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Turkey: June 2001    iBirdz

I visited Turkey with Sarah on 2 June 2001, staying for two weeks based in the Simay Apartments in the mediterranean coastal resort of Side. The package was booked through Ilkeston Co-op Travel with First Choice Holidays. Side was chosen as it was about as far east as it was possible to book as a package holiday.
Out of the two week stay we planned to visit the following areas:
  • Akseki
  • The Lake District
  • Eregli Marshes and Aranci Reservoir
  • The Goksu Delta
  • Birecik and Halfeti
  • Durnalik
  • Demirkazik Mountain
  • The Sultan Marshes
  • The Dalyan Delta
The majority of these visits were made following instructions in "Finding Birds in Turkey, Ankara to Birecik", a Gostours Guide by Dave Gosney. We took two other guides which contained reference to some areas not covered in Gosney's guide. These were "Where to Watch Birds in Turkey, Greece and Cyprus" by Welch, Rose, Moore, Oddie and Sigg (published by Hamlyn) and "A Birdwatchers' Guide to Turkey" by Ian Green and Nigel Moorhouse published by Prion Ltd.

Gosneys GuideA Birdwatchers Guide to TurkeyWhere to Watch Birds Guide

A selection of Birdwatching Guides for Turkey

Our first day was spent around the resort as we had not yet picked up our hire car. Never the less we picked up Olivaceous Warbler in some scrub opposite the apartment, a male Masked Shrike on some telegraph wires near the beach and several Yellow-vented Bulbuls were seen and heard around the apartment complex.
On the second day we eventually picked up the car after waiting an hour for them to turn up. The car was supposed to be a Renault Clio or similar vehicle. It turned out to be a rear wheel drive Tofas Sahin, a kind of turkish made Fiat. Although it was a very basic car it was extremely reliable during the 2500 miles or so that we travelled, sometimes over fairly rough terrain. Car hire is expensive in Turkey, we payed around 325 for 12 days through Holiday Auto's plus an extra 2 per day for tyre and windscreen insurance. Petrol was roughly the same price as at home.

The following map shows the areas visited during our trip to Turkey. These are marked by red squares. For further details on each place just click on the red square on the map.
I have not given detailed instructions on how to reach any of the sites or how best to work the sites as such details are given in the three guides mentioned above and are definitely worth purchasing if birdwatching in Turkey.

Turkey map

To conclude, Turkey is an interesting country both in terms of birds and other wildlife and in terms of its friendly people and culture. Do not be surprised if you are offered a glass of Tea whilst filling up with Petrol or talking to the locals. The majority of people are friendly generous and trustworthy. However, beware of being taking for a ride in some of the more tourist areas. If you want a guide, take the official guide as it is easy to be conned. The saddest thing I noticed during my stay was the ruination of some of the best birding sites such as the drainage of many of the marshland including Eregli marshes and the dredging of gravel from the Euphrates at Birecik and the dumping of the gravel in and around the old Blue-cheeked Bee-eater colony.
All in all it was an excellent birdwatching holiday. If anyone is considering visiting the areas we did or is going purely for birdwatching I would suggest booking accomodation in each area rather than being based in one place.
For those who are interested I have produced a trip list for the two weeks in Turkey and a photo gallery of some of the plants and animals we saw.


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