Sunday, 29 January 2012

Sea front walk in Istanbul

Last Thursday was a bonus free day for me in Istanbul. This came about because my business with the Saudi consulate was concluded positively and early.

As well as looking seaward (as previously blogged) the walk along the sea shore had several interesting land birds in the thin strip of parkland along the walk way.

two hooded crow

There were so many and so noisy hooded crow that non-birders must have noticed them even if they didn't notice another bird. The ones above got within one metre of me showing no fear.

lighthouse on the European side

The crow family was very much in evidence. Magpie were also foraging around albeit from a safer distance to me. 


 These two resident corvid are joined in winter by significant numbers of rook from further north.


I find rook is an ugly bird but it makes up for it with great character.


Jackdaw always look mischievous and even criminal. The last time I saw any was in Almaty, Kazakhstan over three years ago (at a rubbish dump). This time there were two. I got quite a bit of pleasure seeing them as I have seen many less in my birding time than the other corvids present.  The species is apparently resident in this part of Turkey.


It wasn't all crows. Plenty of starling were around. Some are turning into their spring plumage.  However I found it difficult to get excited about them when I have seen a rosy starling fairly recently (in the Riyadh area, Saudi Arabia).


The dominant finch in the parkside was chaffinch. Once again I found urban  birds less shy than their rural counter parts.

part of a flock of chaffinch

One adage I swear by is to look at a large flock closely to find out exceptions. In this case it worked again. Among the chaffinch was a single tree sparrow. It was the only one I saw all day.

tree sparrow

In this parkland strip chaffinch actually heavily outnumbered house sparrow. Many of the house sparrow looked bedraggled.

two cold house sparrow

The mixed woodland chimed to the sound of great tit. And once again the urban ones were easy to see and photograph.

great tit

Finally there were one or two wintering white wagtail in the park. At least that was one similarity with Saudi Arabia.

white wagtail

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