Vulture Feeding Station (3 days)

Gerede Plain, in the highlands of the NW Turkey is an agricultural area surrounded by extensive montane pine and fir forest.The area hosts the healthy populations of Black Vulture, Eastern Imperial Eagle, Lammergeier, and Long-legged Buzzard. The only observation and photography hide provide us a wonderful opportunity.

This is a 3-days tour with arrival to and departure from Istanbul.

Day 1

After the arrival in Istanbul, we will pick you up at the airport and directly drive to Gerede, Bolu. Overnight in Gerede.

Day 2

Early in the morning we will visit the hide at 5:00 in the morning. We will drive from the hotel to the town, will leave the car at the head office and be delivered to the hide by a car that will return back to the town. The feeding station will be provided with dead chicken and cow bones 48 hours in advance to inform the animals. Before the dawn we expect some feral dogs arrive here. The dogs usually pick up their pieces and move away. Don’t worry. There will be enough food for our vulture, too. Sometimes Grey Wolf arrive at the site, which is immediately noticed by the silence of the dogs. If you are very luck, a Brown Bear may show up, too.

With dawn first birds start to arrive. The main birds are the Black Vultures (Aegypius monachus) Eastern Imperial Eagle (Aquila heliaca), Long-legged Buzzard (Buteo rufinus) and White-tailed Eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla). The Griffon Vulture (Gyps fulvus) oversummering at the region are present in summer. The resident Lammegeier (Gypaetus barbatus) tends to visit more frequently during July and August. On migration Steppe Eagle (Aquila nipalensis) has been observered.

During hour stay indoors we will have breakfast inside; “gözleme” with meet or cheese made by local women. There is a tea room where you can refresh your tea or coffee cup any time you want. If the temperature is very cold, individual heaters will be available. We will be pick up at 10:00 by the administrator of the hide.

After a stop at the hotel we will check the forest near the hotel. The mature pine and fir forest at the nearby hills are home to near-endemic Kruper’s Nuthatch (Sitta kruperi), Grey-headed Woodpecker (Picus canus), and other forest species. In the afternoon we will stroll around Gerede Plain for other raptors. On migration up top 600 Red-footed Falcon (Falco vespertinus) has been observed.. If we have time, we can drive up to the ski-resorts at Köroğlu Mountains where we can look for Red-fronted Serin (Serinus pusillus) and Horned Lark (Eremophila alpestris).

Day 3

This morning we have another change at the hide. In the afternoon we will depart to Istanbul to catch our flight back home.

Sample Photos:

Photo credits: Timur Türker (birds) and Burak Doğansoysal.