Kulu and Kozanli

Calandra Lark

Calandra Lark

Yesterday I went birding with visiting Irish birder Jim Bowman and his wife. He provided me with a list of “most wanted” and then we started working. We started at 5:30 and went straight to Kulu.

Red-throated Pipit

Red-throated Pipit

The early hours were awesome with tons of birds. Ortulan Bunting, Calandra, Crested, Greater and Lesser Short-toed Lark, Tawny and Red-throated Pipit and Isabelline and Northern Wheatear all gave good views.

Marsh Sandpiper

Marsh Sandpiper

We then continued to look for shore birds and soon 3 Red-necked Phalaropes were seen along with Spur-winged Lapwing, Little Stint, Marsh Sandpipers, Avocet, Black-winged Stilt, Kentish, Ringed and Lesser Ringed Plover.

Grey Phalarope

Grey Phalarope

A Grey Phalarope had been reported from the area a few days ago. There were only 3 records before 2008, so it is a true rarity in Turkey. As we were checking a lake we saw a very enthusiastic photographer in the distance. After a while we crossed paths and he told us, that the Grey Phalarope was still in present in a nearby pond. We went there and enjoyed amazing views of the bird as it was circling to catch food.

Asia Minor Souslik

Asia Minor Souslik

We then took a look at the 3000+ Greater Flamingos. It is truly a stunning sight, but we could not local any Lesser Flamingos today.

We then continued to Kozanli. On the way there we saw about 30 Lesser Kestrels.

Grey-lag Geese and Greater Flamingos

Grey-lag Geese and Greater Flamingos

At Kozanli there were a ton of birds. Whiskered and White-winged Tern, herons, ducks, Grey-lag Goose, Collared Pranticole, Spoonbills, Glossy Ibises, Gull-billed Terns and Little Crakes – one of which gave amazing views.

Gull-billed Tern

Gull-billed Tern

Also several Marsh Harriers put on a show for us as did a few Penduline Tits and Bearded Tits.

Three species of Wagtails

Three species of Wagtails

After enjoying all the birds we went to Mogan. There we saw 3 male Citrine Wagtails joined by Red-throated Pipits and Yellow Wagtails.

Glossy Party

Glossy Party

At the Bizim Cati we found a few Collared Flycatchers, Ferruginous Ducks, Savi’s Warbler, Great Reed Warbler, Moustached Warbler along with the more common stuff.

Squacco Heron

Squacco Heron

When we returned to Ankara in the night we had seen 93 species – so we were all very happy and satisfied.

Silas

Where to look?

A good parking lot for Wrynecks

A good parking lot for Wrynecks

During the last few days I been a few times to Mogan. Now is really the time to be there. Migrants everywhere and it is hard to know where to look.

Wood Warbler

Wood Warbler

Today I went with Kuzey Cem and in a few hours we saw 59 species.

Whinchat

Whinchat

Most significant was the arrival of warblers with Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs everywhere joined by a few Wood Warblers and Lesser Whitethroats.

Collared Flycatcher

Collared Flycatcher

Both Pied and Collared Flycatcher were also present in good numbers.

Red-footed Falcon

Red-footed Falcon

At Bizim Cati we also located 3 Wrynecks, Merlin, Black Tern, 4 Ferruginous Ducks, my first Red-footed Falcon of the year and much more.

Citrine Wagtail

Citrine Wagtail

Numbers of Yellow Wagtails have been good and up to 10+ Citrine Wagtails have been present. But today numbers were lower.

Little Crake

Little Crake

Four LittleCrakes gave nice views today.

Thrush Nightingale

Thrush Nightingale

And an elusive Thrush Nightingale was present yesterday as was an Eastern Imperial Eagle.

Eastern Imperial Eagle

Eastern Imperial Eagle

All in all the area is loaded with birds. A true pleasure to go there these days!

Marsh Harrier

Marsh Harrier

Whimbrel

Whimbrel

Tawny Pipit

Tawny Pipit

 

Silas

 

 

More Mogan

Cetti's Warbler

Cetti’s Warbler

This morning I went to Mogan. It was awesome due to the rainy weather. Tons of birds.

New year ticks included Whinchat, Cuckoo and Wryneck.

Wryneck

Wryneck

But I have a passion for Yellow Wagtails. They are so karışık – the variation is so great and central Anatolia really gives you quite a variation of those fine gems. And today there were 1000+ present in Mogan including some Citrine Wagtails.

Citrine Wagtail

Citrine Wagtail

Other nice birds included a very tame Kingfisher, good numbers of shorebirds, herons, warblers and stuff.

Kingfisher

Kingfisher

Hoopoe

Hoopoe

I’ve been working on a blog post about Yellow Wags for a year… be patient.

Yellow Wagtails

Yellow Wagtails

Silas

Mogan is getting started

Long-legged Buzzard

Long-legged Buzzard

This morning I went out early in order to be around Mogan at dawn. I started west of the lake to in order to take advantage of the rising sun.

It was just 4 celsius at sunrise, but it soon became really nice and warm. Spring is here and so are the birds. I soon found the first Garganeys and Purple Herons of the year.

Little Crake

Little Crake

Along the lake side a nice male Little Crake was joined by a Moustached Warbler and a Kingfisher. A bit later a female Little Crake came swimming by.

Red-crested Pochard

Red-crested Pochard

Just south of the lake a lot of construction is going on, so it is hard to bird there. But the first two Lesser Kestrels, a few Black-winged Stilts and two Hoopoes were around.

Red-throated Pipit

Red-throated Pipit

Meadow Pipit

Meadow Pipit

Further south the birding was good too. My first Tawny Pipit and Red-throated Pipit were in the small flooded areas and a few Yellow and a single Citrine Wagtail were also present.

Black-eared Wheatear

Black-eared Wheatear

Isabelline and Northern Wheatears have arrived and were joined by a single but stunning Black-eared Wheatear.

Ruff

Ruff

Green Sandpiper

Green Sandpiper

Small numbers of shorebirds are building up including Ruff, Green and Wood Sandpiper, Greenshank and Little Ringed Plovers.

Little Ringed Plover

Little Ringed Plover

A few hundred White Storks were joined by a few Black Storks as well.

Eagle

Eagle

At one point a large and heavy eagle flew by, but I only saw it from behind – and only got some crappy photos. Could be a subad Steppe Eagle or Eastern Imperial Eagle, but I am not sure.

Eagle

Eagle

All in all it was a very good day with many new year ticks, (Red-throated Pipit, Tawny Pipit, Black-eared Wheatear, Garganey, Moustached Warbler, Purple Heron etc) but numbers were quite low. But in two weeks time it’s gonna be wild :-) We just need some bad weather now.

Merlin

Merlin

Little Owl

Little Owl

Silas

Bolu at its best

Kruper's Nuthatch

Kruper’s Nuthatch

During the last four days I’ve been relaxing and birding with a visiting Danish birder in Bolu. For the entire period the weather was fantastic as was the birding.

Sunrise birding in thew forest offered Grey-headed, Green, Syrian and Great Spotted Woodpecker, Kruper’s Nuthatch, Short-toed Treecreeper, Common Crossbill, Goshawk, Hawfinch, lots of Serins and an adult Eastern Imperial Eagle at 6:30 and minus 5 Celsius.

Serin

Serin

But Bolu is the place for raptors. No doubt.

Black Vultures and a Raven

Black Vultures and a Raven

Black Vulture

Black Vulture

We saw 40+ Black Vultures at close range both sitting and flying overhead. It is fascinating to see how the Ravens turn out to be small dots compared to the giants.

Imperial Eagle

Imperial Eagle

About 10 Eastern Imperials Eagles also gave very good views – both young and adult birds.

Imperial Eagles having fun

Imperial Eagles having fun

Other birds from the area include Lammergeier, Egyptian Vulture and Great Spotted Eagle in Inözü Vadisi and the first Little Crakes passing through Mogan.

Kruper's Nuthatch

Kruper’s Nuthatch

 

Silas

 

Arrivals at Mogan

Ruddy Shelduck c1

Ruddy Shelduck

Today I took my two daughters out birding for a few hours after being away for a week. Temperatures are still low – this morning it was below zero. So migration has been but on hold to some extent. But I went to Mogan anyways. And it was obvious that in spite of the low temperatures migrants are arriving.

Chukars

Chukars

The first good birds were two Chukars. It is actually the first time I have seen them in the area. They showed quite well and my daughters were happy to get good views of those weird chickens.

Glossy Ibis

Glossy Ibis

After that we saw 3 Glossy Ibises foraging in a flooded area. But there is much less water in the area than last year. It will be exciting to see, what impact it will have on the bird life in the area.

Water Pipit

Water Pipit

Several other migrants have arrived too. Good numbers of Water Pipits were present – some of them in the rosy summer plumage. Many white and a few Yellow Wagtails were also present. Most Yellow Wagtails were superciliaris joined by a few feldeggs. If we get warmer and more unstable wether numbers will increase a lot during the next few weeks.

Yellow Wagtail

Yellow Wagtail

Several shore birds have also arrived including Wood and Green Sandpiper, Black-tailed Godwit, Little Ringed Plover and Ruff.

Green Sandpiper

Green Sandpiper

All in all spring is really coming. Now we just need some warmer temperatures and migration will surely explode.

Black-tailed Godwit

Black-tailed Godwit

The last nice surprise were two Hoopoes giving extremely good views.

Hoopoe

Hoopoe

 

Silas

Surprises at Nallihan

Ruddy Shelducks

Ruddy Shelducks

My wife has finally returned to Ankara. And after watching the kids for a week I felt like I had deserved to get a day off – for birding of course. And my wife actually did agree.

So I woke up early and drove for 1½ hours towards Nallihan to do my annual winter bird count (even though it was a little late already).

Pale Ruddy Shelduck

Pale Ruddy Shelduck

Upon arrival I started counting Ruddy Shelducks at the southern part of the area. Even though birds have started to migrate 700 Ruddy Shelducks were still present including an interesting pale bird.

A small part of the waterfowl present

A small part of the waterfowl present

I then started to check the waterfowl on the lake. It is quite a job due to the distance and the numbers of birds present. But I estimated about 30.00 waterfowl being present – mostly Coot and Common Teal but with lesser numbers of several other species.

Distant Smew

Distant Smew

I counted around 1.200 Little Grebe, 50 Black-eared Grebe, a few Tufted Ducks, 100+ Common Pochard, 2 Red-creasted Pochard, 1 Red-breasted Mergenser, 3 Smew, 1 Shoveler, 7 Wigeon, 100+ Mallard, a few Pintails and a single Common Shelduck. All in all quite nice.

Palla's Gulls

Palla’s Gulls

Palla's Gulls

Palla’s Gulls

But then the surprises started to occur. Suddenly 6 Palla’s Gulls flew over my head. Not extremely rare, but they are few and far between here – and they are always such a nice surprise.

Great White Pelican

Great White Pelican

Then a Great White Pelican came flying over and landed on the lake. Again a scarce bird around here and especially in early March.

Black Storks

Black Storks

Then two Black Storks came flying over. Again I would expect them to be in Hula Valley. But spring seems to start early this year.

Ruff and Lapwings

Ruff and Lapwings

Other signs of spring included my first House Martins of the year and 50+ Ruff were also present.

Finsch's Wheatear

Finsch’s Wheatear

Then I decided to check a remote area, where I have never been before. It is like mountain desert around there, so I really didn’t know what to expect.

Finsch's Wheatear

Finsch’s Wheatear

But soon I heard a Wheatear singing and suddenly a stunning male Finsch’s Wheatear appeared in front of me.

Finsch's Wheatear

Finsch’s Wheatear

And suddenly there was one more. They gave amazing views as they were fighting for a territory.

Finsch's Wheatear

Finsch’s Wheatear

Finsch's Wheatear

Finsch’s Wheatear

I decided to check the area more thoroughly and I found no less than 8 males in the area along with more expected stuff like Rock Nuthatch.

Finsch's Wheatear

Finsch’s Wheatear

Suddenly an adult White-tailed Eagle landed not too far away from me. I wonder if they breed in the area.

White-tailed Eagle

White-tailed Eagle

As I headed back a flock of 6 Bewick’s Swans came flying over my head. Yet another good bird in Turkey.

Bewick's Swans

Bewick’s Swans

All in all I was actually quite amazed by the variation of species present around the area – a combination of northern and southern species that are probably not crossing paths in many other areas.

Spanish Sparrows are common in the area

Spanish Sparrows are common in the area

Fox

Fox

 

Silas