Around the Region 2016-2

Kerem Ali Boyla, Nizamettin Yavuz, Ali Atahan

During second half of 2016, birders were not able to add a new species to the country’s checklist, however several 3rd and 4th records of some very rare species have been produced.

The last months of 2016 already experienced some cold weather, which brought some northern species down to the Black Sea coastland. Singles of Red-breasted Goose Branta ruficollis were recorded in Trabzon on 9 Dec, in Kızılırmak Delta on 18 Dec and two birds on 19 Dec at Manyas Gölü. The Egyptian Goose Alopochen aegyptiaca has been regularly sighted near Ankara and a flock of 12 birds at the flood control pond of Mogan Gölü indicates the presence of an established population in the area. There were two possible Scaup Aythya marila on Ağaçlı, İstanbul on 22 Oct, 5 at Karacabey Longozu on 13 Nov and 1 at Sapanca Gölü on 6 Nov. Finally a record count of 9070 White-headed Duck Oxyura leucocephala came from Lake Manyas, today the most important wintering site for the species, on 14 Dec.

The winter also brought fair number of Horned Grebe Podiceps auritus to the Black Sea coastland, 1 at Trabzon on 8 Dec, at Çanakkale on 4 Dec, a group of 4 at a small damlake at Gümüşhane on 9 Nov. A pelagic trip to the waters off Didim brought a record count of 100 Storm Petrel Hydrobatos pelagicus on 27 Aug.

Seven Sociable Lapwing Vanellus gregarius were recorded on 9 Oct between Diyarbakır and Batman. Three Pacific Golden Plover Pluvialis fulva were recorded along the Black Sea Coastland, on at Cernek on 30 Oct, probably the same on 2 Dec at Kızılırmak Delta, a single at Trabzon on 4 Dec. A single adult Great Black-headed Gull Larus marinus was at Küçükçekmece İstanbul on 18 Dec. An odd juvenile Black-legged Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla accompanied the anglers on Galata Bridge in İstanbul on 16 Dec and a single at Samandağ Hatay on 19 Nov.

A male Namaqua Dove Oena capensis was photographed near Bozova, Şanlıurfa on 26 Oct. Three Central Asian shrikes showed up during autumn migration, a single Red-tailed Shrike Lanius phoenicuroides was at Hatay on 11 Oct, a Isabelline Shrike Lanius isabellinus at Rize on 27 Oct and a Steppe Grey Shrike Lanius meridionalis pallidirostris at Yüksekova Hakkari on 5 Sep were photographed. 2 Sand Martin Riparia riparia accompanied a group of 6 Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica were regular in Subaşı, Hatay between 1-21 Dec. Four Waxwing Bombycilla garrulus were recorded, unfortunately in the bag of hunters who apparently misidentified them as starlings, at Sarp Artvin on 23 Nov. Iraq Babbler Turdoides altirostris has first observed 100 km away from Birecik at Atatürk Damlake. A late Barred Warbler Sylvia nisoria was recorded at Riva İstanbul on 29 Oct. Three Asian Desert Warbler Sylvia nana were recorded along the Black Sea Coastland, two at Trabzon on 13 Nov and one at neighbouring Rize on 22 Oct. The first Blyth’s Reed Warbler Acrocephalus dumetorum was seen away from mistnets on 16 Aug  at Değirmendere Trabzon, and one was ringed at Kızılırmak Delta on 10 Aug. A total of 8 Yellow-browed Warbler Phylloscopus inornatus were recorded or ringed at Kızılırmak Delta between 26 Sep and 22 Oct, and a single recorded at Trabzon on 1 Oct. The first Dusky Warbler Phylloscopus fuscatus was ringed at Kızılırmak Delta on 12 Oct, making the fourth country record.

The third Black-throated Thrush Turdus ruficollis was photographed at Yüksekova, Hakkari on 14 Nov. A very late Collared Flycatcher Ficedula albicollis was recorded until 2 Dec at Hacettepe Univerity Campus in Ankara. A Red-breasted Flycatcher Ficedula parva was found in Subaşı, Hatay between 3-16 Dec. Singles of Desert Wheatear Oenanthe deserti were recorded at Hatay on 8 oct, at Riva İstanbul on 18 Nov and at Yumurtalık Lagoons in Adana on 27 Nov.

This winter was productive for pipits. Up to 5 Tree Pipit Anthus triviales were daily observed in Subaşı through the winter until 21 Dec in Subaşı, Hatay. A Richard’s Pipit Anthus richardi 11 Dec Riva, İstanbul  is the one of the few records away from the sites in Southern Turkey where they are regular in winter. However Antakya produced the forth Olive-backed Pipit Anthus hodgsoni on 21 Nov at Subaşı Village, where it was recorded previously. After 2012 two Snow Buntings Plectrophenax nivalis were recorded at Karaburun, İstanbul on 12 Dec.

Among exotic species, there is a sightings of a Black Swan Cygnus atratus frm Karacabey Longozu on 16 Sept, a Plum-headed Parakeet Psittacula cyanocephala from Maçka Parkı, İstanbul on 18 Dec, and a Mandarin Duck Aix galericulata from Fethiye on 23 Oct.