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Kızılırmak Delta Bird Reserve is about 50 km from Samsun in the Central Black Sea Region of Turkey.

Understand[edit]

Landscape[edit]

Middle spotted woodpecker (Dendrocoptes medius) at the delta
Wetland marsh with a birdwatching tower in the background
Coastal Floodplain Forest

Flat obviously.

Climate[edit]

There is almost always a breeze, which can be very chilly in the winter, but in the summer be sure to wear a hat and cover up if you sunburn easily as some paths have very little shade.

Animals and plants[edit]

These tame ponies have given up begging for sandwiches

If the water buffalo are blocking your path don't rush up and frighten them but just walk closer, wave your hat and politely and firmly tell them "hosht", which is Turkish for "shoo".

Get in[edit]

Map of Kızılırmak Delta Bird Reserve

A day trip from Samsun is fine if you just want to see the buffaloes and Great White Egret, but bear in mind that on summer weekends the viewing towers and shuttle bus are often crowded. There is unlikely to be public transport all the way to the reserve except possibly from Samsun on some public holidays. From OMÜ Rektörlük / Batı Garajı tramstop in Samsun you can take a minibus to Bafra and then a taxi to the reserve. If coming by coach from Sinop make sure beforehand that they will drop you off in Bafra. If coming from Sinop with a caravan or motorhome you may want to ignore the turnoff in Bafra and continue along the main road to turnoff in Ondokuzmayis, because if you turned off in Bafra you would not be allowed to drive right through the reserve to the caravan park at the Yürükler entrance.

Fees and permits[edit]

Free entry. There is a small fee if you take the shuttle bus.

Get around[edit]

The road link between the 2 jandarma posts is closed to private motor vehicles. If arriving by car you can park at either post: then walk, rent a bicycle or take the shuttle bus.

  • 1 Main Center and Tower and jandarma post.
  • 2 Jendarma post (southern).
  • 3 East entrance.

See[edit]

Don't be scared of the buffaloes
Summer snowflake (Leucojum aestivum)
Sea daffodil (Pancratium maritimum)

Pictures of all the birds with their English, Turkish and scientific names are here.

Do[edit]

Birdwatching: as the delta is mostly open country a good pair of binoculars will greatly benefit even casual birdwatchers.

For those who know nothing about birdwatching here are a few tips. The enormous nests on trees, telephone poles etc. belong to Storks: they arrive in spring and fly back south in autumn. The great, white bird in the distance which just flew away is a Great White Egret - you will see another one in a minute. And if you happen to spot a littler one it is probably a Little White Egret. If you are at the southern jandarma post, walk quietly along the path by the stream towards the sea and you may see a bright blue flash zooming low along the water. The kingfisher probably has not zoomed very far so perhaps you can now sneak up - handy if you have binoculars ready though as they will zoom again if you get too close. If your expert friend is boring you with the purple swamphen ask them what its scientific name is (Answer: since they were reclassified as six separate species in 2015, the birds here are Porphyrio poliocephalus caspius, the Grey-headed swamphen).

Buy[edit]

Buffalo cheese

Eat[edit]

Buffalo yogurt.

Drink[edit]

Buffalo milk

Sleep[edit]

Lodging[edit]

Chalet style bungalows are planned to open in 2021.

Camping[edit]

There is a caravan site at one entrance.

Backcountry[edit]

Stay safe[edit]

There are no particular dangers but if you have any concerns there are gendarmes (jandarma) at both ends of the road which is closed to private motor vehicles. The national number for phoning gendarmes is 156.

Go next[edit]

Routes through Kızılırmak Delta Bird Reserve
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