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