Thursday, 31 July 2014

Istanbul stopover

I was in Kurdistan visiting a friend for a few days this week.  I managed to get some birding in as well as sight seeing. I'll produce a series of blogs to report on this.

However because of poor airline connections, I had a stop over in Istanbul on July 23th.

I took the opportunity to bird around the Topkapi area (in Gulane park) which is within walking distance of my hotel. I have done this before but at different times of year. 

adult great tit bathing

The park is too well tended in a sense. There are very few bushes and low trees but lots of tall ones providing welcome shade for walkers. This configuration favours birds large birds including parakeets as against passerines. 

Nevertheless a few passerrines thrive. The most obvious is great tit which is helped by nest boxes being placed out part way up the tall trees. 

young great tit

There was plenty of evidence of young birds and so a succesful breeding season.

young great tit bathing

I struggled to find any warblers. However in one corner of the park there are smaller trees and sure enough I came across some noisy Eastern olivaceous warbler.

Eastern olivaeous warbler

It was difficult to get a straight and prolonged view.

Eastern olivaeous warbler in the sun

Other smaller birds were limtied to house sparrowcommon starling and common myna.This was the first time I had seen this latter bird in Istanbul as this pest moves closer to the rest of Europe.

common starling

The park is mostly the playground of larger birds. I didn't see Alexandrine parakeet this time but rose ringed parakeet were easily seen.

house crow

Hooded crow is certainly the most common larger bird at least at this time of year.


Numbers of magpie were much more limited.

Laughing dove

Like common myna, the range of laughing dove is still expanding. They reached Tbilisi, Baku and Istanbul over 25 years ago and its difficult to believe they wont colise southern Europe more genrally.

adult yellow legged gull

Gulane park is only 100 metres from the sea at its closest so its not surpising that yellow legged gull makle it into the park.

young yellow legged gull

The fledgling yellow legged gull above was incredibly tame.


Over the road from the park on the coast, a single cormorant stood on a lamp post.

The visit to Gulane park was short and light relief. Ironically the first place I visited in Kurdistan was a park in central Sulaimani. That is the subject of the next blog.

1 comment:

  1. Agreed, Gulane and a number of others are far too well tended with a complete lack of understorey and scrub areas but they are for the Turks to 'promenade' - i did'nt see a great deal is it was the end of March and the migration had been held up in the Levant due to inclement weather. My favourite areas were the city walls with the packs of feral dogs which, altho initially, visually intimidating i found to be full of fun and once they had accepted me proceeded to accompany me on my jaunts. They are all tagged and injected and do not pose a problem for future reference.....

    Laurie -