Many British birders go on holidays in one of the resorts in SW Turkey. Altınkum/Didim, Bodrum, Marmaris, Dalaman and Fethiye are popular destination. While on holidays with non-birding family and friends, they seek for a day out to see some of the Turkish specialties.
THe SW coastland in autumn is relatively quite in terms of birding. General Mediterranean birds, such as Woodchat Shrike, Rock Nuthatch and Black-eared Wheatear are all present in good numbers. First make sure that you have seen a proper pelican or flamingo. The wetlands near Bodrum airport are pretty good all year round. Dalmatian Pelican, Greater Flamingo are regular. You can also see Pygmy Cormorant, Spur-winged Plover, Caspian Tern and Audouin’s Gull. Other alternative wetlands are Lake Bafa where you can explore NW corner around the town Serçin, and the Delta of Büyükmenderes. I strongly recommend you to have lunch at the end of the road at Karina, at the fish restaurant of Sebahattin. Kruper’s Nuthatch is found on any stand of old Turkish (Calabrian) Pine, which is the common pine there at 0-1000 m altitute. The Olive-tree Warbler is mostly gone by August/September and don’t look for it in olive groves; it will be a waste of time!
However if you try to see other species, such as like the ones we offer in our tours, you need to get to the highlands. A day with a rental car can bring you many species. There are two roads to the higlands, both bringing towards the city of Denizli. Just 40 km south of Denizli there is a wonderful national park, Mount Honaz, with a good stand of Black Pine (look for Kruper’s Nuthatch) and also the summit with a tv station where you can look for Red-fronted Serin and Horned Lark. This takes you 2 hours from the coast. If you drive further 2 hours east from Denizli, you can reach Lake Acıgöl, which is a unique wetland in W Turkey with extremely saline waters and the surrounding real steppe. Look for steppe species, such as Lesser Kestrel, Saker Falcon, Ruddy Shelduck, Calandra Lark, Isabelline Wheatear etc. Follow the road along the southern shore of the lake and stop at every fresh water spring to check the marsh. Check the oak and Junipers on the other side of the road for passerines, such as Rufous Bush-Robin, Cretzschmar’s Bunting, Rüppel’s Warbler and White-throated Robin.
Have a good time and let us know by entering you data into e-bird. Of course, traditional trip reports are also welcome!