Sunday, 29 May 2016

Turkey - 27 & 28 May 2016 - Goksu Delta

27 May

Today we went to the Goksu Delta. The tracks around the ditches are to be treated with caution in wet conditions so we were mindful of the limitations of our 2WD, low clearance Fiat.

Right from the start there was heavy cloud over the mountains as we scanned the reeds and water from probably the worse designed bird-hide in existence – never mind the missing step about 10 feet up, not what you expect when something is clearly rather new.

Worst hide in the world?

Purple Gallinule was seen, Great Crested Grebe and Red-crested Pochard. A few mammals put in appearances with Golden Jackal and Egyptian Mongoose  seen on the delta. We had Black-winged Stilt, Spur-winged Plover, White-winged Black, Whiskered, Common and Little Tern – but no Marbled Duck. 

 Spur-winged Plover

The cloud turned to rain, then thunder was heard and eventually the storm drifted our way to fall as very heavy rain with hail before drifting away. We had to leave one track for fear of becoming stuck in the gloopy mud. Through the rain we disturbed a couple of Collared Pratincole, then saw several more going through, with Hobby, Purple Heron, Squacco Heron, Little Egret, Ruddy Shelduck and Kentish Plover also being seen. 

 Ruddy Shelduck

 Great White Egret

 Kentish Plover

There were a few Marsh Harriers overhead.

 Marsh Harrier

After the rain we headed off to look at a nearby castle. It was closed, so after a brief look from the outside we drove off to find a track to explore. We spotted  a very interesting gorge that held Cretzchmar’s  Bunting, Rufous Bush Robin and Ruppell’s Warbler with Honey Buzzard and Sparrowhawk overhead.

 Rufous Bush Robin

A little later we returned to the delta. Tracks were still rather wet but with much improved light now we succeeded in seeing Moustached Warbler and Bearded Tit- but still no Marbled Duck.

  Bearded Tit male

White Stork and three Glossy Ibis were feeding on the rice paddyfields

 White Stork

 Glossy Ibis

28 May

We had a little time in the morning before setting off for the mountains so returned to Goksu, hoping the better weather would allow more birds to show themselves. We got additional species of Grey Plover, Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover and European Roller.

 European Roller


We also got better views of the Collared Pratincoles.

 Collared Pratincole

We had some lunch before setting off to the pension in the mountains. The restaurant had a family of Jays and finally it was possible to photograph one of these birds. They are or interest because they have complete black caps, unlike those that we get in the UK.

Juvenile Jay

After another long drive we arrived at our destination. We were surprised to find the rivers in fast flow, heavy cloud cover and snow on the mountain tops. We can only hope that it is possible to see the mountain top species.

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Turkey - 25 & 26 May 2016 North of Akseki and travelling East

25 May
We took the road to Akseki and followed directions to a place 15km to the north where Middle-spotted Woodpecker used to be seen. In keeping with our recent luck with Woodpeckers we didn't see or even hear any, but did see Serin, Coal Tit, Wood Lark, Crossbill, Redstart and Kruper's Nuthatch.

Kruper'sNuthatch (record shot)

Lesser Fiery Copper

Trying another site 8kms from the town, the wind had really got up and it was very cold. The Woodpeckers remained elusive but we heard Wren and also saw Rock Bunting.

Rock Bunting

We tried another flat area but had no luck with birds but a few other butterfly species.

 White Admiral sp. -identification to be confirmed

 Fritillary sp. - identification to be confirmed

After our walks we also added Long-legged Buzzard, Collared Flycatcher and Cretchzmar's Bunting while driving near the town of Akseki.

26 May
This was really a travelling day with a couple of hundred kilometres to cover on twisting coastal roads. We broke the trip up by first visiting  Alanya Castle.

Alanya castle walls

Mamure Castle was the next target, but it was closed for renovation. However, Recep the gardener gave us a tour of the outer walls, showed us the turtles in the moat, sea turtle beach and gave us tea.

 Mamure Castle

 The moat holds Red-eared Pond Slider, European Pond and Central Turkey Pond turtles and hybrids (some being non-native species).

The moat at Mamure where a Little Bittern was flushed.

An island opposite the castle, apart from nesting Yellow-legged Gulls, held three Great Egrets, plus Shag and Great Cormorant.

After completing the trip, we ate at the harbour at Tasucu, seeing Audouin's Gulls from the beachside restaurant while Laughing Dove were seen and heard too.

Turkey - 24 May 2016 Manavgat Plains and Tasagil.

We found the tyre repair had gone down over night so lost four hours putting the repaired spare back on and going back to the garage to buy a new tyre. We saw Corn Bunting and Masked Shrike on the way and returning to the garage placed us near the plains area so we gave that another try. The drive gave us Little Bittern, Calandra Lark and a heard Great Reed Warbler in addition to many of the species seen on the previous day. Not too bad as it was close to midday by the time we actually started.

 Little Bittern female

 Little Bittern male

On the Tasagil Road we again tried for Olive-tree Warbler, having no luck but did manage to see Ruppell's Warbler and Alpine Swift.

Ruppell's Warbler

On the road to Turbe we climbed steeply up into the hills and got views of Short-toed Eagle, Honey Buzzard, and Western Rock Nuthatch.

Western Rock Nuthatch

 Persian Squirrel

On returning to Golbasi Hotel, Scops Owl and Syrian Woodpecker were both heard.

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Turkey - 23 May 2016 Oymapinar, Tilkiler & Manavgat plains

Day two followed an awkward situation at the accommodation we had booked. We needed to be up and out by 5am for our meeting with the guide to see the Brown Fish Owls. Our cabin was on a site that catered for weddings – and they had one booked. Further to that the gate is LOCKED over night with no staff on site. At first the manager agreed to have someone open the gate at 5am, then he was worried they may not get up, as were we. By 11.15pm the live entertainment was still going strong – and very loud – there is much stomping and loud ‘lullullullullulling’ (a high pitched noise made with the tongue) at Turkish weddings, well at that one at any rate, so having showered, we left and slept in the car.

 Brown Fish Owl female

 Brown Fish Owl male

 The chicks have yet to emerge from the dark, nest cavity.
The image was achieved by over exposure  and no flash was used.

We had no problems seeing the owls – both parents and two chicks almost ready to fledge.

 Dawn at Oymapinar

Other birds seen included Crag Martin, Raven, Dipper, Turtle Dove, White Wagtail and Long-tailed Tit. 

After a walk by the lake, guided by a couple of locals, we carried on to Tilkiler, a small village in the hills. We tried for Olive-tree Warbler, unsuccessfully but did see Golden Oriole before the rain set in.

We had a very late breakfast at a riverside garden restaurant, listening to Nightingale and watching Red-rumped Swallows and Swallows over the river, just as green as the reservoir that it had come from and flowing fast.

We drove to the plains where we worked the tracks along the canals seeing Little Egret, Squacco Heron, Black-winged Stilt, Sand Martin, Reed Warbler, Spur-winged Plover, Moorhen, Short-toed Lark, Hobby and Little-ringed Plover. Moving away from the water courses we tracked down Red-backed Shrike, Rufous Bush Robin and Stone Curlew.

 Rufous Bush Robin

 European Bee-eater

 Blue - Identification to be confirmed

 Hairstreak - identification to be confirmed

The mood was ruined by returning to the car to find the near front tyre flat, and on inspection after removal, in a dreadful condition. The spare was little better and was already flat in the boot. We drove slowly to a tyre place a few kilometers away, Chris had seen it on the way there - they patched both, we crossed fingers and hoped for the best.

On the way to our next accommodation, the Golbassi Otel, we added Woodchat Shrike, White Stork and Little Owl to the trip list.

Sunset at Golbasi Otel

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Turkey - 22 May 2016 Perge, Aspendos & Side.

Our first full day in Antalya and we decided to spend the day looking at sites of antiquity and any birds that we may see while looking at the ruins. We started at Perge, a site predating the Trojan Wars, where Black-headed Bunting and Spectacled Bulbul were both viewed amongst the remains of the city.

Spectacled Bulbul

Black-headed Bunting


Next stop was Aspendos, rather less well preserved than Perge but with a splendid amphitheatre dating to the time of Marcus Aurelius. Here we also photographed butterflies and dragonflies – simply because they were there! But we do need to do a bit of research..........later.

 Theatre at Aspendos

 Spur-thighed Tortoise


 Unidentified Wall butterfly

 Unidentified Dragonfly

Unidentified Skipper

There birds were difficult to see as the vegetation was quite dense.
Last visit of the day was to Side. These ruins are along the coast, interspersed with the tourist resort. No particular bird sightings here.

 Blue Rock Lizard