Monday, 4 June 2012

TURKEY 4 June 2012: Demirkazik

What was probably my best ever day's birding in the Western Pal started with a 03:45am alarm call for a 04:00 departure with Basar Safak, Nick and the Bristol team.  We drove 7 kms to the start of the track up into the mountains at Demirkazik where we piled into a waiting tractor's trailer that took us to the top of the track.  We arrived just as it was getting light and heard Caspian Snowcock's calling almost immediately. I scoped the top of the crags and soon picked the first one out, a distant silhouette.  I ended up seeing four but all were rather distant.  Other birds in the area were 2 Radde's Accentors, 3 brief Crimson-winged Finches, a Wallcreeper (sadly in flight only), 6 Rock Thrushes,  20 Snowfinches, 7 Shore Larks, both species of Chough and a Golden Eagle.

first views of Caspian Snowcock with, on closer inspection, a female pretending to be a rock directly below it

the neck pattern is just about discernible on these shots

Mountain Goats liked the top of the crags too
the mountain peaks at Demirkazik, Paul Chapman and Basar Safak in bottom right of shot
looking down from Demirkazik
the gorge at Demirkazik
Shore Lark at Demirkazik.  this race has a very black breast, not that you'd know from this photo
Rock Thrush at Demirkazik

stunning birds!
Radde's Accentor at Demirkazik
perhaps the bird I most wanted to see in Turkey
it did not disappoint despite not being in as pristine plumage as I'd hoped
The others left in the tractor but Nick and I decided to stay up in the mountains and walk back later, primarily to look for Crimson-winged Finches which had eluded us.  We eventually saw 3 although they were very flighty and we only got brief perched views.  We also saw 2 Trumpeter Finches, apparently scarce in Turkey, but couldn't refind the Wallcreeper or see any more snowcock despite some seemingly calling from lower down.  Distant thunder caused us to head back down but the storm caught us part way back and we got rather wet.  It didn't last long and had pretty much blown over by the time we reached the car at the bottom of the track.

Nick heading back down the mountain track with a storm fast approaching

a confiding Rock Bunting near the start of the mountain track

a stunning male Red-fronted Serin, one of a small flock, near the start of the mountain track 
After a late breakfast (at 2.30pm) we headed out on the dirt road towards the Chromium mine.  We made it to within about 2 km of the turn off in our car and walked a km to the saddle before running out of time.  The whole area was absolutely superb with a cracking male White-throated Robin the highlight, plus 2 much more obliging Crimson-winged Finches, 2 male Blue Rock Thrushes, a pair of Barred Warblers, an Eastern Orphean Warbler, several Wood Larks and 4 Ortolan Buntings.

female Red-backed Shrike from the Chromium mine track

Nick on the Chromium mine track

Asian Crimson-winged Finch from the Chromium mine track, another stunning species

White-throated Robin from the Chromium mine track, a star performer

We returned to Pension Ozsafak at 8pm for another excellent dinner.  Basar Safak was an excellent host and was very knowledgeable about the birds of the area.  He can be contacted at

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