Photographers flock to Nallıhan Bird Paradise
Selahattin Sönmez - ANKARADuring the 4th Photo Safari Photography Contest, organized by the Consumer and Environmental Education Foundation (TUKCEV), hundreds of amateur and professional photographers and nature enthusiasts competed against each other to photograph the wildlife and natural beauties in Ankara’s Nallıhan Bird Paradise.
This year’s slogan for the two-day contest was “Photography Hunters Good Luck.”
Nallıhan Bird Paradise is a sanctuary for some 200 bird species, said Nevzat Ceylan, the Capital Ankara Assembly Executive Board president and coordinator of the Nallıhan Bird Paradise 4th Photo Safari Photography Contest.
“Nallıhan Bird Paradise is a significant place not only for birds but also for nature enthusiasts. Our goal is to protect the wild animals, whose numbers are gradually decreasing, and natural beauties, to encourage photography instead of hunting, to raise environmental awareness and to share the unique beauties of Nallıhan Bird Paradise, where 200 bird species are living. It is possible to see birds like herons, owls and raptors. We wished good luck to the photographers who attended the two-day photography event,” Ceylan said.
While the Kızılırmak and Sakarya rivers, which bring life to the region’s steppes, flow some 1,500 meters above the sea, the areas surrounding these important water resources have been home to settlements throughout history.
Nallıhan Bird Paradise, one of 70 bird sanctuaries in Turkey, was taken under protection by the General Directorate for National Parks and Wildlife in 1994.
The region is home to bird species including hawks, falcons, eagles, nephrons, squacco herons, spoonbills, mallards, cormorants, northern pintails, cranes, partridges, curlews, quails, geese, water rails and many others.
The region’s Sakarya River, where Sakarya Dam is located, is also home to a number of bird species. The birds here eat fish however eagles, hawks and other raptors wait atop rocks to hunt smaller birds.
The local birds which come to the lake at sunrise in the morning regularly perform a day-long concert, with each bird playing a different instrument in the orchestra
The vibrant flowers, bare mountains and hills and colorful and interesting land formations make visitors feel like they are on a different planet.
Some parts of the lake at Nallıhan Bird Paradise are surrounded by reeds, which are home to some of the most striking species, including herons and storks, which freely fly in the area.
Another feature of the region is that raptors and water birds are often seen together on top of the hills.
Visitors must be quiet and patient if they want to see the residents of the bird sanctuary up close. If visitors become one with nature and patient, their winged hosts can be sure to treat them to their natural orchestra and be generous in showing their love and beauty. Nallıhan Bird Paradise is located in the wetlands at the outfalls of rivers which flow through the Sarıyar Dam Lake and in the rocky site near the wetland.
Nallıhan Bird Paradise is also the resting area for many stork species as well as ruddy shelducks during the migration season. The habitat of the white tailed eagle, which is occasionally seen in the region, is probably somewhere close to the sanctuary. The nearby Beynam Forest in Ankara’s Bala district is also an important bird zone due to its nesting imperial eagles.