy and we do not agree with some guide books that state driving is bad in Turkey. The motorways are as good as they come anywhere and had almost no traffic as they are all toll roads. The toll is, however, very minimal, perhaps 1.5 MTR (million Turkish Lira), about 1 US$, for 300-400 km. The country roads are also very good in most places. We had no problem with police or military anywhere. We encountered road checks almost every day, but when the police saw we were tourists, we were waved through.

We used R F Porter, P Schiermacker-Hansen and S Christensen, A field guide to the birds of the Middle East, for identification and distribution of birds in Turkey. For finding the best places we relied on several tour reports found under Google: birdwatching Turkey or from Ornithological Society of the Middle East's (OSME) website: www.osme.org and clicked on Trip Reports. A particularly well-written report was that of Andreas Kristensen, 5-20 June 1999. We also had several guide books: H Welch, L Rose, D Moore, B Oddie and H Sigg, Where to watch birds in Turkey, Greece and Cyprus, I Green and N Moorhouse, A birdwatchers' guide to Turkey, and D Gosney's three booklets: Finding birds in Western Turkey, Eastern Turkey, and Turkey - Ankara to Birecik.

We had difficulties getting maps of the country before leaving. Did manage to get one of western Turkey from www.amazon.co.uk, and got the 7-set maps (1:500,000) in Ankara, a set we later found in a small Danish bookshop at half the price. No maps could be had at petrol stations in Turkey, so it is advisable to bring what is needed.

We had no hotel reservations before setting off, but had no problems finding accommodation. Many hotels were very basic to say the least, but most were adequate. Prices for two people ranged from 10 to 60 MTR (7 to 40 US$). In most places a decent hotel could be had for 20-25 MTR. There were restaurants and coffee shops everywhere, though after a large breakfast we often managed with fruit, bread at the like for several meals. The fruits were wonderful and we probably had more in those four weeks than ever before over a similar time. Along the main highways, the large bus stops were good places to eat.

Following is a day-to-day account of our trip and the birds we saw.

31 May
We arrived at Atatürk Airport in Istanbul in the morning of 31 May and picked up the rental car we had reserved in advance. We simply had reserved the cheapest model available on the Internet (searched under Google: rental cars Istanbul). Much to our pleasant surprise the car was roomy (a Hyundai Accent) and had air conditioning. The total cost including insurance and free mileage was US$1050 for four weeks which we found an excellent value. As the Turkish Lira was about 1.5 million to the US$ the rental agreement came to over 1.5 billion Lira! We had no problems with the car at all.

Set off on the motorway, bypassed most of Istanbul and soon found ourselves in Asia. Took the ferry from Darica across an arm of the Marmara Sea (no birds seen) and headed for Uludag. The mountain top was complete covered in clouds and dense fog. Could not even see the other side of the road! Lower down (in drizzle) we had a few common birds:

Grey Wagtail 1
Nightingale 2
European Robin 2
Blackbird 2
Song Thrush 2
Great Tit 2
Magpie 10
Jackdaw 6
Hooded Crow 4
House Sparrow 100
Chaffinch 5

Due to the poor weather we didn't spend much time here and headed instead for Ulubat Gölü. Evening obs near the village of Gölyazi:

Great Crested Grebe 100
Night Heron 15
Squacco Heron 1
Little Egret 1
Grey Heron 1
White Stork 5
Mallard 1
Coot 2
Yellow-legged Gull 20
Whiskered Tern 30
Collared Dove 2
Common Swift 50
Crested Lark 2
Barn Swallow 80
House Martin 2
Nightingale 20
Great Reed Warbler 6
Olivaceous Warbler 10
Whitethroat 5
Great Tit 2
Common Starling 2
Golden Oriole 2
Magpie 15
Jackdaw 8
Hooded Crow 2
House Sparrow 100
Spanish Sparrow 12
Goldfinch 10
Corn Bunting 1
Black-headed Bunting 4

Continued to Karabacay and found a small hotel (Hotel Toru) in center of town. Called Jose Tavares in Ankara and he kindly offered to take us out on June 4th. This meant some changes to our planned itinerary and we would now have to cover the west coast of Turkey before then.

1 June

Nice clear skies. Had breakfast at small family run place across from the hotel and soon headed for Manyas Gölü and spent the morning there.

Great Crested Grebe 50
Great Cormorant 500
Dalmatian Pelican 20
Night Heron 20
Squacco Heron 20
Little Egret 10
Grey Heron 30
Black Stork 1
White Stork 25
Spoonbill 6
Glossy Ibis 8
Mallard 2
Black-winged Stilt 1
Black-headed Gull 10
Turtle Dove 1
European Roller 1
Skylark 1
Barn Swallow 50
Yellow Wagtail 1
Nightingale 10
Cetti's Warbler 8
Great Reed Warbler 5
Olivaceous Warbler 4
Whitethroat 3
Red-backed Shrike 1
Lesser Grey Shrike 2
Common Starling 2
Golden Oriole 8
Eurasian jay 1
Magpie 20
Jackdaw 10
Hooded Crow 4
House Sparrow 50
Spanish Sparrow 20
Chaffinch 2
Goldfinch 10
Black-headed Bunting 8

Made a long trip south to Menderes Delta arriving late afternoon. Had some problems along the way finding the right motorway south out of Izmir, but eventually got underway. Headed first for Bafa Gölü and had no trouble finding the track from Dalyan roundabout towards the lake (4.2 km to the fisherman's hut). Hardly any birds along the track though we did see 2 Woodchat Shrikes and Hanne spotted a Sombre Tit. At the lake, 80 Mediterranean Gulls, 1 Spur-winged Plover and 2 Common Terns - that was all! Rather windy, but still disappointing. Back-tracked and headed to Akköy and found the track north of town just after the village exit sign. Lots of Crested and Short-toed Larks along the hilly track. Came down onto the flat delta area, but could not go far, the tracks being too rough for a low clearance car. Saw Gosney's elevated track to the left and got back over another hill onto this track. Very few birds, though, except for umpteen Calandra Larks. The sun was setting and we headed back through Akköy (Lesser Kestrels hunting over the village) and found Pansyon Deniz along the coast after about 10 km. World Cup match of the day: Uruguay - Denmark 1-2.

Greater Flamingo 20
Lesser Kestrel 40
Coot 2
Black-winged Stilt 5
Kentish Plover 8
Spur-winged Plover 1
Mediterranean Gull 200
Common Tern 50
Crested Lark 80
Short-toed Lark 5
Calandra Lark 40
Barn Swallow 20
Yellow Wagtail 3
Nightingale 1
Rufous Bush Robin 1
Great Reed Warbler 2
Sombre Tit 1
Woodchat Shrike 2
House Sparrow 40
Corn Bunting 5
Black-headed Bunting 2

2 June

Got up at 5:15 and drove north for 500m and took the graded track inland just across from some fishermen's huts. Stopped at 3-500m and found Rüppell's Warblers. Had good views of 4-5 birds incl. a couple of youngsters, but got no photos. After breakfast at the Pansyon we headed north along Karine Gölü. Stopped at the only place with fishing boats and showed a fisherman (Ahmed) the Dalmatian Pelican in the field guide. He knew exactly what we were after and within 10 min, we were on our way in his old boat. Ahmed was superb and steered his boat slowly towards a sand bar with about 10 pairs of Dalmatian Pelicans. Superb views and excellent photo opportunities. Further out on the sand bar, we had colonies of Common Tern (25 pairs), Little Tern (30 pairs), Caspian Tern (20 pairs) and Grey Heron (12 pairs). The whole trip was about two hours and we gladly paid Ahmed the 30 MTL for a wonderful morning.

Dalmatian Pelican 50
Grey Heron 50
White Stork 2
Spoonbill 5
Lesser Kestrel 2
Oystercatcher 1
Slender-billed Gull 7
Yellow-legged Gull 20
Caspian Tern 50
Common Tern 40
Little Tern 60
Whiskered Tern 3
Collared Dove 10
Common Swift 200
European Bee-eater 3
Skylark 1
Crested Lark 20
Barn Swallow 20
House Martin 2
Rüppell's Warbler 5
Orphean Warbler 2
Jay 1
Greenfinch 2

Headed back north finding the right way through Izmir. I made the mistake of stopping for yellow at a traffic light (unheard of in Turkey) and a car bumped into our rear end. The driver apologized profusely and though his car got some damage, nothing could be seen on ours and we happily continued our journey. Arrived at the south shores of Manyas Gölü at 5:15 pm and stopped to photograph the nesting White Storks at Ergili. A Little Owl was spotted next to one of the stork nests and we managed a shot or two. Few birds were at the bridge over the canal further on so we soon headed for Hotel Toru in Karacabay arriving just as the sun was setting.

Great Cormorant 2
Pygmy Cormorant 3
Night Heron 7
Squacco Heron 8
Little Egret 15
Great Egret 1
White Stork 10
Little Ringed Plover 1
Collared Dove 10
Turtle Dove 1
Little Owl 2
European Bee-eater 1
Crested Lark 4
Red-rumped Swallow 2
Barn Swallow 60
House Martin 10
Yellow Wagtail 2
Nightingale 50
Cetti's Warbler 1
Great Reed Warbler 3
Olivaceous Warbler 1
Magpie 4
Jackdaw 20
Hooded Crow 2
House Sparrow 20
Spanish Sparrow 20
Goldfinch 1
Corn Bunting 2
Black-headed Bunting 3

3 June

Got up at 5:15 and had breakfast at the usual place across the street at 6 am. Then on to Bursa and Uludag. Nice to see it all in sunshine. A bit windy and some clouds came in at the top of the mountain. Lots of big hotels up here - totally lost in the mist a few days ago. All looked closed for the season. Must be a nightmare during the winter ski season! At first, we could not find the track in Gosney leading to the tungsten mine and ended up after 4 km at a view point. Photographed European Serin and Stonechat, both near the hotels, and saw many Bullfinches. Then tried a rough track through a construction site. This turned out to be the track to the mine. Why can't people add distances when they draw a map? The track soon got too rough for our car and we had to turn around. At the construction site we had a Grey Wagtail and a pair of Red-fronted Serins - really cute. Got quite windy and cloudy, so we headed down to the picnic site across from Hotel Kirazliyayla. Took a short walk, but could not find any Krüper's Nuthatch, but had a pair of Great Spotted Woodpeckers feeding young in a nest hole near the road. More Bullfinches and a Red-fronted Serin singing from the top of a tree. Further down the mountain, we bought magnificent apricots and the rain started as soon as we got to Bursa.

Collared Dove 10
Turtle Dove 3
Pallid Swift 8
Great Spotted Woodpecker 3
Woodlark 1
Barn Swallow 20
House Martin 80
Water Pipit 2
White Wagtail 1
Grey Wagtail 1
Wren 4
Dunnock 2
European Robin 5
Stonechat 6
Common Redstart 1
Black Redstart 5
Northern Wheatear 3
Blackbird 10
Song Thrush 2
Mistle Thrush 5
Lesser Whitethroat 1
Chiffchaff 6
Goldcrest 1
Great Tit 6
Eurasian Nuthatch 1
Jay 8
Magpie 6
Jackdaw 10
Raven 1
Hooded Crow 4
House Sparrow 20
Chaffinch 50
European Serin 10
Red-fronted Serin 3
Greenfinch 4
Goldfinch 2
Linnet 8
Scarlet Rosefinch 10
Bullfinch 12

Long drive towards Kizilcahamam in rain most of the time. Got to the motorway at Izmit. Very heavy rains at times and huge hail stones. One time the rain came down so heavily that most traffic just stopped. It was like driving in a lake - never seen anything like it before! By the time we reached Kizilcahamam in the evening, the rain had stopped and we checked into Cam Hotel in the Soguksu National Park. Very nice hotel indeed. Few birds were seen during the drive. The best was a flock of about 200 Rose-coloured Starlings just as we turned off the motorway heading south towards Kizilcahamam.

4 June

Woke up to blue skies, but quite foggy, so we headed south along the main highway towards Ankara for 5 km and turned right towards Celtiksi. Stopped at the bridge after 7.2 km and turned right onto a track immediately after the bridge. Crag Martins were gathering mud at the rainwater pools providing excellent photo opportunities. Also saw Rock Bunting, Hoopoe and a Blue Rock Thrush. Returned to the hotel for breakfast and at 9 am, Edwin Vaassen, Jose Tavares and Deniz arrived as agreed. They led the way north and turned left after 5.0 km at a track signposted "Ozdere 1 km." We parked shortly afterwards and climbed into their 4WD and continued up the track bearing right at two drinking fountains. Eventually reached a plateau about 10 km from the main road. Beautiful forest scenery along the way and many common forest birds seen. Continued on foot to a high view point and saw several Black Vultures, though all quite distant. An hour's cold and windy wait produced no further vultures.

Black Stork 1
White Stork 20
Egyptian Vulture 2
Black Vulture 4
Common Buzzard 2
Short-toed Eagle 1
Common Kestrel 3
Common Cuckoo 3
Hoopoe 1
Woodlark 1
Crag Martin 15
Tree Pipit 1
White Wagtail 2
Grey Wagtail 1
Wren 4
Dunnock 2
Nightingale 8
European Robin 4
Common Redstart 1
Black-eared Wheatear 1
Blue Rock Thrush 1
Blackbird 6
Song Thrush 2
Mistle Thrush 4
Cetti's Warbler 1
Lesser Whitethroat 2
Whitethroat 4
Chiffchaff 6
Spotted Flycatcher 1
Great Tit 6
Coal Tit 4
Long-tailed Tit 6
Red-backed Shrike 2
Common Starling 4
Golden oriole 4
Jay 6
Magpie 2
Raven 2
Hooded crow 4
House Sparrow 20
Chiffchaff 10
European Serin 5
Greenfinch 1
Goldfinch 4
Hawfinch 1
Corn Bunting 2
Ortolan Bunting 2
Rock Bunting 1
Black-headed Bunting 4

Returned to Kizilcahamam for lunch at a truck stop and continued on the Ciltiksi road, turned left immediately after crossing the motorway. And stopped after a further 7.4 km below the cliffs where an Egyptian Vulture and Black Storks were nesting in the caves. More Black Storks could be seen in the caves across the river. Jose and Deniz returned to Ankara and with Edwin in our car we continued past Beypazari to a flooded wetland along the road to Nellihan. Black Storks were nesting in caves here as well and seven Black Kites were seen. Took a rough track left shortly after the bridge over a canyon. Walked to the canyon itself and had a Black Stork nesting fairly close below us. Returned to Ankara where we stayed overnight.

Night Heron 30
Little Egret 30
Grey Heron 15
Black Stork 40
White Stork 80
Ruddy Shelduck 80
Mallard 3
Black Kite 7
Egyptian Vulture 7
Marsh Harrier 1
Long-legged Buzzard 1
Turtle Dove 12
European Bee-eater 2
European Roller 3
Hoopoe 1
Skylark 2
Crested Lark 6
Crag Martin 8
House Martin 40
Northern Wheatear 1
Isabelline Wheatear 1
Black-eared Wheatear 4
Blue Rock Thrush 1
Rose-coloured Starling 25
Magpie 20
Raven 2
Hooded Crow 4
Linnet 2

5 June

Headed south with Edwin along the Konya highway (E-90) for 11 km south of the ring-motorway and turned left at the road signposted "Bala" and headed up to the forest signposted "Beynam Forest." Edwin got a hint from the forest people and soon we were looking down into a nest of an Imperial Eagle with one adult and a 3-week old chick. Got cloudy and windy and we returned towards Ankara.

Imperial Eagle 3
Wood Pigeon 3
Rock Dove 4
Collared Dove 2
Turtle Dove 3
Common Cuckoo 1
Little Owl 1
Common Swift 20
Woodlark 1
Yellow Wagtail 1
Stonechat 1
Blackbird 8
Mistle Thrush 6
Lesser Whitethroat 1
Whitethroat 2
Great Tit 6
Coal Tit 2
Jay 6
Magpie 10

After a great lunch in a small café at the outskirts of the city we checked out Gölbasi Lagoon just south of the ring-motorway. Worth spending a bit more time there. Then continued downtown. Interesting driving experience. Edwin found a bookstore selling the 7-set 1:500,000 maps of Turkey. Had a beer at a small café. Overnight in Ankara.

Great Crested Grebe 12
Black-necked Grebe 1
Night Heron 2
Squacco Heron 30
Little Egret 2
Grey Heron 15
White Stork 8
Mallard 2
White-headed Duck 1
Red-crested Pochard 20
Pochard 2
Marsh Harrier 1
Long-legged Buzzard 1
Common Kestrel 1
Moorhen 1
Coot 15
Lapwing 1
Hoopoe 3
Crested Lark 2
Sand Martin 100
Great Reed Warbler 1
Magpie 10
Jackdaw 4
Hooded Crow 2
Rook 40
House Sparrow 80
Corn Bunting 4

6 June

Headed south on the Konya road to Cöl Gölü. Lake too far away for photography, but at least 2000 Greater Flamingos there. Photographed Calandra Larks along the road. The track to Uyuz Gölü gave good photo opportunities of Black-headed Bunting in nice yellow flowers. Quite windy and cloudy by midday.

Little Grebe 3
Black-necked Grebe 10
Squacco Heron 1
White Stork 25
Greater Flamingo 2000+
White-headed Duck 5
Marsh Harrier 2
Long-legged Buzzard 2
Lesser Kestrel 8
Coot 10
Lapwing 4
Redshank 1
Green Sandpiper 1
Collared Dove 4
Turtle Dove 2
European Bee-eater 1
Skylark 10
Crested Lark 2
Lesser Short-toed Lark 15
Calandra Lark 80
Barn Swallow 30
Tawny Pipit 1
Yellow Wagtail 3
Isabelline Wheatear 20
Black-eared Wheatear 1
Great Reed Warbler 2
Common Starling 200
Rose-coloured Starling 15
Magpie 8
Jackdaw 20
Hooded Crow 2
Rook 60
House Sparrow 50
Corn Bunting 20
Black-headed Bunting 15

Bought fresh bread in Kulu and had lunch at the southern edge of Kulu Gölü. Thousands of flamingos plus Black-winged Stilts, Avocets, Collared Pratincoles, Gull-billed Terns, Slender-billed and Mediterranean Gulls. Drove along the rough track south and east of the lake as far as we could. Got almost to the northern shore. Will try tomorrow morning when the light should be better. Returned to Ankara at 8 pm.

Black-necked Grebe 5
Spoonbill 4
Greater Flamingo 4000+
Shelduck 30
Ruddy Shelduck 5
Gadwall 2
White-headed Duck 20
Common Quail 2
Oystercatcher 20
Black-winged Stilt 150
Avocet 200
Collared Pratincole 4
Lapwing 8
Redshank 2
Mediterranean Gull 200
Slender-billed Gull 30
Black-headed Gull 100
Gull-billed Tern 50
Common Tern 1
Common Swift 500
Skylark 2
Short-toed Lark 1
Calandra Lark 40
Sand Martin 300
Tawny Pipit 2
Isabelline Wheatear 15
Common Starling 15
Magpie 2
Goldfinch 3
Corn Bunting 5

7 June

Got up at 5 and headed south along the Konya road. For the third morning in a row we had a good breakfast at the BP station 11 km south of the ring motorway. Birded the south and east shore of Kulu Gölü. Photos of Black-headed Bunting, Greater Flamingo, Gull-billed Tern, Slender-billed, Black-headed and Mediterranean Gulls, Avocet and Black-winged Stilt. Met two French couples who had birded Turkey for 5 weeks on this, their fourth visit. They gave us direction to Caucasian Snowcock in the far northeast. Got stuck in the mud near the lake shore. Took us an hour to dig out the car and get enough stones under the tires to drive away.

Little Grebe 1
Black-headed Grebe 10
Spoonbill 10
Greater Flamingo 2000
Shelduck 6
Ruddy Shelduck 2
Shoveler 2
White-headed Duck 20
Long-legged Buzzard 2
Lesser Kestrel 4
Common Quail 1
Coot 10
Oystercatcher 3
Black-winged Stilt 100
Avocet 40
Collared Pratincole 3
Lapwing 1
Green Sandpiper 2
Mediterranean Gull 30
Slender-billed Gull 30
Black-headed Gull 500
Yellow-legged Gull 10
Gull-billed Tern 50
Common Swift 100
Hoopoe 2
Skylark 2
Crested Lark 2
Lesser Short-toed Lark 10
Calandra Lark 30
Barn Swallow 20
House Martin 1
Tawny Pipit 1
Yellow Wagtail 2
Common Starling 200
Magpie 14
Jackdaw 10
Hooded Crow 2
Rook 40
House Sparrow 20
Corn Bunting 4
Black-headed Bunting 15

Returned to Beynam Forest and had lunch at the picnic site. Quite a few people, a contrast to a few days ago. Got Hanne installed at the Imperial Eagle nest extremely well camouflaged in a bush. I tried my luck with the jays at the picnic site by leaving out some bread, walnuts and almonds. The Jays came around within 15 min and I got several decent shots. For Hanne is was a memorable afternoon. One adult came to the nest and Hanne got several shots of the adult and the chick together.

8 June

Got up a 5, then at 6, then finally at 7 and ventured out in the grey, overcast weather towards Kizilcahamam. Had an excellent breakfast along the way while our car was being washed which was highly overdue. Birded in Soguksu National Park.

White Stork 20
Common Buzzard 1
Imperial Eagle 2
Collared Dove 5
Common Cuckoo 3
Wryneck 1
Great Spotted Woodpecker 2
Crested Lark 6
Barn Swallow 6
Tree Pipit 3
White Wagtail 1
Wren 1
Nightingale 2
European Robin 5
Stonechat 1
Common Redstart 30
Black Redstart 5
Blackbird 20
Song Thrush 4
Mistle Thrush 6
Lesser Whitethroat 1
Chiffchaff 5
Blue Tit 2
Great Tit 15
Coal Tit 20
Eurasian Nuthatch 7
Jay 4
House Sparrow 50
Chaffinch 20
Serin 6
Corn Bunting 20
Ortolan Bunting 12
Rock Bunting 1
Black-headed Bunting 4

Spent the afternoon near the Black Stork nesting site along the Ciltiksi road (see 5 June) and returned to Ankara through the hilly landscape of central Anatolia. Photographed a Bimaculated Lark high in the hills, a habitat quite different from that favoured by the Calandra larks seen in previous days.

Grey Heron 5
Black Stork 6
White Stork 1
Ruddy Shelduck 1
Egyptian Vulture 3
Lesser Kestrel 1
Little Ringed Plover 1
Collared Dove 2
Little Owl 1
Common Swift 500
European Bee-eater 1
Hoopoe 2
Skylark 1
Woodlark 1
Crested Lark 2
Bimaculated Lark 1
Crag Martin 10
Red-rumped Swallow 2
Nightingale 6
Stonechat 1
Northern Wheatear 12
Isabelline Wheatear 15
Black-eared Wheatear 4
Cetti's Warbler 2
Whitethroat 10
Red-backed Shrike 5
Woodchat Shrike 2
Jay 4
Jackdaw 2
Hooded Crow 3
Greenfinch 8
Goldfinch 2
Linnet 20
Black-headed Bunting 10

9 June

After a great stay in Ankara we finally packed up and headed out of town at 5:30 am. Checked the country lanes at Cöl Gölü. Saw a snake crossing the road and a Little Owl landing on a stone wall in Gökler village, both too quick for photography. Headed for Bullok Gölü. Lots of flamingos, gulls, terns, Avocets and stilts. Spoonbills were nesting on an island in the northeast corner of the lake. Lots of work going on extracting salt. A freshwater lagoon north of the track near the works was good with breeding Marsh Harrier and resting Red-crested Pochard. Took the track at the west end of the lake a couple of times. Birds similar to those at Kulu Gölü which had a prettier setting. Got cloudy in the afternoon and quite hot. Waited 4 hours for clouds to disappear so we could resume photography. The steppe between the lake and the main highway had loads of Sousliks. Stayed overnight at a roadside inn.

Little Egret 4
Spoonbill 20
Greater Flamingo 4000
Shelduck 8
Red-crested Pochard 4
Marsh Harrier 2
Long-legged Buzzard 5
Lesser Kestrel 1
Moorhen 2
Oystercatcher 1
Black-winged Stilt 50
Avocet 50
Ringed Plover 1
Kentish Plover 1
Spur-winged Plover 1
Lapwing 1
Redshank 1
Green Sandpiper 2
Mediterranean Gull 300
Slender-billed Gull 300
Black-headed Gull 100
Gull-billed Tern 100
Common Tern 1
Whiskered Tern 1
Little Owl 1
Common Swift 500
Hoopoe 3
Skylark 2
Crested Lark 6
Short-toed Lark 8
Calandra Lark 20
Sand Martin 20
Barn Swallow 40
House Martin 30
Tawny Pipit 5
Yellow Wagtail 2
Isabelline Wheatear 40
Great Reed Warbler 1
Sedge Warbler 1
Reed Warbler 1
Common Starling 25
Jay 2
Magpie 12
Jackdaw 8
Hooded Crow 4
House Sparrow 20
Linnet 2
Corn Bunting 6
Black-headed Bunting 6

10 June

Up at 5 and back at our usual breakfast place, the BP station near the Bala turnoff on the Ankara-Konya road. Got Hanne in position for the Imperial Eagles in Beynam Forest by 8:15. Weather looked much better today with clear skies and just a breeze, even at midday. I continued to Gölbasi Gölü and stopped at the marshy areas on the south and west shores. Got Cattle Egret, Purple Heron and Bearded Tit as new trip birds and photographed Squacco Heron, Night Heron and Red-crested Pochard in flight.

Great Crested Grebe 30
Black-necked Grebe 2
Night Heron 6
Cattle Egret 1
Squacco Heron 25
Little Egret 2
Grey Heron 2
Purple Heron 1
White Stork 8
Red-crested Pochard 25
Marsh Harrier 1
Common Buzzard 2
Lesser Kestrel 4
Coot 20
Black-winged Stilt 1
Green Sandpiper 1
Common Swift 20
Skylark 6
Crested Lark 4
Calandra Lark 5
Barn Swallow 8
Tawny Pipit 1
Yellow Wagtail 3
Great Reed Warbler 8
Sedge Warbler 2
Reed Warbler 3
Bearded Tit 1
Common Starling 20
Magpie 15
Jackdaw 2
Hooded Crow 4
Rook 30
House Sparrow 20
Corn Bunting 4
Black-headed Bunting 2

Back at Beynam Forest I had no luck with the forest birds. By 4 pm the wind picked up and I realized a thunderstorm was on the way. Rushed to get Hanne out. She had had a fantastic time. Both parents came to the nest several times. The hide and camouflage netting had worked perfectly. Driving south we encountered one storm after another. Hopefully the chick in the nest will be fine in this weather. Before Konya the skies cleared and we continued through uninteresting landscapes. Found hotel Saray in Karaman, basic but perfectly adequate.

Common Buzzard 1
Long-legged Buzzard 2
Imperial Eagle 3
Wood Pigeon 1
Collared Dove 4
Turtle Dove 5
Common Cuckoo 1
Nightingale 1
European Robin 4
Black-eared Wheatear 1
Blackbird 4
Song Thrush 2
Mistle Thrush 6
Lesser Whitethroat 1
Great Tit 2
Coal Tit 10
Golden Oriole 1
Jay 10
Chaffinch 4
Ortolan Bunting 2
Rock Bunting 1

11 June

The Imperial Eagles had kept us in central Anatolia longer than we had anticipated, but we now entered different landscapes in the south of the country towards Mut and Silifki. Had difficulty finding the turnoff for Alahan Monastery and asked the locals. Turned out to be much further north of Mut than expected (why can't they put distances in these guide books?!?). The turnoff is 19 km north of the exit sign for Mut and the monastery is 2.5 km from the main road. Black Kite and Short-toed Eagle seen along the side road and a brilliant male Masked Shrike near the turnoff. At the monastery we soon found Cretzschmar's Bunting. Males were singing everywhere. It was easily the commonest bird there. A pair of Western Rock Nuthatches were noisy and conspicuous among the ruins. Got good views of Sombre Tit.

Black Kite 2
Griffon Vulture 3
Short-toed Eagle 1
Common Kestrel 1
Wood Pigeon 1
Crested Lark 8
Whitethroat 1
Rüppell's Warbler 3
Red-breasted Flycatcher 1
Sombre Tit 5
Western Rock Nuthatch 2
Masked Shrike 1
Jay 3
Greenfinch 1
Cretzschmar's Bunting 30

Had lunch on the way down and checked in at hotel Köseoglu near the bus station in Mut. Relaxed for a couple of hours and did an evening trip over the mountains. Not many birds, except for several Northern Wheatears and a pair of Finch's Wheatear, our first for the trip.

Crested Lark 2
Bimaculated Lark 1
House Martin 1
Northern Wheatear 8
Finsch's Wheatear 2
Serin 4
Goldfinch 1
Linnet 2
Black-headed Bunting 2

12 June

Went back to Alahan Monastery and had a good morning photographing several key species. Finally touched base with Krüper's Nuthatch. A pair of woodpeckers turned out to be Syrian.

Black Kite 1
Egyptian Vulture 1
Griffon Vulture 1
Common Buzzard 2
Short-toed Eagle 2
Wood Pigeon 1
Common Swift 100
Hoopoe 1
Syrian Woodpecker 2
Crested Lark 6
White Wagtail 1
Black-eared Wheatear 3
Blue Rock Thrush 1
Blackbird 3
Rüppell's Warbler 2
Sombre Tit 4
Krüper's Nuthatch 8
Western Rock Nuthatch 4
Jay 2
Chaffinch 5
Serin 3
Greenfinch 4
Goldfinch 2
Cretzschmar's Bunting 10
Black-headed Bunting 2

Checked in at Fatik Hotel in Tasucu where all birdwatchers seem to stay. Could see the ferry for Cyprus in the harbour. It was tempting, but we headed for the Göksu Delta instead. Rather more quiet than we had hoped, seemed we were too late as most spring migrants had left. Tried to get to the river mouth east of Kurtulus, but the mosquitoes were eating us alive. At the river east of Silifki soon found White-breasted Kingfisher by its nesting hole. Bought 2 kg of strawberries at a roadside stand and the best apricots we have ever had.

Grey Heron 6
Purple Heron 3
White Stork 30
Short-toed Eagle 1
Little Ringed Plover 1
Kentish Plover 4
Spur-winged Plover 4
Greenshank 1
Green Sandpiper 1
Yellow-legged Gull 5
Collared Dove 4
Turtle Dove 3
White-breasted Kingfisher 1
European Roller 1
Crested Lark 50
Short-toed Lark 4
Sand Martin 300
Barn Swallow 20
Tawny Pipit 1
Yellow Wagtail 8
Rufous Bush Robin 1
Graceful Warbler 6
Cetti's Warbler 1
Great Reed Warbler 2
Woodchat Shrike 3
Masked Shrike 1
Jay 1
House Sparrow 50
Greenfinch 2
Corn Bunting 1

13 June

Started early and soon found the track south of the holiday village just east of the paper mill in Tasucu. Difficult to get good views of Akgol Gölü. Heard several Black Francolins and were fractions of a second from getting a nice photo. The bird jumped down from its calling position. Blast!

Great Crested Grebe 15
Little Egret 4
Great Egret 3
Grey Heron 8
Purple Heron 1
White Stork 3
Greater Flamingo 4
Marbled Tea 21
Ferruginous Duck 5
Egyptian Vulture 1
Marsh Harrier 5
Black Francolin 5
Black-winged Stilt 4
Kentish Plover 12
Spur-winged Plover 20
Curlew Sandpiper 1
Redshank 5
Collared Dove 2
Crested Lark 30
Short-toed Lark 6
Calandra Lark 1
Sand Martin 15
Barn Swallow 10
House Martin 4
Tawny Pipit 1
Yellow Wagtail 5
Yellow-vented Bulbul 1
Rufous Bush Robin 1
Blackbird 1
Graceful Warbler 5
Great Reed Warbler 4
Reed Warbler 2
Magpie 3
House Sparrow 50
Greenfinch 4
Goldfinch 4

After lunch continued inland on the motorway towards Demirkazik and Aladag mountains. Arrived at Safak Pansyon and checked in with Hasan Safak and his mother. Arranged for an early morning trip on Hasan's tractor and had time for an evening drive in the extraordinarily beautiful area.

Shore Lark 2
White Wagtail 2
Northern Wheatear 2
Isabelline Wheatear 6
Black-eared Wheatear 2
Blue Rock Thrush 1
Blackbird 1
Great Tit 1
Red-backed Shrike 5
Magpie 4
Hooded Crow 10
House Sparrow 40
Rock Sparrow 6
Goldfinch 3
Linnet 2
Corn Bunting 3
Ortolan Bunting 2
Cretzschmar's Bunting 1
Black-headed Bunting 3

14 June

Got up at 3:30 with Hasan already making tea. Got all our camera equipment securely tied to the platform on the back of the tractor and we headed up the mountain in the darkness. Chilly, but not very cold. The ride was not as bad as some tour reports would have you believe. We quite enjoyed the trip. After an hour we stopped at a meadow just before the mountains rose steeply. At dawn, Hasan called to the Caspian Snowcocks and soon had a couple replying. Headed on foot up the hills and managed to get quite decent views of one snowcock. Photography was difficult, though, as the light was poor. Later as the sun came up, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves with Snow Finches, Ring Ouzels, Alpine and Radde's Accentors, Red-fronted Serins and gorgeous Crimson-winged Finches. What a beautiful site! A highlight of our Turkey trip. Returned with Hasan and spend the afternoon driving the valley roads and trying to get up some tracks. Evening meal with the Safaks. Two Swedish birdwatchers had arrived and wanted to go to the hills next morning, so we opted for another trip.

Golden Eagle 1
Saker Falcon 1
Caspian Snowcock 5
Chukar Partridge 5
Rock Dove 3
Common Cuckoo 2
Alpine Swift 1
Hoopoe 1
Shore Larks 12
House Martin 6
Water Pipit 1
Tawny Pipit 1
Alpine Accentor 1
Radde's Accentor 5
Black Redstart 4
Northern Wheatear 35
Isabelline Wheatear 15
Rock Thrush 2
Blue Rock Thrush 2
Ring Ouzel 2
Blackbird 2
Lesser Whitethroat 3
Whitethroat 6
Great Tit 1
Red-backed Shrike 8
Magpie 1
Alpine Chough 2
Red-billed Chough 32
Hooded Crow 1
Tree Sparrow 4
House Sparrow 40
Rock Sparrow 20
Snow Finch 20
Chaffinch 2
Red-fronted Serin 8
Greenfinch 2
Goldfinch 12
Linnet 4
Crimson-winged Finch 3
Corn Bunting 5
Black-headed Bunting 4

15 June

Another early morning ride to the mountains and more snowcocks calling. The Swedes were true birdwatchers - seen a bird, on to the next one. We like to spend more time and get better views and, if possible, photos. The Swedes hiked down through the steep canyon (not worth it, they later said) while we, with all our camera stuff, went down with Hasan. A good morning, though not nearly as productive as yesterday.

Caspian Snowcock 3
Chukar Partridge 1
Common Cuckoo 1
Little Owl 1
Shore Lark 2
Crag Martin 2
House Martin 20
Water Pipit 2
Alpine Accentor 1
Radde's Accentor 1
Black Redstart 2
Northern Wheatear 15
Rock Thrush 1
Ring Ouzel 1
Magpie 1
Snow Finch 20
Red-fronted Serin 6
Goldfinch 2
Linnet 2

Said goodbye to Hasan and his mother. We highly recommend Safak Pansyon and Hasan's trip to the mountains. Well worth his modest charge. Headed down towards the coast again and reached Durnalik in the evening, just in time for checking out the area. It was clear we had reached a more eastern bird fauna. A beautiful Desert Finch in the top of a tree was a highlight.

Turtle Dove 6
Common Swift 80
European Roller 1
Syrian Woodpecker 1
Red-rumped Swallow 50
Barn Swallow 10
White-throated Robin 2
Blackbird 4
Olivaceous Warbler 6
Upcher's Warbler 10
Whitethroat 10
Blackcap 10
Menetries's Warbler 1
Sombre Tit 6
Western Rock Nuthatch 1
Eastern Rock Nuthatch 2
Woodchat Shrike 2
Hooded Crow 4
Greenfinch 2
Goldfinch 2
Desert Finch 1
Ortolan Bunting 2
Cretzschmar's Bunting 2
Black-headed Bunting 6

16 June

Headed back to Durnalik, a really nice area. While Hanne entertained the local kids I got on with photographing Cinereous Buntings. White-throated Robins were singing a bit like Nightingales.

Common Kestrel 1
Collared Dove 4
Turtle Dove 8
Common Swift 40
Syrian Woodpecker 3
Yellow-vented Bulbul 2
White-throated Robin 6
Blackbird 4
Olivaceous Warbler 4
Upcher's Warbler 5
Lesser Whitethroat 10
Whitethroat 8
Sombre Tit 2
Western Rock Nuthatch 1
Woodchat Shrike 1
Common Starling 1
House Sparrow 10
Chaffinch 1
Greenfinch 10
Goldfinch 8
Linnet 2
Desert Finch 2
Cretzschmar's Bunting 1
Black-headed Bunting 4
Cinereous Bunting 2

Continued eastward to Birecik and checked in at Hotel Murta on the main highway just to the west of the bridge over the Euphrates River. Birecik is a dirty, uninteresting town, but there are some good birds. Jose back in Ankara had told us of a Striated Scops Owl at the Bald Ibis center and to just ask for 'Baycus' meaning birdman, Turkish for owl. At the center the warden quickly showed us the owl sitting in a pine tree. Dead Sea Sparrows were calling from the trees and easy to see. The Bald Ibis were out feeding and we settled onto the hill overlooking the river. Several young guys came and insisted on guiding us on a trip behind the center. They were quite a nuisance. Late afternoon the whole ibis flock came towards the center, 62 birds in all. They circled many times over us before settling down at the center. It had been a good breeding season and several juveniles were seen. We met the two Swedes from Aladag.

Black-necked Grebe 2
Pygmy Cormorant 3
Bald Ibis 62
Egyptian Vulture 1
Long-legged Buzzard 1
Peregrine Falcon 1
Rock Dove 3
Collared Dove 4
Laughing Dove 1
Striated Scops Owl 1
Common Swift 60
Pied Kingfisher 1
European Bee-eater 4
Crested Lark 6
Sand Martin 30
Barn Swallow 20
House Martin 30
Black-eared Wheatear 5
Graceful Warbler 1
Olivaceous Warbler 2
Hooded Crow 8
House Sparrow 20
Dead Sea Sparrow 6

17 June

Headed out to the waste lands west of the river. Had a Little Bittern and surprisingly, two Black Francolins. Saw the two Swedes again and exchanged latest sightings while Black-bellied Sandgrouse and Rose-coloured Starlings flew over. We continued along the river to an area where we had seen the Bald Ibis fouraging the day before from the hill top. At least 20 birds were present and more flew in. Got nice photos on a youngster begging for food.

Black-necked Grebe 4
Pygmy Cormorant 2
Little Bittern 1
Squacco Heron 1
Little Egret 1
Bald Ibis 25
Marsh Harrier 1
Common Kestrel 1
Peregrine Falcon 1
Black Francolin 2
Black-winged Stilt 4
Whiskered Tern 8
Black-bellied Sandgrouse 6
Rock Dove 50
Collared Dove 5
Striated Scops owl 1
Pied Kingfisher 1
European Bee-eater 10
European Roller 2
Syrian Woodpecker 1
Crested Lark 4
Sand Martin 400
Barn Swallow 10
Rufous Bush Robin 1
Graceful Warbler 2
Great Reed Warbler 1
Olivaceous Warbler 1
Great Tit 1
Rose-coloured Starling 4
Hooded Crow 2
House Sparrow 50
Dead Sea Sparrow 3

Back for breakfast at the motel and after packing headed towards Halfeti, happy to leave noisy Birecik behind. Came though rather sparsely populated areas towards the Atatürk Dam. Stopped at a rainwater pool next to the road. In an hour we had many Gold Finches, Rock Sparrows, Desert Finches and Turtle Doves coming down to drink. The Atatürk Dam was impressive but had little birdlife except hundreds of House Martins so we pushed on to Kahta and checked into a nice hotel. Made an evening trip to Nemrut Dagi National Park. Very nice landscapes. Returned to the hotel for soup and beer.

White Stork 15
Little Ringed Plover 1
Collared Dove 20
Turtle Dove 8
Common Swift 50
European Bee-eater 1
European Roller 1
Crested Lark 50
Barn Swallow 20
House Martin 500
Black-eared Wheatear 4
Woodchat Shrike 12
Common Starling 1
Magpie 1
House Sparrow 60
Rock Sparrow 4
Yellow-throated Sparrow 2
Greenfinch 1
Goldfinch 4
Desert Finch 6
Black-headed Bunting 6
Cinereous Bunting 1

18 June

Spent the morning at Nemrut Dagi National Park. Went all the way to the top, but concentrated on the birds and did not to see the stone figures. Had a few Red-tailed Wheatears near the top and photographed a nice Masked Shrike further down. At the Roman bridge was a large colony of Alpine Swifts and a couple of Eastern Rock Nuthatches.

Common Kestrel 2
Peregrine Falcon 1
Rock Dove 8
Alpine Swift 300
Crested Lark 20
Crag Martin 20
Sand Martin 10
Red-rumped Swallow 10
Barn Swallow 20
White-throated Robin 4
Black-eared Wheatear 8
Red-tailed Wheatear 4
Rock Thrush 1
Olivaceous Warbler 15
Lesser Whitethroat 2
Sombre Tit 6
Western Rock Nuthatch 4
Eastern Rock Nuthatch 2
Woodchat Shrike 10
Masked Shrike 3
Magpie 1
Jackdaw 1
House Sparrow 20
Rock Sparrow 5
Goldfinch 2
Black-headed Bunting 20
Cinereous Bunting 10

The rest of the day was spent driving further east. Came right at the departure of the ferry across the lake produced by the Atatürk Dam. Near Diyarbakir we looked for a colony of Rose-coloured Starling, but saw none. Last year there had been thousands. We even used the GPS to make sure we were in the right location, but no starlings. Found a grotty hotel in Bitlis, the first town in which we could not bye beer in the shops.

White Stork 4
Egyptian Vulture 1
Common Kestrel 1
Wood Pigeon 1
Turtle Dove 6
European Bee-eater 1
European Roller 7
Crested Lark 50
Barn Swallow 10
Black-eared Wheatear 10
Woodchat Shrike 15
Magpie 2
Hooded Crow 5
House Sparrow 40
Black-headed Bunting 10

19 June

Went to Nemrut Dagi early in the morning. Not the national park visited a few days ago, but the volcano overlooking Lake Van. The drive over the rim and into the crater was interesting and produced Red-fronted Serin and Crimson-winged Finch. Some clouds, but also a bit of sunshine coming through. A great place for birds. We met an English couple who had stayed overnight in their campervan. That would be the way to travel around in Turkey! Made a long stop at the north end of the crater lake and had excellent photo opportunities of Rock Thrushes and White-throated Robin.

Montagu's Harrier 1
Common Buzzard 1
Common Kestrel 1
Collared Dove 1
Common Cuckoo 1
Common Swift 100
European Bee-eater 1
Skylark 10
Woodlark 4
Crested Lark 4
Shore Lark 20
Crag Martin 10
Stonechat 2
White-throated Robin 1
Black Redstart 2
Northern Wheatear 20
Isabelline Wheatear 4
Black-eared Wheatear 5
Rock Thrush 4
Ring Ouzel 2
Lesser Whitethroat 1
Whitethroat 3
Western Rock Nuthatch 1
Common Starling 7
Rock Sparrow 1
Red-fronted Serin 2
Linnet 8
Crimson-winged Finch 1
Ortolan Bunting 6
Rock Bunting 2
Black-headed Bunting 20

Continued along the south shore of Lake Van. Took the tourist boat to Aktamar Island with its Armenian Church about 3 km offshore. Lots of Armenian Gull nesting on the island, but as they nested on the western tip of the island a morning trip would be better. Decided to come back in a couple of days. Headed for Van and found a nice hotel, Bayran. The town was surprisingly pleasant and clean, quite a contrast to many towns we had seen over the last few days.

Common Quail 1
Coot 4
Black-winged Stilt 12
Lapwing 4
Yellow-legged Gull 300
Armenian Gull 200
Rock Dove 6
White Wagtail 2
Common Starling 15
Magpie 20
Red-billed Chough 10
Jackdaw 100
Hooded Crow 2
Rook 10
House Sparrow 10
Corn Bunting 4

20 June

Rained heavily during the night. At 5 am it was mostly overcast so decided to sleep an extra hour and have breakfast before setting off. By 8 it was bright and sunny. Drove to Van Hills. About a km down the track we heard a funny bunting. Difficult to get good views, but Hanne saw lots of grey on the neck and we concluded it had to be Grey-necked Bunting, but the song did not match the description in Porter. It was rather similar to Ortolan Bunting, but ended in three notes at lower pitch. Got very confused about Black-eared and Finsch's Wheatears. We had superb views of males that looked identical except for the tail pattern. Many confusing females and immatures as well.

Great Crested Grebe 4
White Stork 1
Egyptian Vulture 2
Black-winged Stilt 2
Gull-billed Tern 2
Common Cuckoo 1
Hoopoe 4
Isabelline Wheatear 6
Black-eared Wheatear 4
Finsch's Wheatear 1
Whitethroat 1
Common Starling 300
Rock Sparrow 2
Linnet 2
Crimson-winged Finch 1
Grey-necked Bunting 5

Continued to Ercek Gölü. Stopped at a small roadside pond south of lake. Best views so far of White-headed Duck. Took the graded road through the village of Ercek and continued around the eastern shore. After 20 km we had to turn back as the track became too rough. Not too many birds around. Probably a much better place during migration. Back at Van Hills it was much more quiet than in the morning, but we did have excellent views and some photos of a singing male Grey-necked Bunting. Just like in the morning we were stopped/confronted by young men, this time five of them looking rather mean. After a bit of talk and realizing we were just tourists looking at birds they all got very friendly. They had even blocked the track behind us so we could not have made a hasty escape, but now they removed the boulders. Wonder how they saw us, where they came from and what they were worried about. Despite the good outcome it was a slightly unpleasant experience. Back in Van we set off to get beer and a kg of delicious cherries. Same hotel.

Little Grebe 4
Black-necked Grebe 24
Ruddy Shelduck 40
Garganey 2
White-headed Duck 8
Pochard 8
Marsh Harrier 1
Common Kestrel 1
Common Quail 1
Coot 50
Black-winged Stilt 30
Avocet 10
Little Ringed Plover 2
Lapwing 20
Redshank 40
Black-headed Gull 3
Armenian Gull 3
Gull-billed Tern 2
Common Tern 1
White-winged Tern 3
Whiskered Tern 5
Little Owl 1
Common Swift 400
European Bee-eater 3
European Roller 1
Crested Lark 3
Bimaculated Lark 2
Calandra Lark 2
Sand Martin 300
Barn Swallow 20
White Wagtail 2
Yellow Wagtail 12
Northern Wheatear 2
Isabelline Wheatear 10
Great Reed Warbler 2
Lesser Grey Shrike 2
Common Starling 200
Rose-coloured Starling 12
Magpie 20
Jackdaw 10
Hooded Crow 5
Rook 200
House Sparrow 20
Goldfinch 1
Corn Bunting 8
Black-headed Bunting 15

21 June

Clear sunshine from early morning. After breakfast we headed for the South Van Marshes as described in Gosney. What a ghastly place! Full of rubbish and a stinking sewer channel. Few birds around - we don't blame them for leaving. Continued to try to get to Aktamar island as early as possible and were lucky that a bus full of school teachers arrived at the same time, so we were on our way with no delay. Headed straight for the Armenian Gull colony. I concentrated on the gulls, Hanne on Red-billed Choughs - both quite successful.

Little Egret 2
Egyptian Vulture 1
Common Kestrel 2
Yellow-legged Gull 50
Armenian Gull 200
Rock Dove 6
Alpine Swift 100
White Wagtail 1
Red-billed Chough 10
Jackdaw 20
Goldfinch 2

Continued through Van and headed north. Stopped at Bendimahi, another disappointing spot. Birded from the bridge, but saw mostly thousands of dead fish. Stopped at the Selale waterfall on the way to Dogubayasit. Quite nice - a Hobby was seen. Then north on the excellent road close to the Iranian border. Went through huge lava fields on the way to the pass at 2644m. A few Snow Finches around and a Long-legged Buzzard landed right next to the road giving superb views. We were stopped twice by the police and for the first time had to show our passports and open the boot. Soon the impressive cone of Ararat Mountain came into view. At 5165m it had lots of snow at the top. Checked into Hotel Ararat in Dogubayasit.

Little Grebe 1
Night Heron 1
White Stork 5
Greater Flamingo 70
Shelduck 1
Ruddy Shelduck 4
Pochard 1
Marsh Harrier 2
Long-legged Buzzard 1
Common Kestrel 1
Hobby 1
Coot 1
Black-winged Stilt 20
Little Ringed Plover 1
Lapwing 8
Redshank 15
Green Sandpiper 2
Armenian Gull 2
White-winged Tern 15
Whiskered Tern 6
Rock Dove 1
Laughing Dove 1
Common Cuckoo 1
Common Swift 500
European Bee-eater 6
European Roller 10
Hoopoe 8
Skylark 1
Barn Swallow 10
Yellow Wagtail 15
Northern Wheatear 2
Great Reed Warbler 4
Common Starling 500
Golden Oriole 2
Magpie 20
Hooded Crow 4
Rook 50
House Sparrow 30
Rock Sparrow 1
Snow Finch 3
Goldfinch 2
Corn Bunting 2
Black-headed Bunting 5

22 June

Went to the Isak Pasa monastery in the morning. At first it was nice and quiet, but soon hordes of people came up from Dogubayasit for some festival. Took a field road higher up and had everything to ourselves. At one stop we headed into a grassy field and saw a pair of Mongolian Finches, a real bonus.

Long-legged Buzzard 1
Common Cuckoo 1
Common Swift 50
Hoopoe 4
Skylark 40
Crested Lark 1
Bimaculated Lark 10
Shore Lark 3
Crag Martin 2
Tawny Pipit 1
Black Redstart 8
Northern Wheatear 20
Isabelline Wheatear 10
Rock Thrush 2
Whitethroat 2
Western Rock Nuthatch 4
Common Starling 40
Rose-coloured Starling 10
House Sparrow 20
Rock Sparrow 4
Twite 2
Linnet 4
Mongolian Finch 2
Corn Bunting 2
Grey-necked Bunting 2
Black-headed Bunting 2

After lunch continued north and had the perfect cone of mount Ararat in view most of the time. Not too far from Dogubayasit the road went through more lava fields and thousands and thousands of Rose-coloured Starling were breeding under the boulders on both sides of the road giving us superb photo opportunities. It was the spectacle we had hoped for and definitely one of the highlights of our trip. Though we stayed a couple of hours we should have stayed the rest of the day to get better light in late afternoon. With clouds coming in, however, we chose to move on. Further north we skirted the border with Armenia. In late afternoon we came to Cildir Gölü and decided to take the graded track west around the lake. Great photo opportunities of Common Rosefinch and Red-backed Shrike. Checked into Hotel Firat in Cildir. At 10 MTR ($ 7), probably the most overpriced hotel we stayed at!

Great Crested Grebe 4
Black-necked Grebe 8
Night Heron 7
Grey Heron 5
White Stork 10
Ruddy Shelduck 30
Teal 1
Mallard 6
Pochard 3
Tufted Duck 15
Marsh harrier 2
Common Quail 1
Coot 80
Black-winged Stilt 1
Lapwing 4
Redshank 10
Black-headed Gull 150
Armenian Gull 50
Little Owl 2
Common Swift 10
European Bee-eater 3
European Roller 6
Hoopoe 4
Skylark 80
Crested l
Lark 4
Barn Swallow 8
White Wagtail 1
Yellow Wagtail 5
Northern Wheatear 20
Isabelline Wheatear 4
Great Reed Warbler 2
Whitethroat 1
Western Rock Nuthatch 2
Red-backed Shrike 4
Common Starling 60
Rose-coloured Starling 6000
Magpie 4
Jackdaw 200
Hooded Crow 5
Rook 300
House Sparrow 10
Linnet 2
Common Rosefinch 10
Corn Bunting 8
Black-headed Bunting 8

23 June

Got up very early to try to get to Aktas Gölü on the border with Georgia. We had read it was impossible to go anywhere near this lake, but as we were not stopped we continued. Good views of White Pelicans in the lake as well as of Greylag Geese and Ruddy Shelduck. As we neared the eastern end of the lake, a border police post was visible and they had seen us as well. A military vehicle came up to us and told us we needed a permit in Cildir. As always the police was courteous, but as we had seen what we came for we decided to move on.

Great Crested Grebe 5
White Pelican 200
Dalmatian Pelican 2
Little Egret 3
Greylag Goose 35
Ruddy Shelduck 40
Velvet Scoter 20
Marsh Harrier 2
Common Quail 4
Armenian Gull 1000
Common Swift 20
Skylark 50
Sand Martin 100
Barn Swallow 10
Tawny Pipit 2
Northern Wheatear 4
Jackdaw 40
Hooded Crow 15
Linnet 1
Corn Bunting 2

A long drive over the mountains towards Yusefeli through many beautiful landscapes. Spring flowers carpeted the higher elevations. Spend some time looking for the track suggested to us by the French birdwatchers back at Kulu, but although we did find a track we soon had to give up. Perhaps we missed the river crossing point. Nice area though. Stayed in a hotel in Yusefeli.

Black Stork 2
Mallard 4
Black Kite 1
Marsh Harrier 3
Common Buzzard 1
Long-legged Buzzard 3
Bonelli's Eagle 1
Common Kestrel 2
Hobby 4
Common Quail 1
Common Sandpiper 2
Hoopoe 1
Skylark 10
Woodlark 2
Crag Martin 20
Barn Swallow 10
Tree Pipit 5
Tawny Pipit 2
White Wagtail 10
Grey Wagtail 3
Yellow Wagtail 4
Citrine Wagtail 1
Wren 2
European Robin 2
Whinchat 8
Common Redstart 1
Black Redstart 6
Northern Wheatear 30
Rock Thrush 3
Blackbird 20
Song Thrush 1
Great Reed Warbler 1
Reed Warbler 1
Lesser Whitethroat 2
Whitethroat 3
Blackcap 5
Mountain Chiffchaff 3
Great Tit 1
Red-backed Shrike 2
Common Starling 150
Rose-coloured Starling 20
Jay 2
Magpie 6
Jackdaw 40
Raven 20
Hooded Crow 25
Rook 25
House Sparrow 10
Chaffinch 20
Goldfinch 15
Linnet 2
Common Rosefinch 5
Corn Bunting 10
Rock Bunting 1

24 June

Continued our journey towards Sivrikaya. Checked into the excellent hotel 5 km south of the village. Much road damage from earlier storms.

Griffon Vulture 12
Hobby 1
Collared Dove 1
Hoopoe 2
House Martin 8
Nightingale 1
Blackbird 2
Magpie 2
Chaffinch 2
Goldfinch 2
Corn Bunting 2

Went back to the pass above Sivrikaya and also found a drivable track towards the Caucasian Black Grouse site. Could drive about 1500 m, then the road was blocked by mud slides. Decided to give it a try the following morning.

Common Sandpiper 7
Shore Lark 8
Crag Martin 20
Water Pipit 10
White Wagtail 6
Grey Wagtail 10
Alpine Accentor 2
Black Redstart 12
Northern Wheatear 30
Rock Thrush 2
Red-billed Chough 2
Hooded Crow 6
Snow Finch 3
Chaffinch 2
Twite 15
Common Rosefinch 12
Ortolan Bunting 1
Black-headed Bunting 3

25 June

Started at dawn and drove the first part of the road found yesterday until it was blocked by mudslides and walked from there. Got up to the dwarf rhododendron patches and some snow fields. Saw a couple of Chamois on the way up. But where were the blackcocks? We stayed for a couple of hours, enjoyed the splendid scenery in perfect weather, the many flowers and the smaller birds, but no blackcocks. Were we too late in the season, we wonder? No doubt, we were in the right place. Later returned to the hotel for breakfast and had a Green Warbler in the tall trees at the back of the hotel. Also checked the barren slopes at the pass.

Common Kestrel 1
Shore Lark 6
House Martin 30
Water Pipit 20
White Wagtail 4
Grey Wagtail 2
Whinchat 8
Black Redstart 10
Northern Wheatear 15
Rock Thrush 1
Mistle Thrush 4
Marsh Warbler 1
Mountain Chiffchaff 4
Green Warbler 1
Great Tit 2
Jay 1
Red-billed Chough 1
Snow Finch 1
Chaffinch 4
Common Rosefinch 30

It was now time to start the long drive back towards Istanbul, and we decided to press on as far as possible that day. This was clearly not tourist country and by evening we had difficulties finding a hotel. In one quite large town we had to give up. Eventually, got a simple room at a large petrol station at 10 pm.

White Stork 5
Black Kite 5
Egyptian Vulture 1
Griffon Vulture 2
Long-legged Buzzard 2
Collared Dove 2
Alpine Swift 40
Common Swift 30
European Bee-eater 2
European Roller 8
Hoopoe 5
Shore Lark 2
Crag Martin 20
Sand Martin 10
Barn Swallow 6
House Martin 10
Nightingale 1
Blackbird 4
Common Starling 100
Magpie 10
Jackdaw 30
Hooded Crow 10
Rook 40
House Sparrow 10
Rock Sparrow 1
Goldfinch 4
Corn Bunting 2
Ortolan Bunting 2
Black-headed Bunting 1

27 June

Got an early start and saw a few birds en route.

White Stork 15
Egyptian Vulture 1
Long-legged Buzzard 1
Lesser Spotted Eagle 1
Collared Dove 2
European Roller 2
Hoopoe 1
Calandra Lark 1
Barn Swallow 10
White Wagtail 4
Lesser Grey Shrike 2
Common Starling 50
Jay 2
Magpie 8
House Sparrow 8
Goldfinch 4

By mid-afternoon we reached Abant Gölü and checked in at a bed-and-breakfast in a brand new house a few km north of the lake. Watched the final of the World Cup with the hosts. A Green Warbler was singing from the garden. Then made an evening trip to Abant Gölü and walked around the lake.

Black Stork 1
Mallard 8
Moorhen 2
Great Spotted Woodpecker 1
House Martin 6
Wren 4
European Robin 3
Common Redstart 1
Black Redstart 2
Blackbird 12
Song Thrush 2
Sedge Warbler 2
Blackcap 1
Chiffchaff 4
Green Warbler 2
Marsh Tit 5
Blue Tit 2
Great Tit 10
Coal Tit 1
Red-backed Shrike 1
Common Starling 20
Hooded Crow 30
House Sparrow 10
Spanish Sparrow 4
Chaffinch 40
Serin 50
Greenfinch 8
Goldfinch 2
Common Rosefinch 16
Bullfinch 25
Corn Bunting 4

27 June
Returned to Abant Gölü and made several slow drives around the lake trying to photograph some of the birds. Succeeded with Black Redstart and Wren. Had good views of a Krüper's Nuthatch in the tries along the north shore.

Little Grebe 1
Hobby 1
House Martin 20
White Wagtail 4
Grey Wagtail 2
Wren 6
Dunnock 3
European Robin 8
Black Redstart 6
Blackbird 10
Song Thrush 5
Sedge Warbler 2
Garden Warbler 1
Whitethroat 1
Chiffchaff 6
Green Warbler 1
Great Tit 8
Coal Tit 1
Krüper's Nuthatch 1
Eurasian Nuthatch 3
Common Starling 20
Jay 1
Hooded Crow 6
House Sparrow 10
Chaffinch 20
Serin 10
Greenfinch 4
Common Rosefinch 8
Bullfinch 8
Hawfinch 2
Corn Bunting 3

Continued to Istanbul and wasted some time trying to find a road to the north coast. Whereas the signposting had been excellent in the rest of Turkey in Istanbul itself they were non-existing. Eventually decided to continue well into the European part and took a road north passing through several military camps. While looking at the maps, a Turk stopped and then led us on the right way to Karaburan, a resort town on the Black Sea. Checked into a beach hotel. We were the only guests.

White Stork 4
Common Buzzard 1
Short-toed Eagle 1
Yellow-legged Gull 10
Common Swift 5
Barn Swallow 10
Common Starling 20
Magpie 8
Jackdaw 20
Hooded Crow 8

28 June

Sun rose bright and red at 5:20 on our last day in Turkey. Did a few minutes of sea watch from the balcony of our room and had constant flocks of Yelkouan Shearwaters passing west to east at mid range in flocks of 20, 4, 15, 20 etc, about 70 in 10 min. A few Shags passed east to west. Yellow-legged Gulls were moving around locally.

Yelkouan Shearwater 70
Shag 15
Yellow-legged Gull 10
Jackdaw 30

Tried to get breakfast at 6:30, but nobody around in the restaurant or the lobby. Packed up and found an unlocked door at the back of the hotel so we could get out. Well that we settled the bill the night before. Left at 7 with still nobody around though they had told us breakfast would be ready at 6:30. Drove to Atatürk airport and handed in the car which had been excellent and given no trouble whatsoever for the past four weeks and 9700 km. Then breakfast and a hassle free check-in and we were soon on our way to Copenhagen. A few birds were seen on the way to the airport.

Great Crested Grebe 4
Turtle Dove 8
European Bee-eater 1
Crested Lark 1
Barn Swallow 8
Stonechat 2
Northern Wheatear 1
Great Reed Warbler 4
Lesser Grey Shrike 1
Magpie 10
Jackdaw 20
House Sparrow 20
Corn Bunting 5
Ortolan Bunting 4
Black-headed Bunting 6

Species List

Little Grebe
Great Crested Grebe
Black-necked Grebe
Yelkouan Shearwater
Great Cormorant
Shag
Pygmy Cormorant
White Pelican
Dalmatian Pelican
Little Bittern
Night Heron
Cattle Egret
Squacco Heron
Little Egret
Great Egret
Grey Heron
Purple Heron
Black Stork
White Stork
Spoonbill
Glossy Ibis
Bald Ibis
Greater Flamingo
Greylag Goose
Shelduck
Ruddy Shelduck
Gadwall
Teal
Mallard
Garganey
Shoveler
White-headed Duck
Marbled Teal
Red-crested Pochard
Pochard
Ferruginous Duck
Tufted Duck
Velvet Scoter
Black Kite
Egyptian Vulture
Griffon Vulture
Black Vulture
Marsh Harrier
Montagu's Harrier
Common Buzzard
Long-legged Buzzard
Golden Eagle
Imperial Eagle
Lesser Spotted Eagle
Short-toed Eagle
Bonelli's Eagle
Lesser Kestrel
Common Kestrel
Hobby
Saker Falcon
Peregrine Falcon
Caspian Snowcock
Black Francolin
Chukar Partridge
Common Quail
Moorhen
Coot
Oystercatcher
Black-winged Stilt
Avocet
Collared Pratincole
Little Ringed Plover
Ringed Plover
Kentish Plover
Spur-winged Plover
Lapwing
Curlew Sandpiper
Redshank
Greenshank
Green Sandpiper
Common Sandpiper
Mediterranean Gull
Slender-billed Gull
Black-headed Gull
Yellow-legged Gull
Armenian Gull
Gull-billed Tern
Caspian Tern
Common Tern
Little Tern
White-winged Tern
Whiskered Tern
Black-bellied Sandgrouse
Wood Pigeon
Rock Dove
Collared Dove
Turtle Dove
Laughing Dove
Common Cuckoo
Striated Scops Owl
Little Owl
Alpine Swift
Common Swift
Pallid Swift
Pied Kingfisher
White-breasted Kingfisher
European Bee-eater
European Roller
Hoopoe
Wryneck
Syrian Woodpecker
Great Spotted Woodpecker
Skylark
Woodlark
Crested Lark
Short-toed Lark
Lesser Short-toed Lark
Bimaculated Lark
Calandra Lark
Shore Lark
Crag Martin
Sand Martin
Red-rumped Swallow
Barn Swallow
House Martin
Water Pipit
Tree Pipit
Tawny Pipit
White Wagtail
Grey Wagtail
Yellow Wagtail
Citrine Wagtail
Yellow-vented Bulbul
Wren
Dunnock
Alpine Accentor
Radde's Accentor
Nightingale
Rufous Bush Robin
European Robin
Stonechat
Whinchat
White-throated Robin
Common Redstart
Black Redstart
Northern Wheatear
Isabelline Wheatear
Black-eared Wheatear
Finsch's Wheatear
Red-tailed Wheatear
Rock Thrush
Blue Rock Thrush
Ring Ouzel
Blackbird
Song Thrush
Mistle Thrush
Graceful Warbler
Cetti's Warbler
Great Reed Warbler
Sedge Warbler
Marsh Warbler
Reed Warbler
Olivaceous Warbler
Upcher's Warbler
Garden Warbler
Lesser Whitethroat
Whitethroat
Blackcap
Rüppell's Warbler
Orphean Warbler
Ménétries's Warbler
Chiffchaff
Mountain Chiffchaff
Green Warbler
Goldcrest
Spotted Flycatcher
Red-breasted Flycatcher
Bearded Tit
Sombre Tit
Marsh Tit
Blue Tit
Great Tit
Coal Tit
Long-tailed Tit
Krüper's Nuthatch
Western Rock Nuthatch
Eastern Rock Nuthatch
Eurasian Nuthatch
Red-backed Shrike
Lesser Grey Shrike
Woodchat Shrike
Masked Shrike
Common Starling
Rose-coloured Starling
Golden Oriole
Jay
Magpie
Alpine Chough
Red-billed Chough
Jackdaw
Raven
Hooded Crow
Rook
Tree Sparrow
House Sparrow
Spanish Sparrow
Rock Sparrow
Dead Sea Sparrow
Yellow-throated Sparrow
Snow Finch
Chaffinch
Serin
Red-fronted Serin
Greenfinch
Goldfinch
Twite
Linnet
Common Rosefinch
Desert Finch
Crimson-winged Finch
Mongolian Finch
Bullfinch
Hawfinch
Corn Bunting
Ortolan Bunting
Rock Bunting
Cretzschmar's Bunting
Grey-necked Bunting
Black-headed Bunting
Cinereous Bunting

We want to thank Edwin Vaassen and Jose Tavares for taking us out on field trips near Ankara and Ozlem and Jose for all their warm hospitality. Also thanks to Richard Porter for getting us in touch with Jose. Thanks to Hilary and Geoff Welch for giving us some up-to-date information on several sites in Anatolia thus helping us in the planning of our trip.

Hanne & Jens Eriksen