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A Report from

South West Turkey, 28th May-12th June 2004,

Dominic Bates

I spent two weeks in the Dalyan area with my (non-birdwatcher) girlfriend at the beginning of June 2004. The plan was to combine activities such as biking, scuba diving, visiting archaeological sites and birdwatching with extensive lazing around on the beach. I'm a self-confessed raptorphile and held great hopes for seeing a wide variety of birds of prey while in Turkey.

We booked a cheap package deal from Thomas Cook on their website - Flight, 2 weeks B&B in 3* hotel for £380 each. The hotel was called Club Alla Turca and was of very good quality for 3* - it's also located relatively close to the edge of town providing easy access by foot to a number of habitats including reeds, river, farmland and hillside pine forest/scrub.

My guide for the area was Bob Swann's Birdtours report from April 2003 - absolutely invaluable although I did not match his number of species! Additionally I consulted Giorgos Giannatos's report about Lake Isikli on

I hired a bike on four occasions (Kaunos Tours have good bikes as well as Club Alla Turca) and found this a great way to cover different areas near Dalyan.  We hired a jeep for 2 days (also from Kaunos Tours, £32 a day) though I was forced to rely on my girlfriend to drive as I accidentally left my licence in England - many thanks to her for "agreeing" to drive me what turned out to be a very long way!

I saw 95 species which was a good haul given my relatively limited experience and time and lack of car on most days. I also lack a telescope which frequently prevented effective identification of a number of species. I saw 25 new species to me which perhaps shows my inexperience, but I was obviously extremely pleased with this total. Given the locations visited, I was surprised at the lack of wetland species - only the heron species are well represented in the list. I saw only one wader and not a single wild duck while in Turkey!

I was fairly happy with the variety of raptors seen, however I was rather concerned that on a two day 1000km+ road trip to Pamukkale and Isikli Golu I only saw three raptors. This seems quite worrying from a conservation point of view - I expected to see many soaring raptors from the road. The biggest surprise omission was Marsh Harrier - I felt sure I'd see several over reedbeds at Dalyan and Isikli but none seemed to be present. I did however see three new raptor species (Lammergeier, White Tailed Eagle and Booted Eagle) - so I was pretty happy overall.

I saw lots of reptiles - scores of tortoises, several snakes and many lizards. We got up early to see leatherback turtles one morning - well worth it. I recommend using the guide from the pancake shop next to the Chinese Restaurant - very knowledgeable and conservation-minded.

In conclusion, a great country to visit - for birdwatching and a general holiday.  The Turks are fabulously friendly and hospitable and Dalyan itself is a pleasant quiet resort, albeit rapidly expanding outwards (at least building over two storeys is prohibited). I would like to return to Turkey and explore some of the locations further east, though I would also not rule out a return to Dalyan.

Sites visited:

Birds seen:

Little Grebe

Tachybaptus ruficollis 

One on pond south of Caunos ruins

Great Crested Grebe

Podiceps cristatus

One on Isikli Golu

European Shag

Phalacrocorax aristotelis

One flying over sea near Dalyan Delta

Dalmatian Pelican

Pelecanus crispus

c30 seen at Acigol

Little Bittern

Ixobrychus minutus     

One seen in bushes on Isikli Golu..

Black-crowned Night-Heron

Nycticorax nycticorax

Several seen over reeds in Dalyan and Isikli Golu

Squacco Heron

Ardeola ralloides      

Several seen at Isikli Golu

Cattle Egret

Bubulcus ibis

One seen at Isikli Golu

Little Egret

Egretta garzetta

Several seen at Isikli Golu

Great Egret

Egretta alba

One seen at Isikli Golu

Grey Heron

Ardea cinerea

Several seen at a number of sites

Purple Heron

Ardea purpurea

Several seen at Isikli Golu and Dalyan

White Stork

Ciconia ciconia

Common everywhere


Gypaetus barbatus

One 3-4 year seen soaring to the northeast of Isikli village

Booted Eagle

Aquila pennatus

One adult light phase seen briefly soaring over Akdag massif from road shortly after leaving town of Beydili

White-tailed Eagle

Haliaeetus albicilla

Fantastic views gained of adult pair harassing a short-toed eagle over Lake Koycegiz

Short-toed Snake-Eagle

Circaetus gallicus     

One seen over Dalyan reeds with snake and one seen over Lake Koycegiz.

Northern Goshawk

Accipiter gentilis

One seen soaring low over hillside pine forest near Iztusu beach.

Eurasian Sparrowhawk

Accipiter nisus

One seen soaring over Okcular massif

Common Buzzard

Buteo buteo

A very vocal pair seen soaring low over hills behind Dalyan which I was able to compare well with a Long Legged Buzzard soaring in the same thermal - size difference quite marked.

Long-legged Buzzard

Buteo rufinus

Several seen: on islands near Gocek, plains near Civril, Iztusu beach and over Pamukkale ..

Lesser Kestrel

Falco naummani

One seen at Iztusu beach.

Common or Eurasian Kestrel

Falco tinnunculus

Pair appeared to be breeding on the two small hills to the north of Dalyan.

Eleonora's Falcon

Falco eleonora

Several seen around Dalyan and Lake Koycegiz - both pale and dark phase birds.

Peregrine Falcon

Falco peregrinus

One seen soaring over crags above Dalyan

Common Moorhen

Gallinula chloropus

Isikli Golu

Common Coot

Fulica atra

Pond at Caunos. Isikli Golu

Kentish or Snowy Plover

Charadrius alexandrinus

One at Iztusu beach

Black-headed Gull

Larus ridibundus

Several seen near Dalyan

Mediterranean Gull

Larus melanocephalus   

Two seen perched at Iztusu beach.

European Herring Gull

Larus argentatus

Common over Dalyan especially when returning to roost near the sea in the evening.

Black Tern

Chlidonias niger       

One seen at Isikli Golu

White-winged Tern

Chlidonias leucopterus

Two seen at Isikli Golu

Whiskered Tern

Chlidonias hybridus

40+ at Isikli Golu

Common Wood-Pigeon

Columba palumbus

One seen near deciduous woodland on road between Koycegiz and Dalyan

Eurasian Collared-Dove

Streptopelia decaocto

Common everywhere

European Turtle-Dove

Streptopelia turtur

One seen near Dalyan

Common or Eurasian Scops-Owl

Otus scops

Heard every night at Dalyan and one seen briefly when flushed from tree.

Little Owl

Athene noctua          

Common in Dalyan.

Eurasian Nightjar

Caprimulgus europaeus

Heard and briefly seen one evening near the hotel in Dalyan.

Common Swift

Apus apus

Common on higher ground.

Pied Kingfisher

Ceryle rudis

One seen briefly at Iztusu.

European Bee-eater

Merops apiaster

Seen on telegraph wires on road between Kale and Denizli

European Roller

Coracias garrulus

Seen in several places near Dalyan.

Eurasian or Common Hoopoe

Upupa epops

One seen near Isikli Golu

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker

Dendrocopos minor      

Female seen well in tree next to Lake Koycegiz

Crested Lark

Galerida cristata      

Common, especially at Hierapolis/Pamukkale.

Wood Lark or Woodlark

Lullula arborea        

One heard and seen well near roadside café on road between Kale and Mugla.

Sky Lark or Skylark

Alauda arvensis

Common at Pamukkale and on coastal grasslands in Dalyan Delta

Sand Martin or Bank Swallow

Riparia riparia

Several seen in hills on road between Kale and Mugla.

Barn Swallow

Hirundo rustica

Common in Dalyan

Red-rumped Swallow

Hirundo daurica

One seen well near Isikli Golu

Northern House-Martin

Delichon urbica

Common in Dalyan

Tawny Pipit

Anthus campestris      

One seen near river and reedbeds at Dalyan

White Wagtail

Motacilla alba

Common in Dalyan

Rufous-tailed Scrub-Robin

Cercotrichas galactotes

Two seen in bushes near Dalyan

Common Nightingale

Luscinia megarhynchos

Common and easily heard. One seen well on road between Dalyan and Koycegiz

White-throated Robin

Irania gutturalis

One male seen well in gorge east of Pamukkale.

Black-eared Wheatear

Oenanthe hispanica     

Common at Hierapolis and also seen near Iztusu beach and Lake Koycegiz.

Finsch's Wheatear

Oenanthe finschii

One seen at Hierapolis.

Eurasian or Common Blackbird

Turdus merula

Fairly common in scrub.

Cetti's Warbler

Cettia cetti           

Very common in Dalyan.

Zitting Cisticola

Cisticola juncidis     

One seen near Iztusu beach and in reeds near Dalyan.

Eurasian Reed-Warbler

Acrocephalus scirpaceus

Common in reeds near Dalyan

Great Reed-Warbler

Acrocephalus arundinaceus          

One seen in reeds near Dalyan

Olivaceous Warbler

Hippolais pallida      

Common in bushes in Dalyan

Orphean Warbler

Sylvia hortensis       

One seen in scrub at Caunos.

Barred Warbler

Sylvia nisoria         

Two seen in scrub on Okcular massif.

Common or Greater Whitethroat

Sylvia communis

One seen in scrub in Dalyan

Eurasian Penduline-Tit         

Remiz pendulinus

A pair seen flitting around in reeds/bushes north of Dalyan.

Sombre Tit

Parus lugubris

One seen in pine forests by Iztusu beach.

Coal Tit

Parus ater


European Blue Tit

Parus caeruleus


Great Tit

Parus major


Krueper's Nuthatch

Sitta krueperi

Common in pine forest by Iztusu beach.

Western Rock-Nuthatch

Sitta neumayer

Common in all rocky habitats.

Lesser Grey Shrike

Lanius minor           

One seen on telegraph wires on road between Kale and Denizli

Woodchat Shrike

Lanius senator         

Common everywhere.

Masked Shrike

Lanius nubicus

One seen on telegraph wire near Okcular massif

Eurasian Jay

Garrulus glandarius


Eurasian Magpie

Pica pica

Not seen in Dalyan but commonly seen on roads between Dinar and Denizli.

Eurasian Jackdaw

Corvus monedula


Hooded Crow

Corvus cornix


Common or Northern Raven

Corvus corax

A pair seen over Iztusu beach.

Common Starling

Sturnus vulgaris

A flock seen in Denizli

House Sparrow

Passer domesticus


Spanish or Willow Sparrow

Passer hispaniolensis  

A flock seen on farmland near Dalyan.


Fringilla coelebs


European Serin           

Serinus serinus        

Several individuals around Dalyan and Okcular massif.

European Greenfinch

Carduelis chloris


European Goldfinch

Carduelis carduelis


Ortolan Bunting

Emberiza hortulana     

One seen in scrub on Okcular massif

Cretzschmar's Bunting

Emberiza caesia

One seen in hills in between Kale and Mugla

Black-headed Bunting

Emberiza melanocephala 

Common in scrubby areas.

Corn Bunting

Emberiza calandra      

Common in suitable habitat.

Dom Bates.


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