During the last week I’ve been to Bolu twice. Once with Mustafa and once with Hakan and Kuzey Cem. Bolu is about two hours drive northwest of Ankara and is known for its forests and its raptors. Thus it is worth a visit all year round.
The forests are primarily pine forests, but with sections of mixed forest. In these mixed forests I’ve found out that Green Warbler is actually a surprisingly common bird – probably the most common warbler and surely the most common phyl. Finding them is all about finding the scattered deciduous elements and it seem like almost all of these areas contain a cluster of Green Warblers with males singing within a range of 20-30 meters from each other.
I have counted about 40 Green Warblers during the two trips this week – were I only covered a micro tiny fraction of the potential breeding area. So there must be many breeding pairs out there. It should be mentioned that they are very hard to see in the dense forest (and flying around like Yellow-browed Warblers), but they are very vocal (almost reminding me of the power of a Cetti’s Warbler when calling).
Forests mean woodpeckers and at least Green, Grey-headed, Black, Syrian and Lesser and Greater Spotted Woodpecker occur just around Bolu/Gerede/Mengen. And I cannot see why White-backed shouldn’t be present in some areas. The general altitude of the area makes Middle Spotted Woodpecker less likely untill you get closer to the Black Sea – where it is not uncommon.
But I have had my struggles getting good views (and photos) of Grey-headed Woodpecker. But today my luck changed as a female (or maybe 1cy, but I don’t think so) was found in the piknik-area around Esentepe Hotel – Gerede. It gave stunning views (just a shame by best camera body is still at the repair shop). But was that’s after all a minor detail.
But Bolu is most famous for its raptors. I counted almost 100 Black Vultures, 7 Eastern Imperial Eagles and 2-3 Lammergeiers during our visits. During winter the numbers of eagles are even higher as the birds are being fed and tend to congregate in the area.
As there are about 70 Egyptian Vultures in Beypazari south of Bolu only Griffon Vulture is actually difficult within two hours drive of Ankara. Below you can see some pıcs from the rubbısh dump.