Thursday, 7 June 2012

TURKEY 7 June 2012: Birecik to Nemrut Dagi

We tried the Ibis Wadi soon after dawn and after walking down it for about 0.5 km climbed up onto the west side where we found a vantage point to scan adjacent hillsides.  This proved to be successful as we saw 4 See-see Partridges including one that was relatively close.  Three male Menetries's Warblers were seen in the wadi along with 5 Bald Ibis and several Rollers.  I also flushed a 5th See-see from the wadi as I turned a corner but had very poor views of it.  We returned to the hotel to check out and called in briefly at the Owl cafe although there was no immediate sign of any scops owls, or any locals to point them out.  Good views of one Long-eared Owl was some consolation but perhaps we should have persevered as we later learned that 3 had been seen there the previous day.  Just as well we'd had excellent spotlit views on our first evening although if we hadn't we would have made seeing one in daylight a high priority.
viewpoint above the Ibis wadi at Birecik looking back towards the Euphrates
See-see Partridge above the Ibis Wadi at birecik

a surprisingly attractive species, more so that we were expecting
Menetries's Warbler on the rim of the Ibis wadi at Birecik
differentiated from Sardinian Warbler by the less clear cut separation of black cap and grey nape, buffy underparts and range 
Bald Ibis in the wadi at birecik
youngster encouraging adult (colour-ring JVC) to provide a meal ...
... successfully
Long-eared Owl in the Owl cafe gardens
sadly no sign of its younger cousin
We left Birecek and drove via the Ataturk Baraji to Nemrut Dagi.  First stop was Estagfirullah where Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters had bred in 2011.  The site was to the SE of the Ataturk Baraji about midway between Hilvan and Bozova and just off the main road by a small volcano shaped hill next to the village.  Several birds were seen on wires on the edge of the village and we counted at least 37 there and on the hill where they seemed to be breeding in burrows.  A Little Owl was perched on telephone wires nearby while 3 Eastern Rock Nuthatches were flying around the dam viewpoint.

Blue-cheeked Bee-eater at Estagfirullah
distinctive orange under-wing coverts just about visible 

sleek and stunning
the dam at the Ataturk Baraji
Ataturk Baraji dam and run-off into the Euphrates
another pair of Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters just west of the Euphrates.  We saw these birds thanks to Paul Chapman and group who were pulled off the road watching them as we drove by

Further around the barrage 3 Glossy Ibis were seen from the road feeding in a creek while a stop in a roadside orchard produced Syrian Woodpecker, male Yellow-throated Sparrow and 2 Rufous Scrub Robins.

At Nemrut Dagi we checked into Pension Cesme which had White-throated Robins in the garden.  We drove up the mountain not realising that being at the top to witness sunset was the busiest time there.  The stone heads were quite impressive but a somewhat elusive male Kurdish Red-tailed Wheatear was the main attraction, supported by 3 Rock Trushes, 2 Cinereous Buntings, 10 Shore Lark and 20 White-winged Snowfinches.
traditional view of thrones and stone heads at Nemrut Dagi, apparently dislodged following various earthquakes during the last 2000 years
panorama of the stone heads
thrones and heads at Nemrut Dagi
heads at Nemrut Dagi
much more impressive to us at Nemrut Dagi was a male Kurdish Red-tailed Wheatear 
Madder Hawkmoth (Rethera komarovi) in Pension Cesme, thanks to Paul Chapman for identifying this very impressive moth

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