Winter Woodlands near Bolu

The even-aged oakwoods on the hillsides to the south of Bolu in north west Turkey are predominantly downy oak Quercus pubescens; it is mid-January and there is no snow cloaking the hills just a mean brushload daubed on the mountaintops. The woodland is leafless and lifeless, bare and quiet but warm in the midday sun and small birdsContinue reading “Winter Woodlands near Bolu”

Taurus Mountains Bird Surveys

After the lowlands, we head south east to a 50-km square in the Taurus mountains near Darboğaz and race to get two more transects completed in the evening, because the weather the next day (20th May) is predicted to be cloudy and wet. The mountain road runs the ridge high above the mining village ofContinue reading “Taurus Mountains 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”

Soğuksu Millî Parkı

The winding road from the spa town of Kizilcahamam leads to Soğuksu Millî Parkı, literally translated as Cold Water National Park, a remnant patch of old pine forest that covers the steep hills. The protection may have been to safeguard the precious water, but the forest also holds petrified trees as the area was volcanic some 10 million years ago. WhateverContinue reading “Soğuksu Millî Parkı”

Life and Death in Late Winter

The view from the old, stone castle or Ankara Kalesi stretches beyond the houses, tower blocks and mosques to the empty white mountains. The capital city has been exploding from a small town of some 50,000 in 1945 to a city of 5 million today. Young people continue to leave the harsh demands of the distant countrysideContinue reading “Life and Death in Late Winter”

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”