Oh what a wonderful week

Happy Easter and all that jazz! I’ve had a really lovely week at home. My Mum is dog sitting for my Auntie and so we’ve been off on lots of adventures with him. Bird song is filling the skies now which is exciting. Today I heard and saw my first skylark of the year. It was so high in the sky, I’m sure he was aiming for the sun!! I’ve been hearing a lot of goldfinch on our rambles too. I just love their bubbly sound. Another thing I’ve really enjoyed it seeing the new flowers and leaves emerging after a restful winter. I’m not the best flower or plant identifier but I’m trying to learn. So far I’ve seen Forget-me-nots, violets, bluebells, Forsythia, Common speedwell, Pilewort, Yellow archangel and many more!! There are lots of lovely beech trees with really fresh leaves too, they are so soft and so green!!

I’ve been seeing my grandpa a lot this week and helping him sort out some stuff in the house. He treated me to a chippy lunch and numerous brews!! I also got to take a load of spring onions and rhubarb from his vegetable patch!!

Another lovely thing this week has been my Turkish lessons. I’ve had two so it’s been good practice!! Demir, my teacher, said I have a great memory! I think I just need to put it into practice more! Won’t have a lesson for a while now as I head to Mozambique in a week!!

The last thing I wanted to say…. I’ve been getting really wound up with the human race. I know that sounds like a sweeping statement, but I just get so frustrated at how awful we are to the planet and the animals we share it with. My biggest issue is plastic. I won’t rant, but I just wanted to say some of the things I’ve swapped to so I can try and cut back!! For toiletries I use a bamboo toothbrush, a bar of soap not shower gel!!!, package free bar shampoo and conditioner, package free powdered deodorant (I keep it in a reusable tin), solid and package free body lotion (I use one that makes me smell like a calypso ice lolly!!). The next thing on my list is to get a metal razor that I can reuse!!! I always bring a canvas bag with me so I don’t use plastic bags. I have a reusable water bottle made from metal. These are just some things I’ve cut down on. I’m not perfect, but I’m consciously trying. Please please please change one thing you use if you can. It will make such a difference!!!

That’s it for now!! Xx

To Poland and back again.

I’ve had quite an exciting week this week. Nipped out of the U.K. to go to Poland to do a presentation and a little bit of teaching. I set off on Tuesday night and met my friend Donata and her boyfriend Sergio at their flat. I stayed there for my trip which was lovely!!

The first day back in the office was great. I got to see all of my favourite Polish friends and got a few hugs! My office buddy, Paweł, has inherited a lot of house plants and so the office is like a mini jungle! It’s lovely! He’s very proud that he’s kept them alive and that the zz plant is flowering! I saw my supervisor and we discussed the paper we’re writing and chatted about Mozambique plans. Cameroon Kasia bumped into me in the corridor and we had a lovely chat. I saw my favourite ever Polish person, Kasia, in the afternoon. She came into my office and picked me up and span me around. I went and had coffee in her office and she introduced me to her new pets. She has a gorgeous boa constrictor, some huge tarantulas, patterned cockroaches and some other beautiful African beetles. Her room is like a mini zoo now, amazing!

The next day I had my presentation for the conference being held in the biology department. I was having trouble connecting my Mac to the projector but luckily my colleague Michał came to my rescue!!! I think it went well and I answered my questions well. There were a few great presentations. One guy was talking about neurons. It’s a bit beyond my comprehension but he explained it so well and I felt very brainy for those 20 minutes!!

On Friday I went with Michał to do some field work teaching. We went to a small forest just outside of Poznan with 12 undergrad students. It was absolutely blumming freezing!! It was about 0 degrees and we were outside for 4 hours. We took the students around to do point count surveys and playback experiments to assess woodpecker behaviour. I was excited! I got to see some ravens, middle spotted woodpecker, common crane and a hawfinch!!! I was absolutely freezing and my lips were blue when I got back but it was a lovely way to spend the morning.

On Saturday I just relaxed and did some work before my flight home. It was a late flight but I got to cuddle my mum at the end of it!!!

It was a lovely change up this week. Nice to see my friends over in Poland. I’m shattered today though!!!

Xx

Lucky Lady Linnets.

Blog writing time again. It always comes around so quickly. This week I’ve doing lots of the same really. I’ve been doing lots of PhD work, mainly writing up a paper.

There were two nights where I just couldn’t sleep. There were huge thunderstorms right over the mountains. So considering the mountains are behind my house, not much sleep at all! Let’s face it though, there are far worse things to keep you awake. It was quite exciting listening to the build up of thunder and anticipating the next lightning flash. After two days the novelty had slightly worn off so I was glad for a good nights sleep on the third day!

I’ve done a bit of birding this week. Well, one easy one was a kingfisher I heard from my lounge. It must be taking advantage of the newly flowing ravine near the house. I also scouted out Karsiyaka headland one morning. Unfortunately because of all the water, the field was impassable, so I couldn’t make it all the way. Instead I parked up and had a wander down to the shore and saw a few stonechat, Sardinian warbler, crested lark and a couple of black redstart. It was a really lovely little cove I’d found. It had a wall of washed up sea grass nearly a metre tall at the wash line which was quite cool to see. It also had some lovely historic character. There were some old steps leading up from the beach covered by an arching oak tree, and on the wall below, there was an old, cracked, painted TRNC flag. It was a lovely, peaceful place and the sea air was nice on my cheeks.

Today I had a trip to Sadrazamköy, a piece of headland right at the far wester tip of the north coast. It’s only 40 minutes or so from home and the drive is bloody lovely. The route takes you on a winding coastal road, hardly anyone is on it, so all the flowering plants, the birds and the horizon feel like your own. Gosh it put a smile on my face. Just looking out at the flat calm sea would have been enough. But then you catch a glimpse of a perched stonechat or see a lovely cloud formation and it’s like heaven. I reached the fresh-water pool and stopped for a little bit to look for some birds. There were lots of goldfinch flitting about, many stonechats, a couple of black redstart and a gorgeous, melodic group of linnets. I stood and watched one male Linnet singing for ages. He had a lovely song. If I was a lady Linnet I would choose him to partner up with!! The site is a lot wetter than when I last went and so the frogs are taking full advantage. I spotted a few with my binoculars. One was ribbeting away, his cheeks all puffed out, he was clearly in the mood to impress his Mrs. It was lovely to spot them all peaking out of the water. Spring is coming and love is in the air!!

I’ve felt slightly cabin-fever-ish this week, so getting out this weekend has been so nice. It’s amazing what nature can do for your wellbeing. This morning, I sent my mum a morning selfie and she said it didn’t look like me because I wasn’t smiling through my eyes. If I wasn’t smiling with my eyes this morning then I certainly am now.

That’s all for now.

Xx

Birds/ kuşlar

This week I have done lots and lots of lovely things. Most of them have involved all sorts of beautiful birds, which obviously makes me very smiley!

On Monday I went for a walk around Fernilee reservoir with my Mum. It was a bit of a dark and gloomy day but we just wrapped up warm and headed out. I took my binoculars to spy any fluttering lovelies en route. We saw the usual culprits, blue tits, great tits and coal tits…robins, blackbirds and goldfinches. But we also saw three bullfinches which was a really nice sight and also two cormorants. I was really chuffed, I took the bullfinches as a good omen, how couldn’t I? They’re just so lovely.

Tuesday wasn’t bird related but it was quite dramatic. We got snow overnight and so my Mum’s village went into a bit of chaos. Me and my Mum set off in separate cars but followed each other on the main road out, it was standstill traffic so we decided to turn around and head over the top road. My sister had already set off that way but not long after our attempt, we had to abandon the cars because it was just too icey. We managed to get my car back home and warmed up and made a plan over a cup of tea. We eventually got them back and I visited my cousin Megan and my gorgeous nephew Max before they headed back to Exeter.

Wednesday I had another avian adventure, this time with Mum, my auntie and Renee. Renee took us around her regular dog walk in Didsbury. We saw loads of ring-necked parakeets. One was perched quite close to use so I got a really good view. They’re so gorgeous but it was really weird to see them in cold Northern England! We carried on around the walking route and got to the river. My Mum spotted a male and female goosander, the first I’ve ever seen! I couldn’t stop watching them, they kept diving down to get their food. The final sighting was a gorgeous grey heron, it posed for us on a branch overhanging the river. Renee gave us some lovely homemade soup for dinner to warm us through. Such a great day.

Thursday was the best birding day I’ve had in a really long time. Me and Mum set off at half 7 in the morning to get to Martin Mere wetland reserve. We made our way around all the different hides to look at the wild birds that over winter at the mere. There were loads of whooper swans, pintail, pochard, shelduck, wigeon, black tailed godwit, ruff, cormorant, lapwing, white fronted geese, pink footed geese and greylag geese. I could have sat in the hides all day, it’s so relaxing and lovely to just watch all the birds interacting and feeding. We saw two of the whooper swans stood out of the water which meant we could see their coloured leg rings. I typed the numbers into the computer and found out that NFX that was first ringed in 2010 and has flown 27,000 miles. This equals more than once around the entire globe! Such amazing birds. The whooper swans breed in Iceland but come further south in winter. A man working at the reserve got chatting to me for ages. He told me that the male whoopers choose the wintering ground and the females choose the breeding grounds. He also drew my attention to the female pochard ducks on the mere. Female Pochards usually over winter in Spain, away from the males. But three females had been spotted at the mere, I managed to see 2 of them. They are like a muted version of the males, their colours standing out less. I love learning new things, it was really nice chatting to him. After the hides we walked around the collection area that contains species from all around the world. I think my favourites were the cape teals and the buffleheads. We made our way home and I had to quickly get ready for a bird ringing meeting. We all met at a pub to talk about our group and the months ahead. Nice to see the people I don’t normally ring with.

Yesterday evening I went to Manchester for a meal with Dad, grandpa and Aileen. We enjoyed a couple of drinks in my Grandpa’s favourite pub, Sam’s Chop House, before heading to the Bar and Grill for food. Turns out me and Grandpa aren’t that posh, we both kept dropping things or spilling things. I definitely think my conservation and field work career is the right one for me!

It’s been a really nice week. I’ve seen lots of really nice birds and enjoyed time with my lovely family. One of my friends gave me an idea a while ago. He gave me a small pebble and said that whenever I am grateful for something to touch it and think ‘thanks’ or to just think of it with the same thought. I found that pebble the other day and I feel I’ve had lots of reasons to say thanks this week. I am really thankful for my gorgeous family. I’m thankful for my lovely friends, even though most of them live ages away from me, I know they are there. I’m thankful that I’m doing what I love. I’m also really thankful that marshmallows exist.

Anyway, that’s all for now.

Xx

Wader ringing

This week has been lovely. I’ve been able to see my lovely auntie Kathy and saw my cousin Megan and my cheeky nephew Max. It’s always so nice getting to see people when you don’t get to see them a lot!

I also got some really good and exciting news this week. The research I did in Kenya for my masters has been accepted for publication. Soon it will be out for all the world to see. I’m really proud of this. This project made me realise how much I wanted to pursue a career in research and I guess it led me down the path I’m on today. When I get the final web address I’ll be posting it up here so if anyone is interested they can have a read.

The best part of my week was today. Me, Jake and Ingrid, who I usually do bird ringing with, went to North Wales to do some wader ringing with the scan ringing group. It’s really exciting because the method for catching the birds is so different to the normal mist nets we use for the song birds. This method is canon netting and involved a net being catapulted above the birds and catching them underneath. This was done on the shore line today, the target catch was oystercatcher. We waited quietly in the cars until all the birds were in the safe zone for the net to be fired. After the huge bang, we drove down the beach, got out and ran to the net. We then methodically extract all of the birds that have been caught. I had a lovely lady called Rachel helping me with the technique for extracting in this way. It’s very different from what I am used to and so I was very happy to be shown what to do. In total we caught 17 dunlin, 15 redshank and 34 oystercatcher. This was really nice because they are all different sizes and completely different to look at. When the birds are waiting to be processed they are kept in a type of holding pen where it is dark and quiet to keep them relaxed. When you put your hand inside it like a bird version of lucky dip! I’d say it was hard to choose my favourite species from today. The oystercatchers are amazing to look at up close, especially the adults. They have bright red eyes, pink feet and their bills are yellow and orange. They kind of reminded me of a calipo ice lolly! One downside though, they poo a lot and I’m afraid to say, my right leg was covered! Dunlin on the other hand don’t. These are tiny, brownish grey and white birds with dainty, slender bills. They look so beautiful up close and when they all fly together in a flock over the sea it almost reminds me of glitter. They seem to shimmer. Redshank are bigger than dunlin. Gorgeous reddish orange legs that stand tall below them, and a similar coloured beak. They look very elegant and have a gorgeous call when they are in flight. Anyway…. we enjoyed the sunshine on our faces and the nice sea air and headed back once everything was finished.

I’m now a tired little Amie. The sea air does you wonders of good but it makes me feel shattered. In a good way though.

It was such a lovely way to end the week, I’m feeling very positive about the one ahead.

Xx

Tallulah

This week has been a strange week. I was feeling all optimistic that the New Year would be full of loveliness. Cliche I know, but 2018 was so rubbish, 2019 has to be a bit better. I had a really nice New Years Eve with my friends Andy and Pete and their friends and family. It was nice to see the New Year in with a glass of red wine and some fresh out of the oven, spring rolls. I rang my Dad at midnight in a drunken daze, I just remember him laughing at me. Goodness knows why?!

New Year’s Day came and my Mum got a panicked call from my Nana saying the cat, Tallulah was missing. We searched all evening and the next day I went door to door passing out posters of our little love. A lady caught my attention and said she’d found her in her garden. She had been killed in her kids football net. Poor little thing. I was really upset and luckily this lady gave me a hug to calm me down. I took Tallulah home in a box and told my Nana, Grandad and Mum the sad news. Tallulah was a character from the day I found her. She was originally from Cyprus, I found her at the Turtle Project base when I was working there. My Mum took her in because she was living over in Cyprus at the time. Since then, the tiny, flea ridden kitten grew to be a gorgeous, sassy companion. She kept my Mum company over in Cyprus and then when we flew her back to the UK she gave her love to my Nana. We’re so sad our moody but loving cat has gone, I’ve never known any animal quite like her.

So as you can imagine, it wasn’t a great start to the new year. A nice distraction was having my friend Tom visit for the day. I took him on a couple of my favourite walks and showed him a tour of Amie’s life! We went to Etherow Country Park and it was nice to see 7 cormorants as well as 5 tufted duck! I also got quite close to a couple of eager pigeons which put a smile on my face.

This weekend my Nana decided she needed another cat because the house was too quiet for her and grandad without one. We chose Lilly from a local sanctuary. She’s settling in fine, even if I have got a few scratches. I think I pushed my luck when I tried to tickle her tummy!

I’ve just been on a drizzle filled walk with my Dad to once again feed the ducks. We came across some really weird geese hybrids. Pretty sure they’d been crossed with a turkey. The tufted ducks were still there and the cormorants too. Nice to see as always.

After a dramatic week I’m looking forward to life calming down again. The Christmas and New Year period really turns everything upside down. I want to just crack on with work now and feel the inspiration of the new times ahead.

That’s all for now.

Xx

Thankyou, Mother Nature.

Another week has gone by. The house finally feels like normal again after the burglary which is nice!

I’ve been on a couple of lovely walks this week. I love being outdoors. I get to practice IDing tree species which is actually really nice. Thing is, birds move, so sometimes you just get a glimpse. But trees stay still and you can really study them and get a feel for their characters. My favourite tree is Rowan, but I think I also have a soft spot for huge oaks!

I’ve seen lots of family members this week. That’s what I love about being home. I get lots of hugs and lots of tea and lots of laughs.

I had a fleeting visit from one of my best friends, Sav. It was a dramatic visit as we actually ended up assisting a woman who kept fainting and had hit her head. The cafe rewarded our good deed with a free lunch!

Today I’ve been bird ringing. We met just after 5 and had a solid 8 hour session. The highlights were tree pipits and a Whitethroat. Although the goldcrests and tree creepers always make me happy. We had a mini forage about half way through for blackberries and whinberries to put with some meringue and cream. A proper summer treat on such a humid day!

A side note to my bird ringing day. The Whitethroat we caught was a lovely bird. Elegant looking and a bit different to what we usually get. When we were getting the different measurements, we noticed it had built up a good fat store. This means this bird is nearly ready for its big journey back to Africa. The bird was a young bird, born this year and it is about to make a journey over thousands of miles. I find moments with such animals grounding and calming. Lately I’ve been feeling pretty anxious. Life seems to be throwing a lot at me and my family but this bird put a few things into perspective for me. It is small but so strong and determined. It gave me a burst of positivity! I think it’s nice to find positivity from nature and what surrounds us. I know it might sound like a hippy rant, but I believe it. We are surrounded by beauty in all sorts of shapes, sizes and forms. I’m very thankful for our gorgeous wildlife. I wish that Whitethroat so much luck on its big journey ahead!

Anyway, that’s all for now!

X

Kıbrıs life

It’s been two weeks since my last post and it’s all been lovely. My Mum has been out so I’ve had some company for my birding!

We finally finished checking all the Roller nest boxes. Gosh they poo lots!! I was pointing out different species along the way. We saw some glossy ibis which was nice and my Mum’s favourite, Bee eaters!

I’ve done a few wetland surveys but it’s really strange doing them at this time of year! So many are completely dry! But they still have spur winged plovers hanging around. The best one I’ve done in this stay is Agluga. 100’s of cattle egret nesting, a few black-crowned night heron and my first ever Squacco heron! It was amazing!

Me and Mum have enjoyed our mountain wanders too. Early mornings are so calm and peaceful.

One night we went to Roots Bar and met up with Paul and Michelle. We played loads of pool and the next day was pretty much a write off for me!! Damn rum and cokes!!!

In between I’ve been doing PhD work. Starting to look at some interesting results now which is always exciting! Preparing for the conference next month.

Sav came back so I got to see him a few times which was lovely. He came over to watch the football with us all. My first England match of the World Cup! It’s coming home! Our tradition of hungover banana pancakes was maintained.

So this past fortnight has been pretty lovely. I do have to say though, I had one occasion where I got pretty upset about the state of the sea one day and the amount of plastic that was in it. The surface was covered. Me and my Mum went in a collected as much as we could for an hour. We filled a bag and five cups. I won’t rant. All I want to say is that we can all reduce, reuse and recycle.

Earth is beautiful and we are ruining it.

Anyway…

Home tomorrow and I get to hug all my gorgeous family! And escape this intense Cypriot heat….

Xx

Roller-ing with the punches

Another glorious week in Cyprus (a.k.a my favourite place in the world).

I’ve filled my time with birds, PhD work and friends. Can’t complain eh?! Monday was the day for my first wetland surveys since being back. I went to two near the West coast of the Island. It was lovely just going by myself. I listened to my music and just embraced the sunshine. It was really windy that day so at one point I just lifted my arms into the air and let the wind hold me up. I laughed, I think it’s good to laugh by yourself. Bird species weren’t out of the ordinary, a lot of coots, some mallards, little grebes and moorhens. There was a gorgeous kestrel scanning the hillside at one site. I watched her for a while. That night I went and stayed with my friend Penny. We had a lovely meze and a few rum and cokes!

Wednesday was probably my favourite day since being back here. I met up with Damla in the morning and we went and checked a lot of Roller nest boxes for chicks to ring. Rollers are probably the most magnificent looking bird on the island, well, either them or bee eaters! (Google both of them because they are beautiful and might just make your day!!). Quite a lot of the nest boxes had chicks. Some of them were pretty huge and had all there turquoise feathers in full show. I won’t lie, Rollers may look beautiful, but of all the birds I have handled (50 species or so!) they are the species that like to poo the most!!! Beautiful yet smelly. They keep their nests very simple. They just line the bottom with a bit of sediment and that is all. No little basket of straw or anything like that. Essentially they just make themselves a little carpet. One nest box just had a skeleton of a chick. It’s things like that that remind you how brutal the animal world is. It is literally a matter of life or death. After an exhausting day I went to Roots Bar to see my fantastic Roots family and Michelle and Paul. It was a fun night filled with laughs. I stayed at Michelle and Paul’s house that night, I think it is safe to say they are my Esentepe parents! The next morning we sat and watched the sea and talked about all sorts. One of my favourite mornings.

Friday morning was more Roller nest box checks. I went with a fellow Kuskor guy, Paul. We checked 8 new boxes but none of them had chicks. Maybe next year…. Had another night at Roots to see Michelle and Paul again. And I got a recipe for raspberry tequila! Need to try that!

Sunday was another Roller day. Me and Paul went and checked 13 nest boxes. 3 of them had Roller chicks! One of them was only a titchy one and it was accompanied by another unhatched egg. It was a pretty long morning but it was nice to get to see the lovely chicks. We also saw a small group of Hoopoe’s which was a nice surprise. (Another bird you should definitely google!). I went for a quick swim at Alagadi to cool off and then went for tea at Roots and watched a bit of an acoustic act that were playing. Didn’t stay too long though. Wanted to get home and relax!

In between all of this birding stuff, it has been election week for Turkey this week. Every day I have heard car horns beeping and music blaring. One day I was caught in a traffic jam of people rallying for their favourite candidate. People literally sit in their cars with their hazard lights on, waving flags and beeping a lot. It was making me smile. They’re very passionate about it. I finally got out of the traffic jam and saw a man riding his horse on a grass covered round-about. I laughed a little bit. I love this Island. It is so random and so unique and it just makes me happy. If I am having a rubbish day there is always something that makes me smile. Yesterday my smiles came from the waves. I waded into the sea and just jumped the waves for a while. Every now and then a big one would could and nearly knock me flying! I laughed to myself again. I think I need to start doing that every day. Find something to laugh about. Even if it’s just myself!

I’m already looking forward to what this week brings me!

X

Cyprus Bird Project.

Merhaba!

A few months ago I was told I had been accepted to be project leader for a bird project out in Northern Cyprus. This part of the world is close to my heart, a second home for me. My Mum has a place there and I’ve been visiting for the past 8 or 9 years. I’ve done turtle work and a little bit of birding here before. I was thrilled to be chosen.

I’ve been in Cyprus for nearly a month now. My plan was to do a blog post each week with all the things I’ve been up to. My friend Louise came out to join me because the volunteers for this part of the year dropped out last minute. Her first day here was all go. We had a call saying a live turtle had been found at a beach in Famagusta and so headed there to check it out (the animal rehab group had taken it by the time we arrived). We went to goat shed to move furniture and what not. Non stop! The day didn’t end very well though. Louise ended up in quite a bad car accident. She has been such a trooper through the whole thing. Such a tough cookie! I’m so happy she is finally on the mend and we can even see some of the funny sides to the story. We have got the clothes changing routine down to a T! Needless to say, a lot of field work was put on hold and I stayed at the hospital with her to look after her and keep her company. We quickly picked up that the word for soup is Corba, and my mime skills came on leaps and bounds (trying to communicate medical terms with Turkish speaking nurses is a challenge). Finally we are back at my Mums place, we’ve hung up the tinsel and lit the advent candle. We are feeling as Christmassy as possible in the 20 degree sunshine.

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It’s not all hospital wards and soup though.. I have been doing field work too.

My second day in Cyprus I met with Damla, Robbo and Olkan to discuss my to do list. Check all the wetland sites at least once a month; walk as many beaches as possible to look for turtle strandings; conduct shore bird counts; do some bird ringing and finally, a bit of database work too. Robbo took me to pick up the truck, Hercules, and I headed off back home with a head full of excitement! Before Louise arrived I spent my days doing PhD work. It’s so handy that I can do it remotely!

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I have visited quite a few wetland sights now. Each one has its own unique beauty (even the sewage works site!!). There is a lovely chain of them in Famagusta, each having different species which is brilliant for a days birding. I have seen my first ever Bittern, Golden plover, Grey plover, Stone curlew, Moustached warbler, Sardinian warbler, Greenshank and Woodlark. I’ve seen hundreds of flamingos. They do a funny dance with their legs when they put their heads under the water, must be to get the best grubs in the silt! Birds of prey are fantastic here. Marsh harrier, pallid harrier, buzzard, kestrel and 2 gorgeous pairs of Bonelli’s eagles. Birding has been brilliant.

Aside from bird stuff, I have also been walking a few beaches checking for stranded turtles. So far so good, no turtles! I am going to be writing a separate post about the plastic issue on the beaches. It will probably end up as a slight rant and then a desperate plea for change.

Anyway…

One day I had a phone call off Robbo saying there was a dead turtle found near Lefke and that we should go and pick it up to necropsy. Robbo and I arrived at the persons farm. It was quite a strange situation, he had posed the turtle on a wheelbarrow. A bit odd. Robbo had to persuade him to give us the turtle and we quickly made our exit. In true Cyprus style, the necropsy was conducted on Robbo’s driveway. It was a huge loggerhead male. Very fat, stomach full of seagrass, obviously didn’t die of natural causes. We noticed a few lacerations where the flippers meet the body which were probably caused by fishing nets. It probably drowned. We got all the measurements and samples we needed and then took the carcass to a local University so they could do a taxidermy for a museum on the west coast. I smelt quite bad by the end of the day. A mix of fish and turtle poo.

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All of these mini adventures wouldn’t have happened without the amazing company I’ve had out here. A huge thanks to Olkan and Paul who have helped me in finding wetland sites. They’re both bloody lovely guys! Olkan also introduced me to these amazing biscuit/ bread things called Citlemek. They’re dotted with peppercorns and raisins and taste wonderful! If you find them, give them a whirl! Thanks to Robbo and Damla too for putting up with all the stress of hospital madness. I won’t lie, I had a slight breakdown, they cheered me up with amazing homemade kebabs on the BBQ.

In between all of this the car broke down. Robbo called it “teething problems”. My nana would call it “character building”. I call it a bloody nuisance. But at least I know where the mechanic is eh…..

That’s all for now.

x