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The Great Bosphorus Migration

Birds of Passage

Birds migrating between Africa and Europe have a choice of two narrow channels of water to cross: the Straits of Gibraltar in the west, and the Bosphorus in the east. At Çamlica Hill, the highest point of Istanbul, on the Asian side, flocks of storks spiral up to catch the airstreams that will carry them safely on. There are many other birds of passage, too, captured here on camera by Soner Bekir

  • Semi-collared Flycatcher: This pretty bird, Ficedula semitorquata, is the least common of the migrating flycatchers and is listed globally as 'near threatened', but there is a small breeding population in Istanbul
  • European Black Kite: This kite, Milvus migrans, winters south of the Sahara and is a common bird of passage and breeder in Turkey. It feeds on fish, frogs and other small animals, carrying them away in its claws to eat
  • Eurasian Sparrowhawk: Accipter nisus – a scourge of garden and parkland birds, this sparrowhawk has snatched an Isabelline whitear. It migrates mid-March to late May
  • Lesser Kestrel: Falco naumann – a summer migrant, the lesser kestrel breeds in colonies in central and southeastern Anatolia and is most common in the Bosphorus during its autumn migration
  • Egyptian Vulture: neophron percnopteru – an endangered species breeding high in cliffs and gorges, which crosses the Bosphorus in spring and autumn individually and in small groups. The first arrive in March
  • Black Vulture: Aegypius monachus – with a wingspan that can reach three metres, the Eurasian black vulture is one of the world's largest birds, and has the ability to fly at very high altitudes

Soner Bekir’s six-page photography feature also includes the Common Buzzard, the Eastern Imperial Eagle, Montagu’s Harrier and the famous White Storks.

Soner Bekir is Turkey’s first professional birding guide and has worked on many projects with NGOs to protect birds and their habitats. for more details and to arrange a guide.

To read the full article, purchase Issue 41

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Issue 41, 2009 Inside Istanbul’s Grand Hammams
£8.00 / $10.21 / €9.49
Other Highlights from Cornucopia 41
  • Digging for Glory

    Bodrum’s peace was shattered in 1856 by the arrival of a warship bearing one of the most ambitious archaeological expeditions Britain has ever launched. Leading it was Charles Newton. His mission was to locate, excavate and carry home one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World

  • The Poetry Within

    An antiquarian’s deliciously distressed house in the Aegean was Berrin Torolsan’s first inspiration for the text of a new book on Turkish interiors. In this extract from At Home in Turkey, with photographs by Solvi dos Santos, she is captivated by a low-key restoration.

  • Celery’s Sibling

    Although commonly regarded as a root vegetable, like the potato, carrot or turnip, the bulbous part of the celeriac plant is not actually the root but a corm, the base of the leaf stems, out of which modest roots will grow.
    More cookery features

  • Joy in a Bottle

    On the tiny island of Bozcaada (Tenedos), a mere speck in the Aegean, great wines are emerging that rival the best the world can ofer. The Corvus vineyards, once among the Mediterranean’s most celebrated, have suffered centuries of neglect. Kevin Gould raises a glass to their renaissance with the founder of Corvus, Resit Soley.
    See Cornucopia’s self-guided wine tour

  • Barbarossa’s Baths

    Another masterpiece by the imperial architect Sinan, the Cınılı Hammam in the Old City of Istanbul was built for the legendary corsair-turned-admiral Barbaros Hayrettın Pasha, or Barbarossa, in the 1540s. Today it is far from grand, and only a few of the tiles that gave it the name Çınılı (Tiled) are still in evidence. But nothing can diminish the effect of the soaring curvy arches supporting a series of imposing domes.

  • Dome of Baroque

    When it was built in 1741 in the new Baroque style, Cağaloğlu was at the forefront of architectural fashion. But this temple of cleanliness in the Old City marks the dramatic swansong of the grand Ottoman hammam.

Buy the issue
Issue 41, 2009 Inside Istanbul’s Grand Hammams
£8.00 / $10.21 / 330.50 TL
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