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Western Turkey, Birding and Historical Sites

Tour Description
Itinerary
Map

Every fall, tens of thousands of raptors migrate from Eurasia into Africa via the narrow Bosphorus Straits—Eurasian Honey-buzzards, Common Buzzards, Spotted and Lesser spotted eagles, Eurasian and Levant sparrowhawks, along with huge numbers of White Storks and smaller counts of Black Storks, Common Cranes, and pelicans. The migration takes place in a magical setting overlooking one of Eurasia’s most exotic cities: Istanbul, the former Constantinople, crossroads between Europe and Asia. This tour offers birders who are also intrigued by the ancient history of the Greek, Byzantine,

Highlights

  • Izmir
  • Selcuk, Kusadasi, Ephesus
  • Priene, Dydma, Miletus
  • Lake Bafa
  • Dalyan
  • Pamukkale, Aphrodisias, Hierapolis
  • Pergamum
  • Lake Manyas
  • Bursa
  • Istanbul, Camlica Hill, Belgrade Forest
  • Blue Mosque, Hippodrome Square, Haghia Sophia Museum, Topkapi Palace, Grand Bazaar, Bosphorus, Beylerbeyi Palace.

Included

  • Accommodation at 4 star hotels
  • A/C 12 seated minibus with fridge
  • Guiding services, Bird guide and tour guide
  • Meals as stated in the itinerary
  • Bottle water and soft drinks in minibus
  • Bottle water during the meals
  • Entrance fees to the sites and museums
  • Boat trip at Dalyan River and Bosphorus Cruise in Istanbul (both by private boat)

Excluded

  • Airfare from your home to Ízmir with return from Istanbul
  • Beverages during the meals
  • Tip for the guides and driver
  • Personal expensess

Please Note

This tour will be limited to 10 participants. We request participants limit their baggage to one medium-sized suitcase and one carry-on, if possible, Pack a pair of binoculars, camera, sunscreen, hat and comfortable walking shoes,

Itinerary

27 August 2016
Arrive Izmir Adnan Menderes Airport, meet with your guide and proceed to Selcuk town. Dinner and overnight at Kalehan Hotel.


28 August 2016
Leave the hotel and drive to the sacred city of Ephesus, famous for its Temple of Artemis (one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world). Visit the House Of Virgin Mary, where she spent her last years. Then continue to the ruins where you will see the Hellenistic and Roman Ephesus. Also visit the Archaeological Museum.
Dinner and overnight at Kalehan Hotel.

29 August 2016
Early morning departure for a visit to two of the ancient Ionian cities with synagogues, Priene and Miletus. In the afternoon you will continue to bird some great birds such as Sombre Tit and Rock Nuthatches, Eleonora’s Falcon, Orphean and Cetti’s warblers and Rufoustailed Scrub-Robin.
Dinner and overnight at Kalehan Hotel.

30 August 2016
Drive to the fine birding areas such as the marshes, lakes and river deltas of Karine Delta and Bafa Lake which may hold Dalmation Pelican, Yellow-legged, Audouin’s Slender-billed, Armenian and Mediterranean gulls, Spur-winged Plover, Pygmy Cormorant, Ruddy Shelduck, White-tailed Eagle and many migrant and resident shorebirds, herons, egrets, flamingoes and waterfowl.
Dinner and overnight at Kalehan Hotel.


31 August 2016
We continue south along the Aegean coast today towards the Dalyan region. Here we hope to explore the Dalyan Delta and Köycegiz Lake and surrounding maquis scrub and farmland for species such as Squacco Heron, Whiskered Tern, White-tailed Eagle, European Roller, Black-eared Wheatear, Great Reed Warbler, Red-footed Falcon, Eurasian Hobby, and European Scops Owl.
Dinner and overnight at Dalyan Resort Hotel


01 September 2016
Today we’ll make a journey inland to the magnificent hot springs of Pamukkale with their strange limestone cup formations. Close by is the huge city complex of Hierapolis. The area is good for Finsch’s and Isabelline wheatears; Eastern Olivaceous and Ruppell’s warblers; Long-legged Buzzard; Lesser Kestrel; Calandra Lark; Masked, Lesser Gray, and Woodchat shrikes; Syrian Woodpecker; Spanish Spar- row; and Cretzschmar’s buntings. We pass through dry, rolling hills and lunch at a fascinating traditional-carpet- weaving factory.
Dinner and overnight at Richmond Thermal Hotel.

02 September 2016
Departure to Pergamon, one of the most famous historical sites in Turkey—with its Acropolis, temples of Trajan and Dionysus, and monumental Altar of Zeus—all on a hill above the modern town of Bergama. We’ll aim to include some birding en route, depending on time and the wishes of the group, and which species we are still missing from our list.
Dinner and overnight at Berksoy Hotel.


03 September 2016
Departure from the hotel and drive to north and east to visit some of the lakes and nature reserves close to the coast of the Sea of Marmara, such as Manyas and Uluabat famed for large nesting colonies of pelicans, herons and other waterbirds and, at this time of year, good sites for finding migrants resting en route south. Northern shorebirds should include Pied Avocet, Black-winged Stilt, Little Stint, Wood, Green, Curlew and Common Sandpipers and Ruff; and we’ve often found Armenian Gull and White-winged Tern here. In the afternoon we’ll reach the ancient city of Bursa, with time for visits to some of the many historical sites, particularly mosques and mausoleums from the Ottoman period of the 14th century onwards.
Dinner and overnight at Kervansaray Thermal Hotel in Bursa.

04 September 2016
Departure from the hotel to nearby Mt. Uludag (Mt. Olympos of Mysla), standing at over 7,500 feet. This will offer us reasonable chances of finding several exciting and additional birds such as Short-toed Treecreeper, woodpeckers, Water Pipit, Black Redstart, Fire- fronted Serin, White-throated Dipper, and more. Later in the day we’ll continue by ferry across the Sea of Marmara to Istanbul.
Dinner and overnight at Arcadia Blue Hotel in Istanbul

05 September 2016
After breakfast we will cross to the Asian side of the city to watch raptor migration from the Çamlıca Hills. This can be a wonderful opportunity to learn
European raptor identification, we may go from perplexed beginners to picking out the occasional rarity and scarcer species in the huge mixed species flocks soaring and thermaling overhead. Possible species include White and Black Stork, Common Crane, pelicans, European Honey-buzzard, Black Kite, Western Marsh, Montagu’s and Pallid Harriers, Eurasian Griffon, Egyptian Vulture, Lesser Spotted, Short-toed, Booted Eagles, Common Buzzard, Eurasian and Levant Sparrowhawks, Eruasian Hobby and Red-footed Falcon.

Many other species are possible and the area attracts passerine migrants as well, such as Pied, Collared and Red-throated Flycatchers, swallows, martins, swifts and warblers. We watch from a delightful location on a hilltop with restored terraces and open-air café overlooking the Bosphorus. We will also have the option of birding nearby forest and wetland reserves to boost our bird total, see the Yelkouan Shearwaters passing throughout the straights to the Black Sea.
Dinner own arrangements.
Overnight at Arcadia Blue Hotel in Istanbul.


06 September 2016
Visit to the famous Spice Market and then across the road embark the local ferry for a cruise along the BOSPHORUS. In the afternoon cross to the Asian side of Istanbul over the Bosphorus Bridge connecting Europe and Asia. Visit Beylerbeyi Palace which was built as one of the summer palaces in the 19th Century.
Dinner own arrangements.
Overnight at Arcadia Blue Hotel in Istanbul.

07 September 2016
A great day to visit and discover Byzantine and Ottoman treasures of Istanbul.
Enjoy the wonders of the Hippodrome, the stadium built by the Romans, continue to Blue Mosque is famous for its blue Iznik tiles from 17th Century. Proceed to St. Sophia museum, originally built by Justinian the Great as a church and later was used as a mosque by Turks. Today it serves as a museum. Afternoon visit of Topkapi Palace in the afternoon. Witness the grandeur of the Ottoman heritage with the countless artifacts varying from porcelains to jewels. The day ends at the historical Grand Bazaar for a great shopping experience.
Farewell dinner will be served at Meze by Lemon Tree Restaurant

08 September 2016
Departure transfer from hotel to the airport.



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