Nizamettin Yavuz and Kerem Ali Boyla
Winter of 2013-2014 was very mild in general. However short periods of low temperatures pushed some waterfowl south to the Black Sea coastland. Following the well observed and long staying Horned Grebe Podiceps auritus in Samsun the previous period, a single one appeared in the west at Sapanca Gölü on 27 Jan during Mid-winter Waterfowl Counts. Several Red-breasted Goose Branta ruficollis showed up for about 10 days following 31 Jan; 7 at İğneada Longozu on 31 Jan, single at Lake Terkos and 7 at Rumelifeneri near Istanbul on 1 Feb, one at Hersek Lagoon on 1-2 Feb, a long staying at Kızılırmak Delta between 9 Feb and 15 Marchand a single at Rize Çayeli on 3 Feb. Greater Scaup Aythya marila were Meriç Delta, İğneada Longozu, Kocaeli Kefken, Samsun Harbour and Trabzon Araklı in the same period between 25 Jan and 11 Feb. Other waterfowl highlights were a single Common Merganser Mergus merganser at Karacabey Dalyan Gölü on 3 Feb and 2 at Samsun Kurupelit Marina between 1 Jan and 6 Feb, 11 Black Scoter Melanitta nigra and 3 Velvet Scoter Melanitta fusca at Yeşilırmak Delta on 17 Jan and a single Common Eider Somateria mollissima at İstanbul Şile on 7 Jan.
Two single migrants of Black-winged Kite Elanus caeruleus were seen at Kastabala Valley on 14 Mar and Bozova near Şanlıurfa on 15 Mar. The pair that breed at the latter location did definitely present at the nest this spring. Singles of Rough-legged Buzzard Buteo lagopus were seen at Manyas Kuş Gölü on 3 Feb and Black Sea coast near Ağaçlı Gölü (İstanbul, Eyüp) on 21 Feb. A pair of Lanner Falcon Falco biarmicus near Iğdır cheered up over 50 national birders on a unique train expedition to the cold north-east. A single Baillon’s Crake Porzana pusilla was present at Balık Gölü in Hatay on 23 Apr. Several sightings of Great Bustard Otis tarda gave hope for a better future, singles or pairs were present at Sultansazlığı between 4 Jan and 31 May, Kulu Gölü on 13 Apr, Kozanlı Gökgöl on 19 Apr, Eskişehir Balıkdamı on 19 Apr and Şanlıurfa on 19 Jan. Singles Eurasian Dotterel Eudromias morinellus visited its traditional pasture near Riva and Karaburun along the Black Sea Coast between 23 Mar and 13 Apr. The 13th record of Caspian Plover Charadrius asiaticus was a single bird at Göksu Delta on 11 Apr. A Spur-winged Lapwing Vanellus spinus at Kastabala Valley on 2 Feb probably overwintered. Several Great Snipe Gallinago media was documented in Terkos Gölü and Ağaçlı on 5 and 6 May, and Manyas Kuş Gölü on 19 Apr. The single Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica at Karaburun on 4 Feb probably came with the cold; usual passage migrants were a single on 1 Apr and 4 on 12 May at Göksu Delta. A single of Red Phalarope Phalaropus fulicarius at Kulu Gölü on 13-17 Apr made the fifth record for the country. Wintering Pomarine Jaeger Stercorarius pomarinus were off Rize on 11 and 18 Feb and a single off the Sea of Marmara on the ferry transect between Bandırma and Istanbul on 14 Apr, observed by the seabird research team surveying the shearwaters. A single Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla was off Rize on 11 Feb. Two Herring Gull Larus argentatus at Samsun Kurupelit marina between 30 Jan and 4 Feb is the first documented record for the country. A Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus was present on the breeding colony of Yellow-legged Gull at Oymapınar Reserve near Antalya on 15 June, suggesting a possible breeding record, possibly coupled with the other species.
A maximum of 13 Short-eared Owl Asio flammeus roosted at Yedikır Barajı on 19 Jan. This winter Hatay proved again to be excellent for rare pipits. First of maximum of 4 Buff-bellied Pipit Anthus rubescens were present at Milleyha beach on 4 Jan, and later a maximum of 9 on 1 Feb made the highest count ever for the country. At the same area were 3 Richard’s Pipit Anthus richardi between 4 Jan and 1 Feb. Finally a Olive-backed Pipit Anthus hodgsoni stayed between 15 and 25 Jan near Subaşı, Antakya. At Birecik there were several sightings of White-eared Bulbul Pycnonotus leucotis, notably 2 on 13 Feb, and later ‘up to tens’ were observed by visiting birders at the tea garden and tree nursery, however the origin of those birds are still a question. In Ankara a single Fieldfare Turdus pilaris flew over Hacettepe University on 5 Jun. Being common on migration, but rarely documented, a Eurasian River Warbler Locustella fluviatilis was in Mağaracık beach in Antakya on 9 Apr. Strong southern winds blew a Cyprus Warbler Sylvia melanothorax west to Antalya Belek Beach on 19 Mar. A Booted Warbler Iduna caligata was singing at Halfeti on 30 May. A wintering Rufous-tailed Shrike Lanius isabellinus was near Bozova, Şanlıurfa on 24 Jan. A single Lapland Longspur Calcarius lapponicus was briefly seen at İğneada Longozu on 31 Jan.