Photos with this report (click to enlarge)
Twelve enthusiastic birders gathered at the crack of dawn at Gatwick on Easter Monday in anticipation of our first organised Greater Peterborough Ornithological Group (GPOG) trip to South West Turkey.
We flew with Thomas Cook, staying at the excellent Garden Pension in Dalyan run by Catherine and Ercan and hired two minibuses from Car Dalaman. The total cost of the trip was less than £400 each.
Birding in this part of Turkey is never easy. Despite the vast tracts of seemingly attractive habitat, birds can be thin on the ground. We have found that Dalyan makes a good base for birding this area, with plenty on offer within a 25k radius of the town. If you can do it, then two longer trips are well worth making and add considerably to the species list. The Menderes Delta/Bafa Golu is three hours to the north and an exploration of the mountain areas around Seki is highly recommended. Time taken to explore areas away from the regular sites undoubtedly yields its rewards but ‘first timers’ or those with limited time/transport couldn’t do better than take a holiday in Dalyan.
Literature and websites
Birding information for Turkey is relatively sparse and we found only a couple of trip reports relevant to this time of year, Bob Swann 6th – 19th April 2003 and Nature Trek 20th – 28th April 2006. Gosney’s Finding Birds in Western Turkey remains the standard site guide and is referred to in this trip report. Ian Green and Nigel Moorhouse’s A Birdwatchers Guide to Turkey doesn’t give masses of detail on sites, but nevertheless gives useful information on what to bring and expect on the trip to Turkey. A couple of us had been to South West Turkey on previous occasions so had reasonable knowledge of the area and selected sites, but this was very much a ‘find it yourself’ kind of trip.
About this trip report
This trip report is a group effort between most of the trip participants. The introduction, daily itinerary and bird species list was compiled and written by Bob and Sue Titman and Trevor and Jane Williams, with additional notes contributed by other participants. Stewart Betts produced the Dragonfly species list, whilst William Bowell is responsible for the design and layout of these pages. All content and photographs are copyright to their owners. The complete version of this report will a full liberary of photos can be found at the Peterborough Bird Club website.
Monday 9th April
We arrived at our accommodation late afternoon and were warmly welcomed by our hosts. We occupied six of the eight comfortable rooms overlooking the gardens and pool, with a view over adjacent farm land. A perfect edge of town location. A gentle stroll out from the pension provided a staple diet of common species together with a few specialities such as Penduline Tit, Cretzschmar’s Bunting, Subalpine Warbler, Black-eared Wheatear, Short-toed Eagle, Masked Shrike and Red-rumped Swallow.
Tuesday 10th April
A Quail was calling opposite the pension at the start of an early morning walk down the river towards Koycegiz Golu then inland towards the hill mentioned in Gosney. This is a good vantage point to see over the reed fringed southern edge of the lake, providing views of Glossy Ibis, Pratincole sp., Great White Egret and Savi’s Warbler. On the hill itself, Western Rock Nuthatch. Late morning we travelled the 25k to Kocegiz and found a few waders on the shore line and an obliging Citrine Wagtail at the far end of the esplanade. Further along the road to Hamit Koy we explored footpaths towards the lake. Great Spotted Cuckoo, Osprey, Orphean and Barred Warbler were the highlights. A Kruper’s Nuthatch was an unexpected surprise in the deciduous woods near Teperasi on our way back to Dalyan.
Wednesday 11th April
Our first long day trip to the Seki pass and the Sogut plain, covered in Gosney in the section ‘Hills around Korkuteli’. Highlights at the Karamel pass, our first stop on the N350, included Ruppell’s Warbler and, for a lucky few, Finsch’s Wheatear. On the outskirts of Seki the arable fields provided more excellent birding including Isabelline Wheatears, Syrian Woodpecker and good views of Long-legged Buzzard. Once through Seki village the road climbs steeply to the pass of at a height of 1830m. We had hoped to reach the snow line at this point but an early thaw meant that there was just bare mountainside. Very productive nonetheless with a small flock of Red-fronted Serin, Sombre Tit and Rock Thrush. The afternoon, spent on the Sogut plain, was much less rewarding with Hen Harrier and Ruddy Shelduck the highlights. Our return journey took us via Elmali and back through the Seki pass. We had some excellent birding in the first gorge beyond Yilmazli including a flock of Cretzschmar’s Buntings feeding under the goat troughs and more Red-fronted Serin and Sombre Tits on the bare hillside.
Thursday 12th April
An easy day spent exploring the area around Dalyan. In the morning we discovered a small wetland on the road to Sangerme which produced several wader species, Lesser Kestrel hunting over the fields and our first fabulous Roller. In the afternoon we took the row boat across to Kaunos to explore the ruins and rock tombs. Highlights included White-tailed Eagle, Ortolan Bunting and Eleanora’s Falcon.
Friday 13th April
Our second long trip to explore Bafa Golu and the Menderes Delta, sites well described in Gosney. On the salt flats beyond Akkoy, numerous larks and pipits. Around the fisherman’s huts on the delta Dalmatian Pelican, terns and waders. We had lunch overlooking the spectacular remains at Milet and in the afternoon followed the river levy track (Gosney site 4). Here we were treated to Collared Flycatcher, Little Bittern, White Pelican and Spur-winged Plover. At the fisherman’s hut on the shore of Bafa Golu, a small flock of Pygmy Cormorant and c 170 Glossy Ibis. Visitors to this site are warned to avoid the fisherman’s dogs, one of which gave one of our party a nasty bite! Our evening meal, at a restaurant near Marmaris, was accompanied by a very obliging Scops Owl.
Saturday 14th April
The morning was spent on a leisurely boat trip around Kocegiz Golu. We added Night Heron to our list and found another Pygmy Cormorant whilst exploring the many channels and inlets in pursuit of the large kingfisher sp., which we unfortunately didn’t find! At £10 per head, including a sumptuous breakfast, it was excellent value. The afternoon was spent at the deciduous woods near Teperasi and a further exploration of the pastures around Hamit Koy. Middle Spotted Woodpecker and Whiskered Tern (from the esplanade at Koycegiz) were additions to the list.
Sunday 15th April
Our last full day, so we decided to make a return visit to the mountains to see if we could locate some of the species missed around Seki. An inspired decision to follow the newly widened track to Mentes Tekke (1 k, along the Seki road from the junction with the N350) provided an outstanding days birding. The track terminates at a newly constructed ski lodge from which we explored the snow covered hills and gorges. We were handsomely rewarded for our efforts with a pair of White-throated Robin, several Snow Finch and Horned Lark, another Finsch’s Wheatear (seen by everyone) and Rock Sparrow. A truly memorable day’s birding.
Monday 16th April
We spent our final morning around Dalyan and Sangerme where Montagu’s Harrier was a pleasant addition to the list. We had more views of Glossy Ibis and Spur-winged Plover at the pools beyond the airport before returning to the minibuses and catching our flight home.
In total we saw 175 species, had some fantastic birding, discovered some new sites and were well looked after by Catherine and Ercan. What more could you ask for - a great trip!
Regularly on large bodies of water.
Great Crested Grebe
Several on Koycegiz Golu and Bafa Golu.
15+ at Bafa Golu 13th April.
Regularly seen in the Dalyan area flighting between Kocegiz Golu and Turtle Beach.
10 at the fisherman’s hut on Bafa Golu 13th April, one on main channel into Koycegiz Golu 14th April.
Two flew overhead at Milet towards Bafa Golu 13th April.
Six plus on the Menderes delta and two flew overhead by the fishermens huts.
A female in reeds by levee track behind Milet 13th April. One on edge of Koycegiz Golu 14th April.
One roosting in bush on edge of Koycegiz Golu 14th April and another flew from ditch on track at back of Dalyan 16th April.
Regular in most wetland areas, peak count of 22 on the boat trip on Kocegiz Golu.
Most common of the heron species, seen daily. Peak count of 107 at Bafa Golu near the water treatment plant on the way to fisherman’s hut 13th April.
Great White Egret
Single at Koycegiz Golu on 10th April and two on 14th. Singles at Dalyan on 10th Apri and on Menderes Delta and two at the fisherman’s hut at Bafa Golu, 13th April.
Four at Dalyan on 10th April, five from levee track behind Milet, one on the Menderes delta and five at the nature reserve at Bafa Golu 13th April.
One at Dalyan and two at Kocegiz Golu on the 10th April. Five along the levee track behind Milet.
Seen daily with nests on many prominent structures, for example 10 nests on consecutive pylons on the road between Ortaca and Sangerme.
A flock seen in flight over Koycegiz Golu from the hill at Dalyan on 10th. Regular around the Menderes delta with a peak count of 128 on the flooded fields near the water treatment works, 13th April. 60 at airport lagoons at Dalaman on 16th April.
Regular around the Menderes delta, with a peak count from the fisherman’s hut of 1,000+.
Two on the Sogut plain 11th April, and two on the Menderes delta 13th April.
100+ on the Menderes Delta 13th April.
50 at the fisherman’s hut on the Menderes Delta.
15+ flighting onto shallow pools towards fishermens huts at Menderes Delta on 13th April. Small numbers noted on Koycegiz Golu.
Small numbers on Kocegiz Golu.
10+ from the fisherman’s hut Bafa Golu 13th April and a male on the Dalaman airport lagoons 16th April.
Small numbers on Koycegiz Golu and six plus from the fisherman’s hut Bafa Golu 13th April.
Five from the fisherman’s hut Bafa Golu 13th April.
Sub-Adult over the ruins of Kaunos 12th April, and another bird thermaling over Sangerme to Ortaca road 16th April.
Daily in small numbers. Three together over the hills above Dalyan 12th April, four at Hamit Koy and three at Bafa Golu on 13th April.
Seen occasionally over Koycegiz Golu and a single bird over Menderes Delta 13th April. One over airport on 16th April.
Single bird on Sogut plain on 11th April.
Single ringtail on outskirts of Dalyan 16th April.
One at Koycegiz on 10th April, another behind Radar Hill, Dalyan on 12th, one on road to ski lodge on 15th.
Seen daily in small numbers in all habitats.
Seen from the airport soon after arrival, one at Hamit Koy on 10th. Displaying pair at Euromos on 13th April.
A single bird observed lingering over Hamit Koy on 10th April.
Three seen together over arable land around Sangerme on 12th April and two nearby at Merlenci on 16th April.
One seen over Kaunos on 12th April and one along ridge above fisherman’s hut at Bafa Golu on 13th April.
One at Kaunos 12th April and another from the fisherman’s hut at Bafa Golu on 13th April.
Two singing early morning behind Garden Pension from 10th April and subsequently flushed on 12th.
Three on the river at Dalyan on 10th April, a single bird at Sangerme on 12th April.
Small numbers on Koycegiz Golu, larger numbers on Bafa Golu.
Two at the fishermens huts at the Menderes delta 13th April.
One from the esplanade at Koycegiz on 10th April, three behind the airport on 16th April.
Four birds seen on the salt flats at the Menderes delta 13th April.
Little Ringed Plover
Five from Koycegiz esplanade on 10th April, then six on pools at Sangerme on 12th April.
Twenty plus on the Menderes Delta on 13th April.
Twenty five plus at Menderes Delta on 13th April.
Two from levee track behind Milet on 13th April, a second pair on airport on 16th April.
One at the esplanade, Koycegiz and two plus nearby in flooded fields at Hamit Koy on 10th April. 20+ at the Menderes delta on 13th April.
One at esplanade, Koycegiz with Little Stint, 10th April.
One on the Menderes delta on 13th April.
Single bird in rice fields from levee track behind Milet on 13th April.
Two on Menderes delta by fishermens huts on 13th April.
One calling in flight near fisherman’s hut, Bafa Golu 13thApril.
Five plus on Menderes delta 13th April.
Three on Menderes delta on 13th April, a single bird on levee track behind Milet on 13th April.
Two in ditch near Sangerme on 12th April, One from levee track behind Milet on 13th April.
Six on road side pools Sangerme on 12th April.
Two at Koycegiz esplanade on 10th April, one at Menderes delta 13th April.
A 2nd summer bird from Koycegiz esplanade on 10th April, 20+ at Bafa Golu on 13th April.
One immature at Menderes delta by fishermens huts on 13th April.
Twelve at Koycegiz Golu on 10th April.
Two seen in flight at Menedres delta on 13th April.
Seen on most days in small numbers.
Three at fishermens huts at Menderes delta on 13th April.
100+ at fisherman’s hut at Bafa Golu, 7+ at Koycegiz Golu on 14th April.
Several along channel down to fishermens hut at Menderes delta 13th April.
Thirty between Hamit Koy and Koycegiz Golu on 14th.
White-winged Black Tern
Two distantly over Koycegiz esplanade on 10th April.
Seen in urban areas in small numbers.
Two on ski lodge road near Seki on 15th April.
Two on Seki plain on 15th April.
Great Spotted Cuckoo
One near Hamit Koy on 10th April.
One calling near Milet on 13th April, one seen and another heard calling at the restaurant near Marmaris on 13th April and one heard from the Garden Pension on 14th April.
Two regularly on roof of Garden Pension, one in derelict building in Dalyan 12th April and on wire near Fethiye.
Seen daily in small numbers, notable early morning movements at Dalyan and Sangerme.
Seen daily. 40+ between Fethiye and Kemer on 11th April, 60+ near airport on 16th April.
Seen on the river at Dalyan and at Koycegiz Golu. Seven along levee behind Milet, two at Bafa Golu 13th April. 11 on the boat trip on Koycegiz Golu on 14th April.
Four high overhead near Hamit Koy on 10th April
One perched in tree near Sangerme on 12th April, another on 12th at Gubez, one on wires on outskirts of Dalyan on 16th April.
Scarce, mainly at altitude with birds noted at pass above Seki and at lower altitude at the wood at Teperasi on 10th and 14th April.
One calling at Hamit Koy on 10th April, a second bird calling and seen above Ceylan on 15th April.
Two at Ceylan on Seki plain on 11th, two at Euromos on 13th April, one in the Turtle Beach area and one on Radar Hill wood. Another was also seen below Ceylan on the 15th April.
Middle Spotted Woodpecker
One seen in deciduous woods at Teperasi on 14th April.
Lesser Spotted Woodpecker
Up to three active birds displaying in deciduous woods at Teperasi on 10th and 14th April.
Two or three pairs on the salt flats at Menderes Delta on 13th, a pair on Seki plain on 15th April.
Up to ten on salt flats on the Menderes Delta on 13th April, a single bird on Seki plain on 15th April.
The commonest lark, seen daily in all habitats.
Seen and heard from Ceylan up to the snow line 15th April.
Single birds on the Seki plain on 11th April.
11+ on fields around ski lodge on 15th April of the pencilliata sub-species.
Small numbers in mixed hirundine flock near Dalyan on 9th and again at Hamit Koy on 10th April.
Two pairs in gorge near Yilmazli on 11th April.
Seen daily in reasonable numbers.
Seen daily in small numbers, mostly local birds on territory with notable passage at beginning and towards the end of the week.
Seen occasionally in hirundine flocks.
Singles on the Seki plain on 11th and 15th April and one at the pass above Seki.
Four on wires near football stadium, Dalyan, on 10th April, two on the Seki plain near Ceylan on 11th and a single near Garden Pension on 12th April. Three in woods at Euromos on 13th April and a single at Teperasi on 14th April and a single on the ski lodge road on 15th April.
Two from esplanade at Koycegiz on 10th April and then several flushed when walking in the Hamit Koy area.
Up to seven on salt flats at Menderes Delta on 13th April.
12+ around the ski lodge and snow line on 15th April.
Seen daily in small numbers in suitable lowland habitat with Black-headed (feldegg) on territory. Other sub-species specifically identified were supercilialis and flava.
One first summer from the esplanade at Koycegiz 10th-14th April.
Two seen at Teperasi on 14th April and one on Seki plain on 15th April.
Pied (White) Wagtail
Seen daily in small numbers in suitable habitat.
Seen at Dalyan, Karamel pass and above Seki plain on 15th April.
Scarce. Seen and heard in scrub around Dalyan and at Kaunos.
Pair on territory above Ceylan on 15th April.
Singles at higher altitudes near Seki on 11th April which appeared to be of the Middle Eastern sub-species semirufous with a sharp breast band demarcating the black and rusty red underparts rather than the more expected Turkish sub-species.
A male at Sangerme on 12th April and another at the start of the Menderes delta salt flats on 13th April.
Single male at Hamit Koy on 10th April and two at Koycegiz on the same day. A single on the Seki plain on 11th April, three on salt flats around Dalyan on 12th April.
Small numbers on Seki plain on 11th and 15th April and another by the Airport on the 16th April.
Reasonable numbers on territory and singing loudly and constantly at higher altitudes above 1300m
Scarce but well distributed. Seen at Dalyan, Koycegiz, Seki plain, Radar Hill, Karamandebi, Gecidi, Yilmazli and in the mountains. Individuals of the pale-throated form were noted.
Male at Karamel pass on 11th April, and another fine male above ski lodge on 15th April.
At altitude, one at the Gogbeli pass above Seki on 11th and two at the ski lodge on 15th April
Blue Rock Thrush
Individuals seen in mountainous areas around Seki on 11th especially the Gogbeli pass, and the ski lodge on 15th April.
Single male below the ski lodge on 15th April.
Secretive but seen on a number of occasions throughout the week. One at Teperazi on the 10th, one on road below Radar Hill and Kaunos on the 12th, one at Euromos on the 13th, one above Caylan and at Gosney’s site for White-throated Robin on the 15th April.
Seen and heard in Teperasi woods 10th and 14th April and one above Caylan on the 15th.
At altitude in Seki and Sogut areas, one at Sangerme on 12th April.
Common at lower altitudes, heard and occasionally seen
Scarce, with birds noted at Dalaman airport, Dalyan, Hamit Koy and the salt flats on Menderes Delta.
One heard reeling near Dalyan on 12th April, another probable on reed beds near Dalyan
Heard and seen on river at Dalyan and at Sangerme on 12th and 16th April.
Heard on river at Dalyan and at Koycegiz Golu and from the levee road behind Milet.
Great Reed Warbler
Fairly frequent at Hamit Koy, Koycegiz Golu and near Dalyan, with numbers appearing to increase during the week.
A single bird in scrub near Dalyan on 9th and one at Kaunos on 12th April
Up to three at Kaunos on 12th
One at Karamel pass on 11th April, a single male at Kaunos on 12th April.
Single birds at Hamit Koy and Teperasi on 10th April and Karamel Pass on 11th April, Kaunos on 12th, several at Euromos on 13th April and four above Ceylan on 15th April.
Three near Hamit Koy on 10th April.
Regular in small numbers
By river at Dalyan and then at Teperasi on 10th April.
One in river bed on Sogut plain on 11th April.
Singing at Sangerme on 12th April and on the levee track behind Milet on 13th April.
Male seen well from levee track behind Milet on 13th April.
In woods above Turtle Beach 16th April.
Single birds near Seki pass and then four in gorge above Yilmazli on 11th April. Three at Euromos on 13th April and several above Ceylan on 15th April.
In pine woods at Karamel Pass 11th April and above Turtle Beach 16th April.
Single birds at Karamel Pass 11th April and in Teperasi woods 10th and 14th April.
Commonest of the tit species, seen regularly
First seen in Teperasi deciduous woods on 10th April and then excavating a nest hole at the same site on 15th April. Another at Karamel Pass on 11th April. Also seen at the nest hole in woods above Turtle Beach 16th April and two near Gokbel on 16th April.
Seen in woods at Euromos on 13th Teperasi woods on 14th April.
Western Rock Nuthatch
First seen on the hill near Dalyan on 10th April and then seen daily in suitable habitat at a range of altitudes.
One seen at Karamel Pass on 11th April.
Regularly seen in suitable lowland habitat including Dalyan, Hamit Koy, Milet, with several pairs nest building.
A male at Kaunos on 12th April then another male at Euromos the following day.
Commonest of the shrike species seen in small numbers daily in suitable lowland habitat.
One near Dalyan on 9th, one at Sangerme on 12th and one in song near river at Dalyan on 10th and 14th April.
Eastern race seen daily.
Three seen over fields near Hamit Koy on 10th April, then one near Yatagan and another south of Karamanbedi Gecidi on 13th April.
Two at pass above Seki on 11th April then a single bird on 12th April at Kaunos,
Single bird at Yatagan on 13th April.
Common in small numbers in all habitats
One near Dalyan on 10th and 12th April and two above Turtle Beach on 16th April.
On arable land around Seki in small numbers on 11th and 15th April.
Regular in places of habitation
Scarce lowland arable areas in mixed sparrow flocks. Numerous at Milet on 13th April.
One at drinking trough on Seki plain on 11th April.
Two with Shore Larks on arable fields above ski lodge on 15th April.
Up to three above the snow line on rocky outcrops above the ski lodge, 15th April.
Scarce, in the Teperasi area.
Several small flocks at Gogubeli pass on 11th April, then four drinking in the river in the gorge above Yilmazli on the same day.
Scarce in small numbers at all altitudes
Thinly distributed away from the mountains with one at Karamel pass on 11th April.
Small numbers at pass above Seki on 11th April.
Singing birds at Karamandebi Gecidi on 11th April, a bird singing at Euromos on 13th and up to three birds seen below ski lodge on 15th April.
Scarce at altitude, at Karamel pass and around Seki on 11th April and at the ski lodge on 15th April.
One singing bird at Kaunos on 12th April.
Scarce, but a male at Dalyan on 9th April, eight plus at the goat troughs above Yilmazli on 11th April and a singing male at Radar Hill on 16th April.
Probable heard on early morning riverside walk Dalyan 10th April and another near Hamit Koy on the same day.
Around Dalyan and in other suitable habitats.