Twitter is a wonderful invention. No more than 140 characters per Tweet and yet you can get to know a stranger quite well and have a good sense that you will get on when you do eventually meet in person. This was certainly the case with the lovely lady behind the Istanbul blog, Agent L Abroad. When she mentioned she needed a vacation (she’s American), “Come and crash at ours for a few days,” we said. So she did.
We meet her at the otogar and this is a city girl craving the beach – right now. We’re a bit short on time so we head back to ours to dump bags, put swimming gear on and we’re straight back out and on the dolmuş to Koca Çalış. And don’t you just love it when there’s something special and unexpected to show a guest when you’re trying to show your town off?
Never before have we seen baby flamingos on the beach at Koca Çalış – never before have we seen baby flamingos anywhere for that matter. But here they are, standing by the sea, watching the bathers and the kite surfers go by. They seem completely unphased by all these goings on and don’t mind too much as I walk towards them, ever so slowly, so I can get a closer photo.
Where they’ve appeared from, we have no idea. We’ve posted a couple of photos to our Facebook page and know that, at least until yesterday, they are still around; further along the beach towards Dalaman. We know there are thousands of flamingos in Turkey…just not in Koca Çalış. In fact, when we first see them from a distance, it doesn’t even cross our mind that they’re going to be flamingos.
Because the main habitat of Turkey’s flamingos is up around the central Anatolian lake, Tuz Gölü, a long way away from our Mediterranean shores. They also reside in the wetlands of Thracian Turkey up in the northwest and also around Lake Bafa, northwest of Milas. Flamingos don’t come to Fethiye…except it appears they do, now.
It kind of makes sense. Flamingos thrive in salty wetlands, of which there’s no shortage (at least for now) around Çalış, Çiftlik and beyond. Maybe the dams and unpredictable rains – or lack of – around Tuz Gölü are forcing them southwards? Whatever the case, according to a Hürriyet article, 2011 thankfully saw record numbers of flamingos hatching; good news for a bird that is increasingly endangered in Turkey. Let’s hope this pair are the start of flamingo population in Fethiye.
And as for Agent L, well she did have her camera and she did take some photos – she’d just forgotten to put the memory card in. It was to be a theme of the weekend, and an eventful weekend it was.
Part 2 – the football – to come tomorrow. In the meantime, here’s the recent flamingo conversation from our Facebook page: