Day 3: Oymapinar to Göksu

Brown Fishing Owl

Brown Fishing Owl

We spent the night at a nice hotel, Yesil Vadisi, close to Oymapinar. After a good nights sleep we got up at 7:00 and went to Oymapinar Dam, where one of the tours absolute highlights was on the agenda – Brown Fishing Owl.

Brown Fishing Owl

Brown Fishing Owl

We went on board a boat that we had rented for ourselves and started sailing – with quite a lot of anticipation. Doing the regular tourist-tours can prove fruitful when it comes to seeing the owls. But you normally only visit one of the owl-spots and your only there for 10 minutes. Thus we decided ti rent our own boat for the trip. After 25 minutes of sailing we reached the Little Canyon. We started scouting for the owl and after a few minutes our captain located a Brown Fishing Owl in a tree – it stared at us for a while and then it jumped further into the trees and was not visible. We then sailed into the bottom of the canyon and on our way out again it had returned to the tree. This time is didn’t care about us and started sleeping.

Brown Fishing Owl

Brown Fishing Owl

Then we headed to the Great Canyon, where there is another pair of owls. It took an hour to reach the place, but right away we located a Brown Fishing Owl perched on a rock in the open and it gave amazing views. At one point we even saw it regurgitate – what an amazing and rare bird!

Brown Fishing Owl

Brown Fishing Owl

The Brown Fishing Owls of Turkey are genetically different from their eastern counterparts and are thus likely to be a separate species. Furthermore I’ve been told that it feeds mostly on craps rather than fish.

Other good birds around the dam included Long-tailed Tits, 2 Kruper’s Nuthatches, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Snake-eagle and very surprisingly we found two Middle Spotted Woodpeckers.

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker

After finishing the boat trip we drove slowly towards Göksu Delta. On the way there we saw 50+ Red-backed Shrikes, Masked Shrike, 2 Chukars, 3 Black-headed Buntings, 10+ Craig Martins and many Yellow-vented Bulbuls.

Craig Martin

Craig Martin

We stopped at a restaurant along the Mediterranean coast. That proved to be a very lucky decision. First Rasmus spotted a flock of about 10 Bottle-nosed Dolphins. Then two Scopoli’s Shearwaters were foraging with the dolphins. Later first three and then a single Yelkovan Shearwater flew by – all this taking place as a Barred Warbler was calling and sometimes singing close by.

Levant Sparrowhawk

Levant Sparrowhawk

Suddenly Yann shouts: “Levant Sparrowhawk”! A beautiful male came flying from the west and landed on a wire 100 m away. We got up from the tables, snatched our cameras and we all managed to photograph the unexpected addition to our tour-list.

Levant Sparrowhawk

Levant Sparrowhawk

All in all a very fine day with lots of good birds!

Silas Olofson

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Day 2: Mogan – Kulu – Akseki

Red-throated Pipit

Red-throated Pipit

We woke up at 3:45 at the pension and the sweet lady working there had agreed to prepare breakfast at 3:00. So we had a good and solid turkish breakfast with several cups of Turkish Tea.

Gull-billed Tern

Gull-billed Tern

Then we drove off to Mogan to give the Allen’s Gallinule a second chance, but we couldn’t find it. But birding was still good with lots of pipits, herons and Gull-billed Tern was added to the tour-list.

Greater Flamingos

Greater Flamingos

Then we headed to Kulu. It was already rather warm when we arrived, but birds were active non the less. Soon the first Lesser Short-toed Larks ssp. aharonii were added to our list and eventually they gave extremely good views down to a few meters.

Red-throated Pipit - click to enlarge

Red-throated Pipit – click to enlarge

There were also good numbers of Red-throated Pipits and Yellow Wagtails ssp. feldegg. The Red-throated also gave very good views.

Greater Flamingo

Greater Flamingo

Yann estimated that about 5000 Greater Flamingos were present around the lake, but we couldn’t find any Lesser Flamingos today.

Other good birds around the lake included several Gull-billed Terns, hundreds of White-winged Terns, some Mediterranean Gulls, two Slender-billed Gulls, a Little Owl, a male Montegue’s Harrier, Egyptian Vulture and more.

Calandra Lark

Calandra Lark

From Kulu we headed towards Akseki. On the way there we god a pleasent surprise as a Great Bustard flew over the car. We all jumped out and got fairly good views for a few minutes.

Great Bustard

Great Bustard

After that we drove to Akseki, which is a place known for its White-backed Woodpeckers of the subspecies lilfordi. We arrived quite late at the area and the birds in the forest were generally not really active. But after a while we saw the first Kruper’s Nuthatch and it have good views. In all we 10+ of this almost-endemic species. But we didn’t manage to find any White-backed Woodpeckers this time.

Krüper's Nuthatch

Krüper’s Nuthatch

Other birds at Akseki included Scops Owl, Common Crossbill, Mistel Thrush, Redstart, Short-toed Treecreeper, Goldcrest, Serin, Chaffinch, two Finche’s Wheatears and a few others.

Silas Olofson

Day 1: Mogan – Inözü Vadisi – Nallihan

The Team - Rasmus, Bjøssi, Yann the snowman and Simmi.

The Team – Rasmus, Bjøssi, Yann the french snowman and Simmi.

At 02:30 on saturday the 27th april Yann, Rasmus, Bjørn and Simmi landed in Ankara. I picked them up and we went to our place to relax a little before heading out. As the Allen’s Gallinule had been found the previous day we decided to change plans and begin in Mogan.

Mouctached Warbler

Mouctached Warbler

We came short after dawn and met people, who had been there for an hour without seeing the bird. We started searching for it, but at first we only found some Citrine Wagtails, Bittern, Red-throated Pipits, Calandra Larks, Greater Short-toed Larks, Ruddy Shelducks, Moustached Warblers and other common stuff. When passing the place where I had seen the Allen’s Gallinule earler the bird is visible for two seconds – but only Bjørn managed to see it besides me. We used more than an hour in the area but it was fruitless – the bird had retrieved to the reeds and would not get out.

White-winged Tern

White-winged Terns

So we went on and birded around Mogan, where we saw some Lesser Kestrels and some Red-footed Falcons, a flock of 500+ White-winged Terns mixed with a few black terns, about 25 Mediterranean Gulls and some Slender-billed Gulls.

Booted Eagle

Booted Eagle

We then headed to Kazan. We couldn’t locate any Kruper’s Nuthatches in the midday heat, but we saw Booted Eagle and Syrian Woodpecker, so it wasn’t in vain.

White-throated Robin

White-throated Robin

Then we headed to Inözü Vadisi close to Beypazari. The birding was awesome. 5 White-throared Robins (all males), 3 Shorelarks, 8 Black Vultures, several Egyptian Vultures, Golden Eagle, 4 Sombre Tits, Eastern Orphean Warbler, Blue Rock Thrush and many other good birds.

White-throated Robin

White-throated Robin

We had a little more than an hour before sunset, so we went to Nallihan. The biggest surprise was to find an adult White-tailed Eagle, which we watched diving and fishing.

White-tailed Eagle

White-tailed Eagle

Roller

Roller

There were also 50+ Ruddy Shelducks, two Rollers, a single Tufted Duck, several Red-backed Shrikes and a single Lesser Grey Shrike.

Roller

Roller

All in all we saw 133 species – and Bjørn got 29 lifers 🙂

Greater Short-toed Lark

Greater Short-toed Lark

Hobby

Hobby

Silas Olofson

Allen’s Gallinule – a first for Turkey

Allen's Gallinule

Allen’s Gallinule

Today I’ve been planning for the tour that icelandic and a danish birder and I will undertake during the next 20 days. This got firmly interrupted when I learned that an Allen’s Gallinule was found by Emin and a few others south of Mogan.

I hurried down there and saw the bird very well in deed. This is the first record for Turkey of this African bird which non the less has reached neighbouring countries Greece and Cyprus and also strayed as far north as the UK, Denmark and Finland.

Allen's Gallinule

Allen’s Gallinule

Less than 10 birders connected with the bird as it was found quite late – and some unlucky ones got stuck in the Ankara traffic and missed the bird by minutes.

Silas Olofson

Mogan – again

Hoopoe at Mogan

Hoopoe at Mogan

Even though I haven’t been posting too much during the last days I have been out a little. I went to Mogan twice with my daughters, but ended up using most of the time catching fish, tadpoles and other stuff in the streams. So now our living room aquarium has been filled with local stuff. But it’s that time of year, where it would be more than easy to use the whole day just birding at Mogan.

Citrine Wagtails - 2 males and a female.

Citrine Wagtails – 2 males and a female. Click to enlarge!

Yesterday I found my first Red-backed Shrike of the year south of the lake. Furthermore good numbers of wagtails and pipits had arrived. Amongst others about 10 Citrine Wagtails were present of a field untill two fishermen flushed them, so they flew to a small lake area. I even managed to get 3 Cit Wags on the same photo.

Hunting Red-footed Falcon

Hunting Red-footed Falcon

During the few hours present at Mogan 13 Red-footed Falcons migrated northwest. 7 in one flock and after than single birds. As they birds are not forced into a narrow migration route I guess hundreds must have passed.

Purple Heron

Purple Heron

Purple Herons are still the most common herons but I also found Squacco, Night, Great White, Grey and Little Egret.

Today I woke up at 5:30. I almost switched the phone off and went back to sleep, but well… I went out to greet the sunrise at Mogan.

Marsh Harrier on a misty morning

Marsh Harrier on a misty morning

And what a morning it turned out to be. Misty at first but then the sun conquered it slowly.

Moustached Warbler

Moustached Warbler

Good numbers of birds were around including several Moustached Warblers – my first this year.

Red-throated Pipit

Red-throated Pipit

More than 100 Red-throated Pipits were also present and I even captured one of them singing. I recorded it and the video can be seen by clicking here!

What a nice bird...

What a nice bird. Click to enlarge!

Otherwise it was Hoopoe-day today. I have found at least 5 pairs now south of Mogan and they chase each other all the time – I can never grow tired of these unmistakable birds.

Even from a distance it looks good

Even from a distance it looks good

A pair a Little Owls have found a good spot on a chimney south of Mogan. These cute little fellows sometimes look quite intimidating, but they’ve alway worth a shot…

Little Owls

Little Owls

Silas Olofson

Falcons at Mogan

Male Lesser Kestrel

Male Lesser Kestrel

Well, it’s hard to stay at home when Lake Mogan is 20 minutes away. Today I couldn’t resist. So I went there once again. It was nice as always (in spring) with hundreds and hundreds of shorebirds.

Marsh Sandpiper

Marsh Sandpiper

Numbers of Barn Swallows had decreased a lot as had the general number of birds. But sspecially Whinchats have increased and are now common throughout.

Whinchat

Whinchat

White Storks and a flock of Glossy Ibises migrated north and a few Greater Flamingos and Gull-billed Terns were foraging.

Greater Flamingo

Greater Flamingo

Gull-billed Terns

Gull-billed Terns

, but the nicest surprise were about 20 Lesser Kestrels and 3 male Red-footed Falcons foraging out some fields south of Mogan. They gave really good views´even though the burning sun and the sharp light did make photographing difficult.

Lesser Kestrel

Lesser Kestrel

Lesser Kestrel

Lesser Kestrel

Lesser Kestrel

Lesser Kestrel

I managed to get stopped by the police once, but they were only curious about my photographing. Some local birders were also at Mogan today, so it was nice to say hi to them.

Red-footed Falcon - male

Red-footed Falcon – male

On the way home I got a flat tire, but it was easy the change and the flat one was repaired on the way home at a local garaj – so it wasn’t really bad after all.

Silas Olofson

Spring continues

Barn Swallow

Barn Swallow

Thunder storms and heavy rain during the last two days is the ideal recipe for many birds in Mogan. So I went down there yesterday for a brief check. And what a scenery. Literally Barn Swallows everywhere. Thousands and thousands were foraging over the fields and the lake itself. They were joined by some Red-rumped Swallows and a few House Martins. What a sight is was.

Barn Swallow

Barn Swallow

Barn Swallow

Barn Swallow

 

The Barn Swallows in Turkey are quite interesting. Most of the birds look like the birds we normally see in NW Europa but maybe 20% tend to have a rusty tone to the breast – some even quite extensive getting close to ssp. savignii/transitiva.

Reddish Barn Swallow

Reddish Barn Swallow

Barn Swallows over Mogan

Barn Swallows over Mogan

Warblers have arrived in good numbers. Sedge and Reed Warblers are singing from the reed beds and Lesser Whitethroats, Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs are common throughout. Other passerines seen today include the first Whincats and Pied Flycatchers of the year.

Pied Flycatcher

Pied Flycatcher

Well, there were also good numbers of White and Yellow Wagtails and a few Citrine Wagtails. But most significant where the arrival of several Tawny Pipits.

Tawny Pipit

Tawny Pipit

Shorebirds were present in good numbers too. 3 Red-necked Phalaropes, 2 Spotted Redshanks including a nice almost-summer-plumage and lots of Marsh, Common, Green and Wood Sandpipers, Greenshanks, Redshanks, Ruffs and Black-winged Stilts.

Spotted Redshank, Marsh and Wood Sandpiper

Spotted Redshank, Marsh and Wood Sandpiper

I saw about 10 Lesser Kestrels today and a single female Pallid Harrier, some Long-legged Buzzards and 10+ Marsh Harriers.

Red-necked Phalaropes - I guess visiting Icelandic birders will die to see this species!

Red-necked Phalaropes – I guess visiting Icelandic birders will die to see this species!

In the reed beds I found two male Little Crakes and a single female. They didn’t give good views at all, so no pictures this time.

Whinchat

Whinchat

Silas Olofson