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Demirkazik is a village and a summit in the Aladag mountains in Turkey. Usually, the site is referred with this name, even if Aladag mountains would be more correct. The slopes of this beautiful mountain chain offers some of the best birding in the Western Palearctic with stunning scenery and even more stunning birds.
Birds you can see here include:
Bearded Vulture, Long-legged Buzzard, Golden Eagle, Common Kestrel, Caspian Snowcock, Chukar, Rock Dove, Common Scops Owl, Common Swift, Alpine Swift, Calandra Lark, Woodlark, Horned Lark, Eurasian Crag Martin, Northern House Martin, Tawny Pipit, Water Pipit, White Wagtail, Radde's Accentor, Alpine Accentor, Common Nightingale, Black Redstart, European Stonechat, Isabelline Wheatear, Northern Wheatear, Finsch's Wheatear, Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush, Blue Rock Thrush, Ring Ouzel, Lesser Whitethroat, Common Whitethroat, Great Tit, Western Rock Nuthatch, Wallcreeper, Red-backed Shrike, Lesser Grey Shrike, Common Magpie, Alpine Chough, Red-billed Chough, Hooded Crow, Common Starling, Rose-coloured Starling, House Sparrow, Rock Sparrow, White-winged Snowfinch, Red-fronted Serin, European Goldfinch, Crimson-winged Finch, Rock Bunting, Ortolan Bunting
History and Use
Near Cucurbag is a ski resort, but tourism is small. There is some overgrazing in the area and the former woodland has been reduced to small patches, usually fenced.
Areas of Interest
Lower slopes Right from the ski station you will find Rock Sparrows and Finsch's Wheatear. Climbing up, the first singing Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush should appear and some Red-fronted Serins may pass. Crimson-winged Finch is breeding here as well and some Chukar will walk away from you.
Upper Slopes If you have reached the high meadows, look out for Caspian Snowcock. They are easy to hear, but sometimes hard to see. Alpine Accentor is found in the rocks, Radde's Accentor in the meadows and bushes. Red-fronted Serin and Crimson-winged Finch are easy to find among standpipes for sheep.
Gorge The big gorge is famous for its Wallcreepers.
Access and Facilities
Starting point for a tour up to the Snowcocks is the ski resort near Cucurbag. The main road between Camardi and Nidge passes the Aladag mountains on the west. Cucurbag is just a bit off the main road, the ski resort just behind the village. If you arrive you can be sure that someone will offer you a tractor ride on the top. If you are not fit enough to climb up for at least two hours, then take it. Unfortunately you will miss a lot of good birding. You can either follow the tractor road up or take a small path more on the left. If you have arrived on the grassy plateau, follow the path until you reach a shoulder with a big rock. This is a good place to look out for Snowcocks. You can either walk down into the gorge (steep) or walk down the path. The gorge ends between the ski resort and the village of Demirkazik (north of the resort). There is a good path leading in it.
There is some basic accomodation in Cucurbag. Better hotels (and cheaper ones) are in Camardi and Nidge.
It's best to arrive in time. If you walk, start in darkness. It's wonderful to arrive on the plateau with the sunrise and the Snowcocks calling. In April there may still be snow, May and early June are the best times to visit.