Tuzla Milas I.B.A.
Over the past few years I have noticed a disturbing downward trend in some of the wintering birds in the Gülluk I.B.A
The Gülluk I.B.A (Important Bird Area) is made up of three main parts. The first area is the Güllük Delta (which includes the Milas Bodrum Airport, which was the only IBA in the area until recently). In the last few yearsTuzla has been added because of its importance to many wetland birds such as the Greater Flamingos (up to 3,000), Grey Herons (1,100), the globally endangered Dalmatian Pelican (50), Pygmy Cormorant (400), Audouin’s Gull (40) and many more.
Another extension of the IBA has been the Hazma Valley, which runs from Güllük Delta to Sleepy Valley (now a national park). Hamza Valley is important not so much for its wetland species, as for its breeding species such as Rollers, Nightingale, Lanner Falcon, Black headed buntings, Rufous Bushchat, Little bittern, Night Heron and Short-toed Eagle. Ironically the importance of Hazma Valley owes its existence to the airport because as the airport was built on wetlands, so as to fill in the site, they dug gravel from the Hazma Valley. This created a small lake which now has lots of reed beds and sheer gravel and sandy sides- just right for nesting Rollers and Little Owls.
All of these areas are under constant threat from hunters and developers.
The decrease in species such as Pygmy Cormorant, Cormorant, Lapwing, Duck, Geese, Swan, Coot and some waders cannot be attributed to any one cause.
Many factors may be responsible for their decline in the Gülluk area.
They may have found a better place to spend the winter, although this is very unlikely in this day and age, unless they have gone to the moon.
Weather conditions in Europe may be milder, so there is no need(for them) to travel this way.
Hunters are maybe scaring them away to another place.
At present hunting is allowed 3 days a week – Wednesday, Saturday, Sunday and public holidays, but lately everytime I am out (no matter what day) you can see and hear them. I am totally against hunting, but I do understand it is part of the tradition/culture. However the law is the law and I wish they could stick to it.
It is widely accepted that Bird Flu has not had a devastating effect on the bird population. Some people wanted to use bird flu as an excuse to hunt even more, saying culling would help. This is nonsense, in fact this would made the situation worse.
Locally we have not helped the situation by destroying areas of sanctuary for development.
Photos supplied show the same place 3 years ago (with water and birds) and now (early 2007).
At present we do have a stable population of Greater Flamingo, Great White Egret, Dalmatian Pelican, Kingfisher, Redshank and Ruddy Selduck, although the populations in some cases are very small.
On the other hand on the 14th January 2002, 12,279 coot were counted in Tuzla by Kim Gould and Ali Eryurek but this year there were none.
Jan 2002 12,279 Jan 2002 6,000
Jan 2003 400 Jan 2003 8,200
Jan 2004 0 Feb 2004 6,966
Jan 2005 2 Feb 2005 4,005
Feb 2006 544 Feb 2006 2,716
Jan 2007 0 Feb 1257 1,257
Geese have also been declining from a few hundred some years ago to 0 this year.