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This national park, set in the wooded hills and mountains of the north of the Central Anatolian Plateau has a superb range of woodland birds breeding in its forests and attracts many passerines on passage. The scenery is beautiful with high rocky hills and steep, densely forested slopes and deep valleys.
The area is well known as an excellent raptor site with virtually all the species occurring in Turkey being recorded here and many of them breeding.
The most notable species is perhaps the Eurasian Black Vulture but Lammergeier, Egyptian Vulture and Griffon Vulture can also be seen. Golden Eagle and Short-toed Eagle breed and Eastern Imperial Eagle may still do so, Northern Goshawk and Lesser Kestrel also breed and commoner species include Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Common Buzzard and Common Kestrel.
Other species birds found here include Eurasian Nuthatch, Western Rock Nuthatch and Krüper's Nuthatch, both treecreepers and Sombre Tit and a good range of warblers. Black Stork is present during the breeding season.
Passage periods see the arrival of various chats, warblers and flycatchers in large numbers.
Birds you can see here include:
Great White Egret, Grey Heron, Black Stork, Ruddy Shelduck, Mallard, Red Kite, Black Kite, White-tailed Eagle, Lammergeier, Egyptian Vulture, Griffon Vulture, Eurasian Black Vulture, Short-toed Eagle, Hen Harrier, Montagu's Harrier, Northern Goshawk, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Levant Sparrowhawk, Common Buzzard, Lesser Spotted Eagle, Greater Spotted Eagle, Steppe Eagle, Eastern Imperial Eagle, (rare Su), Golden Eagle, Bonelli's Eagle, Lesser Kestrel, Common Kestrel, Red-footed Falcon, Northern Hobby, Lanner Falcon, Peregrine Falcon, Common Woodpigeon, Common Cuckoo, Eurasian Scops Owl, Great Eagle Owl, Little Owl, Tawny Owl, Long-eared Owl, Tengmalm's Owl, Common Swift, Eurasian Wryneck, Grey-headed Woodpecker, Green Woodpecker, Black Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Syrian Woodpecker, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, Common Wren, Dunnock, Eurasian Robin, Common Redstart, Eurasian Blackbird, Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, Eastern Olivaceous Warbler, Olive-tree Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Orphean Warbler, Barred Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Common Whitethroat, Garden Warbler, Blackcap, Eastern Bonelli's Warbler, Wood Warbler, Common Chiffchaff, Goldcrest, Semi-collared Flycatcher, Collared Flycatcher, European Pied Flycatcher, Sombre Tit, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Krüper's Nuthatch, Eurasian Nuthatch, Western Rock Nuthatch, Common Treecreeper, Short-toed Treecreeper, Common Jay, Common Magpie, Eurasian Jackdaw, Hooded Crow, Northern Raven, House Sparrow, Eurasian Tree Sparrow, Rock Sparrow, Chaffinch, Eurasian Siskin, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Common Crossbill, Common Rosefinch, Hawfinch, Cirl Bunting, Rock Bunting, Ortolan Bunting
For sheer variety of species the best time to visit is probably September.
Areas of Interest
One area not to be missed is the abattoir, on the right just after a bridge about 1km to the south of Kizilkahamam.
Various raptors are attracted to the waste here and can include Egyptian Vulture and kites. Herons are also attracted to the river here and can include Great White Egret and Ruddy Shelduck can also be seen.
Access and Facilities
Soguksu National Park is located just to the west of the town of Kizilkahamam which lies about 80km north of Ankara.
To reach the park turn off the E89, the Ankara-Gedere road, into Kizilkahamam and follow the yellow signposts for the park which is on the far side of the town.
There is a small entrance fee but the birding here makes it worthwhile. The park has a restaurant and picnic areas and there is a track which winds up the hillside and leads to a ridge between two peaks which offers superb views over the surrounding slopes and forests.
Kizilkahamam has cheap and basic hotel accommodation and the park is within walking distance or a short bus-ride. However, there is a better hotel within the park itself and camping is permitted within its boundaries.
Content and images originally posted by Steve