Extract

Birds in Paradise

The Göksu delta is a wild and windy wetland of marshes, reeds and just the occasional bird-watcher. Here, thousands of the rarest birds break their journey across the Levant. By Alice Carswell with photographs by Nâfiz Güder.

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

Alice Carswell fell in love with Turkey and spent 10 very happy years there involved in various environmental projects. She died in 2001

To read the full article, purchase Issue 9

Issue 9, 1995/96 Ideal Worlds
£50.00 / $70.05 / 284.27 TL
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Issue 9, 1995/96 Ideal Worlds
£50.00 / $70.05 / 284.27 TL
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