Birding in east Anatolia & the south Coast

Tour Code : NAW 07

Highlights
–    Ercek lake & Bendimahi marshes
–    Caldiran plain & foothills of mount Tendurek
–    Sodaligol; northwest coasts of Lake Van
–    Nemrut Mountain (Crater Lake)
–    Yumurtalik lagoon & Lamos valley
–    Durnalik & Isikli – Kirmitli bird paradise
NAW 07 - PRIN

Best Season   
Jan / Feb / Mar / Apr / May / Jun / Jul / Aug / Sep / Oct / Nov / Dec

 

Duration of the Trip
11 Days / 10 Nights

 

Difficulty Level
= A (Easy)

 

Accommodation
Hotel & Pension    :    10 Nights

Day 1 : Van to Ercek Lake & Bendimahi marshes

Meet at the Van Airport with Demavend Travels representative and drive to the Hotel located in the city centre; afterwards in the afternoon we will be at surroundings of Lake Van, the biggest one in Turkey. We drive to a small lake located east side of city Van which called Ercek. Armenian gulls are very common also we will have chances to see Ruddy Shelducks, White-headed ducks, Black-necked grebes, Black-headed buntings, Common pochards, Marsh, Terek and Broad-billed sandpipers.  Later, we drive to northern edge of the Van Lake to the Bendimahi marshes; we will have chance to see Paddyfield warbler, Rosy Starlings Reed Buntings, with several gulls and terns. The fields hold Calandra and Greater short-toed Larks and Long-legged Buzzards. We spend the Night in Van at the Hotel.
Transfer time: 15 min.; Transfer distance: 10 km (Van airport – Hotel)
ON: in Van at the Hotel
Meals: – / – / D

Day 2 : Via Caldiran plain & foothills of Mount Tendurek to Dogubeyaizt; Ishak pasha palace & Mount Ararat

In the early morning we drive to north of Lake Van to explore the lava fields of Mount Tendurek with meadows of Caldiran Plain inhabiting Citrine Wagtail, Crimson-winged Finch, Snowfinch, Bluethroat, Turkish Twite, Scarlet Rosefinch, Black-headed and Ortolan Bunting, Dipper, Bimaculated Lark, Common Sandpiper and Marsh Warbler. Montagu’s Harrier is also possible. Later we continue to Dogubeyazit; a settlement with a long history. Dogubeyazit lies 15 km southwest of Mount Ararat and 35 km from the Iranian border. The area has had a rich history since it was settled during the times of the first Armenian Kingdom of Urartu. The Area was subsequently conquered by Persians, Romans, Arabs and Byzantines all of whom would have used the plain to rest and recoup during their passages across the mountains. In Dogubeyazit visit Ishak Pasha Palace; built on a hill at the side of a mountain. It was the last large monumental structure in the Ottoman Empire from the “Lale Devri” period. It is one of the most distinguished and magnificent examples of the 18th century Ottoman architecture and is very valuable in terms of art history. The rocky hills around the area hold Mongolian Finch, Grey-necked Buntings, Rock Thrush, Black Redstarts, Tree Pipits and Horned Larks. If we have still some time remaining we take time to visit foothills of Mount Ararat where Black-bellied Sandgrouse and at Dogubeyazit marshes Ferruginous Ducks can be seen. We spend the Night in Dogubeyazit at the Hotel.
Transfer time: 3 h; transfer distance: 180 km; (Van – Dogubeyazit)
ON: in Dogubeyazit at the Hotel
Meals: B / L / D

Day 3 : Dogubeyazit to Sodaligol; northwest coasts of Lake Van and via Tombs of Ahlat to Tatvan

Our first stop today will be at Lake Sodaligol; a splendid but small lake which is located just near Lake Van and at the foothills of Mount Suphan. Lake Sodaligol has soda like its big brother Lake Van, plus some sandy parts, marshes and muddy surfaces. It is surrounded by villages where locals are friendly with birds; so birds are very tame to people. Dozens of White-headed Ducks, White-winged, Whiskered Terns, Oystercatchers, Greater Sand plovers, Curlew and Terek sandpipers, Pied Avocets, Sand Martins, Black-necked Grebes, Yellow wagtails, Slender-billed and Armenian Gulls can be watched here. In the late afternoon we drive to Tatvan; on our way we pass through Ahlat; where it is possible to visit Cifte Kumbet, Emir Bayindir Kumbet and Ulu Kumbet, famous mausoleums from the Seljuk period; notable for their ornamentation and architecture. The historic Seljuk cemetery has been seriously damaged over the years but is still standing, in spite of all it has been put through. With more than 8,000 gravestones, the cemetery sits on a large piece of land. Efforts are presently being made by local authorities with a view to including the tombstones on UNESCO’s World Heritage List; with its domes, mosques, castle and cemeteries, Ahlat is like an open-air museum. In the late afternoon we arrive in Tatvan where we spend the Night at the Hotel.
Transfer time: 3/4 h; transfer distance: 270 km (Dogubeyazit – Tatvan via Sodaligol & Ahlat)
ON: in Tatvan at the Hotel
Meals: B / L / D

Day 4 : Tatvan & the Nemrut Mountain (Crater Lake) to Diyarbakir with short stops along Tigris River

After breakfast we drive to Nemrut Mountain (Crater Lake); a volcano named after King Nimrod who is said to have ruled this area in about 2100 BC. The mountain rises from the south-western shore of Lake Van and enters the district of Ahlat to the north. It is 3,050 m high and its elliptic caldera has a diameter of about 7 by 8 km. Mt. Nemrut is the most southern and youngest of the chain of volcanoes in eastern Anatolia. Here it is possible to see Radde’s Accentor, Crimson-winged Finch, Trumpeter finch, Whitethroat, Grey Partridge, Golden Eagle, Siberian Stonechat, Rock Thrush, Black-headed and Ortolan Buntings. It is also possible to see Velvet Scoter inside the lake and hills hold Red-billed Choughs. Later on we leave Tatvan and drive to Diyarbakir; the River Tigris is the most western distribution range of the Red-wattled Lapwing. We will look for the bird along the small streams draining to the river Tigris with short stops.We spend the Night in Diyarbakir at the Hotel.
Transfer time: 3/4 h; transfer distance: 230 km (Tatvan – Diyarbakir)
ON: in Diyarbakir at the Hotel
Meals: B / L / D

Day 5 : Diyarbakir to Sanliurfa via Kahta & Mount Nemrut and surroundings of Ataturk dam

Today we drive to the village of Karadut, close to Nemrut Mountain. Via Siverek we first drive to the village of Mezra where we cross the Euphrates River via new Nissibi Bridge. Via Karadut village we arrive at Nemrut National park; one of the most astounding sites in Turkey; a collection of colossal statues on a remote mountain 2.150m high, adorning the temple and tomb of King Antiochus. The sculptures of Mount Nemrut are one of the most ambitious constructions of the Hellenistic period and the area was declared as a World heritage site by UNESCO. We will have fantastic sceneries plus a good selection of birds here; we watch out for Red-tailed Wheatear; our star bird here; White-throated Robin, Cinereous and Black-headed Bunting, Upcher’s warbler, Hill and Rock Sparrows, Snowfinch, Horned Lark, Common Kestrels, Western Rock Nuthatch, Red-billed and Alpine Choughs. In the afternoon we continue to Sanliurfa; on the way we will pass Ataturk Dam; the biggest dam in Turkey. Armenian Gulls will be around and the sky has some raptors like Griffon vultures here. We will also look out for Blue-cheeked, European Bee-eaters, Pallid and Common Swifts. In the late afternoon we arrive in Sanliurfa, also known as Urfa; where we spend the Night.
Transfer time: 5 h; transfer distance: 360 km; (Diyarbakir – Sanliurfa via Kahta/Mount Nemrut)
ON: in Sanliurfa at the Hotel
Meals: B / L / D

Day 6 : Sanliurfa to Gaziantep via Kizilkuyu; Birecik & Halfeti

In the early morning we will visit the semi-desert habitats of Kizilkuyu, just near the city of Urfa, where the wild Goithered gazelles run freely. The highlights of this area are the See-see Partridge, Pin-tailed Sandgrouse, Cream-coloured Courser, Lesser Short-toed Larks, Pale Rock Sparrow, Finch’s Wheatear, Desert and Trumpeter Finchs. In the afternoon we visit the area of Birecik & Halfeti, the most visited areas by birders along the River Euphrates and home to Northern Bald Ibises. Birecik and Halfeti are very rich areas of rare habitats and birds. Pistachio orchards, woods along the river Euphrates (Firat) and calcerous wadis are home to Bald Ibis, Little Swift, Pallid Scops Owl, Upcher’s and Ménétries’s Warbler, Iraq Babbler, Dead Sea Sparrow, Chestnut-shouldered Petronia, Pale Rockfinch and Desert Finch. We will visit the site for the colony of Iraq Babblers. In the late afternoon/early evening we arrive in Gaziantep where we spend the Night.
Transfer time: 4 h; transfer distance: 260 km; (Sanliurfa – Gaziantep via Kizilkuyu; Birecik & Halfeti)
ON: in Gaziantep at the Hotel
Meals: B / L / D

Day 7 : Via Durnalik & Isikli and Kirmitli bird paradise to Adana

In the morning we will stop at a dry oak scrub with a spectacular landscape near Durnalik and Isikli where we will look for Red-tailed Wheatear and Upcher’s Warbler, together with White-throated Robin, Eastern Orphean Warbler, Western and Eastern Rock Nuthatch, Cretzchmar’s Bunting, Sombre Tit and Cinereous Bunting; Saker is also possible here. In the afternoon we drive to the east and visit newly discovered Kirmitli Reserve to look for White-throated and Pied Kingfishers. In the late afternoon/early evening we arrive in Adana where we spend the next two Nights at the Hotel located in the city centre.
Transfer time: 3/4 h; transfer distance: 240 km; (Gaziantep – Adana via Durnalik; Isikli & Kirmitli)
ON: in Adana at the Hotel
Meals: B / L / D

Day 8 : Adana to Tuzla & Akyatan Lake

Today we take time to explore the areas of Tuzla and Yumurtalik. Tuzla is known as Bird paradise, home to hundreds of birds; white spectacled Bulbul, Graceful Prinia, White throated and Pied Kingfishers, Cattle, Little Egrets and Night herons, Pygmy Cormorants, Greater Flamingos, Shelducks, Kentish and Little Ringed Plovers, Slender-billed Gull. Afterwards we visit Akyatan lagoon; a 14.700 hectare wetland ecosystem that is designated of International Importance by Ramsar Convention; a major stop over for migrating birds. Akyatan is an important breeding area for the endangered marbled duck and rarely seen purple swamphen and black francolin; Red-crested pochard, mallard and ferruginous duck are other duck species that breed in the area. Eurasian Stone-curlew, Kentish plover, spur-winged lapwing and little tern also breed in the area. It is estimated that 70.000 to 80.000 birds live in Akyatan during winter. Among the birds that nest the winter in Akyatan, pochard, Eurasian wigeon, Common shelduck, Eurasian coot form large flocks besides the endangered White-headed duck. Greater Flamingo is another popular bird in the area. Every year more than 10.000 greater flamingos, mostly migrating from Lake Urmia in Iran, winter here as well. In the late afternoon/early evening we return to Adana where we spend the Night.
Transfer time: 2 h; transfer distance: 130 km; (Adana – Tuzla & Akyatan Lake)
ON: in Adana at the Hotel
Meals: B / L / D

Day 9 : Adana to Tasucu via Yumurtalik lagoon & Lamos valley

After breakfast we drive to Yumurtalik area, part of the Cukurova Delta, with many lagoons. Collared Pranticoles, Little and Gull-billed Terns, Greater Short-toed Larks, Dead Sea Sparrow, Zitting cisticola, Pied Avocets, Black-winged Stilts, Rufous Bush Robin, Olivaceous warbler might be seen. At Lamos valley we will check some passerines such as Masked Shrike. In the early evening we arrive in Mersin Tasucu area, where we spend the Night at the Hotel. 
Transfer time: 4 h; transfer distance: 280 km; (Adana – Tasucu via Yumurtalik)
ON: in Tasucu at the Hotel
Meals: B / L / D

Day 10 : Goksu Delta

We have an early morning start for the Goksu Delta, which is a prime habitat for water birds. With over 335 species recorded here, it is one of the most famous places for bird watching in Turkey. We explore the wetland and look for some specialties here, including Marbled Teal, Purple Swamphen and Black Francolin, as well as many migrating waders. Additionally we should be able to find Audouin’s Gull, Spur-winged Lapwing, Moustached Warbler, Graceful Prinia, Pygmy Cormorant, Collared Pratincole, White spectacled Bulbul, pelicans and many different passerines along our route. Keeping our eyes on the sky for Eleonora’s Falcon, we explore the Goksu Delta for the whole day. In the late afternoon/early evening we return to Adana where we spend the Night at the Hotel.
Transfer time: 1 h; Transfer Distance: 45 km (Tasucu – Goksu Delta)
Transfer time: 2/3 h; Transfer Distance: 160 km (Goksu Delta – Adana)
ON: in Adana at the Hotel
Meals: B / L / D

Day 11 : Adana – Home

Transfer to Adana airport where the Trip concludes.
Transfer time: 10 min.; transfer distance: 7 km (Hotel – Adana airport)
Meals: B / – / –

ON = Overnight accommodation / B = Breakfast / L = Lunch / D = Dinner

Price Includes
–    All transfers and transportations with private vehicles to the places mentioned in the Itinerary
      Day 1: One (one way) arrival transfer from/to Van airport/Hotel
      Day 10: One (one way) departure transfer from/to Hotel/Adana airport
–    Demavend Travel English speaking Tour Leader
–    Hotel and Pension accommodations, rooms on double/twin share base;
      Bed & Breakfast (BB) and Half Board (HB) service; Important: HB Dinner Service available until 20:30/21:00 h
–    10 x Breakfast, 9 x Lunch (Lunch packages & Restaurants where available), 10 x Dinner

 

Price Excludes
–    All International and Domestic Flights
–    Travel insurance
–    Extra Transports and transfers other than stated in the Itinerary
–    All kind of Soft and Alcoholic drinks, Bottled Water, Tea & Coffee
–    Meals other than stated in the Itinerary
–    All kind of personal expenses
–    All kind of Entrance fees for historical and natural sites
–    All kind of optional activities
–    Extra Nights
–    Single supplements
–    Personal Equipment
–    Tips