The Göksu delta and its Kuşcenneti bird reservation are of outstanding environmental importance, boasting a tremendous variety of flora and fauna. The best place to start an exploration is Akgöl, the westerly lagoon, where pygmy cormorants, Dalmatian pelicans, marbled and white-headed ducks and even the practically extinct black francolin and purple gallinule feed. The sand spit is a nesting ground for loggerhead and green turtles as well as a home to sea daffodils and Audouin’s gulls. East of this, reached by an access road halfway between Taşucu and Silifke, are extensive ditches where you’ll see kingfishers (including the rare chestnut brown and white Smyrna variety), coots, wagtails, spoonbills, egrets and grey, purple and squacco herons. Still further east, the huge natural fishpond of Paradeniz lagoon and the flats beyond it harbour waders, ospreys and terns.
Nesting and migration seasons are in the spring (with a peak between late March and early April), and in October. Information leaflets and maps of the delta are available from the Lades Motel or Özel Çevre Koruma Kurumu (Special Environmental Areas Protection Agency; t 0324 714 9508), 5km west of Silifke, who can also arrange an English-speaking guide for group trips. Alternatively, hire a taxi from your hotel to the Göksu delta bird-watching tower (daily 5am–9pm, free entry). Make sure you take your own water and supplies, as no cafés or facilities are available.