I visited Göksu once – and I was hooked. It is not due to splendid nature. Most of the delta is cultivated and almost every inch of it is either used by hunters or for cattle grazing. And yet I’m hooked. The area just contains something – that element of surprise. You don’t really know what to expect when you come there.
Mustafa Millidere and I went birding there. Target species where Black Francolin, Slender-billed Gull, Palla’s Gull, Audouin’s Gull and Purple Swamphen. And we got them all – except Palla’s Gull. It’s still a little early for that species.
On the first day of birding the sun was shining brightly and the temperature was 22 C – in november! As we drove through the area we encountered a flock of two male and two female Black Francolins. And one of the males was really putting on a show – something which is really rare in autumn and winter. White those black and white colours combined with a reddish-brown neck and golden brown back it is just a marvelous bird.
A short while after seeing the Black Frank we saw a falcon about 50 away. It was a large falcon with a rufous neck and pink breast and cheek. I’ve never seen a falcon like that and initial thoughts were ad. Lanner Falcon ssp. feldeggii. But somehow it didn’t feel completely right due to the very broad “peregrin-like” moustache and the lack of brown on the back. After getting home I discussed the bird with some birders and one guy pointed me to the brookei subspecies of Peregrine Falcon. Apparently they show both rufous neck and pink breast and cheek… Hm, I guess I have to get used to the fact that the birds don’t look like they do back home.
A little later we discovered 2 adults and 4 juvenile Tundra (Bewick’s) Swans on a lake. It was quite a surprise as they normally do not venture this far south. But Wim later told us that they were that unusual after all.
The white-headed Purple Swamphens proved to be less shy than normal. We did see a few birds quite closely. They are actually very different from the spanish birds, with green wings and an pale area on the breat and pale head. The actual paleness might be age related as many birds weren’t that pale.
Well, just to mention some of the birds we saw: Armenian Gull, Ferruginious Duck 2, Sardinian Warbler, Graceful Prinia, Audouin’s Gull 9, Great Spotted Eagle 11, Peregrine Falcon 2, Whiskered Tern, Black Francolin 2 male and 2 females, Purple Swamphen 20+, Kentish Plover, 3 Hen Harriers, Spanish Sparrow 20+, Merlin, Pintail 4, Mute Swan 1, Gadwall 1, Red-throated Pipit, Temmincks Stint 7, White-throated Kingfisher 2 and many many more.