If You Are Ever in Istanbul – 10,000 Birds

Animalstuffstore Black-headed-Gull-Istanbul-2022-630x389 If You Are Ever in Istanbul – 10,000 Birds Bird

Turkey appears to be having a second proper now. A stunning variety of our Mexican mates wish to go there — get this — as a result of they love Turkish cleaning soap operas. And there are, amazingly sufficient, direct flights from Mexico Metropolis to Istanbul. I want we may have taken that flight, since we really took 4 flights to ultimately discover our means there, on our latest Previous World journey. (Flights #6 and eight additionally led to Istanbul.) Main kudos to Turkish Airways, by the best way; I can’t keep in mind the final time I had a sizzling sandwich on a one-hour flight.

As I discussed final week, our journey to Turkey was work-related. And Istanbul was solely a needed intermediate level for reaching our actual Turkish vacation spot. Nonetheless, it’s a world-class metropolis, so we selected to spend 24 hours there. And birding was positively not the primary function of this 5-week journey. (Not that that ever stops me.) So, we headed not into bird-heavy pure areas, however straight into the middle of this two-and-a-half-millenium-old metropolis. May I probably see some birds there?

We took a bus, then a taxi, into the world simply south of Istanbul’s Blue Mosque. (Vacationer be aware: Except you communicate Turkish, take the taxi from the airport for the fastened worth of fifty Euros. That sounds costly, however our makes an attempt at saving cash ended up costing extra. Higher but, wait to go till the brand new airport metro line to open, as is meant to occur quickly.)

We stayed within the Dersaadet Lodge, an Ottoman Mansion from the late 1800s. This constructing is an effective 200 m (660 ft) from the Bosporus. But it surely has an exquisite roof terrace from which to look at birds on the waterway, in addition to on the close by rooftops. (One other vacationer be aware: the complementary breakfast was considerably lower than lower than fantastic on the morning of our keep. Go for the birds, and the previous constructing; they’re value it.)

Whereas the town birds are unlikely to shock most Europeans, there supplied a number of good surprises for an American like me. Some needed to be seen at a distance, others wish to rise up shut and private. Seabirds have been simply shut sufficient for pretty dependable IDs:

The daring white main edges on the gull wings instructed me these have been Black-headed Gulls. The dearth of black heads instructed me they’d switched to winter plumage.

Animalstuffstore Cormorants-and-gulls-Istanbul-2022-630x389 If You Are Ever in Istanbul – 10,000 Birds Bird

Among the many cormorants appeared noticeably bigger than others. Since Pygmy Cormorants appear to choose inland waters, this implies I used to be seeing each Nice Cormorants and Europeans Shags. These floating gulls have been in all probability Yellow-legged Gulls, however I noticed just a few in flight that gave the impression to be Mediterranean Gulls.

Animalstuffstore Yellow-headed-Gull-immature-Istanbul-2022-630x389 If You Are Ever in Istanbul – 10,000 Birds Bird

This 2nd-year winter Yellow-legged Gull needed me to get an excellent take a look at him. I’m fairly positive he wouldn’t have complained in regards to the high quality of our complementary breakfast, had I chosen to share it. Immature Yellow-legged Gulls have pink legs, as a result of, properly, in fact they do.

Animalstuffstore Yellow-headed-Gull-Istanbul-2022-630x389 If You Are Ever in Istanbul – 10,000 Birds Bird

Finally, their legs do flip yellow. And, apparently, they really feel fairly good about it.

Animalstuffstore Alpine-Swifts-Istanbul-September-2022-630x389 If You Are Ever in Istanbul – 10,000 Birds Bird

Some Alpine Swifts flew shut sufficient for me to get a superb take a look at them. Which was very variety, as a result of they have been one in every of my two lifers for the morning. My different lifer, the Laughing Dove, would become fairly widespread within the Center East.

Animalstuffstore European-Starlings-Istanbul-2022-630x389 If You Are Ever in Istanbul – 10,000 Birds Bird

Imagine it or not, we don’t see European Starlings in central Mexico. Should you ignore their invasive nature, they are surely pretty little birds.

Animalstuffstore Eurasian-Magpie-630x389 If You Are Ever in Istanbul – 10,000 Birds Bird

We additionally haven’t any magpies in central Mexico, which is a pity. So I appreciated this lone Eurasian Magpie making its look. I like magpies.

Istanbul is a metropolis of many mosques, and whereas our resort was fairly near the well-known Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia, one set of minarets was even nearer. Now, for the vacationer, a close-by minaret means the decision to prayer will wake you up early every morning. However to Hooded Crows, a minaret apparently means… playtime! This went on for at the very least so long as I used to be prepared to look at.

Animalstuffstore Hooded-Crows-1-Istanbul-2022-630x389 If You Are Ever in Istanbul – 10,000 Birds Bird
Animalstuffstore Hooded-Crows-2-Istanbul-2022-630x389 If You Are Ever in Istanbul – 10,000 Birds Bird
Animalstuffstore Hooded-Crows-3-Istanbul-2022-630x389 If You Are Ever in Istanbul – 10,000 Birds Bird

You could discover that the tip of the minaret has spikes hooked up. Apparently, minarets additionally imply perching, when allowed. In order that they don’t.

So, in case you are ever in downtown Istanbul, the excellent news is that there will likely be birds — even in case you have dedicated to a strict plan of tourism. We now have our methods of getting round these limitations.

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