Slender billed Gull
Lesser short toed Lark
White headed Duck
Our day began with an early morning mini bus ride up the local Volcano, Nemrut Golu. This volcano was rather special though as the perfectly formed crater had an impressive lake in it. The mini bus ride was cosy but compared with our tractor ride a lifetime ago, it was great. On route I saw a small flock of Rose coloured Starlings flying over a village. Nobody else could see the birds as they, having seats were facing front, whereas I, in my unique position on the wheel arch could see backwards perfectly. Which was little compensation for a sore backside. In addition to the interesting geology we saw a few birds. Our first Armenian gulls drifted over and a Skylark was one of the more familiar sounds to be heard on the trip. Other birds around the rim of the crater included, Ortolan, Horned Lark, Crag Martin, Cuckoo, Rock Sparrow and Water pipit.
Back at lake level we recorded Rook as we began the partial cicum navigation of Lake Van. It wasnt too long before we made our first stop at some reed fringed pools between the road and the 'beach'. It was an excellent spot for birding with a good variety of species : Marsh Harrier, Ruddy Shelduck, Common Selduck, Northern Lapwing, Shoveler, Garganey, Pochard, Armenian gulls, Caspian gulls, Great reed warbler, Moustached warbler and after a little coaxing Paddyfield warbler. Further on we came to a small lakeside village. As we set up our scopes to scan the shoreline we were joined by a group of children from the nearby school. They were naturally curious about us but very polite and well behaved as indeed were their teachers who offered us tea. The little bays around the village were full of birds with Slender billed and Little gulls, good numbers of Black necked Grebes and a single Red necked Grebe. We said our goodbyes and moved on again to another area where a series of pools had formed round the edge of the lake. This provided excellent habitat for large numbers of water and shoreline species. There were literally thousands of hirundines low over the water as well as large numbers of White winged Black terns with a few Black terns, there were large numbers of Black necked Grebe and Red crested Pochard with a good many White headed Ducks. Waders were represented by Marsh Sandpiper, Redshank, Wood Sandpiper, Ruff and Red necked Phalarope. A few Lesser short toed Larks were also around on the tracks and dry areas. We were all enjoying the diverse birdlife of the site but it wasnt long before we were joined by the lads from the local village. At first they showed the normal boisterous curiosity but their attentions became more and more persistent and irritating. It was an outstanding site but it was a relief to get back on the coach as the boys became more insistent and demanding.
As we pulled away there was a loud crack from the back of the bus and as the coach hit the next pothole the whole of the back window shattered. Luckily there was no one sitting on the back seat. One of our young friends had decided to lob a rock at us as a parting gift. There was no fuss. The driver took it in his stride, nobody got angry. The boys sorted the culprit out, he got a whack with a stick from the eldest boy. We moved on - minus our back window.