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TURKEY & CYPRUS

Wednesday 15th May - Sunday 2nd June 2013

Dani López-Velasco

The stunninc Caucasian Black Grouse (Dani López-Velasco)

The stunninc Caucasian Black Grouse (Dani López-Velasco)

What a great trip! Turkey has more to offer, in terms of birds, landscape and culture than most other countries in the whole Western Palearctic, and this year´s tour certainly lived up to the high expectations. Birdquest’s 2013 tour to Turkey and Cyprus was a tremendous success, basically seeing every Turkish bird speciality that was on offer in our itinerary. We recorded 265 species, including such highly sought-after birds as the stunning and near mythical Caucasian (Caucasian Black) Grouse- of which we had absolutely walk-away views-, Caspian Snowcocks uttering their mournful, Curlew-like calls against snow-capped mountains, See-see Partridge, Black Francolin, White-headed Duck, hundreds of Yelkouan Shearwaters crossing the Bosphorus strait, Pygmy Cormorant, four species of vultures (including Bearded and Cinereous Vultures). We were also privileged to see several Eastern Imperial and White-tailed Eagles, excellent scope views of a perched male Levant Sparrowhawk. Great Snipe, Broad-billed Sandpiper, Armenian and Caspian Gulls, as well as great studies of Pallid and Eurasian Scops Owls. We had once in a lifetime views of the bird of the trip, the impressive and recently rediscovered Brown Fish Owl, White-throated Kingfisher, colourful Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters at their breeding colony, Syrian Woodpecker, beautiful Masked Shrikes, Sombre Tit, displaying Bimaculated Larks, White-eared (a mega rarity!) and White-spectacled Bulbuls. We saw an impressive 29 species of warblers, including Caucasian (Mountain) Chiffchaff, Eastern Bonelli´s, Green (split from Greenish), Upcher´s, Olive-tree, Icterine, Barred, Ménétries´s, stunning Rüppell´s and endemic Cyprus, Iraq Babbler, delightful Krüper´s and large Western Rock Nuthatches, Rosy Starlings, fabulous White-throated Robins, scarce Kurdish, Cyprus and Finsch´s Wheatears, localized Semicollared Flycatchers, Pale Rockfinch, Yellow-throated and Dead Sea Sparrows, Radde´s Accentor, Eurasian Crimson-winged and Desert Finches, Red-fronted Serin and Cinereous and Cretzschmar´s Buntings.

The lovely Bearded Reedling is now placed in its own family! (Dani López-Velasco)

The lovely Bearded Reedling is now placed in its own family! (Dani López-Velasco)