Visit your favourite destinations
Western Europe
North America
Eastern Europe
South America
Middle East
East Indies

A Report from

South West Turkey 17-24 May 2010,

Gareth Jones

This was a family holiday based in the resort of Olu Deniz in South West Turkey. We stayed at the Assena Beach Hotel which is ideally based, and booked our holliday with First Choice.

Most of the birding was going to be early morning ,as I had a non birding wife and two young children.

The main aim was to see four lifers for me which were  White throated Robin, Finschs Wheatear, Red Fronted Serin and Olive Tree Warbler. The flight from Manchester was touch and go with the volcanic dust, anyway we arrived at Dalaman at 03.30 with a very long bus ride to our resort.

Day 1

After only a couple of hours sleep we were woken to one hell of a thunder storm,flooding many parts of the hotel, not the start we were hoping for. The weather eased by afternoon, so we went for a walk around the resort, then on to the lagoon adding White Wagtail, House Sparrow, Collared Dove, Jays, Great Tit, Swallow, House Martin, Blackbird and a soaring Short Toed Eagle above the resort.

Day 2

We had booked a boat trip to Dalyan mud baths, Rock tombs and Turtle beach from a booth on the sea front only costing £6 each with the kids going free including lunch,from the bus Alpine Swifts were seen before Fethiye, Swifts and Hooded Crow were in the town itself, stopping on route for refreshments, 2 Lesser Kestrels were circling around a mosque with singing Cirl Bunting in the trees, from the boat I had 5 Purple Herons, 2 Little Bitterns, Yellow Legged Gulls, Sand Martin and many singing Cettis Warbler. On the way back home, a Red footed Falcon was perched on a  telegraph wire just outside Dalyan with many nesting White Stoks seen along the way.

Day 3

Took a taxi to Mountain Pine Resort, arrived by 7.00am,with many Ruppels Warblers from the main road,after 200 yards i took a side path to the right and followed this path for a few miles,basically the whole place was very poor.

Back to the road and took the Lycian way before the entrance to the hotel,a Lanner Falcon was the highlight after a poor morning.

Day 4

An early morning walk to the east of the resort towards Lycian World,where i got my first Rock Nuthatch and Sardinian Warbler,Long Tailed Tit and Red Rumped Swallow were added around the resort,where the afternoon was trying to hire a driver and a car for the next day to go to Seki.The fist quote was £180 after hours of haggling the booths against each other i got it down to £40 plus petrol.

Day 5

Agdad the driver picked me up 7.30 and we were off,Alpine Swifts again between Fethiye and Ovacik,stopping many times to a holt,adding Crested Lark,Starling,Woodpigeon,Corn and Cirl Buntings,after going through, Zorlar, Kemer, you pass a summit sign (Karabel Gecidi 1300) a few killometer after this you will see a sign to your right for Seki,we stopped here at the old bridge,adding Goldfinch,Cuckoo and Crag Martins (nesting under both bridges), we carried on very slowly as this road is under major development, beware driving when hiring a car as the pot holes could do major damage. On this road were many Corn and Black headed Buntings, Isabelline Wheaters, Calandra Larks, Serins and Common Skylarks.

Eventually you will come to a little dual carriageway,with a small roundabout with an apple sculpture,I turned right here and stopped at the brow of the hill,after 500 yeards.The first bird I saw as I got out of the car was a female White Throated Robin carrying nesting material into a bush. There were birds everywhere, walking slowly to the bottom of the road, I must have seen at least seven White Throated Robins, Black Eared Wheaters, Lesser Whitethroats, Linnets, Ortolan, Corn and Black Headed Buntings and one Orphean Warbler, but the highlight was a superb male Finschs Wheatear singing away on a rock, by now the weather was starting to change, so we made a quick retreat back to the roundabout, turning right and up towards the mountains, after a few km you will see a trough on the right hand side, no birds were here as it had been raining the previous days, stopping to the summit I saw Raven, Magpie and Cretzschmars Bunting, by now the light rain had turned into snow and was sticking to the road, we had to make a fast retreat out of there, feeling well cheesed off, having come so close for the Serins.

On the way back we stopped for lunch at the Pide cafe, well worth trying out the mezes.

My next stop was the village of Ugurlu, I stopped at the bridge, and firstly walked right along the river, adding many Fan Tailed Warblers, Cettis and Great Reed Warblers, Nightingales, Greenfinch, Syrian Woodpecker and ten Bee eaters.

The other side of the bridge added only two Night Herons.

On the way back a quick holt at Girpi were I saw two Golden Eagles being mobbed by four Ravens.

My next stop was the Mountain Pine Resort Hotel, which I did early one morning Starting on the Lycian Way path, I met another British birder who felt the same way as I, that birding was hard work, with superb terrain but no birds.

We walked along the Lycian for a few km then turned back adding Short Toed Eagle, Kestrel, 15+ Bee eaters and many Ruppels Warblers, but the highlight was a family of four Lanner Falcons, learning the two youngsters to fly.

Day 6

No birding today (doing family things)

Day 7

An early morning walk towards the Lycia World, with birding very quiet, a track opposite the big slide at the complex looked interseting from the previous morning, with Wren and Chiffchaff added to my list, eventually caught up with Krupers Nuthatch feeding young at a nest hole.

Further up the road,looking down towards the complex,some more Rock Nuthatches and a Long Legged Buzzard drifted past.

The afternoon was spent at the lagoon,which is basically birdless,but i did have a Golden Eagle and a Eleonora's Falcon.

All in all, very disapointed with the Red Fronted Serins, having come so close, also the lack of birds around the area with plenty of suitable habitat.

Gone are the days when Turkey was a cheap country, I found the resort very expensive but plenty of places to eat.

Why not send us a report, or an update to one of your current reports?