The first 4 hours of the morning were spent beyond the village, working the conifers for woodpeckers and nuthatches. This track represented what was once the main road to Konya – hard to believe now, when we had to regularly edge the car forward over ruts and potholes sprouting in front of us. Our parking spot was found 7.9km East from the end of the village, next to a hollow in the hill, and we walked around the bend to enter the forest on a track next to a very old chevron sign. Just before this, we had a bunch of Kruper’s Nuthatches buzzing around our heads in the conifers next to the road. These were to be very common in the forest, as opposed to woodpeckers, which didn’t show at all.
The best section of the forest was about 200m in, when we came across a good assortment of various birds. This was again kicked off by Kruper’s Nuthatches, but with patience, we also picked up Coal Tit, Short-toed Treecreeper, Goldcrests, and a singing Serin. One of two Mistle Thrushes was also around, and we had one or two flypasts of Red Crossbills. We did venture further along the track to a couple of very picturesque but quiet glades – calm and peaceful but no bird life!
It was time to sample the breakfast which came with the room rate at the Star Hotel, but we were delayed at the open hillsides about 2.5km short of Akseki. Open windows revealed singing Cretzschmar’s Buntings on either side. We not only managed to pick these out on the hillsides, but taped one in very close to where we were stood. While watching, a couple of male Ruppell’s Warblers started chasing each other and singing from the bunting’s ex bush, with a Black-eared Wheatear to the rear. Time was called when three lorries full of sheep pulled up, and the woolly deluge was about to be let out on to the hills as we left.
After a fulfilling breakfast (Mediterranean style) we headed back to the forest North of Akseki. The Kruper’s Nuthatches seemed quieter early on than the previous evening, but made up for this as time passed. One individual in particular was playing to the crowd, calling in the lower branches right in front of us. Serins were more in evidence, with at least 6 singing males, and a pair of Red Crossbills were feeding at least one youngster near to where we parked the car. This was also the location for a hawking Spotted Flycatcher, with a Long-legged Buzzard overhead. The only birds missing again were woodpeckers – not even a call in the distance.
With the time marching on, we decided to head for the graveyard in the village as our last port of call. This looked much more inviting than the one at Tasucu, being about the same size, but with good cover of both deciduous trees and conifers, and enough space between to see the birds. The most obvious birds were Syrian Woodpeckers, with at least 3 present, but even though we heard them regularly, and also saw them flying across, they were impossible to get close to. A pair of Masked Shrikes was similar, with the best views of one of the birds being at the top of one of the conifers. A family of Common Redstarts was a bit more approachable, being in the understory towards the centre of the plot, and a family of Long-tailed Tits passed through twice.