We woke up and left our hotel in Ercis at 4:00. Turkey is a very long country, but the time is the same all over the country. This means that dawn comes very early in the morning in the east.
First we headed to some marsh areas north of Van. It was simply amazing to see the numbers of birds present. Thousands and thousands of birds to check. At the first site where we stopped almost 100 White-headed Ducks were present and we used 30 minutes to observe their interesting display.
The days first good birds w Pranticoles at a small lake. They flew off as we passed them, so I didn’t get any pictures. At the same site 9 Black-bellied Sandgrouses, some Lesser Short-toed Larks and a Yellow Wagtails ssp. lutea were present.
We continued a bit further, where we found 3 Broad-billed Sandpipers, a very long-billed Curlew, 5 Red-necked Grebes and lots of White-winged Black Terns were present.
Then we headed to the legendary lava fields of Sarpmentas. There we found Bimaculated Lark and a Crimson-winged Finch gave amazing views.
We then headed a bit further north to a small stream. There we found a few Citrine Wagtails, two Crimson-winged Finches and the days biggest surprise – a Great Snipe.
After seeing the Great Snipe we went to look for Bluethroats and we soon located 3 birds of the subspecies magma with completely blue throat (except when singing as a small white patch is visible). At the site there were also a few Common Rosefinches and Whinchats.
We then headed to Ishan Pasa. It is an old castle near the city of Dogubeyazit. There we found Grey-necked Bunting, two Lammergeiers, Blue Rock Thrush, Shorelarks and a few Griffin Vultures.
All in all a very good day with awesome birding.