This years birding in Dalyan has been a good year, at least for me. In my second extended stay following retirement I have picked up 19 new birds for Dalyan and surrounding area and my current list for the area is 181 different species. The lists comprise of not only birds within Dalyan delta but also further a field by car to a travelling time of two and half hours (one way), so all quite doable in a day. This years birding in Dalyan started for me in the end of March begging of April when I came along with two fellow birders. The main objective for this trip was to try and get to Lake Girdev above the mountains behind Seki and at the limits of the two and half hour travel distance. Luck was on our side as access to Lake Girdev in April is usually unattainable due to snow. See report link below.
Twite, Red fronted Serin, Ruddy Shell Duck, Snow Bunting all added to the list from this trip.
Staying more local and linking to the theme of perseverance a trip up to Köycegiz Lake is always a pleasure and sightings vary depending on the time of year/day that you chose to do the trip. I am still to venture onto the lake in January/February to observe the rafts of Coot etc. described by Paul Hope (Paul Hope ‘walking and birdwatching in Southwest Turkey’) but hopefully that will come. My observations for the year are that Squacco and Purple Herons along with the Cormorant population have done particularly well. I am delighted to note increased numbers of White Throated Kingfisher, maybe six individual birds, a bird that in recent years was rarely seen so near to Dalyan. Sadly Raptors seem to have disappeared, the lake was always good for a sighting of White Tailed Eagles but I have not observed any for two years now, they weren’t frequent observations in the past, but seen every year previously for ten years or so, maybe just not there on my visits this time. Golden Eagle has also been seen in pervious years but not this year. Short Toed Eagles and Long legged Buzzards are still present along with Peregrine Falcons and kestrels. Plenty of sightings by others of raptors have ben reported (‘tweets from Dalyan’) but very few large raptors. The exception to this was an Imperial Eagle that passed overhead in April to the delight of all of us. As can be seen from the link above Köycegiz Lake also produced Black Winged Stilts, Green Shank and Black-necked Grebe. Other birds showing up on the lake this year have included Night Heron, Gull Billed and Whiskered Terns. A bonus ball was picking up a Tawny Owl walking back after a moonlight trip on the lake, just flew into the trees outside the Cagri Restaurant and gave great views for five minutes or so before it up’td and left.
Another regular trip is to Iztuzu Beach. It has to be said that the beach area is not the most prolific birding spot and should produce more (though I often go for the beach walk during the summer months and not birding so probably miss a lot). The regular birds are Yellow Legged Gull, Purple Heron, Gt and Little Egret, Peregrine Falcon. Greater Spotted Woodpecker, Jay, Ringed and Little Ringed Plovers, around the beach area and Krüper’s Nuthatch can be picked up in the pinewoods that surround the beach. Flamingo have been at Sülüklü Lake, the salty patch of water just in front of the Turtle Hospital, for much of the year and earlier in the year a pair of Hen Harrier briefly showed. Here’s were the perseverance comes in, because I walk the beach on a regular basis, sometimes it throws up an unexpected bird. Last year for instance a lone Avocet appeared, and on another occasion a lone Black-tailed Godwit showed. This years loners included Grey Plover, Broad Billed Sandpiper and a Little Stint
A change of Direction!
My favorite birding spot around Dalyan is at Eskiköy and it was during one of these trips that I climbed to the top of the rocky outcrop for a more panoramic view. From here I could see an area concealing a lagoon not visible from ground level. There was a lot of bird activity into and out of the lagoon so I decided to try and locate it on my next visit. This attempt lead me to what I now call the Eskiköy Canal route and if you look at the ‘tweets from Dalyan’ on the web page www.dalyanbirding.com you will see it has provided some good birding, not least the White Throated Kingfisher. See link below for directions and description.
This small change in direction from the original Eskiköy route has produced a number of new birds for me in the area and one I’ll explore again next year.
New birds seen on this route include, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Wood Sandpiper, Little Crake, Spotted Crake, Lesser Grey Shrike and Mustached Warbler.
I’m sure there were others especially waders and warblers, sometimes the sightings are brief as the birds are disturbed and fly off, other times my lack of ID skills and not getting a photo to go off hinders reporting more here, but I am already looking forward to next year with excitement!