Lake birding

White-headed Duck

White-headed Duck

After using a day west of Ankara Svende and I went to bird around some of the lakes south of Ankara. Our first stop was Uyuz. Our target there was White-headed Duck and we soon located some birds.

Black-necked Grebe

Black-necked Grebe

Other good birds around included several Black-necked Grebes, ducks, Greater Flamingos and Grey-lag Geese.

Black-necked Grebe

Black-necked Grebe

We then continued to Kulu. As always in this time of year the birding was awesome. Gull-billed, White-winged, Black and Whiskered Terns were around in good numbers.

Lesser Short-toed Larks were easily located as they were very vocal.

Marsh Harrier

Marsh Harrier

But there were two very nice surprises. First two Black-winged Pranticoles were seen in a few hundred meters distance for a few minutes.

Black-winged Pranticole

Black-winged Pranticole

Then I located the Lesser Flamingo among the Greater Flamingos on the north side of the lake.

Lesser Flamingo

Lesser Flamingo

There were not many shorebirds left, but species like Spur-winged Lapwing, Kentish Plover, Black-winged Stilt and Avocet here all seen.

Whiskered Tern

Whiskered Tern

After some good fighting with the mud and a minor delay we headed to Kozanli.

Citrine Wagtail

Citrine Wagtail

It was loaded with quality birds. Presumably a breeding male Citrine Wagtail was protecting its territory.

Spur-winged Plover

Spur-winged Plover

A lazy Great White Pelican, a Spoonbill, Glossy Ibises and Collared Pranticoles were all present.

Marsh Harrier

Marsh Harrier

The greatest surprises were an Oystercatcher, an Osprey and two Black-tailed Godwits.

Silas

 

 

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Birding around Beypazari

Eastern Orphean Warbler

Eastern Orphean Warbler

The Ankara area actually offers some really spectacular possibilities for birding. Svend Erik and I visited some of the places close to Beypazari yesterday including Inozu Vadisi and Nallihan.

Sombre Tit

Sombre Tit

Right on arriving in Inozu birds like Rock Nuthatch, Black Stork, Alpine Swift, Black-eared Wheatear and Sombre Tits were seen.

Turtle Dove

Turtle Dove

The scenery in the lower part of the valley is just splendid as is the birding. Turtle Doves are nesting in the area and they can quite easily be seen flying around.

Masked Shrike

Masked Shrike

Further up the valley we located at least two pairs of Masked Shrikes and a single pair of Woodchat Shrikes. “Shriking” birds to say the least.

Cirl Bunting

Cirl Bunting

Cirl Bunting

Cirl Bunting

Cirl, Rock, Ortolan and Black-headed Buntings are all breeding in the area. With some patience they can all be seen at close range.

Eastern Orphean Warbler

Eastern Orphean Warbler

Eastern Orphean Warbler

Eastern Orphean Warbler

A good surprise was at least 5 Eastern Orphean Warblers and two Sardinian Warblers, that all have quite good views.

Red-rumped Swallow

Red-rumped Swallow

A little further up the valley Craig Martins, Red-rumped Swallows and a single Middle Spotted Woodpecker were around.

Middle Spotted Woodpecker

Middle Spotted Woodpecker

We then headed up to mountains to look for White-throated Robins. We soon located 1-2 males and a female. But the real highlight for we were at least 4 Barred Warblers having disputes over their territories.

Craig Martin

Craig Martin

On the way back we of course stopped at the rubbish dump and enjoyed the Egyptian Vultures.

Barred Warbler a4Barred Warbler a3Barred Warbler a2Barred Warbler a6Barred Warbler a7Barred Warbler a1Barred Warbler a8

We then headed to Nallihan, where is found lots of good birds including White-tailed Sea Eagle, Tufted Duck, Gadwall, Armenian Gull and much more.

White-tailed Sea Eagle

White-tailed Sea Eagle

In total the tour list reached 170 species in 3 days.

Silas

 

Green Warblers in Bolu

Green Warbler

Green Warbler

Two days ago Svende and I went birding north of Gerede. The area is truly amazing with very old and pristine forests. Green, Grey-headed, Black, Syrian, Great Spotted, Lesser Spotted and possible Middle Spotted and White-backed Woodpeckers occur in the area.

Siskin

Siskin

The forest contains many of the species associated with Scandinavian forests.

Green Woodpecker

Green Woodpecker

Our target species was Green Warbler though. It is known to occur in Bolu and I’ve found a few birds in earlier years. But yesterday I was choked. During a few hours we found 30+ Green Warblers singing in the area.

Mistle Thursh

Mistle Thursh

They only occur in very specific habitats, but at those habitats they are amazingly common. Due to bad weather and heavy rain birding soon became almost impossible we went fairly quickly back to Ankara.

Short-toed Snake Eagle at Mogan

Short-toed Snake Eagle at Mogan

Yesterday we checked Mogan where 5 species of Terns, all the common herons and Little Bitterns were seen. Also several Lesser Kestrels and a Short-toed Snake Eagle were seen.

Lesser Kestrel

Lesser Kestrel

Hoopoes in display

Hoopoes in display

 

Silas

Bolu birding

Ortolan Bunting

Ortolan Bunting

My old teacher from Denmark – Svend Erik Petersen – is currently visiting me. He was the person who really got me going when it comes to birding. Together we’ve been birding countless hours on three different continents – and now it was time for him to visit in Turkey.

Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers

Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers

Today we went to Kazan and then Bolu. At Kazan the birding was very good with species like Kruper’s Nuthatch, Lesser Spotted and Syrian Woodpecker, Ruddy Shelduck, Rock Nuthatch and much more seen.

We then continued to Bolu. We first checked for raptors. It was good as always, but the coolest thing was an adult Lammergeier passing by twice giving good views in the scope.

Lammergeier

Lammergeier

Other raptors included 3 Eastern Imperial Eagles, about 20 Black Vultures, 3 Lesser Spotted Eagles, Long-legged and Steppe Buzzards.

Lesser Spotted Eagle

Lesser Spotted Eagle

Other good birds included Ortolan Buntings, Yellow Wagtails, Tawny Pipit, beautiful Linnets and much more.

Turtle Dove

Turtle Doves

Linnet

Linnet

 

In the evening we went to the forest around Esentepe. There we saw 10+ Kruper’s Nuthatches, Green Woodpeckers, Common and Short-toed Treecreeper, Stock Dove and more.

Common Treecreeper

Common Treecreeper

All in all we saw 85 species during they day, which was quite satisfying.

Silas

Classic Birecik

Bee-eater

Bee-eater

Birecik is one of the best know birding areas in Turkey – and not without a reason. It is located on the shores of the Euphrates close to the Syrian border.

The area is quite different from the rest of Turkey and thus it contains quite a few birds not seen anywhere else in Turkey.

Iraq Babbler

Iraq Babbler

The Iraq Babblers are easily located on the west bank of the river. But I decided to do something different and went as close to the Syrian border as possible along the Euphrates. I was delighted to find several Iraq Babblers in that area too even though my target – Basra Reed Warbler – was not seen (there are actually claims from the area).

Roller

Roller

Roller

Roller

Roller

Roller

The area south of Birecik is actually very good. I came across a colony of Rollers and obtained the best views I’ve ever had of that species.

Roller

Roller

Roller

Roller

Flocks of hundreds of Rose-coloured Starlings were also present and several Black Francolins were seen and heard.

Rose-coloured Starling

Rose-coloured Starling

Other classics include Menetri’s Warbler. It is one of my favorites and I managed to get amazing views down to a few meters of both male and female.

Menetris Warbler

Menetris Warbler

Menetris Warbler

Menetris Warbler

When visiting Birecik a must-do is to visit Gulhane Caybahcesi, where a few Pallid Scops Owls tend to hang out. I went there and long with Soner Bekir we saw two birds. And I also met an english teacher, who offered me to give lessons at the local school. So I did that for a few hours and had a great time.

Pallid Scops Owl

Pallid Scops Owl

In the afternoon sun I went looking for the Yellow-throated Sparrows and found 5 birds.

Yellow-throated Sparrow

Yellow-throated Sparrow

Yellow-throated Sparrow

Yellow-throated Sparrow

Other good birds during the day included Pygmy Cormorant, Dead Sea Sparrow, Rufous-tailed Robin, Little Swift, Cattle Egrets, Bald Ibis, Barred Warbler and more.

Snake of some sort

Snake of some sort

Eastern Olivacious Warbler

Eastern Oliveacious Warbler

Dead Sea Sparrow

Dead Sea Sparrow

Cattle Egret

Cattle Egret

Cattle Egret

Cattle Egret

Barred Warbler

Barred Warbler

Silas

 

Nemrut dağı – birding and some old statues

Statues

Statues

It is called the 8th wonder of the world. Located in the Adiyaman area Nemrut dağı rises to 2.134 m. It is notable for the summit where a number of large statues are erected around what is assumed to be a royal tomb from the 1st century BC.

Corn Bunting

Corn Bunting

Rufus-tailed Robin

Rufus-tailed Robin

Anyways, Nemrut dağı offers some spectacular birding which I got to enjoy some days ago.

Rufus-tailed Robin

Rufus-tailed Robin

Rufus-tailed Robin

Rufus-tailed Robin

Already long before reaching the heights I was welcomed by two pairs of Rufos-tailed Robins have a dispute over their territory. It meant that they gave amazing views for as long as I could wish for.

Rufus-tailed Robin

Rufus-tailed Robin

Rufus-tailed Robin

Rufus-tailed Robin

Even before reaching the mountain birds like Slender-billed Gull, White-throated Robin, Woodchat Shrike and Chukar had been seen.

Chukar

Chukar

But the main target species at Nemrut are the Cinerous Bunting, White-winged Snowfinch and most importantly Kurdish Wheatear.

Cinerous Bunting

Cinerous Bunting

As soon as you enter the national park Cinerous Buntings become numerous and are hard to miss.

Black-eared Wheatear

Black-eared Wheatear

Other birds that are common during the climb are Shorelarks, Black-eared and Northern, Finsche’s Wheatear. I also saw 5 Crimson-winged Finches during the climb.

White-throated Robin

White-throated Robin

Kurdish Wheatear

Kurdish Wheatear

Kurdish Wheatear

Kurdish Wheatear

Kurdish Wheatears are not numberous, but during the climb I found 3 birds. But they are easier to work with around the summit, where there are several pairs in the vicinity of the statues.

White-winged Snowfinch

White-winged Snowfinch

At the summit Shorelarks and Rock Sparrows are common and a few White-winged Snowfinches tend to hang around (one pair seems to breed in a hole in one of the statues).

Rock Sparrow

Rock Sparrow

All in all Nemrut combines awesome birding with an awesome landscape and some old statues…

Shorelark ssp. penicillata

Shorelark ssp. penicillata

 

Silas

 

 

 

 

Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters

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Close to Hilvan and the Ataturk Dam one of those birding hot spots is located that just blows your mind. On a small hill in the middle of a small village a mixed colony of Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters and European Bee-eaters is located.

Due to the location of the colony the birds are rather used to people ama amazing views can be achieved.

But if you plan to visit the place please be cautions. Do not stay close to the colony for too long. That scares the birds away and they are interrupted in their nursing.

A very good alternative is that you can get good views from the car. After just minutes the birds get used to the car and continue like nothing has happened. This will surely give both you more pleasure and then birds welfare is sought after.

All of the photos in this blog post are taken directly from the car.

Silas

 

 

 

 

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