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Calis Beach/ Fethiye area. Turkey sept/oct (1 Viewer)

gus guthrie

gus guthrie
Turkey trip 2018. Calis Beach Resort, Fethiye. Sept. 21st to Oct. 5th

We arrived at Dalaman Airport at around 11.30pm and after a bit of a wait finally picked our Rental car up and headed towards Fethiye . After getting completely lost we eventually found our Hotel at Calis Beach and headed off to bed. I had a wander around the beachfront and local area early the next morning and to be honest I wasn’t very impressed, outside the Hotel grounds there was a lot of rubbish everywhere and little sign of any birdlife apart from House Sparrows, Collared Doves and Hooded Crows. After breakfast we had a wander around the Hotel grounds, which had an artificial lagoon as a centrepiece, complete with reeds, water-lillies etc. Kingfishers were here everyday and easy to watch as were Moorhen, Little Grebe and Reed Warblers. At the back of our room we had a patio area which overlooked an area of scrub , this was a great place to watch both Red-backed Shrike and woodchat Shrikes from, one Red-backed Shrike came and perched less than 15ft away on a regular basis throughout the holiday. I often saw Fan-tailed warblers, Crested Larks, Chiffchaffs and lots of Pied Wagtails from here.
One noticeable thing was how few Gulls were going around, the beaches had very few on them. I did see Yellow-legged Gulls fly past occasionally.
I tended to get up early to go birding as it became hot very quickly, as it was an all-inclusive resort I could get breakfast later without any problem. On the second day I wandered along to where the marshes were supposed to be, sadly they were almost all filled in and built on now, only a couple of small remnants remained.
On the first one I found a couple of Gull-billed Terns, Great White Egrets, Grey Herons, Snipe and a Squacco Heron. The second pool was beside some derelict houses and here I had Pochard, Pintail, Water Rail, Kingfishers, Reed warbler, Cetti’s Warbler and Little Egrets.
Later that day I walked from the Hotel to the rivermouth at Calis where there is a small protected area which is fenced off and difficult to see into. I found a decent viewing area eventually and from where I could see a fair bit of this remaining saltmarsh. This had quite a few waders on it . Redshank, Spotted Redshank, Dunlin, several Marsh Sandpipers and best of all were 3 Broad-billed Sandpipers.
This area also has a couple of reedy lagoons which can be accessed from the other side of the river, though it took a bit of finding. Here I had Little Bittern, Common Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper and more Kingfishers.
On the Monday I plucked up the courage to venture out in the car, heading inland to Kadyanda, an ancient ruined settlement in a pine forested area high up in the hills. The roads turned out to be very good and driving in Turkey turned out to be much easier than I expected. On reaching this site, we couldn’t believe how quiet it was, not another soul around apart from two elderly local gents who looked after the site. We headed off up the track through the trees and immediately found Krupper’s Nuthatches, another new bird for me. They were quite plentiful up here as were common Nuthatch, Middle-spotted Woodpecker, Olivaceous Warbler, Treecreeper, Spotted Flycatcher, Jays and Ravens. This was well worth visiting for the ruins alone, a fantastic place.
Next morning I headed west along the coast to a small reserve called Ak Gol near Yaniklar. This was a really nice place, very quiet during the week with a beach, reedbeds, orchards, arable fields and the lake surrounded by woodland. I visited this area a lot during my holiday and picked up a lot of birds here including Masked Shrike, Penduline Tit, Broad-billed Sandpiper, Spoonbill, Purple Heron, Yellow Wagtail, Tawny Pipit, Hobby, Corn Bunting and Bonelli’s Warbler.

gus guthrie

gus guthrie
My next trip was up to the famous Gogu-Beli Pass above Seki which took over an hour to reach but the roads were excellent to drive on. Finally reaching the top after winding our way up from the valley below the views were spectacular. At the summit I was greeted by two bloody massive sheepdogs which appeared out of no-where , by this point I was about 200m from the car. They seemed content just to bark and eventually they wandered off. I had a walk up a sheep track and soon found one of my target birds for the holiday, Red-fronted serins. They were quite common up here , though pretty flighty unless you sat in the car . doing this I had them less than 20ft away at the roadside. I also had Sombre Tit, Rock Sparrow, Ruppell’s Warbler, Blue Rock Thrush, Black-eared Wheatear, Crag Martin, Buzzards and a single Long-legged Buzzard on the way back down.
Returning back on the D350 road I turned off near the Tepe Restaurant to have a look at a lake called Esen Cayi. The water levels were very low but it had good numbers of Cormorants, Herons , various Wildfowl and several Pygmy Cormorants too.
Next day we drove south to visit Patara beach and the ruins there. After leaving my wife on the beach I headed back to the ruins of this ancient Lycian city to wander round. Crested Larks were plentiful as were Wheatears. I also had Ortolan Bunting, Bee-eaters, Masked Shrike, Willow Warblers and a Lesser Grey Shrike which was unexpected. As I was walking back to the beach I had two Common Cranes fly overhead going south. At the ruins among some Olive trees were a group of Yellow-vented Bubul, another new bird for me.
I spent quite a bit of time checking out some of the local pools and little reedbeds locally, most of which will be filled in within the next couple of years sadly. Early one morning I visited the little lagoon near the deserted houses about 15 minutes walk from the hotel. A movement in the reeds caught my attention and out came a Little Crake. I saw several of these fantastic birds over the holiday at this little place.
Another great place for birds was just a bit further along the road next to a Hotel complex near Caretta beach. This area had all been marshland , now drained and scraped for building a hotel on.
This area was covered in small pools of shallow water and was a haven for waders and other birds. I spent a lot of time sitting here , usually in the early mornings. I had at least six Wood Sandpipers here as well as Green Sandpiper, Snipe, Broad-billed Sandpiper, Kentish Plover, Little Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Common Sandpiper, Little Stints and two Curlew Sandpiper.
This area also attracted lots of Swallows, Red-rumped Swallow, Sand Martin and House Martins. One morning there were around 40 Alpine Swifts with a couple of Pallid Swifts there, great to watch and really close views as they came down to skim the surface of the pools.
I visited the arable fields and orchards between Calis and Ak Gol reserve a lot. Fantastic views of different Shrike species here , also had Golden Oriole, Kestrel, Red-breasted Flycatcher, Collared Flycatcher and lots of warblers.
Using the car as a Hide you could get pretty close to the waders on the little stream between the beach and the lagoon. Most mornings before the sunbathers appeared I could find Sanderling, Kentish Plover, Greenshank and other waders feeding here.
I had Rock Nuthatch at several places including Patara and Fethiye. The best views of them were at the Rock tombs of Amyntas at the east side of Fethiy. This was also good for Alpine Swifts.
I ended up with 128 species of birds for my two weeks there, some really nice birds and some lovely places to visit. The downside was seeing how quickly the marshes are being destroyed for development.
I ended up with 16 new species for me and below is where I found some of them.

Crested Lark …… common on wasteground, scrub etc
Tawny Pipit ……….. near Ak Gol
Great White Egret …… Calis Nature reserve
Gull-billed Tern … 2 on small pool west of Calis
Squacco Heron ………one on small lagoon west of Calis
Fan-tailed Warbler ….common in scrub areas
Spotted Redshank ….. several at Calis reserve
Marsh Sandpiper …….2 at Calis Reserve
Broad-billed Sandpiper …… Ak Gol and Calis reserve
Calandra Lark ……….Calis area and open scrub areas
Kruppers Nuthatch ……….Kadyanda ruins. Easily seen
Rock Nuthatch …….. Patara ruins & Fethiye
Serin ………….. common at Gogu-beli pass
Spotted Flycatcher ………common
Middle-spotted Woodpecker ……. Kadyanda, Ak Gol
Eastern Olivaceous Warbler …….. Ak Gol
Eastern Orphean Warbler ……. Single bird near Ak Gol
Penduline Tit ……………..Ak Gol
Purple Heron ……….. Ak Gol and a single bird at Calis reserve
Water Rail ………common in wetlands around Calis
Reed Warbler ……..common in Calis and surrounding area
Little Grebe …… Ak Gol and other lagoons
Pied Flycatcher ………. Fethiye, Calis. Parks etc.
Red-breasted Flycatcher …… single bird at Ak Gol
Syrian Woodpecker …….. Patara ruins
Cetti’s warbler ……….common near ditches etc around Calis
Masked Shrike…… Patara, Ak Gol, Seki…. Usually on wires.
Woodchat Shrike ……….. fairly widespread around Calis
Yellow Wagtail ……….fairly common around Calis in arable areas.
Short-toed Lark …… arable fields on way to Patara
Spoonbill ……….. 4 at Ak Gol
Eastern Bonelli’s warbler ……. Various woodlands around Calis, Ak Gol
Red-backed Shrike ……..common around Calis
Sardinian Warbler ……..Ak Gol, Calis
Sombre Tit …….Gogu-beli Pass
Red-fronted Serin ……Gogu-beli Pass
Black-eared Wheatear …… Gugu-beli Pass
Long-legged Buzzard …….Seki to Gogu-beli Pass
Ruppell’s Warbler …….. Gogu-Beli road near water troughs
Pygmy Cormorant ………..several on Esen Cayi
Yellow-vented Bulbul ………… 4 at Patara
Little Crake …… several birds at Calis in small lagoon
Common Crane ……… 2 birds overhead at Patara
Bee-eater ……….. flock of 30 birds at Patara
Lesser Grey Shrike ………..single bird at near Patara
Alpine Swift ………Fethiye, Calis
Pallid Swift ……….2 with Alpine Swifts near Calis
Little Bittern…….. single at Calis Reserve
Kentish Plover ………..flooded area near Caretta beach
Wood Sandpiper …………as above
Green Sandpiper ……….pools near Caretta Beach
Little Stint ………several at pools near Caretta Beach
Golden Oriole ……single bird in orchard near Ak Gol
Hobby ……….Ak Gol
Sanderling …………on beach near Ak Gol

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