Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Eastward ho in the Western Palaearctic. 27th June 2015.

A need to check in at 0500 hours saw an early start.  Progress through security was pretty rapid but, even previous to 0600 hours, the airport was beginning to get busy. Met up with other group members and around 0700 hours saw us underway to Istanbul where we had a wait for an internal flight to Antalya. Istanbul must now be one of the more attractive international airports and easy to navigate through to different terminals. As I'd not managed to sleep on the main outward flight I took the first of several Turkish coffees of the holiday  and was well prepared for the next stage.

We arrived in Antalya  around 1630 hours ( local time ) , met with our guide Soner Bekir, loaded up the bus transport and were soon on our way.  Little was seen until our first stop, having negotiated our departure from the inevitable development around an airport and the soon to be familiar flat agricultural areas. An area near Serik comprised rough untilled land and held what apparently were the last remaining breeding Spur-winged Plovers in Turkey. Several pairs were present, but other species greeted our first incursion into birding properly ( White Stork, Grey Heron, Sparrowhawk, Crested Lark, Graceful Prinia, Reed Warbler and other common passerines ). It was good to have a stretch, see some birds and feel a bit of proper warmth!

We moved on to our hotel ( Uygulama Oteli, Managavat ) and quickly settled in. A brief look at some adjacent rough land before we set off into town for dinner ( Chicken Shish , what else ) with accompanying starters and sweet.  A nearby muezzin made the final call of the day for prayer and, as the sun went down, more people were in evidence as they sought to get their own meal of the day, having fasted from sunrise given we're in Ramadan.

On our return we listened alongside a nearby area of mature woodland for calling Scops Owls but traffic noise and a wedding celebration  in full swing at the hotel ( although it was thought such occasions were banned in Ramadan ) thwarted our attempts. It continued to be rather noisy but was destined to finish at midnight, ( some said a couple of shots were fired at some point, seemingly in celebration as no accompanying fracas ensued ).

As a result sleep was again in short supply given we had to be up at 0330 hours in order to set off at 0400 hours.