While Istanbul trip was not aimed at finding wildlife, there were enough birds that were impossible to miss. The most obvious birds of Istanbul are the seagulls. Hundreds if not thousands of them circle above the ancient monuments filling the air with their haunting cries. There are a few species in the mix, notably the Yellow-legged gulls, Black-headed gulls and what appeared to be Heuglin’s gulls.
Being surrounded by water on three sides, Istanbul is home to quite a few water birds. Though since I was not looking for them, I didn’t see many apart from a few Great cormorants and Mallard ducks.
Birdwatching as a way to make friends
This beautiful Ring-necked parakeet landed on a tree outside of a little shop next to my hotel. I have passed this shop a dozen times a day and by now the owner became an old friend. We were having our routine little chat, but when the bird arrived I stopped mid-sentence and dashed to the tree to take some photos of it in the rapidly disappearing light.
The shop owner probably thought it was a bit weird at first, but soon he caught my excitement and within minutes half the neighbourhood gathered around to admire the colourful parakeet, and to suggest better viewpoints.
In the following days, I received detailed updates about the parakeets’ appearances on the street. It was very touching.
The small patch of trees near the Blue Mosque in Sultanahmet park was always full of bird calls. Black-billed magpies had their young and we creating quite a racket. Lots of small Passeriformes fluttered from branch to branch high up in the canopy, too far and too fast to identify with a naked eye. Eurasian collared doves and Laughing doves were much easier to spot.
Back at along the shore of Bosphorus, I spotted a White wagtail doing its little dance on the boulders.