Avifauna studies continue in Gökova SEPA
Avifauna studies are carried out at full steam in Gökova Bay within the context of SAD-AFAG Gökova ICMM Project funded by BBI Matra.
Cem Orkuna Kıraç and N. Ozan Veryeri from Underwater Research Society, Kasım Kırlangıç from METU Bird Watching Group and Ayşegül Dursun from Hacettepe Bird Watching Group carried out the avifauna studies between 13 and 18 February 2010 Along the coasts and coastal wetlands within Gökova SEPA Region and performed the monitoring and reporting activities. Also in April, three-day field study performed between the dates of 16-17-18 April 2010 to explore breeding birds of the region in addition.
Both spot observations from the stations and transect observations by following a certain line were carried out in the bird-watching studies representing entire coast line of the Gökova SEPA Region. All birds observed during the studies identified visually with the help of binoculars and recorded by telephoto lens. Within the bird-watching studies conducted, some species were observed and photographed for the first time along the Gökova Bay such as highly-likely breeding a couple of Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) , Caspian Tern (Sterna Caspian), Rüppell’s Warbler (Sylvia rueppelli) and Bonelli’s Eagle (Hieraaetus fasciatus). So far a total of 90 species of birds were defined in field studies. According the data obtained from the prior field studies in the region, approximately 150 bird species have been found to be living in the beach, sea and islands of Gökova. The most important bird habitats in the region are the plains in the eastern edge of Gökova Gulf mainly comprise of sand dunes and wetlands, especially artificial breakwater and coastal line in Çalca Hill (a pair of osprey is seen while feeding on the area), all river branches and their estuaries, pristine and uninhabited rocky coastal areas sheltering common shags.
Studies are held in different habitats and at least in 20 different locations to cover entire Gökova Special Environmental Protected Area. The entire project area is divided standard 1×1 km grids by the project GIS expert. Observations in each fieldwork were entered in the database as separate data together with the codes of 1 km2 scaled grids. Thus it’s possible to perform comprehensive analysis according to time, space and species. As for this will serve as an important scientific base for the planners in order to protect natural values and keep them for the future generations and planning integrated coastal and marine areas in Gökova. As a result of the studies driven, effects of human activities on bird breeding areas and birds will be quantitatively and spatially understood.