Manyas 59 km (36 mile) far to Balikesir. Manyas is located in the Marmara Region, 110 km. north of Balıkesir and 121 km. west of Bursa. It is a shallow nutrient-rich freshwater lake with an average depth of 3 meters. It is 18 m. above the sea level. Lake Manyas is fed by groundwaters and four small streams. Small deltas have formed where the streams merge the lake, comprising extensive marshes and tree-lined riverbanks. Narrow belts of reed Phragmites fringe much of the lake. Water is abstracted for factory use and for irrigation. Cattle- and sheep-grazing is common along the lake shores.

Lake Manyas is a protected area for bird species. Therefore it has also been known as the Lake Kuş (meaning Bird Lake in Turkish). In 1938, a nature reserve, or the Kuş Cenneti (meaning “Bird Paradise” in Turkish), was set up here by the German hydrologist and zoologist Curt Crosswig. The total reserve area is 64 hectares, including a large area for breeding and wintering of waterbirds, a small ornithological museum of stuffed birds, remote-controlled viewing cameras, and an observation tower erected in 1952 by the Hydrology Department of the University of Istanbul.

There are 255 bird and at least 20 fish species recorded at the lake. There are two main groups of birds visiting the lake. The first group is the birds that come here to breed between March and July. The second groups is the birds that pass by during the migration season (either November or April-May). Over 3 million birds fly across the area on their migratory routes – stroks, cranes, pelicans and birds of prey like sparrowhawk and spotted eagles. White-headed Duck (Oxyura leucocephala), Eurasian Spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia), Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus), Dalmatian Pelican (Pelecanus crispus), and White Pelicans (Pelecanus onocrotalus) are the most significant species of bird breeding and wintering at Lake Manyas. April and May are the best months to observe the birds at the lake.

 

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