It is cold. And that means that winter visitors are arriving. One of the winter visitors that I’d really love to find is Pine Bunting. There are about 10 turkish records, but it has to be overlooked. So I went just north of the city of Kazan – about 25 km north of Ankara.
First I checked a picnic area (Kurtbogaz Dam). It was actually pretty good birding with 10+ Krüper’s Nuthatches that gave very close views. Only sad that this was a dark and cloudy day. Other good birds included two Sombre Tits, tons of Coal Tits and a few Goldcrests.
I then went south of the dam in order to find some Yellowhammer flocks that I could check for Pine Buntings. I soon found several loose flock of about 200 Yellowhammers in total, several Bramblings and 1000+ Chaffinches. The flocks were very mobile and it was hard to get any good views – especially due to that fact that turkish fighter jets kept flying over the area.
But I didn’t find any adult male Pine Buntings – that’s for sure. But there were a few of those birds with little or no yellow. But those I saw well were all Yellowhammers.
Other good birds included Merlin, Firecrest, Goshawk, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Rock Bunting and two Dunnocks.