A Few Surprises
24 August-17 September 2011
A family holiday with a few bird watching days thrown in. Each time I visit I aim to try and see a target bird and on this occasion it was the Rüppell’s Warbler which despite been reported in the area I had personally never seen. I had been in touch with Ray Barker on Birdforum an excellent site for all topics about bird watching, Ray had previously sent a photo to our site of a Rüppell’s Warbler which he had photographed in the area on a previous trip to Dalyan. The particular link on Birdforum for Turkey is:
Ray had suggested going up the mountains behind Lake Köycegiz to a valley called Alan where he had seen Rüppell’s Warbler in the past along with the Okçular site on http://www.dalyanbirding.com
Since I had not seen any in the past at the Okçular site we decided to take a visit to Alan. Alan is about a 35 kilometres drive from Dalyan and provides some spectacular scenery on the way up. Alan is a small flat farming plateau part way up the mountain and provides some easy walking despite its lofty position up the mountain. We spent half the morning walking around the area, bird watching pace, we disturb a group of unknown game birds on our arrival, but during our time there we did not see the Rüppell’s Warbler; however, we did pick up Wheatear, Isabelline Wheatear, Masked Shrike, Blackbird, Spotted flycatcher . After walking around the plateau we decided to go to the Amber forest adjacent to the shore on Lake Köycegiz, John who was driving had been there before and knew a welcome bar on the edge of the lake directly next to the Amber forest. The site is mentioned in Paul Hopes book ‘Bird watching in Southwest turkey’ here we picked up Greater Spotted Woodpecker and Lesser Spotted Woodpecker the latter been a nice surprise as we had not seen one before.
A usual bird watching trip for me is taking in the Eskiköy walk to the rocky outcrop next to the lake. Prior to coming out to Dalyan this time I had been contacted by a couple who I had met previously (another surprise hello Gareth and Karen) and we had arranged to do the Eskiköy walk together. I usually do this walk/cycle two or three times during my time in Dalyan and was surprised on my first trip this holiday to hear and see a pair of Curlew circling round the area for a few minutes before flying off over the reed beds towards Ortaca direction. I also had a Black-eared Wheatear and a Lesser Grey Shrike. As a guide for those thinking of doing the walk, we set off from Dalyan (roundabout) walked to the rocky out crop, walked around this and returned the way we came. Setting off at 6.30 am we arrived back at around 11am, it is an early start but the temperatures had been similar for July and August so any later would have been too hot. Later in the holiday I bumped into Gareth and Karen again walking the beach, Gareth had brought his camera with him, which was great as on the beach, quite unperturbed by people walking it’s length was a non breeding Black-tailed Godwit or Bar tailed Godwit ? (See Gareth’s photo) unless someone can tell us otherwise.
During this trip we also hired a car to make our way to Candir a small village next to Kaunos, this road trip navigates the edge of Köycegiz Lake taking in Hamit Köy where the White Breasted Kingfisher has been seen (not on this occasion) On our return we stopped off near Tepearasi to look at Bee Eaters in the late evening sun and flying across the field at the back was a Common Magpie another first for me in Turkey.
My highlight of this holiday was three trips to Kocadere Valley. I have to thank Alan Fenn whose book describes the Kocadere Valley, ‘Okçular Village -A Guide’ which features many delightful walks. It was during one of these trips that I finally got to see the Rüppell’s Warbler, I also caught site of it just past the Rollers nest site, directions on the Roller tab under ‘birds’ on the site. Whilst in the Kocadere Valley we also had a pair of Ravens which soared through the valley and Short Toed Eagles calling to each other from each side.
Other trips from the site included the ‘fishing and crabbing’ which again produced Purple Heron
Full list of birds seen during this trip as follows:
House Sparrow, Collard Dove, Jay, Grey Wagtail, Olivacious Warbler, Little Owl, Swallow, Little Egret, King Fisher, Purple Heron, Grey Heron, Gt White Egret, Yellow legged Gull, Short Toed eagle, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Bee Eater, Rock Nuthatch, Gold Finch, Curlew, Blackcap, Isabelline Wheatear , Crested lark, Hooded crow, Red Backed Shrike, Spotted Flycatcher, Ravens, Wood Warbler, Blackbird, Whitethroat, Green Finch, Blackeared Wheatear, Ringed plover, Magpie, Rüppell’s Warbler, Reed Warbler, Marsh Harrier, Sandwich Tern? , Cormorant, Little grebe, Lesser Grey Shrike, Ictrine Warbler, Masked Shrike, Whinchat, Gt Spotted Woodpecker and Lesser Spotted Woodpecker.
Photos Gareth Roberts (except Spotted Flycatcher and Hooded Crow)