Around the Region 2014-2

Ali Atahan, Nizamettin Yavuz, Kerem Ali Boyla

The second half of 2014 has been very productive in Turkey, with sightings of some Trans-Atlantic vagrants and the appearance of a new species fort he country at a ringing station. Red-throated Loon (Gavia stellata) has arrive to İstanbul, Karaburun on 9 December, apparently an oiled bird, which passed away the following week. Another bird was in Samandağ, Hatay on 14 December, making the first record for the province. The same area produced a Scopoli’s Shearwater (Calonectris diomedea) on 14 December making one of the few wintering sightings. Several Red-necked Grebe (Podiceps grisegena) appeared in the northern half of the country, one at İğneada on 31 October, 2 at Uluabat Gölü on 8 November and one between Rumelifeneri and Kilyos, Istanbul on 14 December. Targeted boat trip to the seas off Didim, Aydın produced 2 European Storm Petrel (Hydrobates pelagicus) on 6 October. Another winter visitor was a Common Merganser (Mergus merganser) at İğneada on 29 November. The first wintering record of Levant Sparrowhawk (Accipiter brevipes) came from Hatay on 11 December. Black-winged Kite (Elanus caeruleus) has become  a regular species according to the last observations, on at Milleyha, Hatay on 29 October, 3 flying from the sea on 8 November, one at Şanlıurfa on 22 July and one at Diyarbakır on 14 November. A Saker Falcon (Falco cherrug) was present during the breeding season in Central Anatolia, probably another attempt of colonisation, and who know how long they will survive the smugglers! Two were on passage at Amanos Mountains, Hatay on 29 September and one at the mountains near Abant, Bolu on 13 October. Little Bustard (Tetrax tetrax) is almost extinct as a breeding bird, however regularly seen on the Black Sea coast late autumn and early winter. Singles were at Arsin, Trabzon on 24 November, Trabzon on 4 December, Kastamonu on 24 November and a nice group of three at Of, Trabzon on 8 December. A flock of 259 Demoiselle Crane (Grus virgo) at Lake Kulu make a record count this year. A single Black-winged Pratincole (Glareola nordmanni) was observed near Muş on 21 September. This single bird clearly under-represent the autumn passage. A single Pacific Golden Plover (Pluvialis fulva) at Enez Lagoons on 13 September and a Pectoral Sandpiper (Calidris melanotos) at Lake Kulu on 2 September are clearly the highlights of this autumn. As a regular yet a rare wader, a single Terek Sandpiper (Xenus cinereus) was present at Lake Kulu on the same day. After about 140 years later, the second Glaucous Gull (Larus hyperboreus) was recorded. A first winter bird was detected and photographed in Rize on 12 December and the bird apparently has been staying there until the end of the year.
A single Pomarine Skua (Stercorarius pomarinus) was at Didim on 6 October was the other highlight of the trip. A single Namaque Dove (Oena capensis) arrived from the sea at Milleyha, Hatay on 8 November, and another bird at 25 km NE of Kulu on 16 July, both maybe supporting natural occurrence versus escapes. Milleyha coastland of Hatay produced again good number of wintering pipits, singles of Buff-bellied Pipit (Anthus rubescens) were on 29 October and 22 November and a remarkable three Richard’s Pipit (Anthus richardi) on 29 October.
The Ringing Station at Kızılırmak Delta produced another new species for Turkey. A Black-throated Accentor (Prunella atrogularis) was caught, photographed and released on 31 October. Biologist at the University in Van claimed a Variable Wheatear (Oenanthe picata) from an unknown locality near Van province in summer 2014. Unfortunately no details were published.
An Asian Desert Warbler (Sylvia nana) was observed in Istanbul, Karaburun on 29 October. The passage of Booted Warbler (Iduna caligata) was again well documented. IN spring one was singing in Halfeti on 31 May, singles were in Rize on 28 August and Antakya on 18 September. Another rare ringing onbservation was from Aras Ringing Station, Kars: a Blyth’s Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus dumetorum) on 27 August. Siberian Leaf Warblers are now a regular target of birders, one Yellow-browed Warbler (Phylloscopus inornatus) was in Subaşı, Antakya on 26 October, two at Kızılırmak Delta on 18 October and one on 28 October. Two Pallas’s Warbler (Phylloscopus proregulus) were photographed at Kızılırmak Delta, one on 29 October and the other on 5 November. A Isabelline Shrike (Lanius isabellinus) was in Birecik on 28 October. Rare bunting were also recorded. The third Lapland Longspur (Calcarius lapponicus) was recorded at Kızılırmak Delta on 3 November and one of the few autumn passage migrants, a Pine Bunting (Emberiza leucocephalos) was recorded at Aras Ringing Station on 25 October.