Tour At A Glance





Single Room Supplement:

None [single rooms may not be available at all hotels]

Tour Code:

Intensive with several early morning starts and long journeys.

Group Size:

Eight plus Leaders

Black Vulture Caucasian Chiffchaff

Northern & EasternTurkey - Lake Van & The Pontic Alps

Date: Tour not currently operating
Leaders: Steve Cale & Soner Bekir



Semi-collared Flycatcher
Our journey will take us through habitats ranging from Lesser Caucasus, rain forests, to the vast steppes, taking in the highest mountain to the largest lake in Turkey. The extinct volcano Agri Dagi [Mount Ararat] at 5137 metres is the highest peak in Europe and is the purported resting place of Noah’s Ark. Agri and its little brother, Küçük Agri, are only just inside Turkey; lying just thirty three km from the Iranian border and a few km south of the Armenian town of Yerevatan. Lake Van at 3755 km 2 is by far the largest body of freshwater, but most of the more interesting birding is done around its many tributaries. The fact that the lake is well used by toursits, means that accommodation is of a surpisingly high standard here. Starting around Sumela Monastery which is carved into a sheer rock face we look for the much sought after Green Warbler, which is reasonably common here, as well as Red-breasted Flycatcher. An early start is required to look for the spectacular Caucasian Grouse, whose males we may be lucky enough to observe while enjoying the snow covered Kackar Mountains. Common Rosefinches and Water Pipits are everywhere and Golden Eagle, Lammergeier and possibly Griffon and Cinereous Vulture can be seen. We should also see Alpine Accentor and Alpine Choughwhile our lunch stop in Ispir could add Semi-collared Flycatcher, Syrian Woodpecker and Golden Oriole. We then drive over the Erzurum Plain, which is home to many thousands of breeding White-winged Black Terns. Our journey towards Aktas Lake, which lies partly within Georgia, goes via a breeding site for Velvet Scoter, Common Crane and Lesser Spotted Eagle. On the lake, there is a breeding colony of both White and Dalmatian Pelicans and we should also see Ruddy Shelducks and Armenian Gull. Long-legged Buzzard, Rose-coloured Starling, Egyptian Vulture, Marsh and Montagu’s Harriers and Griffon Vulture are expected species. The following morning, we will head toward Mount Ararat, stopping at a small lake where we expect to find Ferruginous and White-headed Ducks and a mixed Blue-cheeked and European Bee-Eater colony. In the hills above Ishak Pasha Palace we will look for specialities such as Saker, Grey-necked Bunting, Mongolian Finch, Western Rock Nuthatch and other rock-loving birds including Rock Thrush, Rock Sparrow and Crag Martin. Driving south, passing the amazing black lava flows of Mount Tendurek and the Caldiran Plain, where we will search for White-winged Snowfinches, Crimson-winged and Trumpeter Finches and Citrine Wagtails before continuing to Lake Van. We will start birding from Bendimahi Marshes on the east shore of Lake Van for Gull-billed and Caspian Terns and Paddyfield and Moustached Warbler. At Bulanik, the valley of the Murat River is a very special place with the only known breeding location for Demoseille Cranes in Turkey, although they are not guaranteed by any means. The search and the subsequent long walk should reveal some Common Cranes and breeding Great and Little Bustards could be present. Rose-coloured Starling is another species we will be keeping an eye out for, while many wetland species including possibly Spur-winged Plovers should be noted and with luck Finsch’s Wheatear should be the last trip bird on a fantastic holiday. Terrain is variable and occasionally at altitude so a reasonable level of physical fitness is required and you can expect to see 150 + species.


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