Turkey - 8th - 19th August 2011

Published by Greg Roberts (friarbird.roberts AT gmail.com)

Participants: Greg Roberts


Photos with this report (click to enlarge)

Desert Finch
Desert Finch
White-throated Kingfisher
White-throated Kingfisher

Itinerary as follows:

4/8 – Arrived Istanbul – Hotel Petrol in the Old City-Byzantium/Constantinople area.

5/8 – Istanbul – cultural visits (Aya Sophia, Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace)

6/8 – Buyukada Island – ferry boat trip to Princes Islands in Marmora Sea

7/8 – Istanbul – Tourist visit to Taksim

8/8 – Istanbul – morning visit to Yildiz Park (nice oak/fir woodland); afternoon boat trip on The Bosphorus; afternoon tourist visit to Basilica Cistern.

9/8 – Flew from Istanbul to Adana, picked up hire car and drove to Birecik on the Euphrates River. Stayed Merkalem Motel. Very hot late afternoon birding around gravel pits on the western banks of the river.

10/8 – Birded the wadi next to the Bald Ibis breeding centre on the river’s eastern banks (no ibis present) and the surrounding short-grassed plateau. Checked shrubs 2km north of the wadi around the Isik Restaurant, then orchards 2km further up the road. Early afternoon visit to the Gilhane Tea Gardens in Birecik, returning there for dinner - no sign of Pallid Scops-Owl.

11/8 – Returned to the Gilhane gardens at 3am and found an owl in an adjacent park. Early morning birding around the gravel pits again. Drove to Gizantep, booked into Hotel Katan. Late afternoon visit to Durnalik - shrubs and orchards on the water spring track referred to in Gosney.

12/8 – Morning visit to Durnalick - cliff faces and rocky short-grassed steppes above the quarry at the end of the road (no Red-tailed Wheater or Pale Rockfinch). Afternoon drive to Ala Daglar Mountains via Pozanti and Camardi. Stayed at the Ozsafok Pensyion in Cukurbag.

13/8 – Left at 3.30am for the customary tractor ride (90 euros per person) to the Chromium Mine for the snowcock and ibex (see Gosney) at 3500m - arranged through Basar Safak, who runs the pensyion.

14/8 – Drove from Cukurbag to Eregli to find that the wetlands have been diverted and destroyed. Called in at Ayranci Baraji (a dam) on the way to Silifke and Tasucu. Stayed Hotel Lades on the waterfront (nice but watch what they put on your bill!).

15/8 – Visited the ruins of Olba Diocaesarea above Silifke – nice coastal shrubbery and pine forest en route.

16/8 – Wetlands of the Goksu Delta in the morning; the fortress at Silifke in the afternoon.

17/8 – Drove the circuit around the Goksu Delta – the hotel provides a useful map for this.

18/8 – Early morning at delta wetlands. Drove in the afternoon to Adana, stayed Hotel Le Grande.

19/8 – Departed Adana.


* denotes lifer.

Common names follow the latest edition of The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. Dave Gosney’s Finding Birds in Eastern Turkey was useful. See my blog for pictures: http://sunshinecoastbirds.blogspot.com/

Little Grebe,
Great Crested Grebe,
*Yelkouan Shearwater (common on The Bhosphorus and from ferry to Buyukada),
Great White Pelican (1 Goksu Delta),
Great Cormorant,
Pygmy Cormorant (small numbers Birecik),
European Shag,
Grey Heron,
Squacco Heron,
Purple Heron,
Little Egret,
Cattle Egret,
Great Egret,
Glossy Ibis (several Goksu Delta), Little Bittern (3 Birecik),
White Stork (thousands massing for migration at Goksu Delta),
*Little Crake (1 Goksu Delta on 18/8),
Common Moorhen,
Eurasian Coot,
Black-winged Stilt,
Marsh Sandpiper,
Wood Sandpiper,
Green Sandpiper,
Common Sandpiper,
Temminck’s Stint,
Common Snipe, Ruff,
Little Ringed Plover,
Ringed Plover,
Grey Plover,
European Stone-Curlew (1 Eregli),
Yellow-billed Gull,
Black-headed Gull,
Slender-billed Gull (small numbers ferry to Buyukada),
*Armenian Gull (small numbers, mostly immature, around Birecik on the Euphrates),
*Pallid (Striated) Scops-Owl (1 spotlighted Gilhane Tea Gardens),
*European Scops-Owl (1 spotlighted in orchard Ozsafok Pensyion),
Little Owl (1 Silifke fortress),
Common Kestrel,
Saker Falcon (1 Goksu Delta),
Golden Eagle (2 Ala Daglar),
Common Buzzard,
Western Marsh Harrier,
Egyptian Vulture (1 Silifke),
*See-see Partridge (wadi near Birecik: party of 4 birds and 3 single birds),
*Chukar (flock of 6 + 1 single bird, Ala Daglar),
*Caspian Snowcock (1 seen well in flight at Chromium Mine, Ala Daglar; 10+ heard),
Pied Kingfisher (several Birecik), Common Kingfisher,
White-throated Kingfisher (common Goksu Delta),
Rose-ringed Parakeet (Istanbul),
European Turtle-Dove,
Eurasian Collared-Dove,
European Swift,
Alpine Swift (common Istanbul),
European Bee-eater,
Syrian Woodpecker (fairly common throughout),
*Lesser Spotted Woodpecker (1 Yildiz Park),
Eurasian Hoopoe,
Sand Martin,
Crag Martin,
House Martin,
Barn Swallow,
Red-rumped Swallow,
Crested Lark,
Calandra Lark (common Ayranci Baraji), Short-toed Lark (Ayranci Baraji),
Winter Wren,
Spotted Flycatcher,
White-throated Robin (2 Durnalick 11/8),
Rufous-tailed Scrub-Robin (small numbers Birecik, Durnalik),
Blue Rock-Thrush,
Common Blackbird,
Black Redstart,
Black-eared Wheatear (common Durnalik),
Northern Wheatear,
*Finsch’s Wheatear (small numbers Ala Daglar),
Graceful Prinia (common Birecik, Goksu Delta),
Barred Warbler,
Common Whitethroat,
Olive-tree Warbler (2 Olba Diocaesarea),
Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler (2 Yildiz Park; a few near Birecik),
Eastern Olivaceous Warbler (several Birecik),
Upcher’s Warbler (several Durnalik),
*Eastern Orphean Warbler (2 Durnalick 11/8),
Cetti’s Warbler (2 Birecik), European Reed-Warbler,
Great Reed-Warbler (3 Goksu Delta), Moustached Warbler (several Goksu Delta),
*Metetries’ Warbler (common around Birecik),
*Ruppell’s Warbler (small numbers near Tasucu along coast and above Silifke),
*Iraq Babbler (surprisingly encountered several times around Birecik: 1 in reeds on 9/8; 2 in riverside shrubs at Isik Restaurant on 10/8; 2 +1 in reeds 11/8),
*Eastern Rock Nuthatch (quite common at Durnalik on both dates),
*Kruper’s Nuthatch (4 in fir forest near Olba Diocaesarea),
*Western Rock Nuthatch (small numbers Ala Daglar, Olba Diocaesarea),
Eurasian Nuthatch (2 Yildiz Park),
Eurasian Blue Tit,
Great Tit,
Sombre Tit (widespread in small numbers),
Coal Tit (above Silifke),
Isabelline Wheatear,
Red-backed Shrike,
Woodchat Shrike (2 above Silifke),
Yellow-vented Bulbul,
White Wagtail,
Yellow Wagtail,
Citrine Wagtail (Goksu Delta),
Water Pipit (Ala Daglar),
Tawny Pipit,
Alpine Accentor (3 at Chromium Mine, Ala Daglar),
*Radde’s Accentor (1 below Chromium Mine, Ala Daglar),
Hawfinch (1 Yildiz Park),
Crimson-winged Finch (2 Ala Dagla below Chromium Mine),
White-winged Snowfinch (small numbers Ala Daglar),
Rock Sparrow (Birecik),
House Sparrow,
Tree Sparrow,
*Red-fronted Serin (4 at Chromium Mine, Ala Daglar),
*Desert Finch (small numbers Birecik -orchards on river’s east bank; 1 Durnalik),
*Dead Sea Sparrow (fairly common Birecik, especially around gravel pits),
Corn Bunting,
Rock Bunting (Ala Daglar),
*Cinereous Bunting (2 Durnalik 11/8),
*Cretzschmar’s Bunting (3 Durnalik 11/8),
*Black-headed Bunting (1 Durnalik 11/8),
European Starling,
Red-billed Chough (Ala Daglar),
Black-billed Magpie,
Eurasian Jay,
Carrion Crow,
Eurasian Jackdaw.

142 species... 24 lifers.


*Ibex (party of 8 high on the cliffs at Chromium Mine, Ala Daglar),
*Anatolian Souslik Spermophilus xanthoprymnus (several Ala Daglar)