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.
www.birdwatchturkey.com for more details and to arrange a guide.

To read the full article, purchase Issue 41

Issue 41, 2009 Inside Istanbul’s Grand Hammams
£8.00 / $11.25 / 44.40 TL
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Buy the issue
Issue 41, 2009 Inside Istanbul’s Grand Hammams
£8.00 / $11.25 / 44.40 TL