Hi, which hotel did you stay in at Birecik please,? I'm arriving there tomorrow.We visited Sultan Marshes somewhat randomly, mainly because we were nearby in the morning and saw the landscape and immediately decided to check it in the evening for mammals, so we had a day to kill (which was an excellent idea as the evening brought Marbled Polecat, Tristram's Jird and William's Jerboa). We completely avoided the "tourist entrance" (we have never been there at all) and instead drove some tracks that skirt the area. Some channels had water with plenty of egrets and herons of all sorts and similar birds - nothing groundbreaking, but a lot of birds, a lot of species - and also European Pond Turtles, a species we looked so much for in Poland to no avail, here in plain sight next to a village. But the main highlight was when we found Turkestan Short-toed Larks in the sparse grasslands - this species we were somewhat hesitant to target around Birecik, as also the "original" Mediterranean species occirs there and we were not sure how to separate them reliably - but here, there was no confusion. Also the song sounded good.
We had again a lot of driving as we wanted to meet a group of birder friends at Durnalik the next day. There the weather was not great, but the rain stopped as we arrived - and as we were driving a track towards the aforementioned friends, we found, on the track, our main target for the area - Cinereous Bunting. There were also White-throated Robins - at that point a pretty cool bird, but later we saw almost too many of them! And Eastern Rock Nuthatch and Cretzschmar's Bu tings.
The search for Kurdish Wheatear near Isikli was cut short by a hailstorm and we continued on to Birecik, settling for two nights into a hotel for easier logistics (as our friends were not gonna camp). Interestingly, Birecik seemed completely fine despite being as close to Syria as we wanted to go, but there was a slight issue - most hotels were closer, only one was found to be open, but that sufficed.