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 🙂
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.