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Alternative spellings: Borchka (phonetic spelling in English), Borcka or Borka
Borçka is a location in Turkey. Although the Bosphorus is the best-known migration bottleneck for raptors in Turkey, Borçka in the north-east of the country at the eastern end of the Pontic Alps, sees the passage of migrant birds of prey in far larger numbers. Whereas under 100,000 raptors cross the Bosphorus, nearly 400,000 use this more easterly corridor but this concentration was not discovered until the 1970s.
In the Coruh Valley about 10km from the border with Georgia, Borçka sees the passage of a large proportion of the Russian raptor populations as they cross the Caucasus Mountains and before they begin to spread out over the Middle East. Steppe Buzzard and European Honey Buzzard and Black Kite are the most numerous species but Short-toed Eagle, Steppe Eagle, Lesser Spotted Eagle and Booted Eagle occur in good numbers as do harriers including Pallid Harrier, and Levant Sparrowhawk. Small numbers of species such as Egyptian Vulture, Long-legged Buzzard and Eastern Imperial Eagle and Greater Spotted Eagle pass through regularly and Saker Falcon and White-tailed Eagle also occur.
In addition to migrant raptors the extensive forests in this area are good for woodpeckers including White-backed Woodpecker and Syrian Woodpecker and there is a good selection of mountain species such as Wallcreeper, Rock Thrushes and Alpine Accentor while the many streams are home to Grey Wagtail and Common Dipper.
Birds you can see here include:
European Honey Buzzard, Black Kite, White-tailed Eagle, Lammergeier, Egyptian Vulture, Griffon Vulture, Short-toed Eagle, Western Marsh Harrier, Hen Harrier, Pallid Harrier, Montagu's Harrier, Northern Goshawk, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Levant Sparrowhawk, Steppe Buzzard, Long-legged Buzzard, Lesser Spotted Eagle, Greater Spotted Eagle, Steppe Eagle, Eastern Imperial Eagle, Golden Eagle, Bonelli's Eagle, Booted Eagle, Osprey, Lesser Kestrel, Common Kestrel, Merlin, Red-footed Falcon, Northern Hobby, Saker Falcon, Peregrine Falcon, Common Quail, European Bee-eater, Grey-headed Woodpecker, Black Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Syrian Woodpecker, White-backed Woodpecker, Water Pipit, Grey Wagtail, Common Dipper, Alpine Accentor, Black Redstart, Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush, Blue Rock Thrush, Green Warbler, Mountain Chiffchaff, Wallcreeper, Red-backed Shrike, Northern Raven
September and early October is the best time to visit Borçka but there are migrants passing through from early August to November. For a spring visit April-May is the best time.
History and Use
Areas of Interest
Access and Facilities
Borçka is reached by taking the northerly road from Erzerum which follows the Coruh Valley or, from Trabzon on the Black Sea coast. Trabzon and Erzerum both have airports and car hire is available. Basic accommodation can be found in Borçka but there is more choice at Arhavi on the coast or inland at Artvin.
All the hilltops in the Borçka area provide good views and raptors also pass over Arhavi in some numbers.
Content and images originally posted by Steve