Skogsøy Webshop Home Travel Gullfjell Contact
Tjeldstø Galleries Offshore Equipment U.K. Links

Øygarden Services Articles Accomodation Books

The Turkish Black Sea
09-22 May 2012

Black Sea map
Map showing the work area

The map below shows the rivermouth east of Samsun

View Larger Map

The job was an inshore survey of two lines crossing the Black Sea from near Samsun in Turkey over to Russia. We stayed in a hotel onshore in the city of Samsun. We worked days on small survey vessels; every day we drove from Samsun to the mouth of the Yeşilırmak river where we boarded the survey vessel and sailed east to the worksite.

More links to other pages covering birding the Black Sea:
Offshore Birding in the Black Sea
Black Sea and Mediterranean,
March 2010
Russian Black Sea, April 2012

Inshore survey = happy surveyors
Inshore survey at its simplest - an RTK system and a single beam echosounder for REALLY shallow inshore work

Once again at work rather than birding so eveything that was seen was incidental to the real reason for being in Turkey. The breeding season was well underway for many species although there was still some obvious migration at times - raptors, waders and Bee-eaters being the most obvious.

The days were long, if not already awake for an early start to the drive between Samsun and the river then the minarets woke us in time for morning prayer...

White Stork, Turkey, May 2012
Small numbers of White Stork were regular

The cramped drive every morning was made bearable by roadside birds such as Roller, Bee-eaters and shrikes.

Eurasian Hobby
Eurasian Hobby - a happy accident. This bird was only seen because the road became impassable for anything other than tractors and tracked vehicles after a relatively small amount of rain!

Red-backed Shrike - one of the commonest birds in the area
Red-backed Shrike - one of the commonest birds seen, May 2012

Migrating raptors - Black Kites and Honey Buzzards
Migrating Raptors - Black Kites and Honey Buzzards, May 2012
These flocks of migrating raptors gave the beach a distinctly Falsterbo-like feel to it

There were nothing like as many seabirds on the Turkish side - whether this was due to fewer fish or due to the fact that many species would have moved on to breeding grounds further north is impossible to say. No Yelkouan shearwaters were seen on this side of the Black sea though. Cetaceans were also a lot less frequent on the Turksih side with just a few Porpoise seen.

Black-throated Diver in flight
Black-throated Diver in flight, May 2012
This species was nothing like as common as it was on the Russian side of the Black sea a month previously

Good numbers of non-breeding Yellow-legged Gulls were seen, usually joined by smaller numbers of Mediterranean Gulls and the occasional Baltic Gull. A small flock of Slender-billed Gulls was seen offshore on one occasion.

Black Kite, Turkey, May 2012
Black Kite migrating along the shore, Turkish Black Sea, May 2012

Raptors were quite well represented. The commonest and most widespread by far was Marsh Harrier which obviously bred in the area as did a pair of Hobby; migrants included Honey Buzzrd and Black Kite. Herons and egrets were a common sight, both overhead, along the canals and around the river mouth. Highlights in this respect were a Black Stork seen on a few occasions - possibly breeding nearby and a Little Bittern by the rivermouth.

Yellow-legged Gulls, Turkey, May 2012
Yellow-legged Gulls were very common - with flocks of up to a few hundred present along the shore. Small numbers of other gull species were often present with them.

Spoonbill, Turkey, May 2012
Part of a flock of Spoonbills flying over

Night Heron in flight, Turkey, May 2012
Black-crowned Night Heron, May 2012

Only a few Coot were present in Samsun harbour this time around

Large flocks (up to 50+) of Glossy Ibis were regular - usually seen in flight along the coast. Migrant waders were seen around the rivermouth and included Greenshank, Little Stints, Curlew Sandpiper and Ruff.

Little Plover, Turkey
Several pairs of Little Plover bred within the landfall site

Glossy Ibis in flight, Turkey, May 2012
Glossy Ibis in flight, Turkish Black Sea, May 2012

Velvet Scoter, Turkish Black Sea, May 2012
Velvet Scoter were not a species I expected to see in Turkey but they are a regualr vistor to the Black Sea by all accounts

Samsun as seen from the port
Samsun as seen from the port

Pala Saffet
The Pala Saffet - our trusty inshore survey vessel at its usual berth on the river

The city of Samsun was not devoid of birds - Laughing dove was the commonest species - especially around the docks where they fed on spilt grain. Common Swift  and Alpine Swift were a common sight overhead.

A list of species seen is given below:

A list of species seen is given below:

* = 1-9
** = 10-99
***= 100+

English Name Norsk navn Scientific name Numbers Comments
Mallard Stokkand Anas platyrhynchos * 3 on 11.05
Common Pochard Taffeland Aythya ferina * One male on the Yeşilırmak river 13.05
Tufted Duck Toppand Aythya fuligula * 2 on 10 May
Velvet Scoter Sjøorre Melanitta fusca * Flock of 7 reducing to 4 off the Yeşilırmak river mouth
Black-throated Diver Storlom Gavia arctica * 5 on 10 May
Great Crested Grebe Toppdykker Podiceps cristatus * A single seen on 12.05
Black-necked Grebe Svarthalsdykker Podiceps nigricollis * Two seen on 12.05
Great Cormorant Storskarv Phalacrocorax carbo * Singles seen regularly
Little Bittern Dvergrørdrum Ixobrychus minutus * A single seen on 11.05
Black-crowned Night Heron Natthegre Nycticorax nycticorax * A single seen on 12.05, 1-3 seen thereafter
Little Egret Silkehegre Egretta garzetta * Two on 14.05
Great Egret Egretthegre Egretta alba * A single flew past 18.05
Grey Heron Gråhegre Ardea cinerea * Singles regular
Purple Heron Purpurhegre Ardea purpurea ** Regular in small numbers
Black Stork Svartstork Ciconia nigra * Singles seen regularly around Bacos
White Stork Stork Ciconia ciconia * Small flocks regular
Glossy Ibis Bronseibis Plegadis falcinellus ** Flocks of 20-30 regular
European Honey Buzzard Vepsevåk Pernis apivorus * Migrants on 11.05
Black Kite Svartglente Milvus migrans ** Migrants on 11.05
Western Marsh Harrier Sivhauk Circus aeruginosus ** Common
Eurasian Hobby Lerkefalk Falco subbuteo * A breeding pair located 14.05
Common Moorhen Sivhøne Gallinula chloropus *  
Eurasian Coot Sothøne Fulica atra * A few in Samsun Harbour
Eurasian Oystercatcher Tjeld Haematopus ostralegus * 3+ seen around rivermouth
Black-winged Stilt Stylteløper Himantopus himantopus * 1 at port west of Samsun on 17.05
Little Ringed Plover Dverglo Charadrius dubius * A few pairs breeding on site
Common Ringed Plover Sandlo Charadrius hiaticula ** Rivermouth
Little Stint Dvergsnipe Calidris minuta * Small numbers from 12.05
Curlew Sandpiper Tundrasnipe Calidris ferruginea * A single seen on 22.05
Dunlin Myrsnipe Calidris alpina * Small numbers from 12.05
Ruff Brushane Philomachus pugnax * A single seen on 22.05
Black-tailed Godwit Svarthalespove Limosa limosa * A single seen on 12.05
Common Sandpiper Strandsnipe Actitis hypoleucos *  
Common Greenshank Gluttsnipe Tringa nebularia * A single seen on 12.05
Wood Sandpiper Grønnstilk Tringa glareola * One seen heading west on 11.05
Mediterranean Gull Svartehavsmåke Larus melanocephalus ** Non-breeders common
Slender-billed Gull smalnebbmåke   ** 12 seen at sea 18.05
Lesser Black-backed Gull Sildemåke Larus fuscus * Singles seen regularly
Yellow-legged Gull Gulbeinmåke Larus michahellis *** Large flocks of non-breeders
Eurasian Collared Dove Tyrkerdue Streptopelia decaocto *  
Laughing Dove Palmedue Streptopelia senegalensis *** Abundant in Samsun
Common Cuckoo Gjøk Cuculus canorus *  
Common Swift Tårnseiler Apus apus *** Common in Samsun
Alpine Swift Alpeseiler Apus melba ** Samsun
European Bee-eater Bieter Merops apiaster ** Flocks of up to 20 migrating 11.05, also seen along the roads between Samsun and the rivermouth
European Roller Blåråke Coracias garrulus * A few seen regularly
Eurasian Hoopoe Hærfugl Upupa epops *  
Crested Lark Topplerke Galerida cristata * Small numbers at port west of Samsun
Sand Martin Sandsvale Riparia riparia **  
Barn Swallow Låvesvale Hirundo rustica **  
Common House Martin Taksvale Delichon urbicum **  
Red-throated Pipit Lappiplerke Anthus cervinus * Two heard migrating on 11.05
Yellow Wagtail Gulerle Motacilla flava * Black-headed Race seen
White Wagtail Linerle Motacilla alba **  
Thrush Nightingale Nattergal Luscinia luscinia ** Common
Common Blackbird Svarttrost Turdus merula *  
Eurasian Blackcap Munk Sylvia atricapilla *  
Spotted Flycatcher Gråfluesnapper Muscicapa striate *  
Red-backed Shrike Tornskate Lanius collurio ** Common and widespread
Lesser Grey Shrike Rosenvarsler Lanius minor * More localised than above species
Western Jackdaw Kaie Corvus monedula **  
Hooded Crow Kråke Corvus cornix **  
Common Starling Stær Sturnus vulgaris ** Common in Samsun
House Sparrow Gråspurv Passer domesticus **  
Spanish Sparrow Middelhavsspurv Passer hispaniolensis ** 30 present on site
Common Chaffinch Bokfink Fringilla coelebs *  
European Goldfinch Stillits Carduelis carduelis **  
Black-headed Bunting Svarthodespurv Emberiza melanocephala * Small numbers on site
Corn Bunting Kornspurv Emberiza calandra * Common at Bacos

Frog, Turkey, May 2012
Frogs and toads were abundant

Terrapin, Turkey
Terrapins were abundant wherever there was fresh water

Sea Holly on the Turkish shoreline
Sea Holly on the beach

Samsun Air Show
Although I was actually hoping for Alpine Swifts the Turkish acrobatic team put on a spectacular show over the port of Samsun.

All content on this site, including Natural Born Birder logo, is copyright © 2005 - 2012
High resolution versions of most images on this website are available. Please contact me for further details or other enquiries


Birding Top 500 Counter