Wednesday, 6 June 2012

TURKEY 6 June 2012: Birecik and Durnalik

With Iraq Babbler the last potential new bird to see at Birecik we were at the northern gravel workings, where one had been seen the previous evening by Andy Mears group, soon after dawn.  We saw 4 babblers without too much trouble along with several small flocks of Pigmy Cormorants, 2 Pied Kingfishers, a Moustached and a Menetries's Warbler, 10 Dead Sea Sparrows and a calling male Black Francolin.
Crested Lark at Birecik
Iraq Babbler at Birecik, presumably a young bird
playing 'if I can't see you then you can't see me'

We'd thought we might need three nights at Birecik but had seen all the key species in an evening and early morning!  We decided to visit Durnalik during the day and return to Birecek for the evening as we'd paid for two nights in the hotel.  It took about an hour and a half to get to Durnalik, not helped by some inept map reading on my part.  By the time we arrived it was getting quite hot but bird activity remained good for the 4-5 hours we were there.  Highlights were 6 Eastern Rock Nuthatches, 2 Cinereous Buntings, 6 Pale Rockfinches (all being new) as well as 3 White-throated Robins, Rufous Bush Robin, 2 Finsch's Wheatears,  2 Blue Rock Thrushes, 4 Sombre Tits, 2 Desert Finches and a flock of 12 Spanish Sparrows.

Blue Rock Thrush on the cliffs at Durnalik
adult Eastern Rock Nuthatch on the cliffs at Durnalik
juvenile Eastern Rock Nuthatch.  We didn't find the rock nutters an easy species pair.  The thickness of the black behind the eye seemed to us the best feature, especially as juveniles had very much shorter bills than adults 

note the amount of black behind the eye and the thickness of the bill
Rufous Bush Robin in the gardens at Durnalik
female Black-headed Bunting bathing in a pool in the gardens at Durnalik

We returned to Birecik where we concentrated again on the Ibis wadi hoping for more prolonged views of See-see but only heard one.  I saw a Great Spotted Cuckoo and Roller, and Menetries's and Upcher's Warblers were still present.  A pre-roost flock of 26 Bald Ibis were flying around over the wadi when we arrived and 9 were seen in the wadi.  We ate in a restaurant near the hotel, feeling a bit too tired to revisit the owl cafe.

bridge over the Euphrates at Birecik
a Renault 12, still a very popular car in Turkey
old and new buildings in Birecik
Bald Ibis with large youngster in the Ibis wadi, another to add to my colour-ring collection although a relocation on the Adur is unlikely!
the youngster appeared to be encouraging the adult to regurgitate a meal for it

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