This is the first section of the trip report and contains details and photos of the sites visited.
This first section spans 4 pages, this being the first:
- 8th-11th May: Göksu Delta and surrounding area
- 11th-16th May: Birecik, Nemrut Dağı and surrounding areas
- 16th-18th May: Demirkazık and area
- 18th-22nd May: Cappadocia and Akseki
For details and photos of the birds and wildlife seen, go to the second section.
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A = Antalya Airport, B = Manavgat, C = Anamur, D = Göksu Delta
Detail of the Göksu Delta area:
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A = Taşucu, B & C = entrances to the Göksu Delta, D = Demircili, E = Uzuncaburç, F = Silifke, G = Kanlidıvane
Saturday 8th May
We arrived at Antalya airport, collected a bashed up hire car and headed east towards Göksu. We knew we wouldn’t make it all the way there and planned to stay a night at Anamur. Not far from Antalya a pair of Red-rumped Swallows flew over the road and a quick stop at Manavgat produced breeding Black-headed Wagtails, a nice male Red-backed Shrike, displaying Little Ringed Plovers and singing Crested Lark and Serin. The next leg produced more Red-rumped Swallows and a Squacco Heron.
Sunday 9th May
After breakfast we headed east to the Göksu Delta. The journey there produced my first 2 White-spectacled Bulbuls, then 2 more, my first West Pal Laughing Dove, about 8 more Red-rumped Swallows, 2 Short-toed Eagles and a singing male Eastern Black-eared Wheatear.
Göksu was excellent. We went in the Taşucu end where highlights included Little Bitterns, Spanish Sparrow, several Rufous Bushchats (a new bird for me), 3 species of Shrike including my first Masked Shrike, Eastern Olivaceous Warblers and my first Graceful Warblers. We then found our way through to the SW side and the observation tower where more Graceful Warblers abounded and we finally got views of some of the numerous Black Francolins that we’d already heard a few of. A few Ruddy Shelducks came and went, a Purple (Grey-headed) Swamphen appeared briefly and Red-crested Pochards and a single White-winged Black Tern were visible from the tower.
Moving round to the east the area became better for waders, including several Spur-winged Plovers. A single Marbled Teal was found and further on 3 White Pelicans accompanied 3 Slender-billed Gulls, 2 Caspian Terns and some Greater Flamingos. On the way out a strange-looking melanistic Little Owl was found, along with a Roller.
We then went to check in at Lades Motel which took a bit longer than expected (apparently the best place in town, in which case I’m glad we didn’t stay anywhere else in town). Finally another quick look at the delta in the evening produced 9 Night Herons, another Little Bittern and 15 Squacco Herons.
Monday 10th May
A pre-breakfast jolly round the north side of the delta at first failed to find the White-breasted Kingfisher along the canal that others had seen the day before. Better luck though near the observation tower where a Little Crake performed amazingly well and a Lesser Grey Shrike showed. On the way back to the canal a handsome male Black-headed Bunting blocked the way but at first the canal produced no better than Little Bittern. Then just as I was about to give up, there it was, an amazing White-breasted Kingfisher.
Breakfast was a great deal better than the previous night’s meal, not that that’s a great accolade, and was followed by a trip up to Uzuncaburç. Along the way I glimpsed my first Rock Nuthatch, whilst another new species was in abundance – singing Cretzschmar’s Buntings all over the place. More surprising were 2 Little Swifts. A bit further up I found a Wood Warbler and a flock of the local race of Long-tailed Tit. We kept on bumping in to some European birders today and at one place we stopped they’d already discovered at least 2 singing Olive-tree Warblers. I was amazed when one of them flew across the path and landed in full view in some low dead branches of pines, before quickly disappearing. Later it did the same thing again, as did a third bird a bit further up the valley. They’re meant to be pigs to see so I was very pleased with this, even if the rushed attempt at some photos failed to focus. In the same place a singing male Rüppell’s Warbler appeared on the top of a pine. The journey up the valley also produced Masked Shrikes, Egyptian Vulture and Honey-Buzzard.
Mausolea, Demircili, 10th May
Shortly before we reached the destination, a distinctive song alerted me to my first Eastern Orphean Warbler. At the historic sites of Uzuncaburç and Olba we were treated to some local cooking and more Rock Nuthatches. The latter were breeding among the ancient ruins and I came face to face with one while we were both standing in the middle of the Temple of Zeus!
Kurdish Helleborine, between Demircili and Uzuncaburç, 10th May (thanks to Duncan for the ID)
Temple of Zeus, Uzuncaburç, 10th May
I had intended to spend the evening on the east side of the delta but, although we’d come out that way we hadn’t gone in that way before, and finding it from Silifke proved a nightmare. After wasting a considerable amount of time getting lost we decided to give up and head in the way we’d been before. We reached the observation tower, from where I’m pretty sure a Moustached Warbler sang occasionally, but never obviously and never whilst on view. In fact it was an altogether frustrating evening’s birding, although the sight of what must have been tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of hirundines over the lake at dusk was quite something, and a flock of 29 Glossy Ibises came in to roost, joining a load of others that I’d failed to see arrive. Canine interest came in the form of what I think was a Golden Jackal prowling below the tower at dusk.
Tonight we spared our palette the produce on offer from the Lades and instead went next door to Baba where we enjoyed an excellent meal, finished off with, in keeping with Turkish tradition, pastries from a different venue in the town. We wished we’d eaten at Baba last night.
Tuesday 11th May
We left the Göksu area this morning after breakfast and had a look round the ancient site of Kanlidıvane, east of Silifke. Rock Nuthatches and Eastern Black-eared Wheatears were both breeding among the ruins and two Eastern Olivaceous Warblers were singing from dry scrub. Despite looking like Olivaceous Warblers, their song went on for so long without that species’ usual interruptions that they sounded so very Reed Warbler that I became quite confused for a while!
Kanlidıvane, 11th May
We now continued east towards Birecik...
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