White-throated Robin aka Irania
In june 2011 I got to spend the day out in the field and after serious considerations and expert advice from Emin I decided to go to Inözü valley west of Ankara. According to Emin there could be masked shrike, imperial eagle (if I was lucky) and lammergeier. All these birds would be lifers for me, and besides that to spice the trip up Emin said that krüpers nuthatch and irania (white-throated robin) were easy there – so I went there full of expectations.
I left the house at a bit past 4 in the morning and arrived at sunrise. The air was full of bird song, so I checked passerines in the early hours. That wasn’t bad at all. Long-tailed, sombre, coal, great and blue tits were around and I finally managed to get some photos of two eastern orphean warblers. Two early morning turkish ticks for me were green and lesser spotted woodpecker. A few egyptian vultures and a black stork also flew by.
I continued up the valley and apart from a few short stops for craig martin, chukar and grey wagtail I ended up at some rocky escarpments, where Emin had told me to look for irania (white-throated robin). I soon found several males singing and displaying. By placing myself between rival males territories the birds didn’t care so much about me sitting there. So I got to see the birds at quite close distance and it was simply awesome. The sun was shining all day long and other good birds around that place included barred warbler, ortulan buntings, horned larks (with horns), 3 species of wheatear, 3 species of shrike (not masked) and eastern orphean warblers. And if that was not good enough suddenly two lammergeiers came soaring over my head – well, life doesn’t get much better 🙂
Male Irania posing!
I stayed at the place for a few hours. Then I went on to find some krüpers nuthatches at a piknik-area. And this time it worked. I found 2-3 birds located by the call, and they gave rather good views.
After that I continued to a forest where there could be masked shrike – but there wasn’t. But that didn’t ruin my day – as I got a lifer and managed to see a total of 80 species without trying to find as many as possible.
It is almost a “must-see”. Both when it comes to birding and scenic views. The Aladaglar Mountains. I went there in june 2011. Several people had told me about the place, where you can see caspian snowcock, wallcreeper and lots of alpine species. I got in touch with Hasan Sakaf. He agreed to take me birding for a whole day in the mountains. So the possibility for some 10 new species gave me the will to get up at one o’clock in the night and drive to Aladagar. At four Hasan started his tractor and I got to sit on it while we drew to the caspian snowcock-place. The bumpy ride took some 90 minutes, but just seconds after arrival we heard the first bird and after a while we saw one bird. It was far away but we saw it reasonably well in the telescope – but way to far away for a good photo, but I documented the bird non the less.
Other good birds included the lifers radde’s accentor, red-fronted serin and crimson-winged finch, while other birds included chukar, alpine accentor, lots of snowfinches and choughs. After about two hours we started decending and on the way down we saw 4 finches wheatear, one more red-fronted serins and some rock-thrushes. According to Hassan the wallcreepers have got further up the mountains now.
We then had breakfast at his house and after some hours of resting we went to a valley, where there should be olive-tree warbler, saker falcon and more red-fronted serins. We only found the serins, but they gave supreme views down to 3 meters distance. Other good birds included eastern orphean warbler, white-throated robins, barred warbler and hoopoe.
All in all a very good day with five lifers – and some of the most amazing sceneries I’ve ever seen!
Purple Heron – Lake Mogan
Well, I’ve moved to Turkey. Thus is doesn’t make much sence to keep blogging on birdingfaroes. So from now on the action will be on birdingtyrkey.wordpress.com.
Sadly I haven’t been doing any birding during the summer – almost. But today I finally got to go out and I headed to my favourite place around Ankara – Lake Mogan. I came as the sun rose and there were good numbers of birds present. Around 10 Great Reed Warblers including some very confident ones were foraging in the vegetation beside the road along with some Bearded Tits. In the reeds and on the lake shore about 20 Little Egrets, 10 Purple Herons, 3 Grey Herons, 5 Squacco Herons and one Nightheron were present along with a Black and a White Stork.
Black Stork – Lake Mogan
But the most significant feature were all the Whinchats and Red-backed Shrike. There were well over 200 Whitchats, 60+ Red-backed Shrikes and 9 Lesser Grey Shrikes west and south of the lake.
One of 60+ Red-backed Shrikes – Lake Mogan
South of the lake there are flooded fields during the wet season, but now it was almost like sandy desert. A few Red-throated Pipits, Feldegg Yellow Wagtails, 5 Tawny Pipits, some Crested and Short-toed Larks, a single Hoopoe and a fly-by Montegue’s Harrier were pretty much it. There were no shore birds at all and only a few Red-headed Ducks and some Shovelers on the lake.
Great Reed Warbler – Lake Mogan
But even though there were no big surprises if was so nice to be out birding again. And when the rain comes I bet there will be lots of birds there too.
Great Reed Warbler – Lake Mogan