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A Report from

A family holiday to Olu Deniz area, Turkey, 19th August-1st September 2008,

Garry Bagnell


Flights were booked in December 2007 with They booked us on a First Choice A320 which took us from London Gatwick to Dalaman at the time we agreed, but the return leg was changed to 1:00am departure (9 hours later than originally booked) from Dalaman and arriving at Gatwick at 3:20am. This flight original cost us £266pp, and was increased by £20pp (fuel increase rip off) two months before departure. Booking the flights 9 months in advance saved us no money what so ever. In fact after we received the fuel charge increase  were still advertising our original flight times/dates for £275pp. Did this include the fuel levy? Or do you get stung with it, as soon after you book your flights. I also bet you will not get a 4pm advertised Dalaman departure either.

My advice, is to be extremely careful with Charter airlines/ flight brokers, they can ruin holidays.

Car hire

I was advised to book the car up in the UK. We found Dalaman Car Rentals (Airport based) on the Internet. They wanted £30per day for a basic car with A/C. They also wanted an extra £3 a day for Car insurance. So for two weeks this would cost £462. In the end I booked a A/C Van from Hisaronu for £24 a day with the no rip off extra insurance. (We paid £336). I suggest using or 0090 543 564 4835 (Halil Erdogan) or emailing him His cheapeast car with air conditioning will be about £22-£25 a day depending on how long you want it for.

Fuel Cost

Diesel extra costs about 2.97 YTL/ litre & Fuel pump attendant charge took the price to 3.00 YTL/litre. Which is approx (3.00/2.10) £1.43, whereas unleaded was costing 3.36 YTL (£1.60 a litre). A full tank of Diesel cost 120 YTL (£57.14)

Exchange Rates

Gatwick Airport was changing up Sterling to YTL at 2.05, Dalaman Airport was changing it at 1.90 and Change Offices within Hisaronu was changing it up at 2.15. A week before we arrived in Turkey the exchange rate was 2.30 and when we left it was 2.10.

Eating out

Lots of the restaurants took sterling or an inflated YTL cost for meals/drinks. For future trips I would certainly take both currencies.


We rented a very nice 4 bedroom Villa in Ovacik. This cost us £1300 for two weeks owned by an English couple.


Every day was hot (27 degrees c / 81 degrees f). Only one evening it rained for about 2 hours.


Tuesday 19th August. Stayed at Villa and walked surrounding hills.
Wednesday 20th August. Drove to Seki & Gogu beli pass
Thursday 21st August. Drove to Hisaronu woods and took family in the afternoon to Gemil Beach.
Friday 22nd August. Drove to Korkuteli
Saturday 23rd August. Drove to Calis Beach with family.
Sunday 24th August. Drove to Hisaronu woods and walked around the hills near our Villa.
Monday 25th August. Drove to Calis Beach
Tuesday 26th August. Drove to Fethiye for all day boat excursion with the family.
Wednesday 27th August. Drove to Koycegis Lake, Dalyan & Calis Beach.
Thursday 28th August. Went on coach excursion to the Dalyan with the family.
Friday 29th August. Stayed at Villa and walked surrounding hills.
Saturday 30th August. Drove to Salikkent with the family
Sunday 31st August. Stayed at Villa and walked surrounding hills.
Monday 1st September. Stayed at Villa and walked surrounding hills.

Books & Maps Used 

Finding Birds in Western Turkey by Dave Gosney (very useful), A Birdwatchers Guide to Turkey by Ian Green & Nigel Moorhouse (very few sites mentioned for the area I was in), trip report by Steve Preddy & Martyn Hall  during 5th -19th May (definately worth downloading) on . The only map I had was the following - Insight Travel Map of Turkey 1:800 000/ 1 : 2 million.(hardly used as most places in Turkey are well sign posted).


Ovacik Hills - This is part of the Babadag Mountain range that surrounds Hisaronu & Ovacik. I walked no more than 1/2 mile from Villa during my two week vacation to see all the listed birds.

Hisaronu Woods - (4 minute drive from Villa) Described in the Gosney Guide on page 16. Site 2. It took me 2 attempts to find Krupper's Nuthatch. First attempt I drove my vehicle to the highest points and scanned the trees for 2 hours. My second attempt I parked the car in a layby near the entrance to a Motorbike Track (very close to Kayakoy) at the start of the woods and found 2 straight away feeding at eye level, then found another a 100 metres further down the road towards Hisaronu.

Calis Beach - (20 minute drive from Villa) Described in the Gosney Guide on page 16. Site 5. Before entering Marsh beware, 2 large Alsation Dogs are chained up at the side of a restaurant. I nearly pooped my pants when they started barking at me. On one visit they were not chained up at all. Birds are changing on a very frequent basis.

Seki (90 minute drive from Villa). Take Antayla road from Fethiye, and after 36km after Kemer, turn right (just past a petrol station). Eventually you will come to a roundabout with a red apple sculpture, now take the first right. Drive up a hill and then down a hill and you find a hill littered in rocks (rhs) where White-throated Robins are apparently common in the breeding season. Certainly not common in the middle of August. At this site I reversed down a hill and  grounded the Van on a raised section. Luckily 5 locals helped me push my car back onto the road. Other areas worth exploring is the New Zorlar Pass. Go over the roundabout where you turned right for the Robins. Follow the road along till you enter Zorlar, on a bend you will cross a waterless stream and then you must turn right up a steep hill. The birds in the general area were brilliant. No Robins though. However I did see a White-throated Robin (but not in my opinion sufficient for a life tick). I was driving through Zorlar and noticed a movement in a small wood. I quickly stopped the car and viewed the bird (with bins) through the car window. The bird had a black face & white supercilium and perched for approx 2 seconds then flicked right out of sight. I got out of the car to investigate, but the bird had just vanished. I cannot see what else the bird could have been apart from a male White-throated Robin. Anyway I will have to go back at some stage as I am now desparate to tick this one off.

Gogu-beli Pass Is on the Seki - Elmali road. After Zorlar keep going east and you will eventually come to a water trough that is constantly in use by mountain birds. The views of Red-fronted Serin (10 at a time) drinking water is breathtaking. I sat at the water trough for 3 hours, watching every mountain species of bird visit at point blank range. Absolutely brilliant. Unfortunately that day my camera's battery had run out.

Korkuteli - (140 minute drive from the Villa). Described in the Gosney Guide on page 18. Another dip. I  did not see any White-throated Robins here. I would have preferred to stay in the Seki area as it is much closer to the Villa, and I personally think the birding was better there.

Koycegiz Golu - (90 minute drive from the Villa). Described in the Gosney Guide on page 10. Site 7 for Pied Kingfisher & White-breasted Kingfishers. I wish I also didn't bother. This was the day that the Northern Waterthrush turned up in Cape Clear Ireland for a 4 day stay. I had several phonecalls from birders just about to embark on an Irish adventure and I was stuck on a large bridge over looking at a stream (with only trickle of water) with plently of European Kingfishers but without the larger cousins. It was also boiling hot day, my drinking water was warn, my skin was burning (I left the suntan lotion in the Villa) and I was really pi**ed off that a lifer could turn up in August. However I stayed at this site from 6am to 4pm,  I had a brief visit to Dalyan during the day. I only stayed so long beacuse I heard a White-breasted Kingfisher calling loudly at first light, along with atleast 4 Great Reed Warblers and I naturally thought aWBK  would eventually show. But guess never happened. Becareful in the Ortaca area. I got stopped by police and they asked me if I had any money or a driving license or a passport. I said "No" to all three, then they presented me with a small piece of whte paper saying I owe the police 155 YTL for speeding. Apparently I was going 99kph in a 90kph area. That is 60mph on a dual carriageway, oooo I am such a naughty boy aren't I?

Dalyan Area - Described in the Gosney Guide on page 10. The area is vast. Gosney's guide makes things look simple. Site 3 is very hard to find. But when you find it, you will wish you had not bothered. This is the site that local's decided to cut down loads of trees and bushes and make the road impassable. After 10 minutes they cleared the road and allowed me to cross. Note Site 4 is a vast area, if you try walking around this area you will not get burn't you will cremated!! Site 6 reminds me of beautiful place to go if you detest birds. Because you simply will see lovely reeds, lovely water, lovely sunshine, no people and no birds. If you do go to the Dalyan. I do recommend you take one the 10,000 boats to the mud baths in Koycegiz Golu and you end up visiting "turtless" Turtle beach for about 90 minutes. What this site lacks in the feather variety, you will certaintly be over compensated in the female bikini variety- so don't forget your sunglasses if you fancy an crafty ogle.

The bit you have all been waiting for - The Bird Diary

Ovacik Hills Tuesday 19th August 2008 - 5 Ruppell’s Warbler (3m & 2f), 2f Blackcap , Red-rumped Swallow, Barn Swallow, Spotted Flycatcher, Jay, Collared Dove, Blue Tit, Blackbird, Lesser Whitethroat, Goldfinch.

Seki Wednesday 20th August - Cretzschmar’s Bunting 1m, 3 Rock Nuthatch, Tawny Pipit, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Black-eared Wheatear, Northern Wheatear, 6 Bee-eater, Crested Lark, 2 Red-backed Shrikes

Goguj-Beli Pass Wendesday 20th August - 20 Red-fronted Serin’s, 2 Sombre Tit, 30 Rock Sparrow, Chaffinch, 2 Mistle Thrush, 1 Hoopoe, Blackcap (2m), 2 Sombre Tits, Lesser Whitethroat.

Hisaronu Thursday 21st August - 7 Coal Tits, 3 Great Tits, 1 Collard Fly, 1 Spotted Fly, 1 Willow Warbler

Ovacik Hills Thursday 21st August - 3 Red-rumped Swallows

Gemil Beach Thursday 21st August - 2 Yellow-legged Gulls

Korkuteli Friday 22nd August - Cretzsschmar’s Bunting (2m), 3 Red-backed Shrike, 4 Rock Nuthatch’s, 8 Ruppell’s Warbler, 3 Crested Lark, 1 Hoopoe, 3 Sombre Tits, 8 Black-eared Wheatear’s, Rock Dove, House Sparrow

Korkuteli – Sogut Road ½ way along Water Hole sign with Café. Friday 22nd August - 2 Rock Thrushes, 1 Long-legged Buzzard, 1 Linnet, 5 Rock Sparrows, 5 Hooded Crows.

Roadside Quarry near Sogut Friday 22 August - Crag Martin, Rock Nuthatch.

Kinik Friday 22nd August - Masked Shrike (juv)

Gogu-Beli Pass Friday 22nd August - 7 Rock Buntings, Blackbird, Serin, 1m Blackcap, 1 pr Cirl Bunting, Lesser Whitethroat, Sparrowhawk, Cretzchmar’s Bunting, 40 Red-fronted Serins

Calis Beach Saturday 23rd August - 1 Glossy Ibis, 2 Grey Herons, 3 Yellow Wagtails (Beema), 2 Med Gulls, Kingfisher, 1f Little Bittern, 4 Hooded Crows, 1 Little Egret, 2 Crested Larks, 1 Common Sand, 1 Redshank, 1 Sandwich Tern, 2 Whiskered Terns (Ad & Juv), 4 Feruginous Ducks flew in and landed at back of Marsh.

Hisaronu Sunday 24th August - 3 Krupper’s Nuthatches, 1 Syrian Woodpecker, Long-tailed Tit, Coal Tit, Great Tit

Ovacik Hills Sunday 24th August - 1f Red-backed Shrike, Spotted Fly, 1 Ruppells Warbler, 1 Lesser Whitethroat

Calis beach Monday 25th August - 1 Dunlin, 2 Sand Martins, 7 Red-rumped Swallows, 1 Barn Swallow, 1+ Little Bittern, 2 Grey Herons, 1 Little Egret, Kingfisher, 4 Yellow Wagtails (Beema)

Ovacik Hills Monday 25th August - White Wagtail

Twelve Island Boat trip from Fethiye Tuesday 26th August - 2 Shags (Demarestii), 6+ Yellow-legged Gulls

Koycegiz Golu(Site 7) Wednesday 27th August - 4 Great Reed Warblers, 1 Reed Warbler, 4 Red-backed Shrikes, 3 Coot, Hoopoe, 2 White Wagtails, 3+ Kingfishers, Spotted Flycatcher

Koycegiz Golu Wednesday 27th August - 1 Great-crested Grebe, 2 Little Grebes, 1 Red-throated Diver (Saw briefly in the early morning mist, it dived and vanished)

Dalyan (Site 5) Wednesday 27th August - 1 Little Egret

Dalyan (Site 3) Wednesday 27th August - 20 Yellow Wagtail (Feldegg)

Dalyan to Koycegiz Golu Wednesday 27th August - Lesser Grey Shrike

Calis Beach Wednesday 27th August - 1 Broad-billed Sandpiper, 1 Ringed Plover

Dalyan River Boat Trip Thursday 28th August - 4 Cormorant, 1 prob Pygmy Cormorant (Only saw with bins distantly), 1 Little Bittern, 1 Little Egret, 1 Purple Heron, 8+ Little Grebes, 3 Marsh Harriers, 1 Long-legged Buzzard, 4 Red-back Shrikes,1+ Kingfisher

Dalyan-Ortaca Road Small Zoo Thursday 28th August - 3 White Storks, 3 White Wagtails

Ovacik Hills Thursday 28th August - 1 pr Red-backed Shrikes

Ovacik Hills Friday 29th August - 7 Red-backed Shrikes, 5 Ruppell’s Warblers, 1pr Syrian Woodpeckers, 1m Cirl Bunting, 1 Blackcap, Blue Tit, Blackbird, 2 Spotted Flys, Lesser Whitethroat

Ovacik Hills Saturday 30th August - Syrian Woodpecker seen from Villa, 1 pr Red-backed Shrikes

Ovacik Hills Sunday 31st August - Pied Fly, 2 different Syrian Woodpeckers, 1 ad Masked Shrike, 1 Subalpine Warbler, 1 Whitethroat, 2 Red-backed Shrikes, 2 House Martins

Ovacik Hills Sunday 31st August - Spotted Fly, 2 Ortolan’s, 1 Subalpine Warbler, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Olivaceous Warbler, Blue Tit, 8 Red-backed Shrikes, 1 m Masked Shrike (different location from yesterdays bird), 1 Coat Tit, 1 Great Tit, 3 Blackcaps, 1 pr Cirl Buntings, 1 Short-toed Eagle (lingered for a few hours)



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