Trip Report: Turkey, May 18-31, 1993Kieran Fahy, William McDowell, Denis Weir, Dave Bird, Denis O'Sullivan, United Kingdom; email@example.com
Flew from Belfast International to Izmir (Adnan Menderes); approx. 4.5 hrs flight and arrived at the same time as D. Bird who flew from Manchester to the same airport. Flight cost was £193 return, and car hire was approximately £100 each for the 2 week stay. Arrived at approximately 0400 hrs and were on the road and on to our first destination by 0600 hrs.
Drove N towards Izmir to relatively unknown site, Calmati Tuzlasi; this is not easy to find but if you keep to the coast as you pass N through Izmir there is a turn-off to the left which takes you on past a large air base and hence on to a set of manned gates into salt pans; immediately right at these gates are signposts to a "Bird Sanctuary"; follow these; the area is huge and marked out as different coloured nature trails, but some of the better areas are along dirt-tracks and miles away from the "Sanctuary" office. We drove to this area to see Dalmatian Pelican which apparently breeds (see Birding World Vol.5 No. 5).
Our itinerary would make this the only place we would have a reasonable chance of seeing this rare and declining bird.(In fact we saw 1 other bird at the Goksu delta).
Camalti Tazlasi to Akseki
Dalmatian Pelican 4 Little Egret 25 Grey Heron 1 White Stork 50 Greater Flamingo 1000+ Shelduck 2 White-tailed Eagle 1 (Koycegiz Golu) Marsh Harrier 1 Sparrow Hawk 1 Long-legged Buzzard 8 (en route) Lesser Kestrel 4 (" " ) Kestrel 1 Peregrine Falcon 1 Ringed Plover 1 Kentish Plover 20 Little Stint 500 Curlew Sandpiper 1000 Whimbrel 5 Spotted Redshank 2 Turnstone 2 Mediterranean Gull 200 Black-headed Gull 10 Slender-billed Gull 2 Yellow-legged Gull common Caspian Tern 1 Common Tern 10 Little Tern 15+ Black Tern 2 Collared Dove present Turtle Dove 12 Laughing Dove 1 Cuckoo 3 Nightjar 3 Swift 30 Alpine Swift 12 Bee-eater 50 Roller 2 Hoopoe 1 Syrian Woodpecker 1 Calandra Lark 20 Short-toed Lark 10 Crested Lark 25 Sand Martin 2+ Swallow 20+ Red-rumped Swallow 50 House Martin 3 Yellow Wagtail 6+ White Wagtail 2 Wren 1 Nightingale 6 White-throated Robin 3 Wheatear 20 Black-eared Wheatear 2 Blue Rock Thrush 2 Blackbird 10 Song Thrush 1 Mistle Thrush 1 Cetti's Warbler 1 Marsh Warbler 2 Great Reed Warbler 1 Olivaceous Warbler 4 Lesser Whitethroat 1 Bonelli's Warbler 4 Spotted Flycatcher 2 Long-tailed Tit 4 Sombre Tit 3 Blue Tit 4 Great Tit 10 Krueper's Nuthatch 15 (Koycegiz) Rock Nuthatch 4 Red-backed Shrike 10 Lesser Grey Shrike 2 Woodchat Shrike 3 Masked Shrike 1 Jay 10 Magpie common Jackdaw common Carrion Crow 10 House Sparrow common Spanish Sparrow 20 Greenfinch 2 Goldfinch 10 Cretzschmar's Bunting 4 Black-headed Bunting 10 Corn Bunting 20+
This route for the above species was as follows: Camalti Tazlasi via Selcuk, Aydin, Mugla, Koycegiz Golu, Fethiye, Sogut, Korkuteli, Antayla, Manavgat, Akseki.
We arrived at Akseki at around 0200hrs after approximately 1000km driving but could not easily find accommodation; however since we would be birding within 3 hours it was probably not worth finding anywhere anyway. Apart from White-tailed Eagle there was nothing seen on this stretch that was not subsequently seen elsewhere (see previous re Dalmatian Pelican).
19th May 1993: Akseki to Tasuka
Did the area 7.9 km N of Akseki at dawn and then down to the graveyard in the town; did the roadside scrub and conifers 7 to 8 km south of Akseki on the way to Tasuka; spent rest of afternoon at Goksu delta area with a late run to the area 6 km S of Uzuncaburc to try to recover Olive-tree Warbler.
Stayed at the Lades hotel overnight (less than 1/2 km to the west of the Harbour; Total cost for everyone including excellent evening meal and breakfast was approx. £65.
Cormorant 1 Little Bittern 2 Little Egret 10 Grey Heron 15 Purple Heron 3 White Stork 15 Ruddy Shelduck 2 (with young) Mallard 2 Marbled Duck 15 Ferruginous Duck 4+ Short-toed Eagle 1 Long-legged Buzzard 1 Kestrel 2 Black Francolin 1 calling Purple Gallinule 2 (with 2 young) Coot 60 Black-winged Stilt 30 Collared Pratincole 3 Little Ringed Plover 3 Kentish Plover 2 Spur-winged Plover 4 Ruff 1 Common Sandpiper 2 Yellow-legged Gull 50 Common Tern 60 Little Tern 20+ White-winged Black Tern 7 Collared Dove common Turtle Dove 4 Cuckoo 6 Tawny Owl 1 Swift present Alpine Swift 100 Bee-eater 6 Roller 6 Hoopoe 2 Syrian Woodpecker 6 White-backed Woodpecker 2 Green/Grey-headed Woodpecker 2 Bimaculated Lark 2 Crested Lark common Woodlark 2 Sand Martin 50 Swallow present Red-rumped Swallow 15 House Martin 5 Pied Wagtail 1 Rufous Bush Chat 5 Wheatear 5 Black-eared Wheatear 10 Blue Rock Thrush 2 Blackbird 1 Song Thrush 1 Savi's Warbler 4 Marsh Warbler 1 Reed Warbler 10 Great Reed Warbler 3+ Olivaceous Warbler 15+ Olive-tree Warbler 3+ Rueppell's Warbler 1 Orphean Warbler 2 Lesser Whitethroat 1 Blackcap 10 Spotted Flycatcher 1 Sombre Tit 4+ Blue Tit 2 Krueper's Nuthatch 10 Rock Nuthatch 1 Red-backed Shrike 2 Lesser Grey Shrike 2 Woodchat Shrike 1 Masked Shrike 4 Magpie present Jay 10 Jackdaw present Hooded Crow 20 Raven 8 Starling present House Sparrow present Chaffinch 10 Serin 2 Greenfinch 1 Goldfinch 2 Cretzschmar's Bunting 3+ Black-headed Bunting present Corn Bunting 3+ Yellow-vented Bulbul 10
Highlights of the day included White-backed Woodpecker at the area 7.8 km N of Akseki; we found these birds by taking a path off to the right not to the left as is mentioned in the gen. We played a CD of WBW and a pair came in almost immediately; we should have had a go for Middle-spotted Woodpecker here since we were destined not to see these anywhere else on the trip.
I heard Olive-tree Warbler at the graveyard in Akseki (or was it somebody playing the CD?) but no birds were seen. However we did manage to have wonderful views at the area 6 km S of Uzuncaburc again using the CD.
20th May 1993: Goksu Delta to Demerkazik
Started of at Goksu, an impressive area and easy to work though views through the reeds can be limited; drove via Adana and Tarsus to Demerkazik. We stayed the night at the Mountain Ski Lodge (£4/person) but no food was available so make sure you bring your own. We arrived at Demerkazik in the late afternoon hence we only did the entrance to the northern gorge.
Great Crested Grebe 20+ Cormorant 3 Pygmy Cormorant 2 Dalmatian Pelican 1 Little Bittern 6 Night Heron 1 Squacco Heron 15 Cattle Egret 3 Little Egret 5 Purple Heron 5 White Stork 30 Ruddy Shelduck 10 Mallard 15 Garganey 5 Marbled Duck 20 Ferruginous Duck 8 Black Kite 2 Lammergeier 1 Griffon Vulture 2 Marsh Harrier 2 Buzzard 1 Golden Eagle 2 Kestrel 6 Eleonora's Falcon 1 Peregrine Falcon 1 Black Francolin 10 Purple Gallinule 2 Coot present Stone Curlew 1 Collared Pratincole 250 Little Ringed Plover 3 Kentish Plover 12 Spur-winged Plover 15 Sanderling 2 Little Stint 100 Yellow-legged Gull present Common Tern 50 Little Tern 20 White-winged Black Tern 1 Rock Dove 2 Wood Pigeon 2 Collared Dove present Turtle Dove 15 Cuckoo 6 Swift 50 Alpine Swift 50+ Bee-eater 2 Roller 2 Hoopoe 1 Short-toed Lark 10 Crested Lark common Shore Lark 1 Sand Martin 6 Crag Martin 50 Swallow common Red-rumped Swallow 10 House Martin 6 Tawny Pipit 1 Yellow Wagtail 45 Pied Wagtail 1 Yellow-vented Bulbul 1 Rufous Bush Chat 8 Black Redstart 6 Wheatear 15 Black-eared Wheatear 1 Finsch's Wheatear 2 Rock Thrush 1 Blue Rock Thrush 2 Blackbird 1 Graceful Warbler 2 Sedge Warbler 1 Reed Warbler common Great Reed Warbler 20 Olivaceous Warbler 5 Lesser Whitethroat 6 Blackcap 12 Willow Warbler 1 Spotted Flycatcher 2 Sombre Tit 1 Great Tit 1 Rock Nuthatch 1 Red-backed Shrike 20 Lesser Grey Shrike 1 Masked Shrike 4 Magpie present Alpine Chough 8 Chough 6 Jackdaw 2 Carrion Crow present Raven 1 Starling 12 House Sparrow common Rock Sparrow 4 Snowfinch 10 Chaffinch 5 Red-fronted Serin 10 Serin 2 Greenfinch 2 Goldfinch 3 Linnet 2 Rock Bunting 6 Cretzschmar's Bunting 4 Black-headed Bunting 20+
Highlights of today included our only Pygmy Cormorants (distant flyby at Goksu) of the trip; other birders in Turkey at the same time experienced the same difficulty with this species. Dalmatian Pelican was unexpected here as was the non-presence of White Pelican; a small flock of these birds at Kulu Golu were the only birds seen. The Lammergeier was seen on the main road N from Tarsus before the right turn towards Camardi and was agreed to be the "best" bird of the trip. Black Francolin were no problem at the Goksu, though a little patience is required trying to find the mound they are calling from. Red-fronted Serin and Snowfinch were easily seen at the entrance to the N. gorge at Demerkazik.
21st May 1993: Demerkazik to Gaziantep
Did Demerkazik in the early morning; we left at 0330 hrs to ensure arrival at the snowline for dawn and drove up the southern track for perhaps a mile to where the track started to get a little rough; I would recommend you drive this track as far as possible as there is still a substantial winding climb ahead. As it happened we could have done with leaving 1/2 an hour earlier and paced the walk better. Caspian Snowcock requires patience to see even though you can here them calling apparently quite closely. We tried to track a few down by following the calls -- we failed! However we did have long range views of birds amongst the rocks and snow, and at the top end of the N. gorge, a pair flew over our heads!
The path down the N. gorge is best described as "not easy" and combined with the trek up makes it an exhausting mornings birding; however, excellent views of Wall Creeper, Golden Eagle, Alpine and Radde's Accentors make up for the effort required.
White Stork 10 Buzzard 4 Lammergeier 1 Golden Eagle 3 Kestrel 3 Hobby 1 Caspian Snowcock 7 (4 seen) Chukar 1 Rock Dove 1 Wood Pigeon 2 Collared Dove present Turtle Dove present Cuckoo 1 Tawny Owl 2 Nightjar 1 Swift present Alpine Swift 20 Bee-eater 1 Syrian Woodpecker 3 Calandra/Bimaculated Lark 1 Crested Lark present Shore Lark 3 Crag Martin 20+ Swallow present Red-rumped Swallow 6 House Martin 40 Meadow Pipit 1 Water Pipit 2 Pied Wagtail 1 Wren 1 Radde's Accentor 4+(1 nest-building) Alpine Accentor 5+ White-throated Robin 15 Black Redstart 10 Wheatear 15 Finsch's Wheatear 10 Rock Thrush 2 Blue Rock Thrush 2 Blackbird 1 Cetti's Warbler 3 Upcher's Warbler 3 Orphean Warbler 3 Barred Warbler 4 Lesser Whitethroat 30 Whitethroat 1 Blackcap 2 Spotted Flycatcher 1 Blue Tit 1 Great Tit 1 Great Rock Nuthatch 5 Rock Nuthatch 1 Wallcreeper 1 male Golden Oriole 1 Red-backed Shrike 15 Woodchat Shrike 2 Jay 1 Magpie 5 Alpine Chough 10+ Chough 6 Hooded Crow present Raven 1 Starling 7 House Sparrow present Rock Sparrow 6 Snowfinch 30 Chaffinch 10 Red-fronted Serin 10 Serin 50 Greenfinch 3 Goldfinch 2 Bullfinch 1 Linnet 10 Rock Bunting 10 Cinereous Bunting 6 Cretzschmar's Bunting 10 Black-headed Bunting present Corn Bunting present
This route took us past the Yesilice area where all the expected birds were seen with the exception of Pale Rock Sparrow. (Red-tailed Wheatear was seen the next day but finding the correct area for them is not so easy; the gen is not very accurate; it would be advisable to get more specific gen before going.) Great Rock Nuthatch, Cinereous Bunting, Upcher's Warbler and White-throated Robin are all easy to get.
Barred Warblers were seen at Elek Golu, 6 km from Camardi near Demerkazik. We spent the night in Gaziantep (a reasonably large town) at the Hotel Erkes (275,000TL for 5, i.e. circa £4/night each); we eat in a restaurant about 4 doors away from the hotel where the food was excellent. Our intention was to return to Yesilce the next morning and then drive on to Biracek.
22nd May 1993: Yesilce to Biracek
Little Grebe 2 Black-necked Grebe 1 Little Bittern 3 Little Egret 3 Bald Ibis 30+ Marsh Harrier 1 Long-legged Buzzard 1 Kestrel 2 Chukar 1 Moorhen 2 Little Ringed Plover 1 Rock Dove 1 Collared Dove present Turtle Dove present Laughing Dove 2 Cuckoo 2 (+1 hepatic) Scops Owl Sp. 1 Striated Scops Owl 1 Tawny Owl 1 Swift present Pied Kingfisher 5 Blue-cheeked Bee Eater 1 Bee-eater 15 Roller 2 Hoopoe 6 Bimaculated Lark 20 Crested Lark present Woodlark 1 Sand Martin present Swallow 50+ Red-rumped Swallow 1 House Martin present Tawny Pipit 1 Rufous Bush Chat 13 White-throated Robin 20 Wheatear 2 Finsch's Wheatear 20 Red-tailed Wheatear 2 males +1 female Black-eared Wheatear 2 Blue Rock Thrush 2 Cetti's Warbler 2 Graceful Warbler 1 Reed Warbler 15 Great Reed Warbler 10 Olivaceous Warbler 10 Upcher's Warbler 20 Menetries Warbler 5 Sardinian Warbler 3 Orphean Warbler 2 Barred Warbler 1 Lesser Whitethroat 30 Garden Warbler 2 Spotted Flycatcher 1 Great Rock Nuthatch 10+ Golden Oriole 1 male Red-backed Shrike 5 Woodchat 3 Jackdaw 10 Hooded Crow 40+ Starling 4 Rose-coloured Starling 800 House Sparrow present Spanish Sparrow 2 Dead Sea Sparrow 100 Pale Rock Sparrow 11 Yellow-throated Sparrow 10 Rock Sparrow 5 Chaffinch 2 Greenfinch 4 Goldfinch 4 Linnet 10 Desert Finch 2 Cinereous Bunting 25 Black-headed Bunting 20
Menetries Warbler, Pale Rock Sparrow and Striated Scops Owl were no problem at the usual sites; we had a Scops Owl type in the trees at the cafe but it was in such poor condition we were not sure if it was Scops Owl or Striated Scops Owl. Yellow-throated Sparrow was seen on the other side of the river around the marshy pools. We were told that the Blue-cheeked Bee Eater colony was no longer present but one of our party had one flying over near the marshy pools.
We spent the night at the hotel in the centre of the town with the plastic sign depicting the Bald Ibises (Hotel Dogan?); a bit spartan but adequate at about £2 per night.
23rd May 1993: Biracek to Tafalan
Left Biracek at 0600hrs and drove towards Cizre with the occasional stop on the way.
Grey Heron 3 Little Egret 11 White Stork 25 Honey Buzzard 7 Black Kite 2 Egyptian Vulture 20 Griffon Vulture 18 Short-toed Eagle 2 Buzzard 5 Kestrel 10 Hobby 1 Chukar 2 See-See Partridge 3 Collared Pratincole 6 Little Ringed Plover 1 Red-wattled Lapwing 1 Greenshank 1 Gull-billed Tern 3 Little Tern 1 Wood Pigeon 1 Collared Dove 20 Turtle Dove present Laughing Dove 2 Little Owl 4 Swift present Lesser Pied Kingfisher 1 Bee-eater 100 Roller 50 Hoopoe 2 Calandra Lark present Crested Lark present Sand Martin 100 Crag Martin 10 Swallow present Red-rumped Swallow 2 House Martin present Rufous Bush Chat 15 Wheatear 6 Black-eared Wheatear 1 Finsch's Wheatear 10 Blue Rock Thrush 4 Cetti's Warbler 4 Olivaceous Warbler 2 Upcher's Warbler 1 Golden Oriole 1 Red-backed Shrike 4 Magpie 1 Chough 40 Rook 1 Hooded Crow 20 Raven 2 Starling 1 Rose-coloured Starling 40 House Sparrow present Spanish Sparrow 30+ Rock Sparrow 10 Black-headed Bunting 1000+ Corn Bunting 150
We had no trouble driving to Cizre and had distant views of a single Red-wattled Lapwing on an island in the river when viewing from the garage. We crossed the bridge and worked our way through the town and down the west bank of the Tigris, where we had slightly closer views including the bird in flight. See-See were found in the dry river valley, 6 - 7 km before reaching Idil but we had to walk beyond the drinking pools to the grassy hillsides before we eventually flushed a covey of three birds; this species could be easily missed with lack of manpower and lack of patience as they are hard to flush.
Our intention was to drive from Cizre to Van, but due to the condition of the roads, atrocious weather conditions and police road checks, it took us 12 hours to travel from Cizre to Tatvan. Stayed overnight at Tatvan in the Hotel Aspa (looked good from the outside but in reality no better than most of the rest); cost £6/head
24th May 1993: Tatvan to Van
The next morning was fine and sunny as we drove the relatively short distance from Tatvan to Van. Had a look at N. Van marshes but these had disappeared due to flooding; drove to Ercek Golu via a small marsh about 3 km to the west of Ercek Golu.
In afternoon did S. Van marshes and an area about 5 km to the west of Van on the lakeside -- it was here that we found White-headed Duck.
Booked into the Hotel Beskardes in the centre of Van -- probably the best hotel we have stayed in so far -- cost £4.50/head.
In the evening we drove at dusk to the railway cutting at Van Hills and tried to "CD"-out Eagle Owl; we heard one calling but it did not come into us; several Nightjars were heard calling in the general area.
Little Grebe 10 Black-necked Grebe 50 Great Crested Grebe 10 Little Bittern 3 Squacco Heron 2 Little Egret 5 Grey Heron 2 Purple Heron 7 White Stork 6 Ruddy Shelduck 30 Shelduck 6 Gadwall 4 Mallard 25+ Garganey 4 Pochard 50 Tufted Duck 1 White-headed Duck 10 Black Kite 2 Marsh Harrier 9 Buzzard 8 Long-legged Buzzard 2 Lesser Kestrel 10 Kestrel 4 Hobby 3 Quail 5+ Moorhen 20 Coot 150 Black-winged Stilt 15 Little Ringed Plover 2 Lapwing 50 Redshank 45 Black-headed Gull 50 Armenian Gull 1000 White-winged Black Tern 20 Collared Dove 6 Turtle Dove 12 Cuckoo 6 Eagle Owl 1 calling Little Owl 1 Nightjar 3+ Swift present Alpine Swift 500 Bee-eater 20 Roller 45 Hoopoe 6 Bimaculated Lark 3 Calandra Lark present Crested Lark present Sand Martin 500 Crag Martin 6 Swallow 200 House Martin 20 Tawny Pipit 1 Meadow Pipit 1 Yellow Wagtail 80 Grey Wagtail 1 Pied Wagtail 1 Rufous Bush Chat 3 Black Redstart 2 Stonechat 3 Isabelline Wheatear 2 Wheatear 10 Finsch's Wheatear 1 Rock Thrush 1 male Cetti's Warbler 4 Moustached Warbler 1 Sedge Warbler 20 Paddyfield Warbler 1 Reed Warbler 20 Great Reed Warbler 50 Olivaceous Warbler 6 Whitethroat 2 Garden Warbler 12 Chiffchaff 1 Great Tit 2 Golden Oriole 4 Lesser Grey Shrike 1 Jay 10 Magpie 15 Chough 2 Jackdaw 20 Starling present Hooded Crow 25 Rose-coloured Starling 30 House Sparrow present Rock Sparrow 10 Goldfinch 2 Linnet 6 Crimson-winged Finch 7 Ortolan Bunting 3 Grey-necked Bunting 2 Reed Bunting 2 Black-headed Bunting 100 Corn Bunting 15
No major surprises here; all the species were where they were supposed to be!
25th May 1993: Van to Agri
Left Van in the early morning and drove to Bendimahi which was flooded also; from here we drove to Yoncile near Bulanik with various stops along the way to scan the fields. At Yoncile we drove into the village and towards the Murat river; at the far end of the village a concrete irrigation canal runs from the village almost as far as the river (5 km). We walked along the edge of this as far as the river. Marsh Warblers are present in the scrub at the riverside; we scanned the islands in the river but didn't see any Demoiselle Cranes, only 9 Common Crane. It appears we may have been in the wrong area as birds were reported near Bulanik at the same time as we were there. We clapped at regular intervals during the walk alongside the irrigation canal in an effort to flush Great Snipe but without any success. On the return however we had 3+ birds in the same area we had previously covered; it may be that these birds are not really active until early evening/dusk.
Stayed the night in Agri in a hotel (Hotel Salaman) at £2/head but the hotel and the town were both very run down.
Little Grebe 6 Great Crested Grebe 40 Black-necked Grebe 15 Little Bittern 3 Squacco Heron 3 Cattle Egret 9 Little Egret 15 Grey Heron 5 Purple Heron 1 White Stork 30 Spoonbill 2 Ruddy Shelduck 10 Shelduck 6 Gadwall 6 Mallard 30 Garganey 10 Shoveler 3 Pochard 60 Tufted Duck 22 Marsh Harrier 6 Montagu's Harrier 30 Buzzard 1 Kestrel 1 Hobby 2 Quail 50+ Water Rail 3 Moorhen 15 Coot 100 Common Crane 9 Great Bustard 1 Oystercatcher 25 Black-winged Stilt 12 Stone Curlew 4 Ringed Plover 1 Lapwing 100's Great Snipe 3+ Redshank 200 Wood Sandpiper 2 Black-headed Gull 50 Armenian Gull present Gull-billed Tern 200 Caspian Tern 1 Common Tern 15 White-winged Black Tern 200 Collared Dove 5 Little Owl 1 Swift present Bee-eater 200+ Roller 60+ Hoopoe 2 Calandra Lark 50+ Short-toed Lark 2 Lesser Short-toed Lark 50 Crested Lark 10 Skylark 55 Sand Martin present Swallow 50 House Martin 10 Tawny Pipit 6 Yellow Wagtail 100's Pied Wagtail 2 Stonechat 6 Isabelline Wheatear 3 Wheatear 12 Cetti's Warbler 6 Sedge Warbler 50 Marsh Warbler 4 Reed Warbler 25 Great Reed Warbler 15+ Olivaceous Warbler 8 Lesser Whitethroat 1 Whitethroat 9 Garden Warbler 8 Chiffchaff 1 Willow Warbler 1 Magpie 20 Jackdaw 10 Rook present Hooded Crow 30 Starling 100+ Rose-coloured Starling 40 House Sparrow present Greenfinch 2 Linnet 2 Black-headed Bunting 50+ Corn Bunting 10+
Here lies our one major dip only consoled by the fact that we believed that the birds were no longer here; we were subsequently proved wrong on this matter; this area warrants more time being spent on it but with our tight schedule this was not possible.
26th May 1993: Agri to Sivri Kaya
So far we have spent approximately £150 per head on food/accommodation and fuel and have traveled approximately 4000 km. Traveler's Cheques/Euro Cheques are of little use out here, and it was only in Van and Erzurum that they could be cashed and then only with much pratting about.
Started off heading for Dougubayazit but for various reasons decided to "bin" this idea; an unfortunate decision since Mongolian Trumpeter Finch were present at the site at this time; returned and drove through Agri to Erzurum and subsequently to the site 106 km S of Ispir; from here we drove to Ispir where we had lunch and then to Sivri Kaya and the tea house where we met Mustapha Sari, the much-mentioned guide. The upstairs room was prepared for us, and we agreed to leave at 0330 hrs to see Caucasian Black Grouse.
We were charged a total of £3/head for the guide and £2/head for the accommodation -- but with no time in hand we were happy to pay this small sum to be taken straight to the Blackcock site. A grueling 1-2 hr. walk takes one to the site for dawn (dawn is probably not essential).
Grey Heron 2 White Stork 5 Ruddy Shelduck 2 Black Kite 2 Egyptian Vulture 1 Griffon Vulture 3 Buzzard 15 Long-legged Buzzard 4 Golden Eagle 1 Booted Eagle 1 Kestrel 3+ Hobby 4 Caspian Snowcock 2 calling Oystercatcher 4 Little Ringed Plover 3 Lapwing 2 Common Sandpiper 2 Redshank 4 Black-headed Gull 1 Armenian Gull 5 Gull-billed Tern 3 Common Tern 3 Rock Dove 100+ Turtle Dove 40+ Collared Dove 2 Cuckoo 10 Swift 100's Alpine Swift 3 Bee-eater 10 Roller 5 Hoopoe 2 Great Spotted Woodpecker 1 Syrian Woodpecker 2 Bimaculated Lark 2 Calandra Lark 1 Shorelark 3 Swallow present House Martin 1 Water Pipit 2 Yellow Wagtail 10 Grey Wagtail 1 Pied Wagtail 10 Dipper 1 Nightingale 1 Bluethroat 1 Stonechat 2 Wheatear 20 Rock Thrush 1 Blackbird 1 Cetti's Warbler 15 Marsh Warbler 5 Lesser Whitethroat 8 Whitethroat 10 Garden Warbler 10 Blackcap 1 Mountain Chiffchaff 10+ Blue Tit 10 Great Tit 6 Nuthatch 4 (1 at nest) Golden Oriole 4 Jay 1 Magpie 12 Jackdaw 60 Chough 2 Rook present Hooded Crow present Starling present House Sparrow present Snowfinch 3 Goldfinch 3 Linnet 10 Scarlet Rosefinch 80 Ortolan Bunting 4 Black-headed Bunting 50 Corn Bunting 10
No Semi-collared Flycatcher noted at Ispir but we couldn't quite follow the directions as outlined in the gen; others a few days before us had River Warbler and Sprosser.
27th May 1993: Sivri Kaya to Samsung
As agreed, we were met by Mustapha at 0330hrs and commenced in darkness to ascend the mountainside; in retrospect I'm glad it was in darkness; had it been daylight I probably wouldn't have undertaken it! In reality it wasn't as bad as Demerkazik; by 0435hrs we had seen our first Blackcock, and eventually a total of 21 males were seen; females are very uncommonly seen. We arrived back to hot milk at 0645hrs.
Left Sivri Kaya and headed for the Black Sea coast via Sumela Monastery; drove from here to Samsun.
Cormorant 50 Night Heron 50 Little Egret 5 Grey Heron 3 Sparrow Hawk 1 Buzzard 4 Caucasian Black Grouse 21 Moorhen 1 Oystercatcher 1 Redshank 2 Black-headed Gull 1 Yellow-legged Gull present Lesser Black-backed Gull 5 Swift present Hoopoe 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker 4 Crag Martin 3 Swallow 30 House Martin 70 Tree Pipit 1 Water Pipit 3 Grey Wagtail 20 Pied Wagtail 6 Dipper 1 Wren 6 Dunnock 2+ Robin 6 Nightingale 10+ Whinchat 1 Wheatear 10 Mistle Thrush 4 Blackbird 2 Cetti's Warbler 6 Olivaceous Warbler 1 Upcher's Warbler? 1 Lesser Whitethroat 1 Whitethroat 5 Garden Warbler 6 Blackcap 1 Green Warbler 10 Mountain Chiffchaff 1 Goldcrest 6 Spotted Flycatcher 2 Sombre Tit 2 Coal Tit 4 Blue Tit 5 Great Tit 10 Red-backed Shrike 5 Jay 2 Magpie present Rook 30 Hooded Crow 25 Raven 2 House Sparrow present Starling 10 Chaffinch 15 Greenfinch 10 Goldfinch 5 Scarlet Rosefinch 15 Bullfinch 1 Black-headed Bunting 1
Stayed overnight at a fairly plush hotel in Samsun (£12.60 each) and planned to visit the Bafra area the next morning.
28th May 1993: Samsun to Sogoksu
Left the hotel at 0630hrs and drove the 50 km to Bafra; not easy to find; a road/path runs along the east side of the river just before the bridge beyond Bafra; this allows you to drive N along the east side of the river; however it eventually comes to a dead-end; we found a track running off to the east of this track which eventually took us on to metalled road and presumably the right road to the Kizilirmak delta from the centre of Bafra; look out for the lighthouse on the west bank as a guide to the direction to go. We found the area fairly dead but there was an interesting movement of BOPs.
Returned to the hotel and commenced the long journey to Sogoksu, where we had a few hours birding before dark.
Cormorant 1 Grey Heron 5 Black Stork 2 White Stork 20 Mallard 2 Ruddy Shelduck 2 ad +2 imm Honey Buzzard 80 Buzzard 20 Unid. Buzzards 50 Black Kite 12 Marsh Harrier 8 Long-legged Buzzard 1 Imperial Eagle 1 Booted Eagle 1 Lesser Kestrel 3 Kestrel 2 Red-footed Falcon 20+ Hobby 20+ Falcon sp. present Quail 1 Crane 1 Oystercatcher 6 Stone Curlew 3 Little Ringed Plover 20 Turnstone 1 Yellow-legged Gull 100+ Black-headed Gull 1 Common Tern 250 Little Tern 10 Collared Dove 1 Turtle Dove 30 Swift 150+ Alpine Swift 20 Roller 20 Hoopoe 2 Green Woodpecker 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker 1 Crested Lark 40 Swallow 20 House Martin 10 Yellow Wagtail 10 Grey Wagtail 1 Pied Wagtail 20 Nightingale 20 Wheatear 2 Blackbird 3 Song Thrush 4 Mistle Thrush 2 Cetti's Warbler 6 Sedge Warbler 1 Great Reed Warbler 2 Barred Warbler 5 Whitethroat 6 Garden Warbler 1 Chiffchaff 2 Sombre Tit 3 Coal Tit 2+ Blue Tit 3 Great Tit 6+ Nuthatch 3 Tree Creeper 1 Golden Oriole 1 Lesser Grey Shrike 1 Red-backed Shrike 20 Jay 2 Magpie 3 Jackdaw 1 Hooded Crow 20 Starling 5 House Sparrow present Chaffinch 10 Greenfinch 6 Black-headed Bunting 10+ Corn Bunting 40+
Stayed the night at the Hotel Cam inside the entrance to the park; a very comfortable hotel but as with all the others still lacking sophistication; cost about £13, but this included a very nice breakfast; had an excellent meal at a restaurant just outside the entrance to the park
29th May 1993: Sogoksu to Beysehir
Did Sogoksu in the early morning, then driving to Bezrihane Golu and Kulu Golu and spending the evening at the Hotel Park at Beysehir (inexpensive but clean).
Black-necked Grebe 18 Red-necked Grebe 3 Little Grebe 15 White Pelican 20 Squacco Heron 1 Purple Heron 1 Black Stork 8 White Stork 30 Greater Flamingo 1120 Grey Lag Goose 3 Ruddy Shelduck 75 Shelduck 20 Gadwall 2 Teal 5 Mallard 10 Garganey 8 Shoveler 4 Marbled Duck 1 Red-crested Pochard 9 Pochard 50 Ferruginous Duck 3 White-headed Duck 24 Black Kite 1 Booted Eagle 2 Egyptian Vulture 1 Marsh Harrier 6 Goshawk 1 Buzzard 1 Long-legged Buzzard 2 Lesser Kestrel 12 Quail 3 Coot 100 Moorhen 1 Oystercatcher 12 Black-winged Stilt 50 Avocet 150 Collared Pratincole 10 Kentish Plover 8 Lapwing 50 Curlew Sandpiper 1 Redshank 1+ Mediterranean Gull 400 Black-headed Gull 150 Slender-billed Gull 150 Yellow-legged Gull 40 Gull-billed Tern 450 Common Tern 300 Little Tern 1 Whiskered Tern 4+ Black Tern 1 Rock Dove present Collared Dove 1 Turtle Dove 3 Wood Pigeon 3 Cuckoo 2+ Little Owl 1 Swift 100 Bee-eater 2 Roller 4 Hoopoe 2 Green Woodpecker 2 Great Spotted Woodpecker 10 Calandra Lark present Bimaculated Lark 2 Lesser Short-toed Lark 250+ Crested Lark 10 Woodlark 4 Skylark 1 Sand Martin 6 Crag Martin 2 Swallow 6 House Martin 3 Tawny Pipit 10 Tree Pipit 6 Yellow Wagtail 20 Grey Wagtail 2 Pied Wagtail 6 Wren 2 Robin 2 Nightingale 2 Redstart 20 Stonechat 1 Isabelline Wheatear 5 Wheatear 1 Blackbird 12 Song Thrush 8 Mistle Thrush 20 Cetti's Warbler 1 Great Reed Warbler 12 Whitethroat 6 Chiffchaff 10 Goldcrest 2 Sombre Tit 2 Coal Tit 6 Blue Tit 10 Great Tit 10 Nuthatch 7 Tree Creeper sp. 1 Golden Oriole 3 Red-backed Shrike 3 Jay 15 Magpie 60 Jackdaw 5 Rook 2+ Hooded Crow 20 Starling 100 House Sparrow 20 Chaffinch 15 Serin 90 Greenfinch 3 Goldfinch 10 Linnet 20 Crossbill 3 Hawfinch 4 Rock Bunting 6 Ortolan Bunting 2 Black-headed Bunting 4 Corn Bunting 20
30th May 1993: Beysehir to Dalaman
Drove from early morning to Akseki to try and catch up with Middle-spotted Woodpecker. We think we had a response after playing the CD but never saw any birds. Drove on to Dalaman via Antalya.
Little Egret 2 Grey Heron 6 White Stork 4 Buzzard 2 Kestrel 2 Bar-tailed Godwit 1 Yellow-legged Gull 6 Collared Dove 10 Turtle Dove 2 Cuckoo 2 Swift 250 Alpine Swift 10 Roller 2 Hoopoe 5 Great Spotted Woodpecker 1 Unid. Pied Woodpecker 2 Crested Lark 12 Swallow 30 Red-rumped Swallow 10 House Martin 3 Yellow Wagtail 6 Pied Wagtail 6 Redstart 2 Wheatear 2 Black-eared Wheatear 5 Finsch's Wheatear 4 Blue Rock Thrush 2 Blackbird 2 Mistle Thrush 6 Cetti's Warbler 3 Rueppell's Warbler 10 Orphean Warbler 2 Whitethroat 3 Bonelli's Warbler 1 Goldcrest 2 Sombre Tit 10 Coal Tit 2 Blue Tit 1 Great Tit 2 Long-tailed Tit 3 Krueper's Nuthatch 3 Rock Nuthatch 1 Masked Shrike 2 Jay 1 Magpie 10 Hooded Crow present Raven 2 Starling 30 Rose-coloured Starling 3 House Sparrow present Chaffinch 30 Chiffchaff 2 Serin 50 Greenfinch 10 Goldfinch 2 Linnet 6 Black-headed Bunting 15 Corn Bunting 20 Cretzschmar's Bunting 2
Stayed overnight at Pension Dalaman on the road to Dalaman airport; 400,000TL for 5 including breakfast.
31st May 1993: Dalaman to Izmir
Left pension at Dalaman at 0630 hrs and drove to Koycegiz Golu in an attempt to see White-tailed Eagle again; no success! Drove through Izmir and back to Camalti Tus. where we stayed until 1830 hrs when we drove back to Adnan Menderes for our return flights later that evening.
Dalmatian Pelican 3-6 birds Little Egret 55 Great White Egret 1 Grey Heron 5 Purple Heron 3 White Stork 12 Glossy Ibis 1 Spoonbill 3 Greater Flamingo 1000 Ferruginous Duck 2 Shelduck 2 Ruddy Shelduck 30 +juvs Marsh Harrier 2 Buzzard 1 Kestrel 4 Peregrine Falcon 1 Coot 6 Black-winged Stilt 150 Avocet 25 Collared Pratincole 70 Little Ringed Plover 1 Kentish Plover 20 Spur-winged Plover 20 Little Stint 3 Mediterranean Gull 30 Black-headed Gull 80 Slender-billed Gull 3 Yellow-legged Gull 200 Caspian Tern 2 Common Tern 25 Little Tern 50 Whiskered Tern 6 Black Tern 10 Collared Tern present Turtle Dove present Swift 30 Bee-eater 30 Unid. Pied Woodpecker 1 Calandra Lark 100's Short-toed Lark 15 Crested Lark 50 Sand Martin 5 Red-rumped Swallow 4 House Martin 2 Yellow Wagtail 70 Tawny Pipit 1 Pied Wagtail 3 Nightingale 3 Wheatear 6 Blackbird 7 Cetti's Warbler 20 Reed Warbler 2 Great Reed Warbler 15 Olivaceous Warbler 3 Bearded Tit 8 Jay 2 Magpie 10 Hooded Crow 20 Starling 4 House Sparrow present Spanish Sparrow 1 Goldfinch 6 Cretzschmar's Bunting 5 Black-headed Bunting 10 Corn Bunting 6
You may have gathered that this was a whistlestop "ticking" trip with more time spent travelling than actually birding. The last anticipated "tick" for most of us was at Sumella (Green Warbler), and thereafter we were really working our way back without expecting any further additions. I would recommend 3 weeks to do a trip like this to allow time to search for species not immediately found e.g. Demoiselle Crane.
A total of 254 species was seen.