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There are two ways to go up the river to Köycegiz lake, firstly using one of the boat corporation boats which can be found on the river side in front of the Mosque, find one of the corporation  desks and tell them what it is you want. Despite them telling you they can find birds for you,few actually have any knowledge about birds or there location. Prices here vary despite there being a price board. It is worth haggling! Take note the price is the price for the boat and not per person, so be careful you are not overcharged. Despite the price list, my wife has managed to negotiate a round trip , taking in the reed beds on the east shore line, crossing the lake to the opposite shoreline to find a quiet cove for a swim and from here taking us to the Sultaniye Hot Springs (pictured below)where we have had lunch and passed the afternoon away before returning to Dalyan for 5' ish .  

We usually set off at 10.30 am and the the cost from 2004 -2008 has been around 60-70 lira for the boat. Suddenly in 2009 the prices seem to vary from desk to desk or person to person at the desks and despite best haggling we found ourselves paying 80 lira. You might think, so what's the deal, 10 lira is hardly going to break the bank, however, you can get quotes from the corporation up to 120 lira for the same trip, if you wish to go a few times it adds up!

The second option is to find someone with a private boat willing to take you up to the lake, again there can be considerable price hike for private boats 100-200 Lira. but we have found someone who took three of us to the lake for this same trip for 100 lira for the day which included breakfast ,we set off at 8 am and returned at 4 PM.

In 2014 the details above are likely to have changed I no longer use the corporation boats. If anyone can update the pricing position that would be great. Currently I use Rhui Üreyen (mob 05422330465)  who’s boat is called Iyan  and is moored to the  right of the mosque (if facing the river) where the river quay turns to go up towards the lake opposite the ‘Jazz’ bar heading up the river.

Like any bird watching days it can be pot luck, but the trip up the lake gives you your best chance of seeing White Tailed Eagle. Keep your eyes peeled  over the hills and mountains when they can be seen soaring, at times they can come low enough for good viewing. Golden Eagle, Ospreys, Marsh Harriers  and Eleanor Falcon have all been regularly seen around lake  Köycegiz  

The boat trip up to the lake should produce Penduline Tit , with a few nests suspended from trees and bushes overhanging the river on the right hand side bank once the river starts to widen and away from footpaths.On the opposite bank  we have seen Rollers perched in the trees on the look out over the fields on that side of the river. When first leaving Dalyan the river is narrow and on side is dominated by the high mountain and Honey Buzzard and Short Toed Eagles can be seen circling here.

Both the reed beds on the West and East of the entrance of the lake give good shows of Great Reed Warbles, though they are more abundant in May and June. Heron, Egret and Squacco Heron  are commonly seen and earlier in the year Terns and wintering wild fowl are abundant.

Picture above looking towards the reed beds to the east of the lake, the low hills in the background have provided Eleanor falcon .

Often in the tourist season both the lake and the river and reed beds towards the beach can seem strangely devoid of bird life despite such idyllic habitat, This is partly due to the season (migration and heat) and partly due to the amount of boat traffic going up and down the river bringing not only tourist from Dalyan, but from as far a field as Marmaris

and Fethiye which only severs to disturb bird life, however,you can still get good views when they present themselves.

Getting the public boat along the Dalyan River to the beach and corporation boats to the lake on non-birding trips have produced at times Little Bittern,Purple Heron ,Marsh Harrier, Osprey,for example, so it is not always a disappointing experience.

Another option is taking a ‘moon light’ trip offered by some boat men gives spectacular views of the lake with the sunset. The reed beds near the entrance to the river from the lake attract hundreds of swallows to roost in the evening and among them you will get a number of Red Rumped Swallows .Below pictures of the sunset over the lake and approaching  the Sultaniye Hot Springs  on the same trip.

The river is also host to the Trionyx Triunguis (Nile Turtles) freshwater turtle  , not as well known as the Careeta Caretta but equally important in  terms of protection.They have a snorkel-like snout and flippers, each with  3 massive claws. They mainly feed on fish, worms, molluscs, crabs and  carrion. They pop up to the surface of the river on occasions ,but are best  seen at the quay side at the Ceyhan restaurant at the rivers edge as they come for bits of  chicken thrown in by the staff during the morning service of breakfast .  These unusual looking Turtles can be seen below.

Hover mouse over pictures below for a closer look

Birds seen or reported at this site

Alpine Swift

Barn Swallow

Black Terns


Night Herons

Black-headed Gulls

Caspian Tern

Collared Doves

Common Tern



Eleonora’s Falcons

European Roller


Golden Eagle

Great Crested Grebes

Great Reed Warbler

Great White Egret

Grey Heron

Hooded Crows

House Martin


Lanner Falcon

Little Bittern

Little Grebes


Marsh Harrier


Penduline Tit


Pygmy Cormorant

Red Rumped Swallow

Red-Crested Pochard

Reed Warbler

Short Toed Eagle


Slavonian Grebe

Squacco Heron

Tufted Duck

Whiskered Tern

White Storks

White Winged Black Tern

White Tailed Eagle


Dalyan River and Köycegiz Lake

Recent sightings in Dalyan