Saturday, 25 May 2013

Clayheads on Tour May 2013 - Two weeks in Turkey

Myself & Mrs PJ spent the holiday based in Ovacik which is located in the hills above the well known resort of Olu Deniz in SW Turkey. We had previously visited the area back in the early 90's but in July so the birding had been hard work which is certainly not the case in May as there were birds everywhere. Walks around the fields, hills & coniferous woodland surrounding the hotel produced Masked Shrikes, which were viewable from the hotel.

Masked Shrike

Kruper's Nuthatches, I must seen at least 20 birds, at various locations around the area, back in 1994 I only saw one!

Krupers Nuthatch

Ruppells Warblers were also easy to find

Other local birds included Syrian Woodpeckers, Short toed Eagles, Olivaceous Warblers, Woodchat Shrikes, Scops Owls, Alpine Swifts, Red-rumped Swallows etc... One morning I had a Levant Sparrowhawk over the hotel which was a bonus.

Syrian Woodpecker

There are also plenty of Tortoises knocking about, these retail at about £250 back home I tell you I could hardly get my case closed when we left !!!

At the abandoned village of Kaya which is just down the road there are breeding Rollers, Rock Nuthatches and Black eared Wheatears.


Black-eared Wheatear

Rock Nuthatch

The area I had most been looking forward to visiting was Seki which is the mountains about a 90 minute drive from the resort and it certainly didn't disappoint. I got there early morning ( In fact I was up at Nick o'clock ) I parked the car in a promising looking area just before the village and got out to have a scan around - bloody hell !!! the first bird I saw was a cracking male White-throated Robin singing from the top of a bush, then another and another, there was an Isabelline wheatear sat on a rock, Black-headed Buntings singing from the wires a Cretzschmar's Bunting on the wall not to mention all the other usual suspects. A bit further on I found a female Eastern Orphean Warbler and a Rock Bunting and Rock Thrush.

White-throated Robin

I carried on birding for the next hour or so adding Rock Sparrow, Bee-eaters plus many Nightingales and more WT Robins but the star bird was still missing. I drove higher on the Seki - Elmali road. I must admit I was starting to get a little concerned and was planning a return visit later in the week but just as I reached the very top I flushed a flock of Finches at the side of the road, I quickly turned the car around and drove slowly back to the spot. The birds had started to drop back in, there were Linnets, Goldfinches, Serins and Bird of the Holiday - 10 Red-fronted Serins - fantastic, I got really close to the flock and had brilliant views from the car window I also managed to get a few decent pics I drove back to the coast with a big cheesy grin on my face.

Red-fronted Serins
Some extra photo's -

Black-eared Wheatear

Isabelline Wheatear


atricapillus Jay