Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Demirzixli and Uzuncaburç (Diocaesarea) - Southern Turkey May 2011 (Part 2)

After having spent a few days in the Göksu Delta we headed into the hills for the afternoon of our final day in the area of Taşucu. The area around Uzuncaburç is covered by dry marquis, ancient ruins and pine forests and is an excellent area for searching for migrants. Unfortunately, a combination of a late spring and the early date of our trip meant that the vegetation was only just beginning to sprout and very few migrants were present. 

Our first stop was to an area of pine forest, and a steep walk up to the peak for an excellent view over the surrounding area. An ancient tomb was set into the hillside, and this gave us our first opportunity to see Western Rock Nuthatch, along with single Black-eared Wheatears, Cretzschmar's Buntings and a very distant European Roller.

Western Rock Nuthatch, Uzuncaburç - May 2011

After a fairly uneventful walk up the hill, we headed back down, a Masked Shrike was our first of the trip and two Sombre Tits finally gave us decent views, after frustrating us up the hill earlier.

Masked Shrike - Turkey 2011

We moved on a picnic area known for its Krüper's Nuthatch, and were immediately rewarded with a pair. They were extremely vocal, constantly making contact calls as they fed and interacted together in preparation for breeding, presumably in one of the many nest boxes located in the area for the species. A Common Cuckoo, four Golden Orioles, Chaffinch's and Coal, Blue and Great Tits provided some additional interest, but generally with the exception of the nuthatch's there were few birds present. 

Krüper's Nuthatch - Turkey 2011

We continued up to the ancient ruins of Diocaesarea, and another excellent area for migrants, but again there were very few birds present. A male Black-eared Wheatear sang from the tallest ruin and a flock of House Sparrows included a lone Spanish Sparrow. In the most densely vegetated bits of scrub two Eastern Orphean and a single Sardinian Warbler were located, and two Wood Warblers and a Blackcap added to the migrant tally.

 The Ancient Ruins of Diocaesarea provided a Stunning Backdrop for Birding 

We decided to head back down to a lower altitude in search of migrants and stopped in a layby where the vegetation was more advanced. We were immediately greeted with two pairs of nuthatch's, one Western Rock and the other Krüper's, along with a stunning male Cretzschmar's Bunting, and an equally stunning male Blue Rock Thrush. We continued to bird along the road and suddenly heard a brief burst of song which was reminiscent of Ruppell's Warbler, and after much perseverance we were all rewarded with excellent views of a cracking male bird.

Starred Agama Agama stellio lazing in the Afternoon Sun

Having exhausted all of our birding opportunities for the day we headed back to Taşucu for our last overnight stop before moving on, all the time being watched by the Starred Agama's as they soaked up the late afternoon sun.

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