The Mongolian Finch was seemingly difficult to connect with in eastern Turkey in May 2012. Two days of extensive search in the lava fields between Serpmetas and Tendürük Gecedi and above the palace at Ishak Pasa were fruitless.
However, at least three birds (two males and a female) were found in a wadi east of Zernek Baraji SE of Van Gölu. The birds were found on the southern slope of the wadi about one km. east of the road/bridge directly below where a HV power line crosses the wadi. Exact location is shown on this link:
The male was seen collecting nest-material so it’s believed that they were breeding close by. Hopefully this wadi will be a reliable site for the species if it’s not present in the lava fields NE of Van Gölu. The site is also mentioned be Malling Olsen in his 2005-2007 report, but has by mistake been reported as west of the road/bridge, not east which is the correct location.
The exact same spot also held a pair of both Trumpeter Finches and Crimson-winged Finches, giving us a unique opportunity to simultaneously study three of the four species on page 391 of the Collins Guide. Furthermore the same wadi also held several pairs of Finsch's Wheatear and Grey-necked Bunting, and a breeding pair of both Long-legged Buzzard and Egyptian Vulture. Our mid-day visit in strong breeze and clear skies also produced two Nigthjars and several Rosefinches, a hint of the sites potential for resting migrants. At only a 45 minutes drive SE from Van city, the site is a must for anyone visiting eastern Turkey.
The political situation in the area seemed to be very stable at the time of our visit. We had no problems reaching the site and even travelled further south to the wetlands south of Yüksekova without experiencing any problems with military/Jandarma or others.
Samsung Galaxy SII through Swarovski ATS 80 w/25-50x zoom