Hersek Lagoon welcomes migratory birds
Located in the northwestern province of Yalova’s Altınova district and home to 232 different bird species, Hersek Lagoon has become an important wetland in the Marmara region with new projects realized by the Altınova Municipality.
Covering an area of 152 hectares, the lagoon is popularly known as the “Bird Hotel” since some bird species spend both spring and winter months in the region.
Speaking to the state-run Anadolu Agency, Altınova Mayor Metin Oral said that the lagoon has made its name heard and was taken under protection as a special area of conservation.
“In this process, our bird species are increasing day by day. Their number has increased to 232. We are among the first 15 wetlands in Turkey. The best part of this wetland is that the number of birds per square meter in a small area is much higher than in other places. Therefore, when we climb the tower, we can easily see all the birds in this area with our binoculars. This provides our guests with a pleasant cruise and contact with our birds,” Oral said.
Hersek Lagoon is located in an area very close to metropolitan cities such as Istanbul, Bursa, Kocaeli and İzmir, which is a very important advantage, Oral said.
Stating that the first bird observation tower for disabled people was established in the Hersek Lagoon in Turkey, Oral said: “Turkey’s first disabled-accessible tower and the botanical garden is here. We are developing this place as a nature education center. Among the bird species here, flamingos have now become our mascots. We have become one of the places with the largest flamingo population in the region.”
Noting that the number of visitors is increasing day by day in the region, he said: “Our investments in harmony with nature continue here. The Environment and Urbanization Ministry, the Transport Ministry and the Culture and Tourism Ministry, along with the district’s municipality, are making investments here. This place is being developed as a natural, cultural and historical area.”
Oral stated that the lagoon and the region, with its underwater ancient city, castle and lighthouse museum, would become an important center of tourism.
Fatih Bülbül, a bird watcher who works for the Altınova Municipality, said that the waterbird count, which is conducted worldwide in January and February, was made in the lagoon in the middle of winter.
Stating that they also recently completed the count and observed 70 species, Bülbül said: “In our observation, we reached a total of 3,300 birds of 70 species. This is a very good number despite the hot weather in the last months.”
“We have a total of 232 bird species identified in the area so far. About 100 of them are water birds, and that’s why this is an important area,” he added.
Highlighting that the region is among the first 15 wetlands in Turkey, Bülbül said: “Ducks and water birds are coming to the wetland nowadays as the weather is getting colder. This is why bird watchers and photographers flock to the lagoon.”