Raptors in Bolu

Young Oriental Imperial Eagle in an old tree in Bolu

During the last few weeks I’ve been a couple of times in the Bolu and Beypazari area. The area is located northwest of Ankara. It is a hilly area (or you could call it mountains) with a lot of natural forest. From a birders perspective one of the most interesting features of the area is the numbers of raptors present.

As I’ve blogged about be 70+ Egyptian Vultures that can be found around Beypazari rubbish dump. But they’ve migrated now. Lammergeier breeds in the area as do a few pairs of Griffon Vultures and several Black Vultures. Furthermore Golden Eagles and Oriental Imperial Eagles (OIE) breed in the area and White-tailed Eagle is not an uncommon  vagrant.

Distant Lammergeier at Inözü Vadi

Three out of three times I’ve checked the Inözü Vadi near Beypazari I’ve seen Lammergeiers. This is by far my favourite vulture, but the down side to it is, that it can be hard to obtain good views as they patrol large areas.

But the real pearl is the area south of Yenicaga. There is a so-called vulture restaurant, were vultures are being fed. This attracts good numbers of raptors. I went to check it with two turkish birders, Menderes and Mustafa.

One of the 40+ Long-legged Buzzards seen near a “Vulture Resturant”

Right away we noticed that the numbers of Long-legged Buzzards and Steppe Buzzards had increased significantly compared to the normal average and it didn’t take us long to find the first OIE (yes it meant Oriental Imperial Eagle) – a beautiful adult perched in a tree next to the road. But as we approached the feeding area it was like entering raptor heaven.

Six Black Vultures, one Oriental Imperial and one White-tailed Eagle

First we saw another 3 OIEs in a three. Then four more in another one. Then 6 six Black Vultures on the ground joined by a White-tailed Eagle and a juvenile OIE. Wow… that what I call birding.

White-tailed and Oriental Imperial Eagle in the same tree

And suddenly a Golden Eagle gave short views. And frankly I was kinda surprised by the way the Golden Eagles look here. They’re almost entirely dark chocolate-brown and look much fiercer than the birds I’ve seen in Western Europe.

Golden Eagle – yes, it is a dark brown Golden Eagle

Our cameras were constantly clicking and suddenly an OIE chose to ignore the car and give us birders views that we will never forget! It was just sitting there on a rock 10-15 meters away from the car. It was truly amazing.

Click to enlarg this picture! It was close!

Preparing for take off

And there it goes

In the area around the feeding station we saw a total of 9 Black Vultures (minimum), 1 Golden Eagle, 40+ Long-legged Buzzards, 15+ Common Buzzard, 1 male Hen Harrier, 1 Peregrine, 3 White-tailed Eagles and 14-15 Oriental Imperial Eagles, but only 4 were adults – and much more shy than the younger birds.

The young Imperials were just stunning… I wish to come back on a sunny winter day!

So if you want to see raptors two hours drive from Ankara this is the place to go!

Silas Olofson

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4 thoughts on “Raptors in Bolu

  1. Hello Silas:)
    I really love your blog. I live in Turkey and still never seen such species you have in three months:)

    You see, I’ve been trying to find a Lammergeier for ages; I’ve went to Bolu for 5 hours this August but we (me and Menderes) only saw 20+Black Vultures, 1 Black Kite, 3+ Lesser Spotted Eagles, 5+Imperial Eagles with buzzards and falcons.

    I hoped that you could help me with this thing as you’ve photographed Lammergeier near Ankara.

    Best regards!

    • Hello Kingfisher!

      Well, birds are tricky beings, so you can never be sure of anything. But sure, I can try to help you see the Lammergeier. I’ve found a rather small area where is seems to occure quite regularly in the afternoon. So we can give it a try!

      Best regards,

      Silas

  2. Hi

    I’m a birder living in Scotland but my wife is Turkish (from Istanbul). I get to bird in Turkey a few times a year only at the moment. Great to find your blog – I’ll get much less work done now 😉

    Cheers

    Ali

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