May 2016


Just returned from our regular 10 day trip to SW Turkey. Lots of great birds including point blank views of hunting Eleonora's Falcons, smashing White-throated Robins, Finsch's Wheatears, Caucasian Horned Larks and of course the mind blowing Turkish Brown Fish Owl. Here's a short clip of the globally rare western form of Cinereous Bunting.




Little Bitterns were a feature of this year's trip, with at least eight birds watched out in the open, like this. We even heard one giving its croaking song at Azap Golu.


The Turkish Brown Fish Owls never disappoint, and below, the group enjoying a well earned breakfast after an early start to see the owls.


Here are co-leader Ian Smith's photographs.

White-winged Black Tern




Spur-winged Plover


Short-toed Treecreeper


Short-toed Eagle


Scops Owl


Ruppell's Warbler


Rufous Bushchat


Rock Nuthatch


Rock Nuthatch


Purple Heron


Ortolan Bunting


Nile Soft-shelled Turtle


We witnessed a fall of Little Bitterns, with newly arrived migrants dotted along roadside channels at Koycegiz....





Glossy Ibis and Little Egrets


Finsch's Wheatear


The spectacle of Eleonora's Falcons hunting newly emerged dragonflies near Bafa Golu will stick in the memory for a long time.


Most Eleonora's were pale phased, like this bird.


Smaller numbers of dark-phased Eleonora's were also enjoyed.


Dalmatian Pelican


Crested Lark


Crag Martin


Collared Pratincole


Blue Rock Thrush


Black-eared Wheatear


European Bee-eater







May 2015


Roger took a group of members of  the Leeds RSPB to south west Turkey for a week in the sun in May 2015. Here are some of the photographs taken by Andy Butler, one of the co-leaders. Thanks go to everyone involved in this very successful trip.


White-throated Robin and one of the many Rufous Bushchats


Western rock Nuthatch nesting on ruins and a singing Eastern Black-eared Wheatear


Red-throated Pipit and a fine, jolly lunch out


Pamukkale amphitheatre and Eastern Olivaceous Warbler



May 2015

We've had a very busy spring and are just starting to catch up with the office work, which includes posting a few pictures online.

Here are a few from SW Turkey, mostly taken by co-leader Richard Hart, with more to follow, no doubt.


White-winged Black Terns are regular passage migrants through the area.


Everyone wants to see the stunning White-throated Robin.


The Violet Dropwing is one of the most distinctive dragonflies.


Red-fronted Serins are a speciality of the trip.


Little Bittern numbers vary from year to year. 2015 was excellent for them.


There are many races of Eurasian Jay, and none is more striking than this black-capped form. This one is tackling a fearsome-looking centipede.


This Isabelline Wheatear is performing his display flight.


Glossy Ibis is a regular passage migrant.


A beautiful portrate of a flying Collared Pratincole. They breed in good numbers are Lake Karine.



This Squacco Heron was remarkably approachable.


This Ortolan Bunting was watched feeding by the receding snow line at 7000 feet near Antalya.


We had a fall of migrants at Side Ruins, which involved four species of shrike (including this Masked), plus 30 Barred Warblers and a Corncrake that was walking in the open on short grass!


Cinereous Bunting is a relatively dull coloured bird until you get close views, like this!




This Nile Soft-shelled Turtle at Dalyan was one of the non-bird highlights of the trip.



As always, Brown Fish Owl stole the show. It has been suggested that the western form should be split, and called Turkish Fish Owl, making it one of the rarest birds in the world. Either way, it's a real stunner!




May 2014

This Brown Fish-owl provided a stunning climax to our southern Turkey trip in May. We saw almost everything we looked for, including Olive-tree Warbler, Red-fronted Serin, Spur-winged Plover, Smyrna Kingfisher, White-throated Robin, Cinereous Bunting, Snow Finch, Caucasian Shore Lark, Masked Shrike, Finsch's Wheatear, Eastern Orphean Warbler, Red-throated Pipit, Eleonora's Falcon and much more.


Here's a shot of the group watching the fish-owl. We arrived at the site shortly after dawn, and the male was waiting for us.




Here is a selection of photographs from the 2014 tour, mostly taken by Ian Smith (with a few digi-scope shots by Paul Willoughby).


The Brown Fish-owl was not the only owl we saw. This Scops Owl entertained us outside our hotel near Bafa Golu on the first three nights.


We found this Rock Nuthatch nest at Caunos, and were thrilled to watch the adults feeding the chicks.


Many Starred Agamas were also seen at Caunos.


Some dodgy weather brought down large numbers of Bee-eaters, including these birds at Lake Karine.


This Red-throated Pipit was another migrant highlight.


European Serins are common in the hills.


Lots of Red-rumped Swallows were feeding over the river by our hotel at Manavgat.


Penduline Tits were one of the highlights of the trip. This male was finishing building his nest.


Is this the best photograph ever taken of an Olive-tree Warbler? Answers on a postcard to....


Another of Ian's photographs of an obliging Olive-tree Warbler. We found two migrants at Side. Whenever we've seen them before they were great skulkers.


This Masked Shrike was also at the Roman ruins at Side.


Kruper's Nuthatches are easy to see near Koycegiz.


This Great Reed Warbler showed at point-blank range during our boat trip on the Dalyan Delta.


Three Great Snipes at Miletus were a highlight. (Sorry about the quality. It was photographed through some reeds).


Greater Flamingos near Bafa Golu.


Searching for birds at a migrant hotspot. SW Turkey is full of delightful spots like this.


Dalmatian Pelican near Bafa Golu.


A flock of about 50 Collared Pratincoles entertained us a Lake Karine.


We again found Cinereous Bunting at Pamukkale.


Black-eared Wheatears are common throughout the area.


A lovely Bee-eater poses at Lake Karine.




For the first time we added a two day visit to the Antalya/Side area to our popular tour of SW Turkey. The main reason for this - the recent discovery of a small population of Western Brown Fish Owls at Green Canyon. And we were not disappointed....


                                                                                             Photograph by Paul Willoughby




Here is a selection of photographs from the 2013 tour by Ian Smith.


White-throated Robin is common in the right habitat.


White-winged Black Terns pass through in good numbers.


White-winged Black Tern



Tawny Pipit


Spur-winged Plover


We found Snow Finch high in the mountains this time. They were associating with some local men who were cutting ice for the restaurant trade!


A good reason never to have ice in your drinks in a local restaurant!


Shore Larks in Turkey are quite different to those in Northern Europe.


Rock Nuthatch


Red-fronted Serin


Ian photographing Finsch's Wheatear


Finsch's Wheatear.


Male Ortolan Bunting


A flock of over 40 Eleonora's Falcons fed on insects right in front of us near Bafa Golu. Most were pale-phased (below), but at least two were all-dark (above).



Collared Pratincole




Here are some more of Paul's Turkey photos.


Finsch's Wheatear



Cinereous Bunting



Black-headed Bunting


Penduline Tit


Kruper's Nuthatch


Graceful Warbler


Shore Lark




Malcolm Barnes sent us these lovely shots.




A pair of Glass Snakes at Kaunos.






In May 2012, Paul and Phil accompanied a group from York RSPB Members Group to the Dalyan area of SW Turkey. Here are some of Paul's shots.

This Broad-billed Sandpiper was one of two found close to the hotel.


We also found two Middle Spotted Woodpecker nests.


This 'Eastern' Common Redstart was a real stunner.


Kruper's Nuthatchs are common in the hills above our hotel.


We visited Hierapolis for the archaeology and Pamukkale for the hot springs, calcium carbonate deposits and travertines.






Mark Newsome co-lead our SW Turkey trip. Here are some of his shots and a link to his Picasa site

Mark's Picasa link

Rock Nuthatch, Pamukkale and Red-fronted Serin, Seki



Persian Squirrel, Agla and Nile Soft-shelled Turtle, Dalyan



Masked Shrike, Agla and Little Owl, Pamukkale



Finsch's Wheatear and Cretzschmar's Bunting, Seki




Paul has just returned from SW Turkey where he has leading a trip. Here are a few of his pictures.

Male White-throated Robins are busily establishing territories when we visit, making them highly visible.

A picnic near Seki, at 6000 feet. We saw Red-fronted Serins right here.

Ruppell's Warbler is common on scrub covered hillsides.

Starred Agamas bask in the sun at Ephesus and Caunos.

This male Rock Thrush was showing the remnants of winter plumage.

Red-throated Pipit is a migrant through SW Turkey, and we have found a reliable place to see them.

Dalmatian Pelicans at Bafa Golu.

Cretzschmar's Buntings share the scrub covered hillsides with Ruppell's Warblers and White-throated Robins.

Black-headed Bunting is much more common and rather more colourful.

Azap Golu




Photographs from previous years ....









Please note: The above photographs were taken on previous trips. Itineraries change from time to time and therefore you cannot rely on these photographs as being an exact representation of what can be expected on a future tour. For details of the each tour, you should refer to the brochure write-up.




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