The plan was to go to the beach on the first day, taking in the woods at the Dolmus end of the beach and the Iztuzu Gol, walk the length of the beach meandering from the sea side to the river side and get the boat back through the reed beds. However, we arrived to rain and it pretty much rained the whole of the first day, so birding was restricted to what we could see from our front door, which means the sum total for the first day consisted of, Collard Dove, House Sparrow, House Martin, Swallows, Jays and good views of a pair of Whitethroat which stayed in the garden for most of the day.
Day 2 Kaunos
Woke up to good weather and stuck to our itinerary of going to Kaunos. We took the rowing boat across the river return price of 3.5 lira per person and once on the other side ambled our way towards Kaunos. The entrance price for 2011 is still 8 lira and we did the circular route as outlined on the web site. Apart from the previous mentioned birds which we mostly saw every day, this trip included Little Owl, Hooded Crow, Blackbird, White Stork, Little Egret, Purple Heron , which has done well in Dalyan over recent years, a Rough Legged Buzzard which showed well on a couple of occasions, Kestrel, Lesser Whitethroat , a Serin which appeared to be nesting under the walk boards near the ruins on the way back to the entrance, Short Toed Eagles were displaying over the area , hovering, showing their talons before making steep dives towards land impressive to see, Gold Finch were in abundance, and a solitary Great Egret was down by the lake. We did see a couple of birds which we failed to ID, one being a wader which flew up suddenly from a flooded grass area in front of us. The highlight of the day for our group was a number of Rock Thrush which none of us had seen before; they were situated on the ridge to the left of the lake as you look towards the sea.
Day 3 Okçular walk
Today we took the Dolmus to Okçular, had a leisurely Turkish breakfast at the LeyLey restaurant before doing Walk One in Alan Fenn’s book Okçular Koyu (see web site www.dalyanbirding.com )
The plan was to meet up with Alan and his wife Janet, and pick up his new book “Backways & Trackways”. We spent a short time at Alan’s (thanks for tea) before continuing on our walk. Despite an idyllic setting and weather this proved to be somewhat disappointing from a birding point of view with only three new additions to our trip and few birds seen generally. The three additions were; a Cormorant flying overhead, a nice Woodchat Shrike hunting from a post, and our first Ortolan Bunting. Unfortunately it was a little early for the return of the Rollers which nest in one of the rock faces along this walk.
Despite the lack of birds this was an extremely pleasant walk with numerous butterflies, dragonflies etc and flowers on the way. On our return to England we were informed by Maria Bogaerts that we missed a pair of Black storks by a couple of days which stop off at this point for a few days every year in their migration. You can see her footage in the following link.
Day 4 Dalaman Reed Beds
Paul Hope in his book ‘Bird watching and Walking in South West Turkey’ makes reference to this site and we have included it on our website. We had only been to Dalaman Reed beds once before so decided to go back again for this trip. This trip was to get up- to- date information (and photos) and a description for directions which we have now included on the site. We were dropped off shortly after Sarsala Koyu and followed the track/road up to electricity pylon as described in Paul Hopes book. Here you get good views over the reed beds and the small Alagol Lake (again see site for photos). On the way we saw a Kingfisher and Blackcaps, whilst a pair of Buzzards soared over and around the hill tops.
Overlooking the Reed beds from the pylon we saw no birds at all, maybe it was bad luck or the time of year? However, chatting with a local man with a riffle probably explained some of the absence of birds. I had asked him if he was shooting birds, as Coot is sometimes eaten over the winter months. He said he was not and explained he was after ‘Domuz’, wild boar; this entailed him sending down his dog which was running and bounding through the reed beds to disturb the wild boar and consequently anything else that might have been down there. but despite spending some time here we saw very little, we heard a Woodpecker but could not locate it and nearby a Tawny Owl called but again no sightings.
Day 5 Köycegiz Lake
Today we went around Lake Köycegiz, skirting the reed beds to the right of the lake. Although we did not see Penduline Tits nests, which are normally hanging from the trees and bushes near the entrance of the lake, they could be heard calling nearby. Little Grebe and Coots were numerous but not in the numbers describe by Paul Hope (hundreds in rafts) which winter on the lake. A pair of Marsh Harriers quartered the reed beds near to the rocky outcrop at Eskiköy. A small number of Whiskered Terns frequently passed by as they skimmed the surface in their pursuit of food. The highlight of the day was a group of Squacco Heron which provided several good views as they flew and settled at various points along the lake side. Both Reed and Great Reed warblers were present along with Cetti’s warbler. A single Pygmy Cormorant was spotted sunning itself on a log and a solitary Moor Hen scurrying towards the safety of the reeds. We made our way along the edge of the lake up to where the river Yuvarlak Cay enters the lake, forming a shallow pool formed by shingle, washed down by the river. On the shingle bed amongst a group of Whiskered Terns, were Little Ring Plover, a Common Gull? passed overhead. From here we crossed the lake towards ‘Prison Island’ and the mouth of the Namnam River where we had two sightings of the White Breasted Kingfisher in flight, but not perched, as it flew from one side of the river to the other. Also near the Namnam a single Grey Heron flew by and settled in the trees nearby.
Day 6 Rocky Outcrop at Eskiköy
So far in order to bird watch we have walked, taken the Dolmus, been given a lift and gone by boat. Today we went by bicycle. You can check the route out on the web site which entailed cycling to the rocky outcrop and returning the way we came instead of doing the circular trip. Our first new bird of the day was a Greenfinch seen on the wires as we headed for the first turning off the road; this was soon followed by a Crested Lark which is common on this trip. Numerous Corn Buntings also aligned the wires and bushes along the way. Also on the wires amongst a group of swallows was a single Red Rumped Swallow, Reed Bunting and Stonechat were also seen. A group of Spanish Sparrows briefly stayed by a bush before been spooked and flew off. A Cetti’s Warbler eventually showed itself after teasing us for ages. The two best views of the morning were a Wheatear and an Ortolan Bunting which stayed on a rock for ages showing well.