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Istanbul

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Old Monday 18th May 2015, 17:36   #1
Ruby
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Istanbul

Hi,

I'm paying my first visit to Istanbul later this week.... Any tips on good birding spots/what species might be about?


Thanks.... Ray
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Old Monday 18th May 2015, 23:43   #2
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Get a ferry across the Bosporus - look out for Yelkouan Shearwaters and the odd Slender-billed Gull among the Black-heads - and take a taxi up to Büyük Çamlica for the raptor viewpoint
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Old Wednesday 20th May 2015, 08:23   #3
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Get a ferry across the Bosporus - look out for Yelkouan Shearwaters and the odd Slender-billed Gull among the Black-heads - and take a taxi up to Büyük Çamlica for the raptor viewpoint
Thanks. Not sure how close views might be had on the water - I'll only have BINs. Mind you, could it well be the case that this is the only Shearwater species present, therefore not too many opportunities for confusion?


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Old Wednesday 20th May 2015, 19:03   #4
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Yep, the only shearwater there, and as there's a near-constant stream of them passing, some will be fairly close to the boat. Effectively impossible to use a scope on a ship anyway, the engine vibration makes the image unsteady.

Lack of a scope will be more of a problem at the raptor viewpoint.
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Old Wednesday 27th May 2015, 17:25   #5
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Hi All,

Just back yesterday, and thought I'd let you know how I got on.... Not what you'd call frenetic birding, but quite pleasant and a few interesting things....

Shearwaters. Yes, there are a lot of these passing up and down the Bosphorus. We did a trip from the Golden Horn to the mouth of the Black Sea, and a virtually constant stream of birds passing by in groups of average size maybe 50 birds. Given that the trip takes approx 1.5hrs each way, we probably saw some thousands of birds, mainly heading N, but about 10-20% heading S in an equally determined fashion!

Laughing Doves. Fairly ubiquitous throughout the city but, if you want to be really certain, head for a roof-top bar - they do love that roof-furniture - and you can normally see several flying about at any one time. Quite cute birds actually - bit like a smaller, redder Turtle Dove.

Swifts. Seemed to be reasonable numbers of Common Swifts on station around the area of the main tourist spots, but these would be replaced/joined by decent numbers of Alpine Swifts from time to time. Again, the roof-top bar comes into its own, and had easily my closest ever view of this species as they zoomed about only 20m or so away.... Also can't think that I've ever heard them call before, and not at all like the screaming of Common Swifts, but rather a chattering call that put me in mind of Serin more than anything...

A Myna! Only saw the one bird - albeit on 2 different days - so don't know if this is just a lone escapee or whether there is a feral population in Istanbul. Quite a handsome bird though - particularly in flight.... Never seen one before, and had me wondering what on earth it was!!

Parakeets. Hmmm - I've heard tell of Ring-necked Parakeets in Istanbul, and I assume that's what they are, but very different to our UK birds, being about 10-20% bigger, much darker green, different calls (ever louder and more strident!) and saw several birds with striking rose-coloured patches on the 'shoulders', which is not a feature that I've seen in the UK....

Hooded Crows. Have seen plenty of these elsewhere in Turkey, but they are always fairly wary of humans, so not easy to get close. Not so these Istanbul city-slickers who have no fear and will walk right up to you....

Sizable heronry in the tall trees of Gulhane Park, but could only see that it contained Grey Herons. No idea where they go to feed etc, and didn't seem any suitable habitat anywhere close by...

Raptors. Didn't spend 24*7 scanning the skies, but do tend to keep eyes open, and not a single raptor seen. Only 2 notable birds seen passing over being 2 White Storks.

Yildiz Park. We did visit this place, as had heard it was just about the nearest semi-wild place to central Istanbul... It didn't go well.... transport issue meant that it took us hours to get there (take a taxi!!) so didn't arrive until heat of the day, and pretty quiet bird-wise, although did add a few things like Great Tit, LT Tit, Wren and Chaffinch to the list. Most interesting thing was that a succession of newly married coupled all fetched up to have their wedding photos done, so brides dotted about the place like snow-flakes, and led to a sizable queue of newlyweds all waiting to have their pics taken on a particularly photogenic wooden bridge....

Anyway.... An enjoyable holiday and not bad on the birding front, so all good I reckon....


All the best.... Ray
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Old Wednesday 27th May 2015, 18:10   #6
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Sounds like Alexandrine Parakeets - larger than Ring-necked, and with that red-purple shoulder.
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Old Thursday 28th May 2015, 05:43   #7
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Sounds like Alexandrine Parakeets - larger than Ring-necked, and with that red-purple shoulder.
Yes. Just done a bit of research, and that's what they are all right. Thanks.
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