Köycegiz Gölü & Dalyan Canal

Köycegiz Gölü & Dalyan Canal

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Potential birds may include :

Purple Heron, Squacco Heron, White Tailed Eagle, Black Necked Grebe, Marsh Harrrier ,Hobby, Shot-toed Eagle, Black winged Tern & Sandwich Tern, Golden Eagle, Cormorant, Pergrine Falcon, Red Rumped Swallow.

Köycegiz Gölü : 

There are two ways to go up the river to Köycegiz Lake, firstly using one of the corporation boats which can be found on the river side in front of the Mosque, find one of the corporation  desks and tell them what it is you want. Despite them telling you they can find birds for you, few actually have any knowledge about birds or their location. Prices here vary despite there being a price board. It is worth haggling! Take note the price is the price for the boat and not per person, so be careful you are not overcharged. I usually book a private boat and can recommend  that has toilets that will do a round trip starting at 10am , taking in the reed beds on the east shore line, crossing the lake to the opposite shoreline past the cormorant roost then following the shore line to find a quiet cove for a swim and from here going to the Sultaniye Hot Springs (pictured below) where we have lunch and pass away the afternoon before returning to Dalyan for 5’ ish and this is my usual birding trip with the family but you can tailor this to your own needs and wishes. 

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Sultaniye Baths

I would recommend , if there are four or more of you,  Rhui Üreyen (mob 05422330465) ,  who’s boat is called AşIyan and is moored to the  right of the mosque (if facing the river) where the river quay turns to go up towards the lake opposite the ‘Jazz bar' heading up the river at stand number 57.  Rhui’s boat has a roof that you can go on to take in good views of the reed beds and overall is more roomy. 

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Iyan Boat

Like any bird watching days it can be pot luck, but the trip up the lake gives you your best chance of seeing White Tailed Eagle. Keep your eyes peeled  over the hills and mountains where they can be seen soaring, at times they can come low enough for good viewing. Golden Eagle, Ospreys, Marsh Harriers and Eleanor Falcon have all been seen around Köycegiz Gölü . 

The boat trip up to the lake should produce Penduline Tit , with a few nests suspended from trees and bushes overhanging the river on the right hand side bank once the river starts to widen and away from footpaths.On the opposite bank we have seen Rollers perched in the trees on the look out over the fields on that side of the river. When first leaving Dalyan the river is narrow and on side is dominated by the high mountain and Raven, Honey Buzzard and Short Toed Eagles can be seen circling here.

Both the reed beds on the West and East of the entrance of the lake give good shows of Great Reed Warbles, though they are more abundant in May and June. Heron, Egret and Squacco Heron are commonly seen,  and earlier in the year Terns and wintering wild fowl are abundant.

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The Eastern Reed Beds

Picture above looking towards the reed beds to the east of the lake, the low hills in the background have provided Eleanor falcon in the past. 

Dalyan Canal to Iztuzu Beach:

To go down the river towards Iztuzu Beach the chepest option is to use the public boats availble opposite the mosque, but it literally just takes in the course of the river and canals to the beach without stoping.  For this trip I would recommend using Rhui’s boat again and doing his fishing and crabing trip although inesence it is actually just a crabbing trip. Similar to his other trips it starts around 10am finishing aound 5 pm, so is a full day out. The trip entails following the river course towards the beach , but also takes in Alla Gol at Candir for a swim stop where you can enjoy the unusual affect of hot thermal water warming your feet whilst your upper body is cooler , the opposite to the norm. From Candir the boat makes it way along the river course but instead heading straight to the beach follows the mountain edge to the right which can provide good views of Purple Heron, Egrets and at times raptors. Rhui will moor up here whilst you fish for crabs with the family while still looking out for birds. 

After an hour or so Rhui will move the boat to another location for further crabing and a BBQ lunch.  After lunch he will move the boat again onto the sands away from the main crowds for a pleasant swim stop before returning to Dalyan by the same route as you travelled down. 

Often in the tourist season both the lake , the river and reed beds towards the beach can seem strangely devoid of bird life despite such idyllic habitat, This is partly due to the season (migration and heat) and partly due to the amount of boat traffic going up and down the river bringing not only tourist from Dalyan, but from as far a field as Marmaris and Fethiye which only severs to disturb bird life, however, you can still get good views when they present themselves.

Another option for the lake is to take a ‘moon light’ trip offered by Rhui or Ismail  giving  spectacular views of the lake at sunset. The reed beds near the entrance to the river from the lake attract hundreds of swallows to roost in the evening and among them you will get a number of Red Rumped Swallows .

Below picture of the sunset over the lake.

Sunset on the lake

Although  Dalyan is famous for the loggerhead Turtles that nest on the beach, the Nile Soft-shelled Turtle (Trionyx triunguis )can be seen in the river and at the entrance to the lake , not as well known as the Careeta Caretta but equally important in  terms of protection.They have a snorkel-like snout and flippers, each with 3 massive claws. They mainly feed on fish, worms, molluscs, crabs and  carrion. They pop up to the surface of the river on occasions. These unusual looking Turtles (below) were photographed near one of the restaurants on the river front.

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© Brendan Searson 2017