Whos keeping an eye on me....

Tuesday, 27 August 2019

Paris 2019 Pt 1 - The Cure live.

Well it started as a "must see Robert Smith this year" moment, and ended up as a full blown city break.
The Cure had a world tour going on this year, seen them dozens of times but one more wouldn't hurt. After some toing and throwing between, Cape town, Ireland, Scotland we ended up in Paris at the Rock en Seine festival. The Cure headline on the Friday and its a Bank Holiday weekend the plan hatched.

We got a descent deal on a hotel in the 17th arrondissment of Paris. Although its a Best Western Plus (de Neuville arc de triomphe) it is part of a sophisticated 19th Centaury Mansion and has a real luxurious feel to the surroundings. I highly recommend this hotel although we didn't eat here as there was just so much choice out and about.

Liz outside our lovely hotel

This Hotel was serviced by the very reliable Metro (Pereire Station) and was a few stops from everything that you would need on a city sight seeing trip. A smashing bar (The Royal Pereire) right outside the Metro served as our local and turned out to be the cheapest beers we had all weekend (8.20 euro a pint).

Pereire Metro and Royal Periere  Bar

we arrived Thursday at Midnight and went straight to the bar..... hadn't found our hotel at this point and still had light luggage with us. Two pints later ......

Day 1
Rock en Seine Festival

A drinking kind of day, we ended up close by the festival area a Saint Cloud on the outskirts of the city. We stopped at a few bars, ate a lunch and wandered off to the festival at about 3pm..... just as everyone else did. Pretty lengthy queues to get in but to be fare we only had planned to see three groups, Balthazar, Eels and The Cure and the first one wasn't until 5pm.

all geared up


Long Queues

we are here...... lets rock.

Main Stage

waiting for (the excellent) Balthazar
the sun shines, drinks flow


 After Balthazar who were incredibly good we made our way the another stage to see the Mr E (Eels), we gave it 15 minutes and after he murdered a cover of Srawberry Beret we decided to stake our claim at the main stage for the Cure and hoped to get somewhere near to the front.... we didn't do too bad, only a few thousand people in front of us..... with many tens of thousands behind us.
The Cure
Legendary group put in a superb performance as usual

Happy day
off to the Metro and the local boozer!!
Tomorrow we board a big open top bus for a touristy hop on hop off city tour

Friday, 9 August 2019

Seki & Gogubeli Pass

My second visit to this area high in the Taurus Mountains of Southern Turkey. There are two key species to target here although other good birds are around, and of course there is wonderful scenery.

Seki is a small village on a mountain plateau and has a Ski resort fairly close by. Its about an hours drive from Fethiye and the target here was the White Throated Robin and is a fairly reliable spot for the species.
the famous apple sculpture on the roundabout as you enter the village
(its an apple growing region)
and the White Throated Robin area
Last time I visited I did well for Wood Larks and Cirl Buntings, this time neither species were around. Of course I missed the Robins on my last visit.

Today would be different.....

First up as I parked up in the right area, as soon as I got out of the car I saw a life bird, Black Headed Bunting. Perched up nicely in the hillside bushes. Even more as I walked, and on the telegraph wires. Upto a dozen were seen, a nice surprise as I wasn't expecting them here.

Black Headed Bunting


I continued to walk the very quiet road which is arable on one side and a mixture of rocky outcrops amongst the dense bushes on the other side..... perfect for White Throated Robin, I hope.

It wasn't long before I spotted a fantastic male White Throated Robin, it looked right at me, turned away, I was frantically trying to focus on the bird and it flew. Damn, I had just had a focussing problem with a bird on a wire, it continued just when I didn't need it to, and of course it never happened again. A little disappointed that I missed the photo opportunity I was still pleased to get the bird that I came for, and of course the second lifer of the morning. I continued along the road and caught up with a female White Throated. A little further on and away from the road, two more females. One gave up a photo for me, they were ok at this distance but I couldn't get any nearer as they were flighty. A smart bird weather it be a male or female.

White Throated Robin female

I walked back to the car and saw another male, this time it flew straight away deeper into the bushes. I was happy, time to move on.

Next stop is a twenty minute drive through Seki upto the Gogu beli pass. Its a fairly hair raising drive up a narrowish road that is not only steep with loose chippings that make the car want to slide, but it has a sheer drop on one side. Its my second drive upto the pass so was feeling far more confident than I did a few years back. The scenery is stunning but a target was in mind and I wanted as much time as possible to find it. I reached the summit at 1850mtrs parked up and immediately found a Red Fronted Serin..... well that was too easy. It flew over the car and landed in a lone pine tree a few yards away.

Gogu beli pass at the summit


I managed a few ropey images in the heat haze, it flew and I wandered off to try and catch up with more. This was my third lifer of the morning and it felt like it could be a good morning. Indeed it was, half an hour later a very distinctive warbler caught my eye low down and just off the track. An Eastern Bonelli`s Warbler. Another Lifer and a very smart bird. It allowed a fewshots, I could have followed it off as it flew from bush to bush, it was baking hot. I decided to camp out at a well known bird watching spot, a water trough. Sure to attract birds when there are no puddles of rain about and the weather is dry and hot. The plan worked as plenty of Linnets, Goldfinch, Serin, Tortoise and Red Fronted Serins took the opportunity to take a drink from the over spill. I managed to see upto 8 individuals including some first year birds. Quite smart even without the red front.

Eastern Bonelli`s Warbler

meanwhile at the watering hole......

Red Fronted Serin

European Serin
and a surprise bird that landed in the only tree near the water trough
Middle Spotted Woodpecker

a brilliant mornings birding with four lifers, oh its my birthday too, what a great way to spend the morning. Now time to get down that mountain in one piece and have more than a few celebration drinks with Liz
"thanks for the pass out love"