Trip Report: Turkey, September 22 - October 1, 1996

José Tavares, Ankara, Turkey;

Istanbul. Bosphorus. Important Bird Area
22 September - only for a few hours.

Ankara. 23 September-1 October.

Gölbasi Gölü. Important Bird Area.

Visited in the afternoons of 24th and 25th September. Only birded along the western shore of this lake, but did pretty much all the available tracks there. Weather was very windy (from SW), and stormy on the 24th, when it rained hard and there was some thunder. On the 25th it was sunny and calm. In terms of migration, on the 24th there was a huge fall (many thousands) of hirundines, mostly Sand Martins. These were much less abundant on the 25th. On the contrary, there were lots of small Phylloscopus warblers (and a few wheatears) on the second day, while hardly any on the previous day. There was no evidence of any hunting, and birds were very approachable. This lake is a great place, and it is very close to Ankara (30 minutes by car from the city centre!).

Uyuz Gölü and Çöl Gölü

26th September. Visited these two lakes on the afternoon. Weather was fine, sunny and warm, temperature on the high twenties, light wind. Çöl Gölü was completely dry, and there were a few herds of cows/sheep grazing on the dry lake bed. I drove all around Çöl through the villages of Gökler, Çeltek and Gölbek. There were some discarded gun cartridges near Uyuz Gölü, evidence of recent hunting, and maybe because of this fact all the birds were extremely flighty. Most of the ducks and all the waders flew off when I got out of the car, and all the Coots, Moorhens and grebes escaped to the reeds.

Also, saw some unidentified amphibians and one terrapin in Uyuz Lake.

On the road from Ankara to Seyfe Gölü, 28th September

Rainy for the first hour, windy afterwards.

Between Beynam and Balâ

Between Balâ and Karakeçili

Between Karakeçili and Kaman

Between Kaman and Kirsehir

Seyfe Gölü. Important Bird Area

Visited in the late morning of the 28th September, for three hours. Weather was sunny but windy. Heat vibration made observations with telescope difficult. Parked the car at Seyfeköy (where there are a few stork nests), and walked to the lake's edge along the freshwater marshes, fields and poplar plantations East of the village. Most of the birds seemed to be concentrated on the northern/western parts of the lake, which were mostly dry, but muddy. Didn't survey birds in the water on the eastern/southern part, but from the road one could not see any obvious flocks of big birds there. Saw a hunter building a waiting hut and staying there. Also saw some recently spent hunting cartridges. This lake is a fantastic place, and in the three hours I spent there I didn't know where to look at, so many things were "happening" at the same time... Didn't see any Gull-Billed Tern, Gelochelidon nilotica, or White Pelican, Pelecanus onocrotalus.

Kizilirmak river, between Gülsehir and Avanos. The road approaches the river in a couple of places, and I stopped there.

Göreme area (Kapadokya). 28th-29th September

Did a long walk on Göreme Valley on the early morning of the 29th September, and went up the highest point of the region, a vast plateau near Uçhisar on the afternoon of that day. Watched there for migrating raptors for 45 minutes. Weather was sunny and warm, calm. Göreme valley (and other similar valleys in the area) are interesting places, because they offer a well wooded and diverse landscape in the otherwise tree-less and arid Anatolian Plateau. Saw there lots of migrants and some woodland species absent from much of the central Anatolian plateau. Very nice place - fantastic landscape! It's not everywhere that one can birdwatch in between visits to 10th century Byzantine churches with original frescoes...

On the road just north of Gülsehir

On the road before Karakeçili

On the road between Balâ and Beynam

PS - Was expecting to find Lesser Short Toed Lark, Calandrella rufescens, Isabelline Wheatear, Oenanthe isabellina, and Black-Headed Bunting, Emberiza melanocephala, somewhere, but didn't see any. Why?

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