On Sunday we went walking in Pamucak wetlands. This is about 20 minutes by Dolmuş from Selçuk and a place of stunning natural beauty. It seems to be constantly under threat from industrial waste, development and tourism but, for the moment, it remains protected. Jeep ‘safaris’ and quad bikes run through it as well as horse back tours. None of those happening at the moment, though we did see a couple of guys working out quad bike routes.
We were fortunate to see three adult and two sub adult flamingos. They pass here (stopping off for lunch) on their migration to places further north.
The asphodel is flowering right now – well, beginning to flower in our area. We saw black bees gathering the pollen. And butterflies. We saw quite a few butterflies and two large tortoises, quite awake. We heard a lot of frogs. We saw buzzards and larks (lots of larks) and sparrows, goldfinches and masses of magpies. Not to mention the Kentish plovers.
Today we saw storks flying high and several swallows. So spring is definitely in swing here in Selçuk.
Midweek we took the bike to Pamucak. Walked along the beach as far as the Küçük Menderes, had a good look at the wetlands where we saw little egrets (we are sure they are little egrets, we had the binoculars and saw their black beaks), grey herons, several different sorts of gulls, a few Kentish plovers, larks, wagtails, finches, thrushes, and what were almost certainly a pair of eagles. They were distant and hard to identify, even with binoculars, but definitely raptors and larger than a buzzard. We also saw a great many dead fish. Some washed up along the shore, and a whole wave of them to the Pamucak side of the river. We also saw people fishing…
The pollution of the the Küçük Menderes is a well-known (and Nationally publicised) problem. There is a campaign to clean it up and we signed the petition along with many, many others. If we understand the news right, fines have been imposed on the worst industrial polluters, but the dead fish we saw indicate that the problem may persist. The wetlands behind the beach are recognised as an ecologically sensitive area, the beach itself, particularly towards the channel up to Ephesus is an increasingly important tourist attraction. The problem with the river has been recognised and, hopefully, things will soon start to improve.
We quite regularly go to Pamucak beach. Normally, away from the three big all-inclusive hotels, it is pretty empty. We have at times been able to walk in almost complete solitude. We are not, on the whole, beach people. We have been for the walking, for the nature reserve and for tea in the café.
It is often cooler on the beach, there is a sea breeze, so today we thought it would be a good idea to head down there and jump in the sea. It seems we were not alone in this plan. It is Sunday and school holidays so there was a lot of activity on the beach. Local families, small groups, some had brought barbeques with them, and a lot of adults and children messing about in the sea. There were people selling mussels and other foods, and drinks. Despite the number of people and the vehicles parked on every inch of sand up towards the road, it didn’t feel unpleasantly crowded.
The beach café we normally make use of rents out sun loungers and, despite the crowds, we managed to obtain a pair along with a parasol at a very reasonable rate. We had been a bit concerned about what we would do with the valuables whilst in the water, but everyone was watching out for everyone else and the lady taking money for the sun loungers was extra-ordinarily eagle-eyed. She knew precisely who had paid for precisely how many sun loungers. The people in the row in front of us took our change when she brought it round and were swift to hand it to us when we came out of the sea.
We hadn’t been swimming since we left the UK and had forgotten how much fun it is, especially in the sea. The sea was warm and calm, very pleasant for swimming. The sand was soft (and hot – we should take flipflops next time!). We managed not to get sunburn. The water is a slightly odd colour – it’s very shallow and your feet stir up the sand and sea weed. We’ll go again, maybe not on a Sunday, it will be quieter midweek. Maybe take a book, not the Kindle or Sony since we worry about getting sand in them.
It will probably take a bit more practice to get things right – dressed for the motorbike and dressed for the beach are not totally compatible. Also, whilst it is cooling, we should make it work as ‘proper exericise’ (it’s far too hot for us to want to walk up the hills). At least it’s more fun than swimming lengths!