SEEN - SE European Bird Migration Network
Studies on Soaring Bird Migration at the Belen Pass and Hatay Province
Okan Can
Turkish Bird Research Society, PK. 311 06443 Yeni┼čehir, Ankara, Turkey

Turkey is a land bridge between Europe, Asia and Africa, that support suitable ‘thermal pathway’ for soaring birds. Turkey has three important bottlenecks: the Bosphorus in the northwest,Arhavi/Borçka in the northeast, and the Belen Pass in southern Turkey. Hatay is the southeasternmost extension of Turkey on the Mediterrenean coast, and is an important corridor for bird migration from Europe and Anatolia to Africa and the Middle East. The importance of the Belen Pass for thermal dependent birds has been known since 1965 but there has been no systematic survey covering both spring and autumn migration at the Belen Pass.
In this study, soaring migratory birds were counted and identified by ground based observations during spring and autumn migration period, 2000. The observation data enable to figure out the magnitude, timing and duration of spring and autumn migration as well as migration routes of some species. During autumn and spring, a total of 148,938 soaring migratory birds were observed and this number has been the highest recorded for Belen Pass so far. Since the study didn’t cover whole migration period, the real passage number is estimated around 500,000. White Stork ( Ciconia ciconia), is the most abundant bird comprimising % 91,5 and %53,6 of spring and autumn totals respectively. Lesser Spotted Eagle ( Aquila pomarina), Honey Buzzard ( Pernis apivorus), Black Stork ( Ciconia nigra), Levant Sparrowhawk ( Accipiter brevipes), Short-toed Eagle (Circaetus gallicus), and Buzzard ( Buteo buteo) figures follows that of White Stork.
Although this study cleary shows the importance of the Belen Pass for soaring birds, it is only a preliminary survey that indicates the necessity for further migration research.
Created by Pronetix 2006