134 species in 2 days

Little Egret hiding like a cartoon Ostrich

Little Egret hiding like a cartoon Ostrich

Mustafa and I went up early this morning – in fact I went up an hour too early as I had forgot the time shifting. My phone and thus the alarm adjusted automatically and I woke up 1 hour to early. Well, I survived.

Little Egret

Little Egret

We headed out 1½ later. The weather was clouded and it was rather windy. This had a huge effect on the birds present. It was very hard to work with the warblers and passerines as they were hiding all the time.

Purple Swamphen - with a broom in its eye

Purple Swamphen – with a broom in its eye

While searching for a Zitting Cisticola we came across our only Purple Swamhpen (ssp. poliocephalus) of the trip. It was foraging across a canal and gave supreme views.

Dark Little Egret

Dark Little Egret

Among good numbers of Little Egrets we found a bird with slightly darker plumage. We checked it for Reef Egret right away but apart for the darker plumage it looks like a normal Little Egret.

Flightshot

Shap Flightshot

Unsharp flightshot

Unsharp flightshot

Again today 4 species of harriers were present in the delta – 2 Pallid Harriers, 1 Hen Harrier, 2 Montague’s Harriers and a lot of Marsh Harriers.

Pallid Harrier

Pallid Harrier – male

Montague's Harrier - male

Montague’s Harrier – male

We found good numbers of fuscus Lesser Black-backed Gulls, a few Mediterrenian Gulls, Amrenian Gulls, Yellow-legged Gulls and Slender-billed Gulls, but no Pallas’ Gulls today.

Slender-billed Gull

Slender-billed Gull

The Spur-winged Lapwings in the delta are having some territorial disputes. So once in a while we witnessed fierce fighting – quite impressive actually.

Spur-winged Lapwing fight

Spur-winged Lapwing fight

Spur-winged Lapwing

Spur-winged Lapwing

We ended the birding with a nice Cyprus Wheatear. Out of the 5 we saw yesterday we were only able to relocate this one individual.

Cyprus Wheatear

Cyprus Wheatear

All in all we say 134 species in 2 days in Göksu.

In my last post I posted a picture of a snake. Thanks to Yoav for asking Dr. Boaz Shacham and to Tobias Schernhammer for identifiying it as a Malpolon monspessulanus, commonly known as the Montpellier snake.

Silas Olofson

Amazing birding in Göksu

Cyprus Wheatear

Cyprus Wheatear

I am currently birding Göksu Delta with Mustafa Millidere and other turkish birders like Emin Y. are also in the area. Frankly it is hard to give account of the day as it really was action packed.

Spur-winged Plover

Spur-winged Plover

It started at sunrise. We checked some scrub but didn’t find anything particular. Then Emin called about some Cyprus Wheatears. We joined him and we saw 3 birds in a small area.

Cyprus Wheatear

Cyprus Wheatear

At the same time several male Black Francolins were calling and some of them were even visible. While the turkish birders were talking I located a Gannet off the beach – a good bird in Turkey.

Gannet

Gannet

After that Mustafa and I headed to the eastern part of the delta. We soon located another two Cyprus Wheatears, but it were other passerines, that were most impressing. 7 Eastern Orphean, 2 Rüppel’s, 2 Subalpine, tons of Lesser Whitethroats and Blackcaps, two Wrynecks and Citrine Wagtail.

Ruppel's Warbler

Ruppel’s Warbler

Ruppel's Warbler

Ruppel’s Warbler

Wryneck

Wryneck

Subalpine Warbler

Subalpine Warbler

We then headed to the river mouth. The highlights there were 5 Audouin’s Gulls and 1 Greater Sandplover.

Greater Sandplover

Greater Sandplover

Audouin's Gulls

Audouin’s Gulls

Then we started to head back through the area. First we found two Cretzmar’s Buntings and then a male Pallid Harrier flew over. After that Emin called about a Pied Wheatear, so we rushed to the area and saw the bird.

Cretzmars Bunting

Cretzmars Bunting

White Stork

White Stork

Another dull Cyprus Wheatear

Another dull Cyprus Wheatear

Pied Wheatear

Pied Wheatear

Spoonbill

Spoonbill

After enjoying it we went back through the area and found 3 Spoonbills. All  in all a splendid day. By the way we also saw a Golden Jackal and snake. Anyone able to identify it?

Snake

Snake

Silas Olofson

Wheatears in Göksu

Cyprus Wheatear

Cyprus Wheatear

Today I almost didn’t do any birding. It has been very windy the whole day in Göksu, so birding was very hard. Non the less Wim (a dutch guy who is living and birding all year round in the area) found two Cyprus Wheatears, so the arrival of new birds was evident.

I went out for about one hour. I found a small flock of Black-winged Stilts and other common stuff. The most interesting was a male Finche’s Wheatear. I flushed it from the road side, but didn’t get and photos.

Black-winged Stilts and a Pin-tailed Duck

Black-winged Stilts and a Pin-tailed Duck

I then headed to the area where Wim had found the Cyprus Whearears. I didn’t find any, but a few kilometers further south I found one, which is probably a new bird. So all in all I saw 5 species of wheatear within an hour – Cyprus, Norhtern, Black-eared, Isabelline and Finche’s.

Cyprus Wheatear

Cyprus Wheatear

Hopefully the wind had brought some good birds that are just waiting to be found tomorrow.

Hoopoes breed in the area

Hoopoes breed in the area

Silas Olofson

Gulls, warblers and an owl in Göksu

Short-eared Owl before dawn

Short-eared Owl at dawn

I woke up very early. I had the morning off, so I could go birding. 1½ hour before dawn I headed for Göksu. I went all the way to the place where the river meets the ocean. It is a rather long hike, but it is nice. As I waked along the sand dines I heard four Black Francolins and a Quail calling, but I didn’t invest any time in seeing them. Quite unexpectedly I flushed a Short-eared Owl from a sand dune.

Fuscus-type Lesser Black-backed Gull with Avocets

Fuscus-type Lesser Black-backed Gull with Avocets

I arrived at the river mouth. There were about 30 fuscus types Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 3 Audouin’s Gull along with several Yellow-legged Gulls. A Peregrine and a Merlin were also present. A single Citrine Wagtail was seen briefly. Several flocks of shorebirds were around – the most exciting being 4 Greater Sandplovers.

Black-eared Wheatear

Black-eared Wheatear

On my way back the normal Armenian Gulls were around a fishing village and a very nice Black-eared Wheatear gave supreme views.

Curlew

Curlew – not that slender-billed…

After spending the day with the family my oldest daughter and I went out again.

My daughter an I

My daughter and I

While we drove through the area a male Pallid Harrier was sitting right next to the road. I approached slowly and it didn’t care about me at all. So I got some nice but a little distant short. As I wanted to get a little closer and get the pictures of life-time a jeep passed by and honked the horn – and off the Pallid Harrier went.

Male Pallid Harrier

Male Pallid Harrier

But besides that we had a good time birding with numbers of Yellow Wagtails (always popular with my oldest), Spanish Sparrows, Wryneck, Black Kite and other good stuff. Then we meet two swedish birdwatchers. I gave them some advise about the gulls and they told me, that they had seen two Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters the day before. Wow!

Black Frank - as good as it gets

Black Frank – as good as it gets

After driving a little bit further I noticed a black head on a hill-top. Yup, finally a Black Francolin was showing itself. So they can be seen even though they are never easy. I heard at least 7 birds singing.

Eastern Orphean Warbler

Eastern Orphean Warbler

As we came to the first tower I found a female Rüppel’s Warbler and in the village there were warblers everywhere. I think that arrival time for new waves of warblers must be afternoon as numbers seem to increase dramatically. I also found some Subalpine, Eastern Orphean and lots of Lesser and Common Whitethroat – hopefully the next one will be a Cyprus Warbler!

Subalpine Warbler

Subalpine Warbler

Family birding in Göksu

Cyprus Wheatear - endemic to Cyprus, but not that rare in late march/early april in along the south coast of Turkey.

Cyprus Wheatear – endemic to Cyprus, but not that rare in late march/early april in along the south coast of Turkey.

For easter vacation my family and I went to the Mediterranean. There is the beach and the sun for the kids and the wife – and Göksu Delta for me!

The kids woke up very early this morning, so we decided to do some family-birding. The clock had barely reached 7:00 before we drove towards Göksu. And even before we reached the area I spotted a White-throated Kingfisher on a wire. We drove closer and it ended up giving quite good views to my kids utter joy.

Male Masked Shrike

Male Masked Shrike

Only 1 minute later I spotted a splendid male Masked Shrike, which gave even better views along with an Eastern Orphean Warbler. Quite a start to the birding!

Palla's Gull

Pallas’ Gull

We then entered the delta and it was amazing as always. Little and Great White Egret and a few Squacco Herons were foraging close to the road and a few White Storks came close to the car.

Palla's Gull - probably a retarded 2. winter plumage.

Pallas’ Gull – probably a retarded 2. winter plumage.

In a flock of mainly Gull-billed Terns and Sandwich Terns I found a Caspian Tern and a Palla’s Gull was present in a flock of gulls. A few Marsh Sandpipers were present among the commoner species and 3 species of Swift and a few Red-rumped Swallows were also present.

Adult Tawny Pipit

Adult Tawny Pipit

Tawny Pipits have arrived with the Meadow and Red-thorated Pipits, but I only found a few Yellow Wagtails and no Citrine Wagtails.

After driving through the area we went home to eat and rest.

Note broad tail-band.

Note broad tail-band.

While you youngest was taking a nap my oldest daughter and I went out again. We went to the beach at Göksu, but on the way there my first ever Cyprus Wheatear interrupted the tour for a while. It can be rather hard to distingush from Pied Wheatear and I only got sure when it started singing with a very strange and diagnostic zizz-zizz-zizz song.

Note that the white does not extend too far up the back.

Note that the white does not extend too far up the back.

After collecting shells and playing on the beach for a while we went to do a little birding. Some Slender-billed Gulls gave supreme views and so did a few Short-toed Larks.

Greater Short-toed Lark

Greater Short-toed Lark

Even though I didn’t do any intensive birding I am quite impressed with the result. And to end the day perfectly a male Subalpine Warbler was around the hotel in the evening.

Slender-billed Gull doing the Shag-style diving

Slender-billed Gull doing the Shag-style diving

Silas Olofson

Win-win situation at Kulu

Greater Flamingos at Kulu

Greater Flamingos at Kulu

Today I was heading south on a vacation with my family. We made a short stop at Kulu. The weather was excellent and the birding was amazing.

Around 2000 Greater Flamingos were dancing around. But I didn’t find the Lesser Flamingo today – probably because I didn’t check the flocks properly.

Calandra Lark

Calandra Lark

The Lesser Short-toed  and Calandra Larks were present in good numbers, but hard to get close to in the fine weather.

Marsh Sandpiper

Marsh Sandpiper

Especially a good variety of shorebirds were present including 4 Spur-winged Lapwings, some Temminck’s and Little Stints, Kentish, Common and Lesser Ringed Sand Plover and my first Marsh Sandpiper this year.

Greater flamingo

Greater flamingo

Much to my families joy a few Greater Flamingos gave very good views from the car – so it turned out to be a win-win situation.

Greater flamingo

Greater flamingo

I frankly didn’t check the area very well, so there are probably lots of good stuff that I missed.

Silas Olofson

Reverse

Hen Harrier hunting in the snow

Hen Harrier hunting in the snow

After yesterdays migrant explosion my oldest daughter and I decided to go out birding today – she was very excited to see the beautiful yellow birds from yesterday. But when we woke up the landscape was covered in snow. The Ankara weather is really unpredictable.

Brambling

Brambling

But after breakfast we went to Mogan. It was snowing all the time while we drove there and in continued snowing during the entire period of birding.

White Storks arriving

White Storks arriving

When we came to the area south of Mogan the first birds we saw were a flock of Bramblings and Chaffinches and a Hen Harrier was hunting – quite a different scenario than yesterday. Some 20 White Storks were roosting on in a field a little further on. But more birds continually arrived and after an hour about 150 White Storks were present.

Green Sandpiper

Green Sandpiper

We then headed to the fields where all the pipits and wagtails had been present yesterday. Today there was nothing. A few White Wagtails and a fly-by Water Pipit was all. Some 10 Garganeys had arrived and a pair of Shovelers were also present nearby including the ever present Ruddy Shelducks – but numbers of shorebirds has also decreased though my first Wood Sandpiper this year was present. I guess the birds have moved south again as top temperatures today only reached 1 degree and it was quite windy.

Black-winged Stilt

Black-winged Stilt

We then headed to the lake itself. There we found two Black-winged Stilts and two Spotted Redshanks – both year-ticks for me. At the lake both Slender-billed and Mediterranean Gull were present with thousands of Black-headed Gulls. On the way back I found two Siberian Stonechat-types along the road.

Spotted Redshank

Spotted Redshank

Siberian Stonechat - note the broad collar

Siberian Stonechat-type – note the broad collar and limited orange patch

Note here the white rump.

Note here the white rump.

So I guess it was quite ok for very cold snowy day.

Silas Olofson