Extensive Eastern Line

This tour is the classical Eastern Turkey tour and aims to see some of the rarest of all the Western Palaearctic birds such as Northern Bald Ibis, Striated Scops Owl, Iraq Babbler and Mongolian Finch.

Day 1 Arrive at Kayseri

Flight from the UK, via Istanbul, to Adana in southern Turkey. Overnight in Çamardı.

Day 2 Demirkazık at Aladaglar

We will have an early start and drive up to the summit of Demirkazik with a tractor in order to see Caspian Snowcock at dawn. Later we will have enough time to get views of Radde’s Accentor, White-throated Robin, Finsch’s Wheatear, Red-fronted Serin and Crimson-winged Finch. Wallcreeper and Lammergeier also occur here. Overnight in Çamardı.

Day 3 Demirkazık at Aladaglar

This is the other morning to see the snowcock in case we have failed during the first trip. In the afternoon we will drive down to the Mediterranean coast and get introduced to Göksu Delta. Overnight in Taşucu.

Days 4–5 Göksu Delta

Göksu Delta is a complex of habitats, with long sand dunes, a freshwater lake named Akgöl, brakish lagoons at Paradeniz Dalyanı and the agricultural fields of subtropical nature. The specialities are White-throated Kingfisher, Spectacled Bulbul and Graceful Prinia, together with Marbled Duck, Ferruginous Duck, Black Francolin, Purple Swamphen, Spur-winged Lapwing, Audouin’s Gull. In the hills along the river Göksu we will explore the Mediterranean scrub in search for Olive-tree and Rüppell’s Warblers, Krüper’s Nuthatch and Masked Shrike. Overnight in Taşucu.

Day 6 Isikli and Durnalik

We will start driving east and visit newly discovered Kırmıtlı Reserve to look for White-throated and Pied Kingfishers. In the afternoon we will stop at dry oak scrub near Işıklı and Durnalık to look for Red-tailed Wheatear and Upcher’s Warbler, together with White-throated Robin, Eastern Orphean Warbler, Western Rock Nuthatch, Cretzschmar’s Bunting, Sombre Tit and Cinereous Bunting. Overnight in Gaziantep.

Day 7 Birecik

We will visit again Işıklı and Durnalık area in case there are species missing in our list. At noon we will arrive at Birecik, the most visited town by birders along the River Euphrates, and home to Northern Bald Ibises. Overnight in Birecik.

Day 8 Birecik

Birecik is a very rich area of rare habitats and birds. Pistachio orchards, woods along the river Euphrates (Fırat) and calcerous wadis are home to Bald Ibis, See-see Partridge, Pallid Scops Owl, Blue-cheeked Bee-eater, Bimaculated Lark, Upcher’s and Ménétries’s Warbler, Iraq Babbler, Dead Sea Sparrow, Chestnut-shouldered Petronia, Pale Rockfinch and Desert Finch. We will also visit the rolling hills and rocky cliffs along the Euphrates in search for Eastern Rock Nuthatch and Bonelli’s Eagle. Back in Birecik, we will visit the site for the colony of Iraq Babblers. At night we will look for owls. Overnight in Birecik.

Day 9 between River Euphrates and River Tigris

We will drive from Birecik towards east. En route, we will look for Blue-cheeked Bee-eater colony. Overnight in Cizre at the Syrian border.

Day 10 Tatvan

The river Tigris (Dicle) River is the the most western distribution range of the Red-wattled Lapwing. We will look for the bird along the small streams draining to the river Tigris. In the afternoon we will drive north and visit Nemrut Crater Lake, with Velvet Scoter, Bimaculated Lark, Radde’s Accentor and Crimson-winged Finch. Overnight in Tatvan on the western shore of Lake Van.

Day 12 Lake Van

We will visit the marshes along the shore of Lake Van, is the biggest lake of Turkey. Armenian Gull is a very common species here, whereas other specialities include breeding White-headed Ducks, Paddyfield Warbler. On passage some interesting waders can be found: Marsh, Terek and Broad-billed Sandpipers and Red-necked Phalarope. Overnight in Erciş.

Day 13 Lake Van

We will spend the day at Bulanık Plain, Turkey’s biggest flooded plain shaped by the River Murat. This is one of the last remaining breeding area of the Demoiselle Crane. Other birds include Montagu’s Harrier, Great Bustard, Common Crane, Gull-billed and White-winged Terns. Overnight in Erciş.

Day 14 Lake Van

Today we will drive to north of Lake Van and visit the lava fields of Mount Tendürek with meadows of Caldiran Plain inhabiting Citrine Wagtail, Crimson-winged Finch. Later, we will visit Ishakpasa Palace, the palace of the local Ottoman governor. The plains around the area Mongolian Finch and Grey-necked Bunting breed. Overnight in Dogubeyazit in extreme eastern Turkey at the Iranian border.

Day 15 Lake Van

It is time to fly back home. We will drive back to Van where we will catch our plane Van-Istanbul-UK.