My wife has finally returned to Ankara. And after watching the kids for a week I felt like I had deserved to get a day off – for birding of course. And my wife actually did agree.
So I woke up early and drove for 1½ hours towards Nallihan to do my annual winter bird count (even though it was a little late already).
Pale Ruddy Shelduck
Upon arrival I started counting Ruddy Shelducks at the southern part of the area. Even though birds have started to migrate 700 Ruddy Shelducks were still present including an interesting pale bird.
A small part of the waterfowl present
I then started to check the waterfowl on the lake. It is quite a job due to the distance and the numbers of birds present. But I estimated about 30.00 waterfowl being present – mostly Coot and Common Teal but with lesser numbers of several other species.
I counted around 1.200 Little Grebe, 50 Black-eared Grebe, a few Tufted Ducks, 100+ Common Pochard, 2 Red-creasted Pochard, 1 Red-breasted Mergenser, 3 Smew, 1 Shoveler, 7 Wigeon, 100+ Mallard, a few Pintails and a single Common Shelduck. All in all quite nice.
But then the surprises started to occur. Suddenly 6 Palla’s Gulls flew over my head. Not extremely rare, but they are few and far between here – and they are always such a nice surprise.
Great White Pelican
Then a Great White Pelican came flying over and landed on the lake. Again a scarce bird around here and especially in early March.
Then two Black Storks came flying over. Again I would expect them to be in Hula Valley. But spring seems to start early this year.
Ruff and Lapwings
Other signs of spring included my first House Martins of the year and 50+ Ruff were also present.
Then I decided to check a remote area, where I have never been before. It is like mountain desert around there, so I really didn’t know what to expect.
But soon I heard a Wheatear singing and suddenly a stunning male Finsch’s Wheatear appeared in front of me.
And suddenly there was one more. They gave amazing views as they were fighting for a territory.
I decided to check the area more thoroughly and I found no less than 8 males in the area along with more expected stuff like Rock Nuthatch.
Suddenly an adult White-tailed Eagle landed not too far away from me. I wonder if they breed in the area.
As I headed back a flock of 6 Bewick’s Swans came flying over my head. Yet another good bird in Turkey.
All in all I was actually quite amazed by the variation of species present around the area – a combination of northern and southern species that are probably not crossing paths in many other areas.
Spanish Sparrows are common in the area