Thought Id post something up quickly upon return. Will produce full trip report in due course; if anyone interested let me know.
As per recent postings, some months ago I booked a family holiday to Side in Southern Turkey, with the hope of my usual compromise of a few days quality birding around family stuff.
I was obvioiulsy keen on trying to see Fish Owls but recent reports on bird forum suggested that the birds were difficult on the ‘Tourist boat trips’ and to give up one of my precious birding days on a tourist party boat listening to disco and maybe not seeing the birds sounded pretty unpleasant. The costs of individual charter were prohibitive so had reluctantly pretty much discounted going for the owls to concentrate on migrating birds ( with view to possibly returning as part of birding crew in not too distant?).
The general birding was really good – especially migration on the coast – one sunny morning spent a memorable couple of hours around Side Roman ruins (a tourist trap a bit later in the day) that rival any of my experiences in Morocco, Israel, Spain etc; Olivaceous were everywhere, Red Backed Shrikes, 3 Barred warblers, Masked Shrikes, loads of Turtle Doves overhead, a River Warbler singing, a glorious Roller flew in and 8 adult Rose Coloured Starlings were a bit unexpected. Finally tracked down two Olive Tree Warblers from song (a bird I’d had no luck with at two ‘traditional’ Gosney sites so very pleasing).This for me is what birding should be about and very enjoyable.
I was saying as much to the only other birder I ran into all week, a Swedish guy, when he mentioned that he had been to see the Fish Owls two days before on a trip where the company ( Vigo Tours) charged 200 Euros for individual charter. Now I was getting seriously interested! …..this, whilst not cheap, seemed closer to my idea of ‘realistic’ so that evening I called the guy – Ozcan) and it eventually turned out 3 Belgian birders were also going out so we could split costs. To cut a long story short next morning at 4’am my 8 year old daughter and I headed out, quite excited! We were also unexpectedly joined by Arnoud van den Berg aiming to record the birds (a charming guy who lent my daughter his binoculars!) and over next two hours as it got light had good views of a great bird (well 2 adults and a chick) that I never realistically thought about seeing in the Western Palearctic ; a memorable day!
Also connected with other targets inc Krupers and Rock Nuthatches in Akseki area but as I say will post full details at later date!
Thanks to others, particularly Nick, for their posts that were invaluable!