- What’s On
Celebrated in literature and famous for its flowers and birds, the highest point in Istanbul rises 268 metres above Üsküdur giving wonderful views over the city, the Bosphorus and round to the Princes Islands. Not surprisingly, it is popular at weekends, with tea house, restaurants and picnic areas. This is also one of two gathering place for migrating birds to cross the Mediterranean into Europe – the other being Gibraltar. Heading north in summer, birds big and small arrive here in their thousands and spiral up to catch the thermals that will take them across to the European shore for the summer. In Cornucopia 41 photographer Soner Bekir shows some of the many species that make the journey, from the tiny semi-collared flycatcher to the Eurasian black vulture, one of the largest birds in the world.
If we could fly over the Göksu Delta like the cranes and geese that wing their way between food and roost, we would be struck by the sweep of lakes, rushes and reeds in this dusty and rocky corner of Turkey, near the Mediterranean town of Silifke. The jarring proximity of a monstrous paper mill and sprawling holiday developments further belies the existence of a wetland idyll that is a sanctuary for birds. Known locally as kuş cenneti (bird paradise), the Göksu Delta boasts the longest avian checklist of any site in Turkey. One of the few places in Europe where the Purple Gallinule, Smyna Kingfisher and Imperial Eagle can be seen, it has become a mecca for bird-watchers.
The Göksu Delta is a mosaic of habitats lying along the last few kilometres of the majestic Göksu river. Rising in the heart of the Toros Mountains, the river has over the centuries repeatedly rearranged its meeting place with the sea, slowly shaping the landscape. More recently, man has coaxed the waters into chennels and ditches which fan out between the tamed parts of the delta. The whole – lakes, salt-steppes, dunes and fields – provides an environment of contrasts which is ideal for some 300 species.
Cornucopia 9 (1995/96) for the five-page feature including a full glossary of the birds of the Göksu Delta