When I woke up this morning a full day of birding at Göksu Delta was ahead. I was excited. So I left the hotel early and arrived not long after at Göksu. I started in the western part of the delta, where I checked lagoons, lakes and shrubbery.
I soon found a pair of Black Frankolin on the road, but these birds are rather shy and the flew off before I got any good shots.
There were good number of warblers in the vegetation. Most of them were Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs, but I also managed to find a few Bluethroats, Lesser Whitethroats, two Rufous Bush Robins, lots of Robins, one Zitting Cisticola, lots of Graceful Prinias, a few Sardinian Warblers, Red-backed Shrikes and a single Lesser Grey Shrike.
I met a dutch guy. He had just seen an Imperial Eagle, so I started checking raptors. There is real migration going on at Göksu. Flocks of 10 or 20 Common Buzzards were coming and going. Furthermore I saw both Montagu’s Harrier and Hen Harrier, Peregrine Falcon and Merlin.
But there were two highlights. One was seeing at least 5 different Great Spotted Eagles including one which was less than 40 meters away.
The second highlight was a Lanner Falcon, that I managed to see twice during my stay. The first time it flew over Akgöl and the second time I flushed it from the side of the road. It was very shy so I only managed to get some very bad pics of this very large and impressive falcon.
There were a few gulls around. Yellow-legged, Black-headed, Lesser Black-backed, a few Slender-billed and a handful of Audouin’s Gulls were pretty much it. The Lesser Black-backed Gulls didn’t look like our faroese ssp. graelsii and yet they didn’t have the Baltic black mantle colour. So I guess they were Heuglin’s Gulls – and some of them did look a bit bodybuilder’ish.
There were good numbers of wagtails, but I only found Yellow and White Wagtail. A few pipits were also around. Red-throated and Water Pipits were the most numerous. I found a rather rusty coloured Water Pipit which surprised me somewhat. But I guess they just can look that way here.
Other birds included a White Pelican, several Common Kingfishers, tons of Stonechats and a few Sibirian Stonechats, a Whooper Swan, 5000+ ducks including Garganeys, Mallards, Shelducks, Teals, Wigeons, Pochard and Tufted Ducks. The breeding Marbled Teals have left the country by now.
Over all it was a very good days birding in a very good birding area – maybe the best in all of Turkey when it comes to the number of species present. And just before I left I found two Spur-winged Lapwings. Nice!