Sunshine Coast Birds

Birding and other wildlife experiences from the Sunshine Coast and elsewhere in Australia - and from overseas - with scribblings about travel, environmental issues, kayaking, hiking and camping.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Little Crake and Waders in Southern Turkey

I found a Little Crake this morning along a canal near my hotel in the southern Turkey town of Tasucu. This was a much-wanted species.
In a nearby area of swamp in the Goksu Delta I found some nice waders such as this Ruff
 Green Sandpiper and
Temminck's Stint

Monday, 15 August 2011

Birding around Ancient Ruins in Southern Turkey

The Silifke area of southern Turkey is best known to birders for the Goksu Delta wetlands but sites around the stunning ancient ruins of Oba Diocaesarea nearby provide some excellent birding as well as a top-rate cultural experience. It is little known that two key Turkey birds - Kruper's Nuthatch and Ruppell's Warbler - can be found here.

Just short of the ruins is a large picnic area in the beautiful open pine forest. Here I found several Kruper's Nuthatches, a bird almost endemic to Turkey. The nuthatches were feeding on breadcrumbs on the ground and on picnic tables.

 Around the ruins and along the road below them were numbers of Western Rock Nuthatches, with the black line through the eye much narrower than the Eastern Rock Nuthatches seen earlier in the trip. Also in scrub along the road up from the town of Silifke I found several Ruppell's Warblers.

Some more common species included Eurasian Hoopoe,
and another Turkish specialty, Cretzschmar's Bunting.

Before reaching the coast we checked out the Eregli area further north, where the extensive wetlands have been drained and a magnificant habitat for waterbirds destroyed. Still, we found a Stone-Curlew and Calandra Lark here.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Birding in the Central Turkey Highlands

We were up at 3.30am for the bone-rattling drive on the back of a tractor up a narrow road to be high up in the Ala Daglar Mountains near the village of Demirkazik. This was awe-inspiring scenery at 3500m. Our aim was to see Caspian Snowcock, and as the sun rose over the mountains, the bird's eerie call resounded from the steep cliffs surrounding us. We eventually saw several snowcocks in flight. A bonus was a distant group of Ibex making their way along a ridge top, their presence given away by the sound of falling rocks.
.Good birds up there included Red-fronted Serin and Crimson-winged Finch.  With me (left), our driver (right) and Glenn (snapper) was Basir Safak (centre) whose family has run a small ecotourism business in the area for many years. There is no way to see the snowcock other than to hire the tractor.
There were plenty of Finsch's Wheatears (above), another bird that can be tricky, in the rocky terrain of the mountain slopes.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Birding in the Gizantep area of Southern Turkey

This week I had a late afternoon and an early morning around Durnalick, a village near the city of Gizantep that is well-known as a site for several difficult-to-find birds, such as the Desert Finch above. This was one of several birds coming to drink in an orchard not far from the village.
Not a great picture but the Eastern Rock Nuthatch is a special bird of this area - a colony isolated by considerable distances from its main populations further east. I was able to notice differences later with the similar Western Rock Nuthatch, with the black eye line much wider in the Eastern. Other good birds I saw included three buntings - Black-headed, Cretzschmar's and Cinereous.
I had party of eight Chukars and more common species such as the Rufous-tailed Scrub-Robin (above), as well as Sombre Tit, Eastern Orphean Warbler, Upcher's Warbler and White-throated Robin.