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Marmaris (Turkey): June 1998

Andy Musgrove


A last minute cheap package deal to the horribly touristy resort of Marmaris in south-west Turkey. Due to Trudy's increasing pregnancy, we didn't get out and about all that much but I did get up early virtually every morning and walk into the hills surrounding the town, where a few nice things were seen. I also managed to get attacked by two large dogs one morning! The only new species for me were Kruper's and Rock Nuthatches, but other pleasing sightings were Middle Spotted Woodpeckers, Great Reed, Olivaceous and Ruppell's Warblers and Masked Shrike. A bus trip on the last day to Koycegiz Golu was enjoyable, although we didn't see much, and had we managed to locate the bus station earlier in the week we would gone out more frequently.

Systematic List

Little Egret Egretta garzetta

Four at Koycegiz Golu on 16/6.

White Stork Ciconia ciconia

One on a rooftop nest in Koycegiz, plus another flying over the town, on 16/6. Also, at least four more from the bus on the way back from Koycegiz to Marmaris in the lowland arable fields.

Honey Buzzard Pernis apivorus

One soaring to the east of Marmaris on 12/6 and one displaying over hillsides between Marmaris and Icemeler on 13/6.

[Accipiter sp.]

One soaring over hills to the west of Marmaris on 10/6, carrying food, presumably for a mate or nestlings. Looked closest to A. nisus but distant views so couldn't rule out A. brevipes. Too small for A. gentilis.

[Buteo sp.]

One frequented the island at the mouth of Marmaris Bay (10/6, 11/6, 13/6); initially thought to be B. rufinus, since appeared quite long-winged (and B. buteo was not mapped as breeding in this area). On later viewing though, I don't think it was obvious enough to be Long-legged Buzzard, wasn't at all rufous, didn't have a pale enough tail, and the breast "U" marking seemed to indicate Common Buzzard. Additionally, another bird was seen close by but briefly in the hills above Marmaris on 15/6 which also looked more like Common Buzzard.

Kestrel Falco tinnunculus

One male seen in Marmaris on 12/6.

[Kestrel sp.]

Unidentified Kestrels were seen near Icmeler on 10/6 and 13/6.

Eleonora's Falcon Falco eleonorae

Singles were seen over Marmaris beach front at dusk on 10/6 and 15/6, possibly hunting the congregations of hirundines at this time of day.

Peregrine Falco peregrinus

Singles in the hills around Marmaris on 11/6, 12/6 and 13/6, one being flushed from a rocky outcrop and the other two being fly-overs.

Chukar Alectoris chukar

Groups of three flushed in the hills above Marmaris on 13/6 and 15/6.

Yellow-legged Gull Larus cachinnans

Common in Marmaris Bay, and also small flocks regularly seen flying inland high overhead. None seen on the ground or on the water close by but general appearance appeared to be that of L. c. michahellis.

Common Tern Sterna hirundo

One flying around Marmaris Harbour on 10/6.

[Tern sp.]

One at Koycegiz Golu was too distant without a scope, and had gone by the time I walked along the shore. Probably a Whiskered Tern but others such as Gull-billed or Common couldn't be completely ruled out.

Feral Pigeon Columba livia

Small numbers around Marmaris but not abundant.

Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto

Common around Marmaris; no sign of any Palm Doves.

Turtle Dove S. turtur

Singles in the hills around Marmaris on 12/6, 13/6 and 15/6.

Ring-necked Parakeet Psittacula krameri

One perched on wires in Marmaris on 12/6; calling noisily and flew off as I approached. No others seen so perhaps a recent escape. Not known to be occurring ferally here.

Little Owl Athene noctua

One on a roof-top in the middle of Marmaris early morning on 12/6. One heard in the hills east of Marmaris on 14/6 and another seen at dusk on the western outskirts of Marmaris.

Swift Apus apus

A handful seen around Marmaris only on 10/6 and 12/6.

Alpine Swift Apus melba

A few seen over Marmaris but more common over the surrounding hills and, especially, over the island at the mouth of the bay, where c300 on 11/6 was the maximum count. Other flocks of c50 were noted.

Roller Coracias garrulus

One seen from the bus about 10 miles north of Marmaris on 16/6.

Middle Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos medius

Common in the hills around Marmaris.

Sand Martin Riparia riparia

Two were on wires in Koycegiz on 16/6.

Swallow Hirundo rustica

Very common throughout.

Red-rumped Swallow H. daurica

Small numbers around Marmaris, mostly on the outskirts of the town but some along the beach and also at the beach at Icmeler. Birds seen entering a mosque, presumably nesting. Also seen from the bus between Marmaris and Koycegiz.

House Martin Delichon urbica

Very common.

White Wagtail Motacilla alba

Small numbers along the beach at Marmaris and at Koycegiz Golu.

Nightingale Luscinia megarhynchos

One singing on the east side of Marmaris on 14/6.

Redstart Phoenicurus phoenicurus

Female seen in the pines behind the beach to the west of Marmaris on 10/6; no proof of breeding seen but seems possible.

Black-eared Wheatear Oenanthe hispanica

Around the rocky areas on the eastern side of Marmaris, one juvenile was seen on 12/6 and on 14/6, a female and two juveniles were seen perching on fences and rooftops on the edge of town.

Blackbird Turdus merula

Small numbers in the hills around Marmaris, but not a garden bird.

Fan-tailed Warbler Cisticola juncidis

At least three singing around Koycegiz Golu on 16/6.

Cetti's Warbler Cettia cetti

Two on the eastern side of Marmaris on 14/6, four at Koycegiz Golu on 16/6.

Reed Warbler Acrocephalus scirpaceus

At least two singing along the shores of Koycegiz Golu.

Great Reed Warbler A. arundinaceus

At least eight singing along the shores of Koycegiz Golu, some of which were seen very well perched high on reed-tops.

Olivaceous Warbler Hippolais pallida

Initially (and hopefully) strung for Olive-tree Warbler, these were common in Marmaris, even in any scrubby areas within the town, and at least three were also heard at Koycegiz. Song rather reminiscent of Reed Warbler but ascending and descending a scale in a cyclical manner.

Ruppell's Warbler Sylvia ruepelli

Small numbers seen in the pines and scrub on the outskirts of Marmaris; very skulking and probably more common than it appeared.

Sardinian Warbler S. melanocephala

At least two on scrubby slopes on the western side of Marmaris on 13/6.

Long-tailed Tit Aegithalos caudatus

Small flocks seen in the pine woods around Marmaris.

Coal Tit Parus ater

Small numbers in the pine woods around Marmaris.

Blue Tit P. caeruleus

Small numbers in the pine woods around Marmaris.

Great Tit P. major

Small numbers in the pine woods around Marmaris.

Kruper's Nuthatch Sitta krueperi

Common in the pinewoods around Marmaris, even down to sea-level. Very vocal and obvious.

Rock Nuthatch S. neumayer

Good views around rocky outcrops on the eastern side of Marmaris: two on 12/6 and four on 14/6.

Masked Shrike Lanius nubicus

Two were seen on 13/6 on the outskirts on Marmaris, one of which was in scrub just behind Macdonald's.

Jay Garrulus glandarius

The distinctive black-capped race was common around the outskirts of Marmaris.

Magpie Pica pica

A few seen around the eastern side of Marmaris.

Hooded Crow Corvus cornix

Small numbers around Marmaris, including amongst the hotels.

[Raven? Corvus corax]

A bird flying off a rocky outcrop on the eastern side of Marmaris directly into the sun was almost certainly this species.

House Sparrow Passer domesticus

Common around Marmaris.

Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs

Fairly common in the pinewoods around Marmaris.

Greenfinch Carduelis chloris

Common in Marmaris.

Goldfinch C. carduelis

Common in Marmaris.

Cretzschmar's Bunting Emberiza caesia

A pair in a low scrubby valley on the eastern side of Marmaris on 14/6.

Corn Bunting Miliaria calandra

One was seen at Koycegiz Golu on 16/6, with another from the bus on the way back to Marmaris.

Non-avian sightings:

A bizzare looking insect flying about the hills around Marmaris was similar to the Nemoptera bipennis pictured on p107 of Chinery (Insects of Britain and Western Europe) although a different patterning (markings on forewings more like dark crescents) and was presumably of the same family.

Many butterflies went unidentified but two new species were recorded. Single Two-tailed Pashas were seen on 10/6 & 13/6, the latter seen well on the ground drinking from irrigation water, and Ilex Hairstreak was netted from the scrubby slopes around the town. In addition to these two species, other identified butterflies were Swallowtail, Scarce Swallowtail, Bath White, Clouded Yellow, Long-tailed Blue and Small Heath. Additionally, a Jersey Tiger was also seen.

A snake was seen (and photographed badly) swimming in Koycegiz Golu and various lizards were also noted. Additionally, Red Squirrel and Brown Hare were also recorded.