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A Report from birdtours.co.uk

TURKEY, 31st May - 7th June 1994,

Hugh Harrop

shetland.wildlife.tours@zetnet.co.uk

When Hugh sent me this report he added the following lines:

"Here's the Turkey report.  I've just re-read it and it brought back some wonderful memories.  Probably the best week I've had anywhere in the world!"

ITINERARY

30.5.94   Departed Manchester airport at 1930 hrs for direct flight with Airtours to Antalya. The flight cost 189 return.

31.5.94   Arrived Antalya at 0100 local time. A 5 entry tax was levied on entry to the country. Picked up hire car from Holiday Autos and drove to Akseki. Dawn was spent at the White-backed Woodpecker site 7.9km north of the town. Despite the use of a tape, no sign of the 'pecker. However, scored on Krupers Nuthatch, which seemed fairly common in the area. Met up with Dave Hopkins, Ernie Davies and Ashleigh Rosiar et al who stayed at the 'pecker site while we birded the lower valley. We later found out that the 'pecker showed 10 minutes after we left! The graveyard produced at least 2 Olive-tree Warblers, one of which gave 'scope-filling views out in the open without the use of a tape! Tried another White-backed Woodpecker site off the Akseki by-pass but failed miserably here as well. Left Akseki at around 11am and drove via Konya to Eregli. After several frustrating hours of trying to find the marshes as detailed in Julian Hough's report, we found better access by following Dave Gosney's directions by following the road out of Bogecik. Birded here until dusk, picking up White-headed Duck and Pygmy Cormorant without difficulty. Drove back to Eregli town where we stayed in a cheap hotel (c1 each).

01.6.94   Rose at dawn and headed back to the marshes near Bogecik. We found a way to drive right to the waters edge and had superb views of the birds on and around the lake including a very close flock of 200+ White  Pelicans, Ruddy Shelducks, White-headed Ducks etc. Had breakfast in Eregli and drove to Demerkazik where we arrived just before midday.  Checked in at the ski-lodge at a cost of 4 each. Spent the early afternoon exploring the lower slopes of the mountains seeing Crimson-winged Finch, Red-fronted Serin, Finsch's Wheatear, Rock Bunting and Snowfinch before the arrival of a torrential thunderstorm which kept us cave-bound for a few hours. After  the rain had cleared we tried driving up the windy track but soon got bogged down which meant that driving part of the way for the Snowcocks the following morning was out of the question. Birded the gorge which was very quiet. Despite the gen given in many trip reports, there is food available at the ski-lodge, which proved perfectly OK. Early to bed with the thunderstorm back as well as thick mist.

02.6.94   Got up at 2am to start the trek up to mountain for the Snowcocks. However, it was still raining and the conditions didn't look good at all. Went back to bed and rose at 5am with the rain finally having stopped. Walked up the valley to the plateau  which took just under 2 hours. Arrived at the top where the weather was very cold, not helped by the coming and goings of great big mist patches. Snowcocks could be heard calling straight away although they refused to show themselves until after an agonising hour and a half, when, one gave itself up providing superb scope views as it climbed up the scree slopes. We then scored on a Radde's Accentor in the cup shaped hollow and left the plateau at around 11am. Walked back down the valley to ski lodge. An adult Lammergeier was  seen from here. Left here in the afternoon for the drive to Gaziantep, seeing another Lammergeier, this time an immature, near Camardi. Arrived at Yesilice with about an hour of light left, seeing little except for 3 superb White-throated Robins. Drove to Gaziantep to a hotel.

03.6.94   Rose at dawn and drove to the village of Durnalik. Spent the morning walking the valley through the orchards scoring on Cinereous  Bunting, Upcher's Warbler, Great Rock Nuthatch, Pale Rock Sparrows and Bimaculated Larks. The rocky area at the top of the valley held 4 Red-tailed Wheatears which gave excellent views. We didn't have any  hassle here and found the locals quite friendly, although the army did stop and check passports etc. Left here around midday and drove to Birecik to the park and cafe where, after buying a few drinks, the owner found us a Striated Scops Owl. 3 Long-eared Owls were also here. We then  went to the WWF centre to see the Bald Ibis zoo and arrange a guide for  the Eagle Owl. After asking for "Bubo" and paying 3, the guide took us up the wadi where we got stunning views of both adults out in the open. See-see here also. The rest of the day was spent around the orchard area north of the town where we scored on Menetrie's Warbler, Rufous Bushchat and Yellow-throated Sparrow. Overnight at the hotel just before you enter Birecik from the west - luxurious and cheap (c3 for twin room). There is a good restaurant here and an "off-licence" around  the corner.

04.6.94   Rose just after dawn and went back to the WWF wadi for tickable  views of See-see; scored no problem. We then headed north towards Halfeti stopping off at a Cream-coloured Courser site where we found 2 adults without difficulty. Continued north to a site 1.5km north of Halfeti which proved very productive with Bonelli's Eagles, Honey Buzzards, Little Swifts and Yellow-throated Sparrows while 10km up river, we had Pied Kingfisher. Returned to Birecik to the Blue-cheeked Bee-eater colony  where we saw at least 25 birds, all of which were very close - stunning. Left Birecik just after 1pm and drove to Tasucu, arriving here at around 7pm. Checked into a cheap pension.

05.6.94   Rose at dawn and drove to the Goksu where we birded all morning. A very productive area. We saw lots of Collared Pratincoles, 7 Audouin's Gulls at the river mouth, 3 Broad-billed Sands nearby, 5 Purple Gallinules and lots of Black Francolins. The whole area is superb and I would advise following Dave Gosney's maps for best results. Left here just after midday and drove back to Akseki. Arrived at Akseki just before dusk and checked into the Hotel Duruk which is very plush and outrageously cheap (c2.50 for a double  room).

06.6.94   Arrived back at the White-backed Woodpecker site at dawn and failed miserably yet again.  Similar story at the Y shaped clearing site off the Akseki by pass. Worked the graveyard again seeing Olive-tree Warbler and Masked Shrike. Left here late morning and drove back to Antalya airport, stopping off at Tasagil on the way. Arrived at the airport late afternoon and returned car.  

07.6.94   Departed Antalya at 0300 arriving back in Manchester at 0600. 0915 flight back to Shetland, arriving 1300.

Recommended Reading for Turkey:

Songbirds of Turkey    Cees S. Roselaar

Birdwatcher's Guide to Turkey    Ward

Finding Birds in Eastern Turkey   Dave Gosney

Finding Birds in Turkey  Dave Gosney

Acknowledgements

We made use of the following trip reports:

Turkey 1989 by Julian Hough and Simon Smethurst,

Finding Birds in Turkey - Ankara to Birecik by Dave Gosney, 

Turkey 1st - 9th June 1993 by A. Bevan, D.R.W. Gilmore and P. Bristow.

Thanks also to Ashleigh Rosiar, Dave Hopkins, Ernie Davies and Paul Higson et al for an  excellent 4 day "team up" & Phil Bristow, Guy Kirwan for providing logistical information and to the people of Turkey for being so friendly and welcoming.

Systematic List:

Little Grebe: 1 at Eregli on 1/6.

Great Crested Grebe: 2 at Eregli on 31/5 and 4 at Goksu on 5/6.

Black-necked Grebe: 2 at Eregli on 31/5 and 10 there on 1/6.

Pygmy Cormorant: 4 at Eregli on 31/5.

White Pelican: c.200 at Eregli on 1/6.

Night Heron: 10+ at Goksu on 5/6.

Squacco Heron: 3 at Eregli on 31/5 and 10+ at Goksu on 5/6.

Cattle Egret: 3 at Goksu on 5/6.

Little Egret: 5 at Eregli on 31/5 and 8 at Goksu on 5/6.

Great White Egret: 2 at Goksu on 5/6.

Grey Heron: singles at Eregli on 31/5 and Goksu on 5/6.

Purple Heron: 20+ at Goksu on 5/6.

White Stork: 50 at Eregli on 31/5 with 20+ there the following day and 3 at Goksu on 5/6.

Glossy Ibis: 4 at Eregli on 31/5 with 10 there on 1/6.

Bald Ibis: at Birecik, at least 15 free flying birds were seen around the  WWF centre.

Spoonbill: 1 at Eregli on 31/5.

Greater Flamingo: 250 were at Eregli on 31/5 and 1/6 and 2 were at Goksu  on 5/6.

Greylag Goose: 10+ at Eregli on 31/5 and 1/6. A party of 16 flew north  over Demerkazik on 2/6 and a single was at Goksu on 5/6.

Ruddy Shelduck: 30 at Eregli on 1/6 and 22 at Goksu on 5/6.

Shelduck: singles at Eregli on 31/5 and 1/6.

Mallard: noted at Eregli, Birecik and Goksu.

Marbled Duck: 4 at Eregli on 31/5 and 40+ at Goksu on 5/6.

Red-crested Pochard: c.30 at Eregli on 31/5 with c.10 there on 1/6.

Pochard: 2 at Eregli on 31/5 with 6 there on 1/6.

Ferruginous Duck: a male at Eregli on 31/5.

Tufted Duck: c.20 at Eregli on 31/5.

White-headed Duck:
a single male at Eregli on 31/5 with 4 there on 1/6.

Honey Buzzard: a total of 11 birds, presumably migrants, flew over  Halfeti on 4/6.

Lammergeier: an adult was at Demerkazik on 2/6 and an immature was seen c20km south of Camardi on the same date.

Egyptian Vulture: singles near Tasagil on 31/5 and Demerkazik on 2/6.

Griffon Vulture: 1 at Demerkazik and 2 c20km south of Camardi on 2/6 and 2 near Halfeti on
4/6.

Short-toed Eagle: a single near Taskesigi on 6/6.

Marsh Harrier: common in suitable habitat, e.g. 20+ at Eregli on 1/6.

Sparrowhawk: 2 at Akseki on 31/5.

Buzzard: a total of 7 birds seen. With the exception of one bird, all  birds seen showed characters of the race vulpinus.   metres on a small pool near the Goksu river-mouth on 5/6.

Ruff: 3 at Eregli on 1/6.

Mediterranean Gull: an adult and a 1st summer at Goksu on 5/6.

Black-headed Gull: 5 at Eregli on 31/5 and 3 at Goksu on 5/6.

Audouin's Gull: 7+ (including three adults) were among the roosting gulls at the mouth of the Goksu on 5/6.

Herring Gull: 50+ at Goksu on 5/6. All birds were of the yellow-legged  'cachinnans'-type race.

Gull-billed Tern: 3 at Eregli on 31/5 and 2 at Goksu on 5/6.

Common Tern: 100+ at Goksu on 5/6.

Little Tern: 1 at Eregli on 31/5 with 10+ there on 1/6 and c.30 at Goksu  on 5/6.

Rock Dove: common.

Woodpigeon: 2 near Akseki on 31/5.

Collared Dove: present at most sites visited.

Turtle Dove: 1 at Akseki on 31/5, 30+ at Durnalik on 3/6. Under recorded.

Laughing Dove: 1 at Gaziantep and 3 between Gaziantep and Durnalik on 3/6 and 1 at Birecik
on 4/6.

Cuckoo: singles at Akseki on 31/5, Eregli on 1/6 and Demerkazik on 2/6.

Striated Scops Owl: a roosting bird was located during the afternoon in  the trees at the famous cafe in Birecik on 3/6. At dusk, the bird was  flying around hunting.

Scops Owl: 1 calling at Akseki during the night of 5/6.

Eagle Owl: 2 adults gave superb views during the day in the wadi near the WWF centre at Birecik on 3/6. Although we couldn't see the nest the warden told us that they had 2 chicks.

Little Owl: 1 at Demerkazik at dawn on 2/6.

Tawny Owl: 1 picked up dead near Akseki on 6/6.

Long-eared Owl: 1 adult and 2 juveniles at the Striated Scops Owl site at  Birecik on 3/6.

Swift: fairly common. Under recorded.

Alpine Swift: 2 near Akseki on 31/5, 12 at Demerkazik on 1/6 with 10  there on 2/6, 5 near Halfeti on 4/6 and 15 at Goksu on 5/6.

Little Swift: 10+ at Halfeti on 4/6.

Pied Kingfisher: 1 along the River Euphrates c10km north of Halfeti on  4/6.

Blue-cheeked Bee-eater: 25+ at Birecik on 4/6.

Bee-eater: 2 at Eregli on 31/5, 1 near Camardi on 1/6, 5 at Birecik on 3/6 and 6 near Halfeti on 4/6.

Roller: 6 in the Akseki area on 31/5, 1 at Halfeti on 4/6 and 5 near Tasagil on 6/6.

Hoopoe: a total of 17 bird days. Most birds seen while driving.

Great Spotted Woodpecker: 1 at Akseki cemetery on 31/5.

Syrian Woodpecker: 2 at Durnalik and 1 at Birecik on 3/6 and 2 near  Halfeti on 4/6.

Calandra Lark: 2 seen en route between Konya and Eregli and 5 at Eregli on 31/5.

Bimaculated Lark: 4 at Durnalik on 3/6.

Short-toed Lark: 10+ at Eregli on 31/5 and 1/6, 3 near Halfeti on 4/6 and 15+ at Goksu on 5/6.

Lesser Short-toed Lark: 8+ at Eregli on 31/5.

Crested Lark: common at all sites visited except the higher parts of Demerkazik.

Woodlark: 2 at Demerkazik on 1/6 and 4 there on 2/6.

Shore Lark: 10+ at Demerkazik on 1/6 with 25+ there on 2/6.

Sand Martin: extremely common at Birecik on 3/6, 10 at Goksu on 5/6 and 20+ at Antalya
airport on 6/6.

Crag Martin: c.30 at Demerkazik on 1/6 with 15+ there on 2/6.

Swallow: small numbers seen at all sites visited. Under recorded.

Red-rumped Swallow: 30+ 1.5km north of Halfeti on 4/6 and 2 near Akseki on 5/6.

House Martin: small numbers recorded at most sites. Under recorded.

Tawny Pipit: 1 at Demerkazik on 1/6 and 2 at Durnalik on 3/6.

Water Pipit: 3 at Demerkazik on 2/6.

Yellow Wagtail: 2 at Eregli on 1/6 and 50+ at Goksu on 5/6. All birds were of the black-headed race feldegg.

Grey Wagtail: 1 at Demerkazik on 1/6 and 2/6.

Pied Wagtail: 4 at Eregli on 1/6, 2 at Demerkazik on 2/6 and 2 at Birecik  on 3/6 and 4/6

Wren: 1 at Demerkazik on 2/6.

Radde's Accentor: 1 in the cup shaped hollow at Demerkazik on 2/6.

Rufous Bush Robin: 2 at Birecik on 3/6, 1 near Halfeti on 4/6 and 5+ at  Goksu on 5/6.

White-throated Robin: 3 at Isikli on 2/6 and 8 at Durnalik on 3/6.

Black Redstart: 1 near Akseki on 31/5, 5 at Demerkazik on 1/6 with 1 there on 2/6. One bird at Demerkazik showed characters of the race semirufus.

Redstart: 2 near Akseki on 6/6.

Isabelline Wheatear: 30+ at Eregli on 31/5 with 10 there on 1/6 and 1  near Halfeti on 4/6.

Northern Wheatear: recorded in small numbers except at Demerkazik where  there were 25+ on 1/6 and 2/6.

Black-eared Wheatear: 10+ at Akseki on 31/5, 2 at Isikli on 2/6, 10 at Durnalik on 3/6 and 3 near Halfeti on 4/6.

Finsch's Wheatear: a pair at Demerkazik on 1/6 feeding a juvenile.

Red-tailed Wheatear: 4 (male, female + 2 recently fledged juveniles) among the lunar landscape
boulders at Durnalik on 3/6.

Rock Thrush: 1 between Akseki and Konya on 31/5, 1 just south of Camardi  on 1/6, 3 at
Demerkazik on 1/6 with 2 there on 2/6.

Blue Rock Thrush: 12 between Akseki and Konya on 31/5, 2 at Demerkazik on 1/6 with 1 there
on 2/6 and 1 near Halfeti on 4/6.

Blackbird: 1 at Akseki on 31/5 and 5 near Selik on 6/6.

Cetti's Warbler: birds heard near Tasagil on 31/5, Eregli on 31/5 and 1/6  and near Camardi on
1/6.

Graceful Warbler: 15+ at Goksu on 5/6.

Savi's Warbler: at least four birds were singing at Goksu on 5/6, one of  which was seen.

Reed Warbler: 1 near Tasagil on 31/5 and c50 at Goksu on 5/6.

Great Reed Warbler:
20 near Tasagil on 31/5, 20+ at Eregli on 1/6 and 40 at Goksu on 5/6.

Olivaceous Warbler: 2 at Isikli on 2/6, 2 at Durnalik on 3/6, 2 at Birecik on 3/6 and 1 at Tasucu
Graveyard on 5/6.

Upcher's Warbler: a probable at Isikli on 2/6 and 3+ at Durnalik on 3/6.  The birds at Durnalik responded well to a tape and gave excellent views.

Olive-tree Warbler: 2 at Akseki graveyard on 31/5 and 6/6.

Menetrie's Warbler: 4 at Birecik on 3/6.

Ruppell's Warbler: at least 4 at Akseki on 31/5. All birds were seen in  the valley just north of the town.

Orphean Warbler: 3 at Akseki on 31/5, 1 at Isikli on 2/6, 6 at Durnalik  on 3/6, 1 at Halfeti on 4/6.

Lesser Whitethroat: 10+ at Demerkazik on 1/6 with 5 there on 2/6, 20+ at Durnalik on 3/6 and 10 at Birecik on 3/6 and 4/6.

Spotted Flycatcher: 2 at Akseki on 6/6.

Bearded Tit: 1 at Eregli on 1/6.

Sombre Tit: 3 at Akseki on 31/5 and 6 at Durnalik on 3/6.

Coal Tit: 5 at Akseki on 31/5 with 3 there on 6/6.

Blue Tit: present at Akseki on 31/5.

Great Tit: singles at Akseki on 31/5, Durnalik on 3/6 and Akseki on 6/6.

Kruper's Nuthatch: 15+ at Akseki on 31/5 with 10+ there on 6/6.

Nuthatch: 1 at Akseki on 6/6.

Great Rock Nuthatch: 10+ at Durnalik on 3/6 and 3 1.5km north of Halfeti on 4/6.

Rock Nuthatch: 4 at Akseki on 31/5, 3 at Demerkazik on 1/6 with 1 there on 2/6, 2 at Durnalik
on 3/6 and 4 north of Halfeti on 4/6.

Golden Oriole: single males at Akseki on 31/5 and south of Camardi on  1/6.

Red-backed Shrike: 15 on roadside wires while driving from Akseki to Eregli on 31/5, 10 between Eregli and Demerkazik on 1/6, 3 at Demerkazik on 1/6 and 1 at Birecik on 3/6.

Woodchat Shrike: 4 at Durnalik on 3/6 and 1 at Halfeti on 4/6.

Masked Shrike: 3 in the Akseki area and 1 at Tasagil on 6/6.

Jay: 1 near Anamur on 5/6 and 1 at Akseki on 6/6.

Magpie: seen at nearly all localities visited. Under recorded.

Alpine Chough: 50+ at Demerkazik on 2/6.

Chough: 30+ at Demerkazik on 1/6 with c50 there on 2/6.

Jackdaw: 5 at Eregli on 1/6, 1 at Durnalik on 3/6 and 4 near Halfeti on  4/6.

Rook: common at Eregli on 31/5 and 1/6.

Carrion Crow: seen daily in small numbers. Under recorded. All birds were  of the 'Hooded' race.

Raven: seen in small numbers at Akseki and Eregli.

Starling: common.

House Sparrow: common.

Spanish Sparrow: 12 at Eregli on 31/5 (nesting in White Stork's nest), 10 near Halfeti on 4/6 and 10 at Goksu on 5/6.

Tree Sparrow: 1 at Demerkazik on 2/6.

Pale Rock Sparrow: 2 at Durnalik on 3/6.

Yellow-throated Sparrow: 12 at Birecik on 3/6, 4 between Birecik and Halfeti on 4/6 and 3 1.5km north of Halfeti also on 4/6.

Rock Sparrow: 4 near Camardi on 1/6, 15 at Demerkazik on 1/6 with 10  there on 2/6 and 30+ at Durnalik on 3/6.

Snowfinch: 10 at Demerkazik on 1/6 with 40+ there on 2/6.

Chaffinch: present at Akseki. Under recorded.

Red-fronted Serin: 15+ at Demerkazik on 1/6 with 7 there on 2/6.

Serin: c10 at Akseki on 31/5 with 5 there on 6/6. 1 at Birecik on 3/6.

Greenfinch: present at Akseki, Durnalik and Antalya.

Goldfinch: fairly common at most sites.

Linnet: singles at Akseki on 31/5 and 6/6, 6 at Demerkazik on 1/6 with 2 there on 2/6.

Crossbill: 12 at Akseki on 31/5 with 4 there on 6/6.

Crimson-winged Finch: 2 at Demerkazik on 1/6 with 1 there on 2/6.

Desert Finch: 4 at Durnalik on 3/6.

Common Rosefinch: 1 female/immature at Isikli on 2/6.

Rock Bunting: 3 at Demerkazik on 1/6 with 5+ there on 2/6.

Cinereous Bunting: 10+ at Durnalik on 3/6, eight of which were singing  males. Those seen well were of the race semenowi.

Ortolan Bunting: 1 at Demerkazik on 1/6 with 2 there on 2/6 and 1 at  Durnalik on 3/6.

Cretzschmar's Bunting: 5 at Akseki on 31/5 and 1 at Durnalik on 3/6.

Black-headed Bunting: reasonably common at most sites visited, e.g. 30+ at Akseki on 31/5.

Corn Bunting: seen and heard at Akseki, Eregli and Camardi. Seriously under recorded.

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