Summer days at Bois Jarzeau

The heat of the past few days brings dark thunderstorms that travel up from the south over the wooded hills to the west, then switch direction, run up the Vallée de la Tude, and deluge the ground. The humidity immediately drops and the cool, clear air is cleaned of pollen and dust. The fields of cereals and youngContinue reading “Summer days at Bois Jarzeau”

Bozdağ Milli Parkı, Eşmekaya and Gölyazı Bird Surveys

Dawn on day 3 (21st May) in our last 50-km square that encompasses the bare hills of Bozdağ Milli Parkı east of Konya across flat agricultural land to the small town of Eşmekaya and the southern edge of Tuz Golu. The shepherds are out on the steppes; those we meet are from Afghanistan. The first 1-km squareContinue reading “Bozdağ Milli Parkı, Eşmekaya and Gölyazı Bird Surveys”

Karapinar and Ereğli Bird Surveys

The ongoing Turkey Breeding Bird Atlas project involves two visits, one in spring and a second in summer, to a chequer board sample of 50km-squares across the country within which records are kept of all bird species observed or heard during the course of a day. Within two 10-km squares, two 1-km squares are selected and aContinue reading “Karapinar and Ereğli Bird Surveys”

Postcard from the Suffolk Coast

On a fine day, the narrow, shingle edge that shelters the great reed bed in the wide valley between the villages of Dunwich and Walberswick is one of the great coastal walks. There is a distant view of Southwold to the north across the bay. To the south, beyond the pretty houses and abbey ruins ofContinue reading “Postcard from the Suffolk Coast”

On the Konya Plain

The ancient city of Konya, which sits at the southern end of the vast Central Anatolian plateau, has a rich history: visited by St Paul; the former capital of the Seljuk Turks; and home, in the 13th century, to the most famous Sufi poet, known simply as Rumi. In the old centre, a mosque has beenContinue reading “On the Konya Plain”

Early Spring

The two churches of Trimley St Martin and Trimley St Mary sit side by side; one thrives and the other crumbles. The reason two substantial churches were built so close together for neighbouring village parishes is apparently down to a family feud. The resulting Darwinian struggle for congregations had only one conclusion. Poor St Mary; the insult is compoundedContinue reading “Early Spring”

Jabal al Akhdar Mountains: Wakan Village

Spring 2014 The village of Wakan sits high on the western border of the Sayq plateau; it appears out of the grey dawn like an ancient fortification, high, distant and formidable. This is just part of the spectacular view from within the the Al Ghubrah bowl, from the long and winding track that leads across the wide plainContinue reading “Jabal al Akhdar Mountains: Wakan Village”

Jabal al Akhdar Mountains: The Sayq Plateau

Summer 2013 and Spring 2014 The small villages of Al’Ayn and Ash Sharayjah perch on the side of a deep ravine; both carefully hoard the winter rainwater that runs off the rocky, rolling plateau behind small dams. The water is then run round narrow, cliffside terraces in the ancient falaj system of irrigation channels. Many of these are nowContinue reading “Jabal al Akhdar Mountains: The Sayq Plateau”

Bois Jarzeau Encore

The land of the south Charente is a changing; old fashioned, low intensive mixed farming is on the wane and new intensive agriculture is spreading. The old is untidy and intricate, fascinating but inefficient; and the new, uniform and sharp-lined, mundane but productive and profitable. Young Limousine bull in an ancient pasture land; herds of these fineContinue reading “Bois Jarzeau Encore”