White Throated Kingfisher at Eskiköy
Historically the White Throated Kingfisher was only rarely seen in the Dalyan area and the most reliable source for a sighting was at the Namnan River at Hamitköy. However, in the last two years it has been seen regularly near the rocky outcrop at Eskiköy. Here sightings usually consisted of it relocating from one area to another offering views of the bird in flight. Occasionally you could approach via the trees to the east of the rocky outcrop if it was calling consistently from that spot. This year I have found another location to the west of the rocky outcrop which to date has offered much nearer approaches and more sightings both perched and in flight, albeit brief sightings. The two locations seem to be host to around five or six birds, with two calling and flying around and near the rocky outcrop and a further three or four near to one of the canals that flow into the lake. The route to the rocky outcrop is on the website www.dalyanbiring.com, hover mouse over ‘sites’ and click ‘Eskiköy’ in the drop down menu.
From the top of the rock outcrop and looking back towards Dalyan and to the west you can see an area of marshy grassland with some standing water surrounded by trees and bushes, scoping the area revealed waders, herons, egrets and White Throated Kingfishers call from that area so it was this area that I tried to explore.
I found that it was almost impossible to get near to the open water in this area because of thick and impenetrable trees and bushes or each time you think you have an approach the land becomes water logged and boggy and further progress soon clogs up your footwear with thick mud which hampers access.
There is an area of open grassland that can be approached from a tractor track that wader and egrets frequent and I’ll explain how to find this shortly, but it doesn’t offer access to the edge of the open standing water.
Whilst exploring this area a few weeks back I was consistently hearing White Throated Kingfishers calling near a group of trees heading towards the lake/river so followed the tractor track in that direction. The track eventually petered out at the side of the canal and you can follow the path along the canal for about half a kilometer in the direction of the river. The canal itself offers good sightings of warblers and egrets and I have also had good sightings of water rail. To the right of the canal is dense bush growing out of the very marsh area although this opens up in a couple of places giving views of small areas of open water.
It is at these open places that the perched White Throated Kingfisher has been seen. The path eventually becomes impassible due to mud, horses and cattle use the path and the marshy water makes it too muddy to go any further. However, at the end of the track there has been consistently White Throated Kingfishes calling from the trees and with careful approach seen perching. The bird’s call from both sides of the canal and from the trees at the end of the track and my estimate is that there are at least three birds regular in this area if not more.
You will know you have got to the right spot as despite it been in the most inaccessible place for most people, the amount of rubbish strewn around by who ever frequents this spot is appalling. Despite that it is an extremely good birding spot.
Leaving Dalyan on Ataturk Bulvari road and head towards the roundabout. At the roundabout, the left turn takes you towards the Jandarma and the football stadia and the right turn taking towards and Dalaman. Go straight on towards Eskiköy.
Head towards Eskiköy, and where the road bends to the right in the direction of Eskiköy, marked A on the map below. (a sign with red arrows showing sharp bend) there is a road to the left about twenty five meters further on, take this road.
You will pass houses on your right and further on the track meets another house, ‘Yeni Adet’ take the left fork here. It was B on the map above and the other route to the rocky outcrop. Previously if you took the track to your left it petered out into fields, which depending on the time of year/day can be flooded for irrigation and made your journey very muddy. However, there is now a dirt road here which loops round the hill to rejoin the original rocky outcrop track.
Once you have taken the road to the left at ‘Yeni Adet’ keep on the track and it eventually has a sharp turn to the right and you will now be on a straight track that rejoins the original track down to the rocky outcrop. About half way along the straight section there is an obvious metal gate on your left.
Go through the gate and follow the path next to the fence on your left. This path should lead to a tractor track following the fence. Keep on the tractor track, which will soon split, one following the line of the fence the other going more straight on across the field. Take the one that goes straight on across the field. Keep following this track (there is a section when it becomes a single footpath, keeping straight on here it becomes a two track path again) follow the tractor track until it eventually dissipates next to the canal and follow the canal path towards the river until you can go no further. You will see the trees ahead and the rubbish! Happy Birding.
As mentioned earlier you can reach the marshy grassy area, but not actually get to the standing open water, by taking one of the two tracks off the tractor track to your right at the area when the tractor track becomes a single footpath for a while.
Recent sightings on these routes; White Throated Kingfisher, European Kingfisher, Little Egret, Glossy Ibis, Night Heron, Reed and Gt Reed Warbler, Rufous Bush Chat, Hoopoe, Squacco, Purple and Grey Heron, Water Rail, Red Backed Shrike, Crested Lark, Wood Sandpiper and Honey Buzzard.