Bittern, turtle, fox and gecko.

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This week has been rather lovely. It started off with me staying at my Mum’s apartment for a night. Decided I needed a little Amie time. I stepped out onto the balcony to enjoy the first morning sun beams and was greeted by the site of a gorgeous, bronze fox. It seemed timid and very on-edge. I watched it for a while. The foxes here in Cyprus aren’t the dazzling copper of the ones back in the UK. They are flecked with an array of brown colours. Still breathtaking though!

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I took a couple of volunteers to do wetland surveys of the Famagusta chain. It’s a full day of monitoring but it’s lovely because each wetland has it’s own unique charm. We saw a huge group of Alpine swifts at Ergazi which was exciting. Warblers were aplenty, with spectacled, lesser whitethroat, cetti’s, fan-tailed, sardinian and chiffchaff all performing their delightful songs. I had a call from Robbo saying a Bittern had been injured and we needed to collect it to keep it in our rehab cage for a few days. Such a feisty character, and utterly stunning. It’s rare to see bitterns, normally you just hear their booming calls through reed beds. To see one so close was amazing, although, the circumstances could have been a bit better. Luckily it only had a bruised wing, so we provided it with fresh fish for a few days and released her back at the reservoir.

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Another call from Robbo and another animal for us to help. This time it was a turtle that had been stranded on Esentepe beach. It was a pretty big Loggerhead. It was covered in barnacles, algae and bivalves. Looked in a pretty bad way. We think it might have been caught in a net and brought up too quickly, giving it “the bends”. This has left it unable to dive properly, so it has just been floating at the surface, unable to feed. We loaded it into the truck and brought it back to Alagadi awaiting further instruction. I demonstrated how to take biopsies and how to apply flipper tags and we also took measurements of the  carapace (shell). It was then taken to the University vets to be placed on a drip and get some TLC.

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This week I also got back out on a fishing boat. I’ve really missed it, but been so busy! Me and Rupert headed out to Esentepe harbour to meet Cemal. A new fisherman for the team, he was lovely! I used my very limited Turkish and he used his limited English. Between us we managed to communicate okay! He was joined by his brother, and another nearby boat was captained by his son. A family of fisherman (Aile balıkçi)! They had a good haul of their target fish and no by-catch, so it was a good trip. The sunrise was a stunner, such an amazing way to start a day. We usually arrive to harbours in the cover of darkness, which has given me the opportunity to study the stars. I now know a few more constellations and have seen my fair share of shooting stars. I see Jupiter regularly. I now know Scorpio, the Scales of Justice and the Ursa Major (not just “the plough” part). I’ve always loved star gazing, there’s something calming about it.

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Another regular wildlife day I have is the Olkan and Amie eagle days. We use these days to monitor the Bonelli’s eagles breeding in the North of Cyprus. It was an amazing day. We got to see 4 individuals, 3 of which we saw enter the nests. Absolutely fantastic. Such beautiful creatures. Sometimes I find myself pinching myself that I get to live this sort of life. I get to monitor eagles!

As well as the field work, animals also great me on a daily basis. In the mornings I have elated bleats from the goats and a wheezing exclamation from Dion the donkey. By night I have the two gecko’s in the corner above my bed. Unfortunately they aren’t great at keeping the mosquitos at bay and I have had a few bites this week. Mainly on my face and the bottom of my feet!!!!

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Another fantastic week. Flying home tomorrow for a week. So looking forward to cuddles!!

 

xx

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