The ones that got away

29th Oct 2020

Montpellier Snake © Ian Green

The flow of migrant birds this autumn has added several new species to our verandah list but two ‘got away’ this week. The first was on my cycling route when a large Aquila eagle flew over. No binoculars! And I was trying to beat my record for the circuit! Long tail. Must be a Golden or an Imperial, either would be new for us here in the village.

But I didn’t stop wanting my record and thinking that without binoculars I could not be sure anyway. Then yesterday I was as ever quickly checking the Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs whilst having lunch and caught sight of a brightly-coloured little bird with wing bars and a striking supercilium, orange in front of the eye. Unfortunately it was only in view for a few seconds and I’m still searching for it hoping for another view. A yellow rump would have clinched it as a Pallas’s Warbler but I can’t quite rule out Yellow-browed on those views. Doubly frustrating as either would be a major rarity down here in Southwest Turkey! I’ll have to wait for another one to come through…

It rained twice last week. That after no rain for just about six months. So it makes a difference and the green shoots are already emerging from the tawny soils. The smell of wet earth is amazing after six months without it. Little Prospero autumnalis is flowering in huge numbers now in the valley below us but its such a small thing that even thousands fail to impress the eye too much. I went up to the mountains last week and met up with Chris Gardner to look at the population of Colchicum sanguicolle again and also Crocus pallasii which we found at a couple of localities, the one on Ak Dagi new to us, and on the way back I bumped into Colchicum boissieri and Colchicum variegatum too.

Speaking of Autumn bulbs Kurt has returned from leading our Peloponnese trip – yes there are a few tours going – and from the photos I’ve seen of the first few days that beautiful part of Greece was a sever chock full of beautiful bulbs. We’ll put some images up from that tour this week. Meanwhile we do have another tour going next week – to Norfolk. This autumn in the UK is proving excellent for fungi so why not come along and enjoy a little of quiet rural Norfolk?

Snakes. Strangely perhaps we see very little of the many snakes in the Kaş area in the summer months even though its so hot then. It tends to be spring and autumn when we run across them. Zoe and I spotted a Dahl’s Whip Snake whilst checking the trap cameras and we’ve had several encounters with Montpellier Snake. I turned a large rock only to find a substantial black snake looking rather annoyed. It slithered off towards Zoe who was looking under the stone too. I quickly dropped the rock! The snake moved back under it. The next day I returned to check, rather worried that I might have damaged the snake when dropping the rock back. It was still there and quite healthy – see pictures! We’ve had a little spate of Chameleons crossing roads recently too – sadly not all of them successfully!