The trip report I did last year South West Turkey, 10th – 24th May 2013 covered most of the ground that I visited this year and a bit more, so I’ll just post photos with brief descriptions here. This year I didn’t bother making the trek to Bafa Golu on the east coast and spent a bit more time in the hills. It’s a pity we didn’t get more sun and less cloud at crucial times for some of the photos that I’ll be posting over the next few days now that I’ve got all the deleting done and I have some time for some editing.
1 Olivaceous Warbler in early morning sunlight on the first morning. This little chap kept us company with his incessant singing at the bottom of the garden from the first day to the last
2 Great Reed Warbler. This one put me on the back foot when I spotted it. It was hopping through bushes on a scrubby mound on the Eskikoy track, well away from reeds. I didn’t know what to make of it when it popped up. I’m used to seeing them sitting high on a reed with the crest puffed up, not all sleek and pretty like this one.
3 Kruper’s Nuthatch. One of many in the pine forests we drove through. This one was in the forest east of the Itzuzu Beach road
4 Masked Shrike. Next to the road near Tepearasi. Pity it was cloudy.
5 Rufous Bushchat (or Bush Robin if you must). They seemed to be all over the place singing from perches and wires. This one was at Koycegiz, next to the river. Cloudy again.
6 Spur-winged Plover. On our first visit to the river mouth at Koycegiz this friendly bird was on a shingle bank before it relocated to the edge of the rubbish dump nearby. It was very accommodating and walked all around the car feeding. It’s a pity the same can’t be said of the white breasted ( I prefer Smyrna) kingfisher that flew low over the car and landed on a reed stem only 20 metres away or so. By the time I pointed the camera at it, it was gone. Another cloudy spell that heralded a wet day ahead.
7 Ruppell’s Warbler. The sun came out again on the 6th and we had an early start for the hills around Seki for a very productive day. Even the fact that I found the fuse on the car cigarette lighter socket had blown, leading to a flat satnav battery just as we got there didn’t mess it up.
8 White-throated Robin. The first of many.
9 Red-fronted Serin. This one was a bit of a surprise. I’d expected them further up towards the pass, but this one and two or three others were hanging about with a flock of linnets and serins just off the road from Seki to Temel.
10 Black-headed Bunting. Their song was everywhere for the whole two weeks.
11. Ortolan. The only one of the trip, this bird perched briefly near the road on the outskirts of Seki just long enough for a couple of shots, then it was off, over the car and up the hill out of sight.
12. Black-headed Wagtail. This bird was one of about half a dozen males flitting about in a field next to the road at Seki. I must have had the timing right this year. There were groups of these, mainly males, in several locations (including Dalyan) during the first week, but the following week, I saw only one. This ties in with my experience last year when I saw only one on the whole fortnight, which began a week later than this year’s trip; maybe coincidence.
13. Finsch’s Wheatear in typical barren habitat near Kizilcadag, west of Korkuteli. The sun went in just as I found this bird and its mate. There was another male nearby, presumably a different bird.
14 Red-backed Shrike. Well represented on the trip, with more males than females; mainly well inland. This one was at Kizilcadag.
15 Cretschmar’s Bunting. The 7th of May dawned bright and clear, so it was off to the hills above Beyobasi as far as Covenli Yaylasi. This bunting was singing next to the road at Alan.
16 Sombre Tit. A trip around the perimeter of Alan gave us this sombre tit and a Syrian woodpecker that flew across the car bonnet and landed at the base of a tree a few metres away, just long enough for my camera to begin focussing before it flew off. There was another sombre tit in Covenli Yaylasi, but the village wasn’t the bird-fest that I experienced on my first visit last year. The village roads there were also fulfilling their secondary role as watercourses after the recent rain, but were passable in the Renault.
17 Little Bittern. Back down from the hills when cloud started to thicken there at midday and I spotted this beauty stalking a ditch near Hamitkoy. It kept us entertained for almost 10 minutes at close range as it moved along the channel.
18 Spanish Sparrow. Part of a small flock taking a dust bath on the track at Eskikoy. It’s a good spot for Spanish sparrows.
19 Black-eared Wheatear. Another sunny morning at Seki on the 8th. Unfortunately it didn’t last and by early afternoon the heavens opened and forgot to stop for the next day and a half. The trip up towards Eren Dag produced multiple singing Eastern Orphean Warblers, white-throated robins and a singing woodlark well above the treeline.
19 Chukar. We followed a track up Eren Dag to an apparently abandoned (but only recently opened!) ski centre, starting off in sunshine, but climbing into increasing cloud. Walking uphill on a soggy track among patches of snow from the ski centre car park gave us three or four pairs of horned larks, numerous northern wheatears, red-backed shrikes, a hoopoe and two pairs of chukar that flew off from next to the road. Just as we got back to the car the light rain turned heavier and the heavens opened so it was time to go. This chukar was one of a pair I spotted from the car at the start of the descent.
20. Red-footed Falcon. One of the three birds I referred to in an earlier post, taken two days after the chukar, as the rain finally began to clear.
21 Lesser Kestrel. One of twelve birds hunting in a field just next to the track adjacent to the Dalaman River near Sarigerme and major players in the ‘falconfest’ of 10th May
22 Roller. This was the bird on the wires between Ortaca and Sarigerme. First seen in the dull light of morning in clearing rain, it was still there in the sunlight in the afternoon.
23 Peregrine. Brother and sister sparring overhead. The other major players in the falconfest. This photo was taken on the return visit the next morning.
25 Steppe Buzzard. On the way back from the falcons this buzzard flew across the track in front of us, carrying what looks like a Balkan green lizard. One major difference between this year’s trip and last was that last year long-legged buzzard was seen in numerous places with only a couple of steppe buzzards. This year the situation was reversed, with only one definite long-legged buzzard sighting (on the first morning at Eskikoy) and steppe buzzards in several locations, often paired up.
26 Rock Nuthatch. The price of the ferry over to Kaunos and the entry fee to the ruins (entry 10 lira, up from 8 last year) was definitely money well spent. This was one of a pair of resident birds. It flew onto a rock right next to me and spent the next five minutes knocking five bells out of this bush cricket, breaking it up into manageable pieces for the chicks it was feeding. It’s a pity the sun chose that time to disappear behind yet another rain cloud.
27 Wryneck. A final trip up to Seki turned up the goods again. There were a number of sparrows feeding on the grass verge on the southern edge of the village, and one of the sparrows looked a bit more erect than the others so I gave it a second glance. That ‘sparrow’ was a wryneck.
28 Rock Thrush. The trip up to the Gogu Beli pass produced more red-fronted serins at the roadside, but the sun went behind another cloud that seemed to hover just where I didn’t want it. The valley below was in sun, so I took the track down to Keyabasi and came across a pair of rock thrushes on the road side as we started the descent. I drove west along the valley from Keyabasi to Zorlar and enjoyed the sight of a pair of lesser grey shrikes when I stopped to photograph a woodlark.
29 Isabelline Wheatear. In contrast with the single bird of last year’s trip, this year produced dozens of Isabelline wheatears. Shortly after I took this photo west of Seki, I drove up to Kinik for a quick look before going back to Dalyan and there was yet another one on roadside wires and about 30 metres into a field was a group of six clustered together in an area less than a square metre.
30 Rock Bunting. Late afternoon west of Seki and this fellow flew into a bush right next to the car.
31 Cirl Bunting. Singing its heart out just over the track from the rock bunting and about 25 metres away from yet another male red-backed shrike.
32 Smyrna Kingfisher. The first of two birds we saw that day at Hamitkoy. This one had just flown out of sight into trees on the other side of the river when another, which had been calling further downstream flew past us and perched just downstream of the bridge for about 10 minutes.
33 Alpine Swift. These turned up in groups sporadically several times and gave good displays, mixed with smaller numbers of common swifts. This one was on the last morning on a track that led from Tepearasi towards the lake.
Well that’s all folks. 🙂