Extract

Four men and a snowcock

One of Turkey’s finest birds is the grouse-like Caspian snowcock. To find it takes some organising, for it lives way above the summer pastures in remote areas such as the Aladaglar, the highest part of the Taurus Mountains. Text and photographs by Napier Shelton

  • Evening clouds wreathe the Taurus Mountains at the southern end of the snowcock's range

Not recommended if you are “unfit, unsteady on your feet or nervous of heights” was how my little bird-finding guidebook described the route ahead of me. To this out-of-shape sexagenarian who is distinctly uneasy about heights it did indeed look very steep and a long way up. This, however, was where you had to go in July if you wanted to see the Caspian snowcock – to my mind the premier bird of southern Turkey, and the one I wanted to see more than any other. It seemed so romantically remote, living its life among the pinnacles of the rugged Taurus Mountains.

Five species of this large grey-brown, grouse-like bird inhabit the higher mountains of Asia. The Caspian variety ranges into the Kaçkar Mountains in northeast Turkey and the Taurus Mountains of south-central Turkey. Living in Adana, near the Mediterranean, I was within a two-hour drive to Aladağlar, at 10,000 to 12,000ft the highest part of the Taurus Mountains and the westermost end of the Caspian snowcock’s range.

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Issue 15, 1998 Mountain Secrets
£12.00 / $15.79 / 100.06 TL
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Buy the issue
Issue 15, 1998 Mountain Secrets
£12.00 / $15.79 / 100.06 TL
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