EASTERN TURKEY

BROWN FISH OWL

Dates

May 21st to June 1st 2015

Tour Cost

£ 1450.-

Single room supplement

£ 180.-

Group size

12 plus two leaders

Tour leader

Josele J Saiz plus local guide

Airport

UK – Istanbul – Antalya/Adiyaman – Istanbul - UK (See below)

What´s included

All ground transport, all meals, services of guides and reserve entrance fees.

What´s not included

Flights and transportation to / from UK and any overnight stay that may be involved, internal flights, visa cost (see below), travel insurance, drinks and any items of a purely personal nature.

Tour code

Relaxed, but intense with a few early morning starts, good chances to see all the local specialities. The terrain is variable and occasionally at altitude, so a reasonable level of physical fitness is required. We will use the best available en suite accommodations, close to the birding areas we will visit.

Selected species list

See-see Partridge, Caspian Snowcock, Chukar, Black Francolin, Grey-headed Gallinule, Greater Sandplover, White-throated Kingfisher, Pied Kingfisher, Bimaculated Lark, White-throated Robin, Radde's Accentor, Finsch's Wheatear, Kurdish Wheatear, Menetrie's Warbler, Ruppell's Warbler, Eastern Olivaceous Warbler, Eastern Orphean Warbler, Olive Tree Warbler, Upcher's Warbler, Eastern Rock Nuthatch, Western Rock Nuthatch, Kruper's Nuthatch, White Spectacled Bulbul, Pale Rock Sparrow, Dead Sea Sparrow, Chestnut-shouldered Petronia, Red-fronted Serin, Desert Finch, Cinereous Bunting, Cretzschmar's Bunting.


Introduction

Turkey is located at the crossroads of continents. The bird diversity here is one of the most extensive in the palearctic countries. Over 460 species, including 330 breeding birds can be seen. Turkey holds the stronghold of the world population of 20 species, such as the near-endemic Kruper's Nuthatch, Armenian Gull, White-throated Robin, Finsch's Wheatear and Crimson-winged Finch. Globally threatened species regularly occur and can be observed easily, such as Marbled Teal, Dalmatian Pelican, Lesser Kestrel, Greater Spotted Eagle and Sociable Plover. Turkey's rich bird diversity is not only enriched by the forests, steppes and coastland, but also includes species from Central Asian steppes, Iranian mountains, the Middle East and Africa. A 12-day birdwatching tour featuring the very best of eastern Turkey, with Caspian Snowcock, Radde's Accentor and Chestnut-shouldered Petronia amidst a host of special birds - and a stunning scenery, including wetlands, mountain and steppe. For 2015, our itinerary has been extended to include a visit to see Brown Fish Owl at a recently discovered breeding area.

Itinerary

Day 1. Flight from London, Manchester or Birmingham to Antalya, via Istanbul. (We will tell you the flight options from the UK – expect your return fare to be around £250), where we will stay overnight close to the coast ready to commence birding early the next morning. Overnight in Manavgat or Antalya.

Day 2. BFO boat trip very early in the morning. At 05:00 we will start sailing in the Oymapınar Dam Lake, one of the deepest dam lakes of Turkey. Due to its clean water policies, the boats all run on natural gas and make very little noise. On the board we will visit different canyons and look for this enigmatic owl roosting in the trees growing on the solid rock. Later at 09:00 we will be back to the hotel for resting and a breakfast. Then we will move to the Taurus mountains and look for Cretzschmars Bunting, Rock Nuthatch, Krüper's Nuthatch, Crimson-winged Finch, Red-fronted Serin, Alpine Chough, Masked Shrike.

Day 3. Boat trip to BFO if needed again. If however we have succedded, as expected, on the first day, we will visit Akseki again, to look for the missing species of Mediterranean avifauna. We will continue driving towards Göksu Delta in the afternoon, over the mountains and look for Bimaculated Lark, Ruddy Shelduck and Isabelline Wheatear, plus other steppe species. Overnight in Konya /Karaman.

Day 4. Today we will spend some time in the most arid steppes of Konya basin. Long-legged Buzzard, Calandra Lark, Short-toed Lark and Lesser Kestrel are common birds of this landscape. We will try to visit some dried lakes to look for Greater Sand Plover, Lesser Short-toed Lark and other specialties. In the afternoon we will cross through the mountain passes to check for Egyptian Vulture and Black Kite, and drive along the deep valley of Göksu river. Overnight in Silifke.

Day 5. Our next birdwatching destination is the Goksu Delta Ramsar Site, an internationally important wetland; with over 335 species. Keeping our eyes on the sky, we will explore the area the whole day from sand dunes to salty lakes, from marshes to fresh lakes. Our primary species are Black Francolin, Spur-winged Plover, Graceful Prinia, Moustached Warbler, Ferruginous Duck, Red-crested Pochard, Yellow-vented Bulbul, Collared Pranticole. If lucky we may find Marbled Teal, Grey-headed Purple Swamphen and Audouin's Gull, as well as a host of passage waders, including Broad-billed Sandpiper and Temminck's Stint that should be on the migration at this time of the year. The area is also an important nesting ground for Green and Loggerhead Turtles, while any movement at sea may result in the rare Mediterranean Monk Seal. Overnight in Silifke.

Day 6. Early morning we will drive up to the Taurus mountains to Uzuncaburc at 1200 m., an area covered with dry maquis scrubland with ancient ruins, to look for west Mediterranean species, such as Olive-tree Warber, Rüppell's Warbler, Cretzschmar's Bunting and among many others, Krüper's Nuthatch which can be found in pine woods. We should see many of the specialties including Masked Shrike, Woodchat Shrike, and other rarities are possible. Late afternoon, we will continue to Aladaglar region by crossing the Taurus Mountains. We will overnight at the Safak Pension, a family guest house whose owner has now worked with visiting birders for over a decade. Enjoy your dinner, home made foods with sightseeing of Demirkazik Peak.

Day 7. Today we will make a very early start at 05.00AM for some exceptional birdwatching. We will climb via a tractor from 1500 m to ~3500 m (depending on seasonal snow level), to look for Caspian Snowcock and many alpine species at dawn. We shall watch out for Radde's Accentor, Crimson-winged Finch, Alpine Accentor, Red-fronted Serin and listen and look for Caspian Snowcocks and Chukars. Wallcreeper, Snowfinch, Alpine Chough, Chough, Finsch's Wheatear and raptors such as Golden Eagle are also among the local specialties. If anybody wishes, we can access a spectacular deep gorge by walking from mountaineer's path, but you will need to be fit to do that. During lunch we will look for Rose-coloured Starling, Olivaceous Warbler and some garden specialists in the orchards. In the afternoon we will walk another great valley of Aladaglar to look for species we have missed along the way. Second night in Safak Pension.

Day 8. We will try again for Caspian Snowcock, or alternatively visit another valley for missing species from the day before. In the afternoon we will focus on more missing speices and possibly explore the deeper parts of Emli Valley. Then we'll drive towards Adana, a six hour journey.

Day 9. From Adana we'll visit a spectacular place for White-throated, and Pied Kingfisher - almost the same spot. Also we will have a look at the biggest heron colony in Turkey, including Squacco and Night Heron, Little Egret, Cattle Egret, Grey Heron, Little Bittern, Pygmy Cormorant all together over an island. Overnight in Adana

Day 10. In the morning we will spend our time in rocky hills, crags, and scrubby area nearby. After a good lunch we'll head to Mount Nermut. This is the place for Red-tailed Wheatear and in the foothills we will look for Greater Rock Nuthatch, Cinereous Bunting and Pale Rock Sparrow. In the scrub we will look for Upcher's Warbler,Sombre Tit, Orphean Warbler, White-throated Robin. Overnight in Adiyaman.

Day 11. Today we will spend some time in the arid countryside near Atatürk Dam Lake on the Euphrates where we will be 90 km north of Birecik and looking for the similar species. We will visit pistachio orchards in search of Rufous Bush Robin and Desert Finch. On the water front we will look for Dead-sea Sparrow, See-see Patridge, Desert Lark, Menetries Warbler and Olivaceous Warbler. Overnight Adıyaman

Day 12. In the early morning will visit a small town next to the water, to search for Little Swifts, Pygmy Cormorants, Pied Kingfisher and Bonelli's Eagle.
Drive back to Adiyaman for our return flight.

Gallery

Testimonials

Greetings Josele;
Whilst it is customary and good manners to thank guides after a good trip we both wanted to say again THANK YOU for the excellent Turkey trip.We both enjoyed it as much as any trip we have done previously,we liked the determination and single minded approach until the important targets are seen and then followed by quality time in the best sites and environments,the perfect approach ! The archaeological interludes were a fascinating surprise and Mount Nemrud was astonishing.If you are in communication with Murat please convey our thanks to him as well.
Regards to Esther
Andy and Alison Rhodes - 2013

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Dear Josele

Just to say a big thank you for the recent tour to Eastern Turkey, we saw some 'cracking' birds and lots of good memories, the mountain top and statues were unique and we were very impressed with the friendliness of the Turkish people.

Hope to see you in August at Birdfair if we manage to get there.

best regards Terry & Sue 2013

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Hi all ,
May I echo Keith's comments on the trip made in his recent E-mail . I particularly enjoyed the wonderful camaraderie of the group. Maurice and Peter added their expertise and their humour was especially appreciated by myself .

Josele must be congratulated in producing the goods when , at times , circumstances were difficult .

Best wishes to you all Ron 2012

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Dear All

Excellent trip made special by all your company (and my 18 new birds and Heather's 23!).

I have been going through the photos and think that I have a picture of a female Cirl Bunting coming to drink at the pool where we had the Pale Rock Sparrow. I will circulate it in due course for an opinion. Also, is Stonechat missing from the list? I am sure we saw one and it is in my note book for 19th May in Emily Valley.

I will put some of the best pictures on my website at www.warmies.co.uk shortly and will try to produce a sheet covering most of the interesting species. Hopefully Huw and Ron will send me some butterfly pictures to identify/add to the list.

Best wishes all and here is a photo to remind you what Ron looks like when he is at his very best!

Keith 2012

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Hi all

Hope you all had a safe and uneventful journey home.

Istanbul airport was very busy on our departure and we were taxing / waiting our turn to take off for 35 minutes, and as we travelled north on the M1, we found the road closed due to we believe an accident, thank goodness for sat nav.

It was good meeting up with you all again and maybe we will again on another tour.

Regards Dave 2012

 

Flights: It has always been our policy to allow clients to book their own flights, purely for convenience and cost and whilst we would normally start and finish our tours at the point of entry to the country concerned (Istanbul in this case) on this occasion it is simplest if you book your flights via Istanbul, right through to Antalya (for the start of the tour) and back from Adiyaman (at the end of the tour). This can easily be on line or by telephone within the UK and we will provide all the necessary information for clients to do that.

Visa: Since April 2014, Turkish entry visas can only be obtained on line, prior to arrival. The current cost is US$20. We will tell you how to do this.

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