How to catch a duck…. or not.

This week has gone by quickly. But it has been dotted with nice things.

I went for a nice walk with my Mum and my Sister on Tuesday. We went around Chadkirk and for once in this gloomy week, it was sunny! I saw a buzzard, grey heron, lots of long tailed tits and the usual suspects like robin, great and blue tit.

In the middle of the week I met up with my ringing group at the pub. We’re arranging a bird ringing trip to Cyprus so I was giving them both the information they needed and having a general chit chat. It was snowing very lightly up on the hills. First snow I’ve seen this year. We warmed up in the pub with a nice hot chocolate.

Yesterday morning I went to Redesmere Lake to do some mallard ringing. I’ve never ringed a duck before so I was very excited. I followed my sat nav and found the place. Jake, John and Ingrid were already there and had caught me a gorgeous female mallard. Her orange feet were so soft, I’d never even thought about ducks feet before, but they were. It was a bit rainy and the wind was cold but we threw more seed to entice more birds towards us. For this type of ringing we use a hand net and wait until one of the birds is within reach but with their bum towards us so they are looking away. Very quickly you have to reach forward and trap the bird and carefully take it out of the net. It really does have to be quick though, the slightest twitch of the net and all of the ducks will fly off. Ingrid gave it a go and after much patience caught a lovely male mallard. It was then my go, I waited and waited. Threw seed and gave them some encouragement. My opportunity came. A duck had his back towards me and was within the reach of my short arms. Unfortunately the pressure got to me and I completely fluffed it. I did it all so slowly that they had all flown off before the net even touched the ground. I guess beginners luck doesn’t exist when catching ducks! Never the less it was a lovely morning and always nice to chat up with my ringing people. We saw a great white egret and a great crested grebe too which is always a bonus.

Apart from that I’ve just been doing work, my Turkish homework and seeing my gorgeous family.

I had a lovely chat with my Grandpa the other day. He told me to make lots of dreams. Not dreams that are too ridiculous, but just make them. And go and get them. He told me that life is too fragile and that I just need to grab the nettle with my hands and go! My Grandpa isn’t one for huge conversations, so having this talk with him was lovely. It’s one I’ll remember forever.

Some of my dreams have already come true and I have plenty more to get on with.

How exciting.

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

Farewell to 2018

Since my last post it has been Christmas and is now nearly the new year. Christmas went by quickly this year but there were lots of lovely moments. On Christmas Eve, Molly, Mum and I went on a walk in the Goyt Valley. We went early so the grass was covered in frost and there was a chill in the air. It was nice though, the sun was shining so our cheeks soon got warm. Within the first few minutes we saw a Red grouse poke it’s head up above the heather. We had an idea it might have been Father Christmas in disguise! After the walk we stopped off at the Bake House in Whaley Bridge for a warm sausage sandwich and hot chocolate. I made my way to Dads after that. We wrapped up and headed out on another walk. This time we went to Etherow Park and enjoyed feeding the birds. It was especially fun watching the Black-headed gulls catch the food mid air. We also saw a diving cormorant and 2 sunning themselves high up in a tree. I really enjoyed it. Christmas Eve evening I made Paella for the family and we played some games.

Christmas Day was a little different this year. It was a strange day without having my Grandma there. She would have set the table all festive and made sure everyone took time to come and see it. We decided to have dinner at home this year and so Grandpa came to us. Me and Molly are in charge of Christmas dinner so our day was spent preparing and then eating! In the evening me and Mol nipped to see Nana and Grandad and then went to Mums for our little Christmas evening.

Boxing Day involves a big celebration at my Uncle and Aunties with all of the family from my Nana’s side. We play games, drink and chat. I, glad to say that the girls won the Pictionary trophy for the second year in a row. There was only 10 seconds in it!! A few of use went to the pub afterwards to carry on the festivities.

The days after Christmas I have just been relaxing. Now I’m waiting for 2019 to arrive. 2018 has been quite a tough year for me and my family, I’m looking forward to moving past things and making nice new memories.

I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas and has a lovely New Year.

Xx

İngiltere’de çok soğuk (It’s really cold in England!)

Just a quick one this week. I’ve seen lots of my lovely family and enjoyed getting further into the Christmas spirit. I have to say though, it’s blummin’ cold here now! We had freezing rain yesterday and I swear the wind was trying to blow me away!!

Anyway, earlier in the week I spent a crisp, sunny and misty morning with my Mum, Nana, Aunties, Renee and my gorgeous little nephew Arthur. We all went to Chatsworth to enjoy a coffee and a wander around the Christmas filled shops. I got the best cuddles from little Arthur and enjoyed seeing his perfect smile. The grounds are so beautiful, I haven’t been in years so it was lovely to see them.

On top of the he lovely start to the week, I got to spend time with my Sister in her days off. That’s always a treat for me. I miss her so much when I’m away. And she is always so busy with work, so any time I get with her I cherish!

I’ve seen lots of my Mum and my Dad and had lovely times with my Nana and Grandad and my Grandpa. I also got to see my Godmother Louise which was lovely and had a scrumptious tea with my Auntie Jane!

That’s what Christmas time is all about, seeing everyone you love. If I’m honest I prefer the run up than the actual day. The run up is full of lovely days and lots of treats. Makes me realise how lucky I am with all my gorgeous people in my world!

Here’s to another happy week.

Xx

Christmas is coming

Not written a blog post for a couple of weeks. I’ve been all out of sync with staying at my Aunties and being out of routine. Although, whenever I am in England I don’t tend to have much of a routine anyway…. oh well.

So the second week of dog sitting was fine. We went on lots of lovely walks and had a few more settee cuddles with them both. I have to admit though, I think I am definitely a cat person. Dogs are lovely and give amazing cuddles, but I can’t deal with the hair and the dog smell and the jumping up. A lovely thing is that they make you go for walks and so I saw a few woodpeckers, some goldcrests and lovely sunsets!

The Christmas spirit is slowly arriving. I have now helped decorate 4 trees! Mums, Nana and Grandads, Grandpas and Dads are now twinkley. I’ve eaten 2 mince pies, drank a glass of mulled wine and eaten lots of chocolates. I mean, I have three advent calendars!!! The Christmas films are slowly but surely being viewed. Although I still have a few of my all time favourites to watch! The Grinch is the winner of course. I’m waiting until Molly has an evening off before I watch that though!

Now on a slightly more serious note… this week in Cyprus there has been severe flooding caused by a hurricane that swept through the island. People have been killed in the devastation and there are still people missing. Roads, buildings and cars have been completely destroyed. As well as people’s homes and precious possessions. Seeing the videos and photos of the place I now consider home was really upsetting. We later found out that my Mum’s apartment had been flooded, luckily most of it was soaked up by the soft furnishings! I actually wrote an email to BBC news hoping that they might report on this disaster but I never even got a reply. I am quite disappointed actually. We always get shown such biased news. I feel like this should have been highlighted, maybe to get help for all the people who will have lost so much and can not afford to fix it. The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus isn’t a rich part of the world and these people who are so caring, generous and kind have lost so much. I guess if you aren’t Russia, the US or anyone discussing Brexit (which is a bloody shambles) then it doesn’t really matter, right?

Anyway, rant over. To finish my week I enjoyed several hours of bird ringing this morning. I met Jake and Ingrid at 7 to put up the nets and get sorted. A new trainee called Caroline joined us, she swears a lot but so do I, so it was quite funny hearing her call a Blackbird a ****head for biting its own tail! We got a really nice variety of bird species today and some that I haven’t handled in a while. Siskin, goldcrest, Reed bunting, Redwing, bullfinch, goldfinch, greenfinch, great tit, coal tit, blue tit, dunnock, and a gorgeous Robin! I love bird ringing because it takes my mind off of everything, so it’s nice to de-stress and just be outside. My fingers always go a little bit numb, I guess that’s part of the fun!

Xx

A week of walks

On Tuesday I came back to the U.K., leaving my Cyprus home for a couple of months to be around my gorgeous family. That meant leaving over 20 degree heat and sunshine for the very chilly and grey Manchester weather. I can’t complain though. I absolutely love jumpers and so now that I am back I get to pick a different one everyday and wrap up with a scarf and mittens!!

It was so nice coming home and getting cuddles off my sister and Dad and seeing my Nana and Grandad and my Grandpa. This time of year we all just sit with a brew and enjoy cozy chats inside. Perfect.

I’ve been staying with my Mum at my aunties house since being back. We’re house sitting and dog sitting the lovely Henry and boystrous Bruno. I get very heavy but cosy cuddles every evening and enjoy lots of walks with them. I’ve nearly been pulled over a couple of times when Bruno spotted a squirrel, but luckily I have stayed up right every time!

It’s been really nice hearing some birds that I don’t get to hear in Cyprus. Blue tits are usually calling their ferocious little call, wrens trill away and a great spotted woodpecker gave us a performance too. Makes me smile.

Saturday me and Mum went to the Christmas markets in Manchester to meet Elisa. She’s Molly’s hippie godmother and she’s lovely! We sat and enjoyed some mulled wine and ate some gorgeous garlic mushrooms!

This morning and family visits I went for a super quick visit to my favourite bird ringing site. It was a huge pay off. Not only did I get to handle some old favourites and chat with my lovely team, but I also got a ringing tick in the form of a gorgeous female Brambling as well as a huge slice of cake freshly baked by Ingrid! Today I had my cake and ate it too!

My cheeks have felt very rosy this week and I’m happy to be surrounded by my family. I’m a lucky lady!

Xx

Oh what a beautiful week.

I am writing this as I listen to the Motown Party playlist on Spotify. Pretty much sums up my mood from this week, utterly joyful!

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After writing my last post I headed out for a drive. A drive in the small jeep that has no roof and no windows. I got caught in a storm and was pelted with grape sized hail stones. My little fave didn’t know what had hit it, literally! I managed to pull over, I was absolutely soaked and frozen. A bakery nearby had it’s lights on so I knocked on the door and they let me in. They were such kind people. They opened their big bread ovens and let me stand in front to get warm. They gave me lots of tissues to try and dry off. They just wanted to help me. This was all done with little communication due to the language barrier. Before I left they made a dress for me to wear out of a bin bag. If there was another downpour, I now had a shield! This is why I love this Island, the people are just glorious.

Anyway…

The start of the week was the creation of a memory I will never ever forget and something I have wanted to do for a really long time….. SKINNY DIP! And it wasn’t a drunken escapade in the middle of the night, but a glorious bathe in the warm mediterranean sea in the warm October sun in a beautiful bay. I was very happy and had a huge smile on my face. It’s a beautiful thing to do.

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Anyway, less naked-ness. I went birding by myself this week. I took myself and the scope to Kalkanli and Korucam wetlands. Unfortunately Korucam was completely dry, but Kalkanli had a nice array of species to admire. Teal, Shoveler, Mallard, Little Egret and lots of Coot. I was so happy when I was on my solo adventure. I smiled and sang and didn’t give a damn about anything. I bloody love my life, I love everyone in it and I love being the solo weirdo that I am!

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This week I still had my auntie Karen, Jenny and Renee visiting which was lovely. Wednesday night was quiz night again and we came up from being last in the first half to coming third overall by the end!!! Silver Rocks Sunnies smashed it. I think the anagram round (in which we got them all!!!) helped a lot. And obviously our vast knowledge of British Kings and Queens……

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On the last night of their visit we went to one of my favourite restaurants, Tervetuloa. The owner, Afet, is one of the coolest women I have ever met and the meze her mother makes is to die for! Stuffed courgette flowers are a delight and a zingy citrus dip was a nice addition. Lovely! I tried a dish I’ve never had before, a traditional Cypriot dish called Macaronie. It is long pieces of macaroni pasta mixed with minced lamb and herbs and topped with a soufle type of cheese sauce. Simple but bloody delicious! Although apparently I have the stomach the size of a Cyprus warbler’s and didn’t eat a lot. I saved it for the next day!

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The morning the girls were leaving we took a drive to Horseshoe bay further west of Lapta along the coast. We expected a lovely ramble along the coast but were left pretty depressed by the sheer amount of plastic everywhere. Honestly, it is a disgrace. Baby wipes, plastic bottles, cigarette butts…. I could go on. I found a plastic bag in a bush and filled it with what I could. I couldn’t help think I was fighting a losing battle. But I guess every little helps. If you are reading this, please try and think of one way you could reduce single use plastic… Instead of plastic water bottles use a re-usable metal one. Instead of baby wipes use cotton wool and water. We share this planet and we are treating it dreadfully. It’s selfish and unnecessary.

Anyway…..

The girls headed off and so to cure my glum mood I went to Roots bar in the evening. As usual I got drunk on various shots and rum and cokes. It was a reggae party and so the atmosphere was really fun. Love that place and my little family there.

I have throughly enjoyed this week. I have smiled at lots of little things.

Here’s to another week of smiles and loveliness.

xx

 

Honey Buzzards

I’ll keep it short and sweet this week.

I’ve been busy doing PhD work this week. A couple of times I made lovely banana pancakes with fried hallumi and that was the highlight for those days!!

This week I have seen hundreds of Honey buzzards on migration. It’s amazing to watch. The first big group I saw nearly made me cry!! They have spent their summer in Europe and are now heading back, from Turkey, to tropical Africa. You can look out to sea and see them all coming for the land. As soon as they get close to shore the air temperature gets warmer and they take advantage of the thermals and start to soar. They really are gorgeous.

I’ve also seen lots of grey herons migrating too. They form more uniform V shapes than the buzzards’ random groups and look very prehistoric! They’re usually heading west, parallel to the coast.

Aside from birds, I went to my first ever ballet this week at Girne amphitheatre! I watched Zorba the Greek. Wasn’t sure entirely was the story was, but the dancing was very impressive. And to be honest, being in an amphitheatre was pretty special!! I just kept looking up into the sky and watching the bats flitting above busily.

On Friday the apartment was invaded by 5 loud, laughing and lovely ladies! My mum, auntie and three friends have come out for a holiday! It’s been a happy couple of days so far and nice to have company!!

That’s it for this week.

Xx

Didn’t you know?… I yacht now.

Hello! Merhaba!

What a fantastic week I have had. It’s weeks like this that make me very happy that my life is so wonderfully weird.

I started my week boarding a yacht. Yes, that’s right, scruffy ol’ me went yachting!!! I was on the yacht with Captain Unal, Alex, Doug and Sarah. All gorgeous people. We made a really nice team. I joined the team in the evening and we went for some food at a local place. I had a salad with loads of chopped up walnuts which was really tasty. We also got a complementary plate of cooked sheep head so I gave that a try. Let’s just say…I shan’t be having it again. But still, it’s good to try new things! Our first night was spent in Les Ambassedeurs Marina in Girne. I had the double bed in the main part of the boat! The titchiest team member and the one with the biggest bed! Can’t complain eh? It was a slightly swaying nights sleep, but amazing none the less. I did wake up at one point though and completely forget where I was. Bit weird!

The next day we all woke up and had a lovely breakfast on deck before we headed off. I still couldn’t believe I was on a sailing yacht! Actually, I should explain. We were all on the boat to take part in seabird and marine mammal surveys. We had to sail along transects and count and ID anything we saw. It was a beautiful first day. The wind was on our side and so we got to do a fare bit of sailing rather than use the motor. Unal is an amazing Captain, full of character and so skilled! We saw Scopoli’s shearwaters, honey buzzards, marsh harrier…Perfect. That first day was also really nice to get to know everyone. We all had really different stories but got on well. I think my main addition to the team was my energy. I was very excited and I think Unal appreciated the buzz! We sailed west and then south the first day, all the way to Yesilmak. We anchored up in a small bay and me and Alex jumped into the sea! The sun was just starting to set, the sea was warm and we got given a wedge of watermelon each to munch on. Probably one of the best moments I’ve had all year. You can’t imagine moments like that, they just happen and when they do, you have to smile and embrace the magic. Back on board we ate tea, shared more stories and watched the stars. Scorpio, Mars and Venus were out in all their glory that night.

The second night on the boat was slightly more rocky. I was woken up a few times with big rolls from the waves, but it was quite exciting and different. We enjoyed another nice breakfast and then headed back to Girne, taking a different course closer to shore. We saw loggerhead turtles, Yelkouan and Scopoli’s shearwaters, turns, ducks, waders. Fab! Doug is a very experienced birder, he was a warden for the RSPB before he retired and so it was brilliant to get little nuggets of his knowledge. We had an in-depth discussion about hobbies and merlins. Aaah the life of a birder. We got back to the marina in the evening, Doug and Unal came back home with me to have a quick shower and freshen up. I said bye to Alex and Sarah before we left. It was weird not being with everyone, we’d had a lovely adventure. That evening I couldn’t stop swaying. The land is still and constant, the sea is constantly changing and unpredictable. My little head was a bit all over the place, I just needed a good nights sleep.

The rest of the week was spent doing PhD work and having a break at Silver rocks for a swim and to get some Turkish practice! I may have mentioned my yacht adventure once or twice….

Friday night came around and I got to see lots of my favourite people. I drove over to Esentepe to meet my Cyprus parents Michelle and Paul (and their new addition, Maisie the puppy). Always so lovely to see them both, we enjoyed a drink and a chat before heading to Roots. Anyone that keeps on top of reading my blogs will know how special this bar is to me. Some of my best nights have been in this bar, and the people there are out of this world. Ash, Hannah, Veysel, Katie, Aydn…The whole team was there and I got to spend an evening with lots of smiling faces. I did have shots and I did have rum and cokes. And yes, I was drunk. The night ended at Michelle and Paul’s, eating pizza and talking about all sorts.

Woke up in the afternoon! Had a few hours with Michelle and Paul, eating amazing bacon-y breakfast, fussing over Maisie and just enjoying the company. Headed home at about 3. I got home and made more plans. One of my favourite humans was back out in Cyprus for a few days, Sav!! I arranged to meet up with him and Alex that evening, have a BBQ at Robbo and Damla’s and have beer! We did just that. Me and Sav then went to a music festival in the old town of Lefkosia. It was an amazing setting and the stage we settled at was home to a soul band playing motown. I was in my element. Again, shots were had. When the band finished there was a spot of breakdancing. I’ve never seen it before, it was so impressive! I feel like they must scrape their heads a lot though, they’re always spinning on them! Eventually we made our way back to Sav’s place. It was a lot more difficult to find a taxi than we had hoped, but luckily my “superb Turkish skills” came into practice. I got us back. Sav just drank beer!

This morning and into the early afternoon I just enjoyed being with Sav and Alex. I made us Halloumi and salad sandwiches and after a good re-fuel was ready to make the journey back home. I drove home with the windows down and my music loud. I sang and I smiled. What a fantastic week.

I feel very cheeky this week. Is it fair that I have so many gorgeous people in my life? Not just my amazing family, but my friends. Pretty sure I’ve hit the jackpot? Anyway, I’m wrapping up this week listening to “Above the cloud’s of Pompeii” by Bears Den and I’m smiling at being in the present. It’s pretty damn good.

xx

Güzel Kıbrıs

I’ve been back in Cyprus for 2 weeks now and I love it. The weather is still so so hot, the sea is warm and the sky is my favourite shade of blue.

I’ve been busy doing PhD work, got lots of writing to do at the minute! I also got the reviews back for my first paper I have ever submitted!!!!! The reviews are positive and so not much to edit before we send it off again. I’m starting to feel like a proper scientist!

Mum and Beth came out for a week which was lovely. We went to the coast a lot and so I got to see lots of migrating birds. It was Glossy ibises at the start of the week, but by the end it was flocks of Grey herons. One day was really windy and they fought for a while to get going. They were determined though and just came further to the shore. I got a brilliant view!

One new thing I tried this week was a visit to a casino. I have to say, I really didn’t enjoy it. I just don’t understand how people get sucked into it? It’s literally just a place to go to lose money. And i don’t have money to lose! It was interesting people watching. But the staff there don’t like you just standing around, so I just didn’t feel relaxed. At least I can say I’ve done it though. And I guess I know I’m not a gambler, which is a relief!

It’s been lovely to see friends. I have Ahmet, Mehmet and Osman who help me practice Turkish. Afet who makes the best meze on the island and who also helps me with my Turkish! Janet and Keith who are the most gorgeous brummy couple in existence! And loads more. I haven’t even been over to the other side of Girne yet…. Roots is waiting for me!!

Me and Mum have been taking a lot of plastic out of the sea. One thing really annoyed me… we had a small crowd watching us, and after we cleared a lot of it people then went to swim. But they just swam past plastic bags and things and didn’t take them out?!?! Do people not realise that they are going to end up being eaten by marine life? If you think it’s dirty then take it out and wash your hands, that’s better than leaving it for something to eat!!!! Urgh!!!!

Anyway… sorry to rant…

To sum up. Cyprus is glorious. I’m happy to be here and learning the Turkish language and eating the scrumptious food!!

Xx