Middle East /

North-west Turkey – A spring journey

As the winter snows recede the woodlands and pastures of the north-west awaken with crocuses, cyclamen, primroses, lentern roses, snowdrops and corydalis, often in impressive drifts that colour the woodland floor. It may come as a surpise to many just how luxuriant and extensive these northern forests are especially with carpets of Cyclamen coum beneath. On alpine turf above pictureque Lake Abant endemic lilac-blue Crocus abantensis rubs shoulders with golden Crocus olivieri whilst on Uludag golden Crocus gargaricus mingles with lilac-blue Crocus biflorus pulchricolor, clearly an association that works for crocuses and visually for us too. Dry hills to the south harbour the endemic Muscari adilii, Iris attica and the sleek and lovely Fritillaria fleischeriana. I was impressed by the birdlife too with great views of Black Vulture and a river mouth crammed with Black Storks, White Storks, egrets, herons and cormorants. Chris Gardner