Friday, 10 July 2009

Two to go

Honey Buzzard
Our Coach

Tawny pipit

Crimson winged finch

Citrine wagtail

Citrine wagtail


Black Redstart -Phoenicurus semirufus

Long legged Buzzard

Our Turkish friends

Lesser spotted Eagle

Horned Lark

Horned Lark

Grey necked Bunting

Grey necked Bunting

Extinct volcanoes and lava flows

Mount Ararat

Day 14

This was to be our last full day of Birding, after a night I would never want to repeat, probably brought on by a combination of Sun stroke, poor hygiene and salad. Anyway I was determined to get up next morning as there were still two birds I desperately wanted to see. So I sat quietly in the the bus and hoped. Chris had given me a rehydration powder and I'm sure it helped a lot.

Anyway we were to on the road to Iran passing convoys of car transporters full of French and Asian cars. We were heading for the Caldiran plains. Our first bird of the day was a Honey Buzzard sitting on a roadside rock- a photo opportunity not to be missed. I must thank the driver at this point for allowing me to use his head as a tripod as Vaughan and I took advantage of the only open window on the bus, the drivers.

We stopped at a rocky outcrop next to some pools. To my relief there was not going to be much walking involved in today's birding as we were told to sit down and wait for the birds to come down to the pools to drink. There were clearly birds about Tawny pipit, Crimson winged Finch, Snowfinch, Black Redstart, Rock Thrush, Citrine Wagtail, Linnet, Twite, even a juvenile Common Rosefinch but not the bird we wanted.

I happened to be standing next to Vaughan when he spotted our quarry.'Mongolian Finch'! A pair of Mongolian finches were at the waters edge under the bank next to me. I just had time to get my bins on them and they were off. It was nice to get such close views but I would have liked to study the birds for a bit longer. The rest of the group had to wait rather longer but I think everyone was rewarded in the end, and I did get a much longer look as well thanks to Christine who found a pair displaying on the far side of the water.
A pair of Black Redstart on the edge of the lava field were interesting. Clearly a different race to the photogenic bird that wintered at Coleshill, Warks. This bird showed more characteristics of the Middle eastern race, semirufus, than the Turkish race.

I was feeling remarkably well considering the previous night but it just goes to show the therapeutic qualities of Birding. Trips to the Scillies on the N.H.S. - there's a thought.

I wasn't going to have any lunch but when I got back to the coach Yeltsin was Bar b queing lamb.
The smell was wonderful. Despite the the gastric upheavals of the previous night and the possible consequences I couldn't resist. It was great, no bread no salad just mountain lamb, best lunch of the trip!

The birding was not quite over as we also had amazing overhead views of a Steppe Eagle as well as more Short toed Eagles and Long legged Buzzards.

After lunch we drove on to the Ishakpasa Palace near Dogubayazit. Soner led us to a hillside above the palace where he eventually located a Grey necked Bunting. Vaughan played the magic tape and the bird responded well giving us all good views. We drove on past the amazing lava flows from Mount Tendurek to our final hotel at Dogubeyazit under the shadow of the impressive snow covered Mount Ararat, a few kilometres from the border with Iran. The following morning we drove to Van to pick up a flight to Istanbul and from there back to London.

So that was it. What a triumph, I'd seen 210 species on the trip plus a few more Id only heard. That included 20 new species which far exceeded expectations. I'd met some great people and had a load of interesting experiences. This is noway an advert for Birdfinders but we had been very well led throughout and the team at the front of the bus Vaughan, Soner, Yeltsin and the driver had coped with everything Turkey could throw at us with a 'joke' or a laugh never very far away. Thankyou.

In conclusion I would add that no living creatures were injured as a result of this Blog. Mosquitoes dont count as several suffered summary executions and the mechanic in charge of brakes at the depot our coach came from should seriously consider his position.


  1. Cool blog Bob, love the pics! ive added your blog to my blogroll check it out!
    Be Well and Happy Spotting!
    Phillip Dews

  2. Top Stuff Bobby D! What were your 20 ticks out of interest?

  3. Cheers kind Sir, praise indeed.I'll let you know the 20 at the Curry night.