A spring, well hidden by willow bushes, seems to be a very good bird attraction here in the barren landscape. Again and again dripping wet birds come out of a thicket of willows, shake their feathers and dry themselves. So they bathe in the hiding place of the willow. A Red-backed Shrike (Lanius collurio) is certainly more likely to be on the move than a local. While waiting in the car I see one of the tought-after species of the trip. A really nice Radde’s Accentor (Prunella ocularis). I’ll try playing his song. The Radde’s Accentor can be taped-in surprisingly well; although the breeding season should be over by now. Luckily I can use my Dacia Duster as a mobile hideaway and place my lens on the side window frame. The stone accentor first sits a good 5 meters in front of me on a stone on the barren slope and then also beautifully on the stalk of a shrub that is just 3 meters away from me. But then there are more copies. I count a total of 5 individuals.
It seems that the spring is a popular destination for birds looking for a place to rest and drink fresh water. Not only does the spring provide a place for birds to rest and drink, but it also serves as a great food source. Insects, frogs, small fish, and other aquatic creatures inhabit the spring, providing the birds with an abundant food source. Additionally, the willow bushes offer shade and shelter from predators, making the area an ideal spot for birds to come and feed. The presence of the spring also helps to attract a variety of other wildlife, such as amphibians, reptiles, and small mammals, which in turn increases the bird population in the area.
I was woken up by the alarm clock at 5.30 in our ski hotel. It’s already reasonably light outside. I get up quickly, pack up and drive the car to the upper part of the ski area. Unfortunately, I notice that the barrier that opens up the upper areas is closed. So I have to turn around and decide to dedicate myself to the reservoir, which probably serves as a basin for the snow cannons. A great morning light in a barren landscape. It’s a good thing that we’re treating ourselves to 3 days here in Palandöken, a district of Erzurum in eastern Turkey. Palandöken takes its name from the mountain Palandöken Dağı, which is south of the city. The area is a well-known ski resort that gets overrun with snow lovers in winter. Now in early autumn the rush is limited. Only a few hikers and festival-goers get lost in the area.
Turkey’s unique location between Europe and Asia makes it a popular destination for migratory birds, which spend the winter in Africa before heading to Europe for the summer breeding season. But also the wetlands in eastern Anatolia and the mountains there are worthwile to bird. It is also worth looking for and photographing the birds that stay, rest and feeds here on the eastern Anatolian plateau.
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