Owlsland in April

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The Mountains in Spring - Birds and Wild Flowers

Winter 2014 was the wettest in a long time, so we should have enough rain to see us through the summer.
March dawned with glorious sunshine and lovely warm days, which brought the spring flowers into bloom, and we're waiting for the swallows returning.
Spring has come to Bezirgan!
village panorama
almond trees in leaf Everywhere you look is growth.
All around us is breathtakingly green, every shade imaginable, though perhaps we notice it more when we know just how dry it all gets in the height of summer.
These are old almond trees, blossom past, replaced with "šala", the unripe green baby almonds.
Wildflowers are pushing through on every patch of grass, and the mountains are covered in carpets of them.
Sweep, who sadly we lost last year, used to love looking at them!
carpets of wildflowers
detail of wildflowers on the mountain What's amazing is how many species grow in each small area.
Anemones, venus's looking glass, chamomile, cranesbill all fight for space. The effect is stunning. detail of wildflowers
detail of flower Look at these colours!
They are so many and so varied you could spend all day just looking at them, and taking photographs.
This is salep, which is used in the manufacture of the famous "Maras" Turkish ice cream.
the gorgeous white blossom of pear The trees are a riot of blossom. Though the time for the most spectacular, the almond blossom, is past, others have taken its place. Perhaps the most showy of these is pear, with its masses of white blooms.
But plum is also beautiful. Hopefully, there will be lots of plums (and so plum jam!) later this year. plum blossom
one of Owlsland's squirrels Our family of red squirrels are out of hibernation now, and rioting about the garden. Many thanks to Dr. Richard for letting us use this super photo of one of them.
It's easy to get carried away by the flowers - till you see the birds! The air is full of birdsong. It's mating season, so there is frantic nest-building on all sides. This is a black redstart. redstart
woodpecker There's very loud persistent intermittent drumming as the woodpecker lays claim to his territory.
The reason for Owlsland's name - one of the many Little Owls you can hear calling now. Another one of Dr. Richard's super photographs, thank you! little owl on old farmhouse
cretzschmar's bunting This chap calling from the topmost branch is Cretzschmar's bunting
The swallows are nesting - they came back this year on March 16th. We're really excited that the pair who successfully raised a nest of babies in our garage last year (despite our family of moggies!) are fixing up their nest ready for this year's brood! swallow on a wire
tortoise Mating season for the tortoises too, they've completely awakened from their hibernation, and set about the serious business of finding a mate.
As have the hedgehogs : you can hear them snuffling at night. pair of hedgehogs

The Garden in Spring - Herbs & Flowers & Wildlife

Mating season for frogs too : you'd think that a valley as dry as Bezirgan wouldn't provide good habitats for frogs and toads, but not so. You can hear the frenzied croaking at night, as the males call to attract a mate. Some have obviously succeeded - the pond in the garden is full of tadpoles! tadpoles in the pond
bee on rosemary With the winter having been exceptionally mild and wet, the plants are well ahead of what we'd normally expect.

The rosemary bushes have surpassed themselves for both scent and flowers. They're attracting whole swarms of bees, mostly honey bees, but far more carpenter bees than we've seen in previous years.

There have been a few brave early butterflies flitting round over the past month, but now more and more are appearing.
This is a green hairstreak.
butterfly on rosemary
Southern Festoon butterflies Some, like these two Southern Festoons, simply take your breath away!

Another Southern Festoon, this time very obligingly posing for a close-up photo on the rosemary close-up of a southern festoon butterfly
carpet of wild flowers in the orchard in April Since the garden is now ten years old and the trees have become well established, the carpet of wild flowers in the orchard this year was the nicest it has ever been.
The truly spectacular Emperor Moth, which we've seen only twice in all the years we've been here. With superb camouflage for woody, earthy areas, this moth is the size of your hand, with a wingspan of 15cm. Emperor Moth in Turkey in April

The Village in Spring - What's happening on the farms

Like March, it's still time for babies!

This nanny has surpassed herself, producing triplets!!

mother goat and kids
one of the goat's babies And all three are little nanny goats - shown here at less than 24 hours old.
Feed needs to be carried from the mountains to feed the goats. This load is scrub oak (and is just as heavy as it looks). carrying a huge load of feed for the goats
Bran in the lucerne Lucerne planted in autumn for animal feed is growing strong and green. It's just starting to flower.

Our beloved Bran, who brought us so much love, and lived to an amazing 17 years old, used to love lying in the field, so when we see the lucerne we remember him.

Woody appeared towards the end of 2014, how or from where we have no idea, but he's lovely. He just adores a walk on the high plateaux of the mountains at this time of year; come to that, so do we! black dog
husky and woody This lovely little female dog also appeared here last year. We found out she was a street dog in Cukurbag, near Kas, and had followed walkers for that whole 30 km stretch of the Lycian Way. Now named Husky, since she has the different coloured eyes common to that breed, she loves to sit in the sun with the cats.

And that's a taste of April in the mountains -
Come and visit, see it for yourself!

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