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Day 1 (Wednesday, 6th June)

 

Antalya to Cukubag

This was to be THE day of travelling – Google directions excitedly mapped out a journey of 8 hours and 40 minutes from Antalya to our target of Cukurbag. While we didn’t reach the pension until 10˝ hours later, this was in part due to some excellent birding during part of the journey. If we hadn’t stopped, it’s likely that we would have spent more like 7 hours or so on the road. The journey was very varied, passing through 4 distinct phases:

    ·         From Antalya to the turn off to the North just after Manavgat on the coast road was busy, sprawling, and uninteresting

    ·         More or less as soon as we left this coast road, we gained altitude through some impressive montane areas. The views were good enough to sustain interest on their own, but one or two decent birds were also thrown in – kicked off by a handsome male Black-eared Wheatear, this was the only area where we saw Blue Rock Thrushes on the journey

    Mountains North of Akseki

    Plains SW of Konya

    Mountains to the North of Akseki

    Plains to the Sout-west of Konya

    ·         The trip from Seydisehir to just South of Nigde, which was the main part of the journey, was through monotonous and on the whole boring flat arable land, with very few birds to show (Hoopoe during our sandwich break was the highlight)

    ·         We decided to take a minor road from the South of Nigde to Camardi, which ran West to East, and took what was probably a much better birding road than the two suggested from the Ozsafak Pension directions

All of the best birding of the day was spent on this road, and this started almost as soon as we joined it, with Lesser Grey Shrikes, Corn Bunting and larks along the way. One of the best spots was about two thirds of the way along, in open upland, where we kept stopping for 5 different species of larks, of which Bimaculated Lark was the most obvious, and possibly also the most numerous. Black-headed Buntings were also common here, with Isabelline Wheatear verging on the abundant. A group of Rock Sparrows continued to be mobile, but mammalian interest in the form of European Ground Squirrels were much more approachable.

Near Camardi

European Ground Squirrel

West of Camardi

European Ground Squirrel

Bimaculated Lark

Shorelark

Bimaculated Lark

Shorelark

When we arrived at the Ozsfak Pension, Basar enticed us with the idea of potential Wallcreeper, Golden Eagle, and other juicy morsels at the Demirkazik Gorge, which is only a 5 minute drive along the road. The setting is something special, with the late afternoon light forming a warm glow on the gorge. The routine was to walk 20 minutes or so into the gorge, and then back, before losing the light. Almost as soon as we left the car we were greeted by a trio of Western Rock Nuthatches. Eastern Rock Nuthatches were more common within the gorge itself. Star performer of the early evening was a Golden Eagle, which couldn’t escape the attention of the marauding Lesser Kestrels and Choughs. It appeared at one time with a branch in its talons – who knows why, since it carried this around for some time seemingly without purpose!



 Demirkazik Gorge

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Content Introduction Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6 Day 7 Day 8 Day 9 Species List Text only