Crete Birding

                                     February 2014

                    WE ARE ALSO ON FACEBOOK                                                                              Please join us                       

                                            " WILD FLOWERS OF  CRETE "

                            www.facebook.com/groups/wildflowersofcrete

                                                     "CRETE-BIRDING" 

                        www.facebook.com/groups/cretebirding

28th February

Weather...0900....13.0C....Sea, calm....Vis 20 miles....Cloud 100%....Wind S 1-2m/s .... 1011mb  Cloudy

Scanning the coast from the veranda we spot seven cormorant five resting and a couple fishing. Otherwise it was a quiet day only our resident buzzards seen soaring.

Kaliviani list....Chaffinch....Robin....Serin....Woodlark.... Yellow-legged Gull.... Cormorant 7....Common Buzzard 2.... Rock Dove.... Blackbird....Cetti's Warbler... Nightjar heard again.

Another month ends, or should I say speeds by !

In summary it was nice to see a Lammergeier on the 6th over the house again, the first for some time, a couple of dark morphed Booted Eagle and Hen Harrier were again also good sightings along with two Eastern Imperial Eagle on the 13th.

On the 21st we spotted the first Isabelline Wheater this season, about a week earlier than in the past. No signs of Northern yet though.

On the 26th a sighting of an Osprey moving through.

No new species for us this month, we are hopeful of some new warblers, these have eluded us in the past and we know there are more species to be seen here than we have managed to spot or identify.  We shall be listening for nightjar again tonight along with scops owl which have been silent the last few nights.

Many species of spring flowers and orchids are in bloom with many more to still come in March and April.   

 

 

 

 

27th February

Weather...0900....16.1C....Sea, calm....Vis 20 miles....Cloud 50%....Wind SE 1m/s 1020mb  mostly sunny

Highlight of the day...We heard our first Nightar churring in the early evening.

Kaliviani list....Hooded Crow....Yellow-legged Gull....Chaffinch....Robin...Serin.... Black Redstart....Cormorant....Chiffchaff....Italian Sparrow....Common Buzzard... Song Thrush....Raven

 

 

 

26th February

Weather...0900....14.7C....Sea, calm....Vis 20 miles....Cloud 40%....Wind E 1m/s 1019mb  Mostly sunny

Kaliviani List...Collared Dove ....Black Redstart....Raven....Chaffinch.... Blackbird.. Common Buzzard 15+2+3....Hooded Crow.... Rock Dove.... Cormorant 1.... Crested Lark.... Woodlark....Linnet....Chiffchaff ....Robin...

                                     Common Buzzard or Steppe Buzzard ? 

                 

 Out onto Gramvousa Peninsula....The first Osprey of the year passing through as it headed along the coast we nearly missed it as we filmed a couple of Griffon Vultures feeding with ravens (video on facebook).

Other species....Linnet....Chiffchaff....Cormorant 1....Raven 15....Chaffinch.... Stonechat 4.... Sardinian Warbler 4....Woodlark....Yellow-legged Gull 30+.... Kestrel 2.... Common Buzzard 9.... Griffon Vulture 13.... A large aquila looked very like an Eastern Imperial Eagle but the briefest of views as it went behind a high ridge. Osprey 1.... White wagtail 2....Black Redstart 1....Blue Rock Thrush 3.... Great Tit 2....

                                       Chiffchaff....Phylloscopus collybita ?? 

               

                                            Osprey....Pandion haliaetus

                    

                                          White Wagtail....Motacilla alba

                   

                                                  Ornithogalum exscapum.

               

                               Anchusa variegata .... Variegated anchusa

                 

                                Adonis microcarpa .... Yellow pheasant's eye

               

                                                     Gramvousa habitat 

         

                                    Asphodelus aestivus .... Common asphodel

                                   

A few of Sue's other flower images are posted on the facebook page 

 

 

 

 

24th February

Weather...0900....13.5C....Sea, calm....Vis 20 miles....Cloud 100%....Wind 0  1011mb Rain heavy at times.

Kaliviani List...Cormorant 3....Shag 1.... Hooded Crow....Robin....Common Buzzard  Chaffinch....Blackbird....Yellow-legged Gull.

Business in Chania saw us calling into Agyia...

Little Crake 2.... Marsh Harrier 1.... Cetti's warbler....Chiffchaff....Great Tit....Grey Wagtail....Robin....Blackbird.... Blackcap.... Italian Sparrow....Coot....Moorhen.... Little Grebe.... Shoveler .... Gadwall....Pintail.... Wigeon....Mallard....Cormorant 4.. Teal....Mute Swan....Hooded Crow

                                                              Agyia in the rain

      

 

 

 

 

23rd February

Weather...0900....16.8C....Sea, rippled....Vis 20 miles....Cloud 80%....Wind W-NW 2m/s  1013mb cloudy sunny intervals thunderstorm 2200hrs

Kaliviani List...Raven....Hooded Crow....Chaffinch....Shag 1..Goldfinch...Chiffchaff  Yellow-legged Gull....Tern distant possibly Sandwich....Rock Dove ....Linnet.... Black Redstart.... Common Buzzard 2....Woodlark....Cetti's Warbler....Great Tit

 

 

 

22nd February

Weather...0900....16.2C....Sea, calm....Vis 6 miles....Cloud 90%....Wind 0  1010mb After a thunderstorm at 0230  the day dawned very misty with a sea fog later cleared mostly sunny.

Kaliviani list....Robin....Chaffinch....Cormorant 3....Goldfinch....Blackbird.... Serin...  Crested Lark....Sardinian Warbler.... Hooded Crow....Italian Sparrow.... Great Tit.. Peregrine Falcon....Yellow-legged Gull....Common Buzzard 5.... Chiffchaff.... Griffon Vulture 3.... Kestrel 1....Sparrowhawk 1

 

 

 

21st February

Weather....0900....16.7C....Sea, rippled....Cloud 99%....Wind E 2m/s ...               vis 20+ miles ....1011mb  sunny intervals

Good numbers of buzzard in the area, they were not happy with the weather and moved back and forth from Gramvousa to Falasarna area we estimate 20-30 birds. A 2 or 3cy Bonelli's Eagle was seen over the peninsula.

THE WHEATEAR RETURN !! on the local beach we spot our first wheatear of spring with two Isabelline's seen . We had our first trip along the shore for some weeks, there is a lot of work going on with new pipes  being laid. The place is a real mess with the beach area being trashed and the road impassable. Today we made it along though and were rewarded by the wheatear and a single Little ringed Plover.

Kaliviani List.... Hooded Crow....Chaffinch....Sparrowhawk ....Woodlark.... Common Buzzard 20-30....Cormorant 3....Griffon Vulture 7.... Bonelli's Eagle 1.... Cetti's Warbler....Blackbird.... Rock Dove....Sardinian Warbler.... Raven.... Kestrel. Greenfinch....Collared Dove....Stonechat.... Goldfinch....Yellow-legged Gull.... Robin....Linnet.

 

At the house those beautiful little iris are now in full flower 

                                 Barbary Nut....Gynandriris sisyrinchium 

     

 

Kaliviani and Viglia Beach....Yellow-legged Gull.... Stonechat.... Chaffinch....   Little Ringed Plover....Isabelline Wheatear 2...Goldfinch....Italian Sparrow....

                               Isabelline Wheatear....Oenanthe isabellina

              

                                

                                

                   

Falasarna ridge and olive groves.... Lots of Orchids out now but bird species were few.....Raven....Common Buzzard.... Goldfinch....Greenfinch....Kestrel (pair).... Great Tit....Stonechat....Blackbird....Italian Sparrow ....Chaffinch.                                                                        

                                             Stonechat....Saxicola rubicola

                                  

                                  

                                             Goldfinch....Carduelis carduelis

                    

                           Aegean wall Lizard....Podarcis erhardii ssp cretensis

                

                                                     Anemone hortensis

               

                                               Polygala venulosa...Milkwort

                                  

                                    Robert's Giant Orchid....Barlia robertiana

                                 

                            Butterfly Orchid....Orchis papilionacea ssp heroica

                                 

                                  

                                    Bumblebee Ophrys....Ophrys bombyliflora

                                   

                                       Phrygana Ophrys....Ophrys phryganae

                                   

                                                 Milky Orchid....Orchis lactea 

     

                                      Grecian Spider Orchid....Ophrys spruneri

                                   

                                 

                                                      Romulea bulbocodium

     

                                 Snakes Head Iris....Hermodactylus tuberosus

                                   

                                                   Ornithogalum exscapum

            

                                                         Viola scorpiuroides

                  

We found this little burrow in the rough fields behind Falasarna ridge, we have no idea what mammal has dug it ....any ideas ? we think maybe a mouse or shrew...

The dirt pile is about 18cms across and the hole about 4cms 

                                   

 

 

 

 

20th February

Weather...0900....16.1C....Sea, calm....Vis 10 miles....Cloud 50%....Wind SE 1m/s  1020mb Mostly sunny .

Kaliviani .. A few Common Buzzard moving through today, also another single Steppe buzzard.  A nice 2 cy Peregrine Falcon sat nearby and a couple of Sandwich Tern in the bay this afternoon. Our first Butterfly Orchid seen the the olive grove

Kaliviani list.... Chaffinch....Hooded Crow....Yellow-legged Gull... Black Redstart... Great Tit....Kestrel.... Peregrine Falcon 2....Chiffchaff....Blackcap....Woodlark.... Sardinian Warbler....Cetti's Warbler...Blackbird....Italian Sparrow.... Cormorant 2.. Raven 8....Common Buzzard 17...Griffon Vulture 11.... Sparrowhawk 1.... Robin... Greenfinch.... Rock Dove.... Collared Dove....Sandwich Tern.                        

                                           Peregrine Falcon....Falco peregrinus

                       

                             Butterfly Orchid....orchis papilionacea ssp. heroica 

                                  

 

 

 

 

19th February

Weather....0900....18.7C....Sea, calm....Cloud 0%....Wind 0 ...vis20+ miles 1020mb  sunny

Kaliviani List, 26 species....Raven....Serin....Hooded Crow....Chaffinch.... Chiffchaff....Robin Common Buzzard, 1 local 14 migrating....Sardinian Warbler....Cormorant 3.... Yellow-legged Gull 100+.... Woodlark....Cetti's Warbler....Blackbird.... Linnet.... Shag 2.... Rock Dove.... Great Tit....Goldfinch....Song Thrush....Blackcap.... Stonechat....Italian Sparrow.... Sparrowhawk 3 (migrating)....Griffon Vulture 5.... Blue Tit....Collared Dove.

 

 

 

18th February

Weather... Another fine day no readings taken, Sunny

A trip out to Giorgopouli , Kaliviaki, Kournas lake, Imbros Gorge, Chora Sfakion, Aradainas Gorge.

We skipped Agyia as it is currently undergoing a lot of work . (A cycle way , building of new walls and ultimately .... bird scaring !!!) 

We took along with us, Ray from Sheffield UK who is here for a couple of weeks and asked if he could join us. He got four new lifers for his list on what turned out to be a pretty good birding day with 47 species in total, 48 if we were to include the RB flycatcher !

We met at 0800 and set off to see the Pygmy Cormorant at Giogopouli. We arrived in time to see if fly across the back and out of sight , not for long, a shepherd arrived and whistling his sheep put up several groups of mallard and shoveler along with the pygmy cormorant which set off and circled several times above us gaining height before heading out to sea !

Our Giorgopouli list.... Cetti's Warbler...Chiffchaff....Serin....Little Grebe.... Coot.... Moorhen....Mallard....Shoveler....Blackcap....Great Tit....Pygmy Cormorant

                                 Pygmy Cormorant.... Phalacrocorax pygmeus

                

                                                  Serin...Serinus serinus

                   

 

At Kaliviaki.... We hoped for Red-breasted Flycatcher, Sue thought she heard it but it was high in the trees so was not seen. Our first Reed buntings of the year were seen though, two were sighted a little distance away in an area which was inaccessible because of the flood water.

Kaliviaki list....Reed Bunting.... Chiffchaff.... White wagtail.... Italian Sparrow.... Serin....Chaffinch....Blackbird.... Meadow Pipit.... Great Tit.... Blackcap.... Shag    Black Redstart... Stonechat....Cormorant.... Grey Heron ....Yellow-legged Gull.

On to Kournas where we were looking for Black-necked Grebe. They were sighted on the far side, 50+ birds drifting along in a tight group.

Kournas list....Black-necked Grebe....Grey Heron....Cormorant....Yellow-legged Gull....Coot....Little Grebe....Robin....Serin.... Blackbird....Blackcap.... Greenfinch Common Buzzard....Italian Sparrow....Hooded crow...Collared Dove....       Sardinian Warbler

Time for a move again and off to Imbros Gorge. passing along we spotted a few Raven. We stopped at the closed cafe by the tunnels to scan for raptors. Rays third new species here as an adult Bonelli's Eagle flew into view heading straight toward us. It stayed for some time fairly close  lazily circling before heading off west. A few minutes later another came along, identifiable by a broken S3. The other bird was seen circling some way off, the nearer bird then disappeared into the gorge as we headed down the tight hairpin road. Wonderful views of these as they stayed in the area for around fifteen minutes. Several Griffon Vultures were seen distant.

A short list for here....Bonelli's Eagle....Raven....Griffon Vulture.... Hooded crow.... Rock Dove....Crag Martin....Wren....Woodlark....Great Tit

                                             Bonelli's Eagle...Aquila fasciata

                 

               

 

Continuing down we stopped at a left hand bend to look into the next gorge along, we spotted a lot of griffon vultures here resting in the trees below 20+.

                                           Griffon Vulture...Gyps fulvus

                

A distant bird high on the top of the far ridge turned out to be a Lammergeier, a nice adult bird. It stayed circling for a few minutes enabling me to get the scope out and give Ray the chance to see his fourth new species.

We passed through Chora Sfakion, heading towards Anopoli, spotting more griffon vultures as we headed up through the next series of tight bends, in all we estimate c 50 of these were seen in this area of the south coast.

Stopping for lunch between Chora Sfakion and Anopoli we had ....                   Yellow-legged Gull....Crag Martin....Griffon Vulture....Kestrel.... Woodlark.... Crested Lark.... Blue Rock Thrush....Raven....Rock Dove....Hooded Crow, a Peregrine falcon was heard below us but not seen.

                                             Griffon Vulture...Gyps fulvus

              

                

                                  Yellow-legged Gull....Larus michahellis             

           

Onto Aradainas Gorge. Here we spotted a further two Bonelli's Eagle, these are an adult and juvenile that have regularly been seen here in the last few weeks. We stayed here for a while scanning the distant partially snow covered ridges.

Species for this area and Agios Ioannis, our final location for the day...Common Buzzard...Griffon Vulture.... Bonelli's Eagle....Hooded crow....Collared Dove....Wood Pigeon....Crag Martin....Black Redstart....Linnet...Blue Tit....Great Tit....Chiffchaff.... Song Thrush ....Sardinian Warbler.... Blue Rock Thrush 6+

                                  Sardinian Warbler....Sylvia melanocephala

                                

                                    Blue Rock Thrush....Monticola solitarius

                                

                                 

                                 

Back to Anopoli for a Sfakion Pie and Sekouthia before heading back at around 6pm

Flowers ...many anemones in flower in this area also Milky Orchid , Gagea peduncularis, Greek chamomile, Bean Trefoil to name but a few.






A trip out to Giorgopouli , Kaliviaki, Kournas lake, Imbros Gorge, Chora Sfakion, Aradainas Gorge. We skipped Agyia as it is currently undergoing a lot of work . (A cycle way , building of new walls and ultimately .... bird scaring !!!)  

We took along with us Ray from Sheffield UK who is here for a couple of weeks and asked if he could join us. He got four new lifers for his list on what turned out to be a pretty good birding day with 47 species in total. 48 if we were to include the RB flycatcher.

We met at 0800 ands set off to see the Pygmy Cormorant at Giogopouli. We arrived in time to see if fly across the back and out of sight , not for long a shepherd arrived and whistling his sheep put up several groups of mallard and shoveler along with the pygmy cormorant which set off and circled several times above us gaining height before heading out to sea !

Our Giorgopouli list.... Cetti's Warbler...Chiffchaff....Serin....Little Grebe....Coot....Moorhen....Mallard....Shoveler....Blackcap....Great Tit....Pygmy Cormorant

At Kaliviaki.... We hoped for Red-breasted Flycatcher, Sue thought she heard it but it was high in the trees so was not seen. Our first Reed buntings of the year were seen though, two were sighted a little distance away in an area which was inaccessable because of the flood water. 
Kaliviaki list....Reed Bunting.... Chiffchaff.... White wagtail.... Italian Sparrow....Serin....Chaffinch....Blackbird.... Meadow Pipit.... Great Tit....Blackcap....Black Redstart... Stonechat....Shag ....Cormorant.... Grey Heron ....Yellow-legged Gull.

On to Koutnas where we were looking for Black-necked Grebe. They were sighted on the far side, 50+ birds drfiting along in a tight group. 
Kournas list....Black-necked Grebe....Grey Heron....Cormorant....Yellow-legged Gull....Coot....Little Grebe....Robin....Serin....Blackbird....Blackcap....Greenfinch....Common Buzzard....italian Sparrow....Hooded crow...Collared Dove....Sardinian Warbler

Time for a move again and off to Imbros Gorge. passing along we spotted a few Raven. We stopped at the closed cafe by the tunnels to scan for raptors. Rays third new species here as an adult bonelli's Eagle flew into view heading straight toward us. It stayed for some time fairly close  lazily circling before heading off west. A few minutes later another came along, identifiable by a broken S3. The other bird was seen circling some way off, the nearer bird then disapeared into the gorge as we headed down the tight hairpin road. Wonderful views of these as they stayed in the area for around fifteen minutes. Several Griffon Vultures were seen distant.
A short list for here....Bonelli's Eagle....Raven....Griffon Vulture.... Hooded crow....Rock Dove....Crag Martin....Wren....Woodlark....Great Tit

Continuing down we stopped at a left hand bend to look into the next gorge along, we spotted a lot of griffon vultures here resting in the trees below 20+. A distant bird high on the top of the far ridge turned out to be a lammergaier , a nice adult bird, It stayed circling for a few minutes enabling me to get the scope out and give Ray the chance to see his fourth new species.

We passed through Chora Sfakion, heading towards Anopoli, spotting more griffon vultures as we headed up through the next series of tight bends, in all we estimate c 50 of these were seen in this area of the south coast.
Stopping for lunch between Chora Sfakion and Anopoli we had ....Yellow-legged Gull....Crag Martin....Griffon Vulture....Kestrel....Woodlark....Crested Lark....Blue Rock Thrush....Raven....Rock Dove....Hooded Crow, a Peregrine falcon was heard below us but not seen.

Onto Aradainas Gorge. Here we spotted a further two Bonelli's Eagle, these are an adult and juvenile that have regularly been seen here in the last few weeks. We stayed here for a while scanning the distant partially snow covered ridges.

Species for this area and Agios Ioannis, our final location for the day...Common Buzzard...Griffon Vulture.... Bonelli's Eagle....Hooded crow....Collared Dove....Wood Pigeon....Crag Martin....Black Redstart....Linnet...Blue Tit....Great Tit....Chiffchaff.... Song Thrush Sardinian Warbler.... Blue Rock Thrush 6+

Back to anopoli for a Sfakion Pie and Sekouthia before heading back at around 6pm

Flowers ...many anemones in flower in this area also Milky Orchid , Gagea peduncularis, Greek cammomile, Bean Trefoil to name but a few.
 





A trip out to Giorgopouli , Kaliviaki, Kournas lake, Imbros Gorge, Chora Sfakion, Aradainas Gorge. We skipped Agyia as it is currently undergoing a lot of work . (A cycle way , building of new walls and ultimately .... bird scaring !!!)  

We took along with us Ray from Sheffield UK who is here for a couple of weeks and asked if he could join us. He got four new lifers for his list on what turned out to be a pretty good birding day with 47 species in total. 48 if we were to include the RB flycatcher.

We met at 0800 ands set off to see the Pygmy Cormorant at Giogopouli. We arrived in time to see if fly across the back and out of sight , not for long a shepherd arrived and whistling his sheep put up several groups of mallard and shoveler along with the pygmy cormorant which set off and circled several times above us gaining height before heading out to sea !

Our Giorgopouli list.... Cetti's Warbler...Chiffchaff....Serin....Little Grebe....Coot....Moorhen....Mallard....Shoveler....Blackcap....Great Tit....Pygmy Cormorant

At Kaliviaki.... We hoped for Red-breasted Flycatcher, Sue thought she heard it but it was high in the trees so was not seen. Our first Reed buntings of the year were seen though, two were sighted a little distance away in an area which was inaccessable because of the flood water. 
Kaliviaki list....Reed Bunting.... Chiffchaff.... White wagtail.... Italian Sparrow....Serin....Chaffinch....Blackbird.... Meadow Pipit.... Great Tit....Blackcap....Black Redstart... Stonechat....Shag ....Cormorant.... Grey Heron ....Yellow-legged Gull.

On to Koutnas where we were looking for Black-necked Grebe. They were sighted on the far side, 50+ birds drfiting along in a tight group. 
Kournas list....Black-necked Grebe....Grey Heron....Cormorant....Yellow-legged Gull....Coot....Little Grebe....Robin....Serin....Blackbird....Blackcap....Greenfinch....Common Buzzard....italian Sparrow....Hooded crow...Collared Dove....Sardinian Warbler

Time for a move again and off to Imbros Gorge. passing along we spotted a few Raven. We stopped at the closed cafe by the tunnels to scan for raptors. Rays third new species here as an adult bonelli's Eagle flew into view heading straight toward us. It stayed for some time fairly close  lazily circling before heading off west. A few minutes later another came along, identifiable by a broken S3. The other bird was seen circling some way off, the nearer bird then disapeared into the gorge as we headed down the tight hairpin road. Wonderful views of these as they stayed in the area for around fifteen minutes. Several Griffon Vultures were seen distant.
A short list for here....Bonelli's Eagle....Raven....Griffon Vulture.... Hooded crow....Rock Dove....Crag Martin....Wren....Woodlark....Great Tit

Continuing down we stopped at a left hand bend to look into the next gorge along, we spotted a lot of griffon vultures here resting in the trees below 20+. A distant bird high on the top of the far ridge turned out to be a lammergaier , a nice adult bird, It stayed circling for a few minutes enabling me to get the scope out and give Ray the chance to see his fourth new species.

We passed through Chora Sfakion, heading towards Anopoli, spotting more griffon vultures as we headed up through the next series of tight bends, in all we estimate c 50 of these were seen in this area of the south coast.
Stopping for lunch between Chora Sfakion and Anopoli we had ....Yellow-legged Gull....Crag Martin....Griffon Vulture....Kestrel....Woodlark....Crested Lark....Blue Rock Thrush....Raven....Rock Dove....Hooded Crow, a Peregrine falcon was heard below us but not seen.

Onto Aradainas Gorge. Here we spotted a further two Bonelli's Eagle, these are an adult and juvenile that have regularly been seen here in the last few weeks. We stayed here for a while scanning the distant partially snow covered ridges.

Species for this area and Agios Ioannis, our final location for the day...Common Buzzard...Griffon Vulture.... Bonelli's Eagle....Hooded crow....Collared Dove....Wood Pigeon....Crag Martin....Black Redstart....Linnet...Blue Tit....Great Tit....Chiffchaff.... Song Thrush Sardinian Warbler.... Blue Rock Thrush 6+

Back to anopoli for a Sfakion Pie and Sekouthia before heading back at around 6pm

Flowers ...many anemones in flower in this area also Milky Orchid , Gagea peduncularis, Greek cammomile, Bean Trefoil to name but a few.
 

                                                     Anemone Coronaria

               

                                                      Gagea penduncularis

               

                                             Orchis lactea .... Milky Orchid

                                  

                                         Anthemis chia .... Greek Chamomile

                                   

                                           Anagyris foetida .... Bean trefoil

                                   

 

 

 

 

17th February

Weather....0900....17.7C....Sea, calm....Cloud 0%....Wind W 2 m/s ...vis20+ miles 1020mb  sunny

Kaliviani species.... Yellow-legged Gull....Rock Dove....Chaffinch....Raven.... Hooded Crow.... Crested Lark....Cetti's Warbler.... Song Thrush.... Cormorant.... Common Buzzard.... Scops Owl 

 

 

 

16th February

Weather.... 0900....16.5C....Sea, calm....Vis 20+ Miles....Cloud 5%....Wind 0....1020mb    Sunny Light northerly winds later in the morning.

Kaliviani...Serin....Woodlark....Robin....Linnet....Hooded Crow....Yellow-legged Gull  Cormorant 2...Crag Martin....Black Redstart...Crested Lark....Chaffinch....Raven 2 Blackbird .... Goldfinch....Sardinian Warbler....Cetti's Warbler....We found a group of Common Buzzard circling south of us 17 in total, our local pair sat on a rock together and watched them pass no inclination to head up and join them. We also spotted a beautiful adult male Peregrine Falcon perched on the rocks above the little church. It made several unsuccessful stoops into the fields below. We headed onto Gramvousa at around 1000 for a few hours, it was still in the same place by evening..... When we returned fro our trip a nice specimen of male Hen Harrier passed by the house landed momentarily in the grass field below, then headed off towards Gramvousa hunting the hills. 

                                         Peregrine falcon....Falco peregrinus

          It stayed the whole day stooping without much success from this rock 

                   

                                              Hen Harrier ....Circus cyaneus

                  

Onto Gramvousa with the light northerly winds we  see a few raptors high over the mountains there.

As we set off, a Sparrowhawk, which crossed our path, we then spotted a male Blue Rock Thrush, then a Shag, three new species for the day all in five minutes, it looked promising ! As we headed for our birding location we spotted a few Yellow-legged Gull, several Black Redstart, Crested Lark and Stonechat but all was quiet in the skies.

We set up the scope and waited, watching the shrubs and sky. Then we heard them, Ravens 20+ in small groups arrived and started to call noisily for the next four hours they were having a great time pairing off and flying along the steep sides of the mountain, then regrouping and repeating the whole process, we assume they were pairing up. Around us we heard and saw. ... Stonechat....   Black Redstart...Sardinian Warbler....Chaffinch ...Crested Lark....Woodlark... Chukar....Linnet....Great Tit....Robin and Blackbird.... Searching the sky we spotted a line of Common Buzzard, we do not know how many we missed as they were only visible through the binoculars they were so high. We counted 29 heading north in about thirty minutes also one Steppe Buzzard. Fourteen of the commons and the Steppe returned deciding it was not right for them to follow the others out over the sea. A lovely sight , more will follow in the next few weeks. We then spotted a pair of griffon vulture , they were joined by two more, one was very pale, reminding us of the ssp's we saw in the Himalayas. They stayed a while and had some set too's with the Ravens. We were watching a lone Kestrel and were lucky to spot an adult Bonelli's Eagle it was only there a few seconds a raven decided to send it away over the ridge. A nice sighting, we nearly always see one or two of them mid afternoon from this spot.

                                Stonechat....Saxicola Torquatus ssp rubicola

                                 

                  

                                            Shag ....Phalacrocorax aristotelis

                                    

                                                      Raven....Corvus corax

               

               

                                            Bonelli's Eagle...Aquila fasciata

                

                      Black Redstart ....Phoenicurus ochruros sp gibraltariensis

                                    

                                          Griffon Vulture....Gyps fulvus

                     

 

Sue took some pictures of a few flowers out now on the peninsula, I will get them on once she has sorted them 

 

 

 

 

13th February

Weather....0900....14.7C....Sea, calm....Cloud 100%....Wind W 1 m/s ...vis 6-20+ miles 1011mb Cloud cleared , occasional sunshine , heavy rain showers 

A good species count today 23 ! Sue spotted the ringtail as we breakfasted , it was nearby but quickly disappeared. Two Eastern Imperial Eagle were spotted heading north, one at 1100 and the second at 1140 both were in the company of Common Buzzard a total of nice seen as well as our local pair. With the Griffon Vultures 6, a sub adult Lammergeier headed out onto Gramvousa. In the early evening we hear our first Scops Owl of the season.

Kaliviani list.... Cormorant 3.... Chaffinch....Hooded Crow 30+.... Song Thrush.... Sardinian Warbler.... Rock Dove.... Robin....Blackbird....Cetti's Warbler....Great Tit  Black Redstart.... .... Hen Harrier f.... Common Buzzard 9.... Goldfinch...  Raven...  Griffon Vulture 6....  Lammergeier 1.... Eastern Imperial Eagle 2.... Kestrel.... Collared Dove....Greenfinch....Yellow-legged Gull....Scops Owl.

                                       Eastern Imperial Eagle...Aquila heliaca 

          

                     

 

 

 

12th February

Weather....0900....20.1C....Sea, calm....Cloud 0%....Wind S 1 m/s ...vis 20+ miles 1003mb . Mostly sunny, thunderstorm pm 

A nice ring tail harrier flew in the lower fields hunting just before dark. Even managed a few distant pics from the veranda.

Other species, not too many ! Hooded Crow.... Blackbird....Cormorant 3.... Chaffinch...Linnet.... Goldfinch....Yellow-legged Gull.... Raven....Kestrel...Hen Harrier.

                                           Hen Harrier....Circus cyaneus  

                 

Panos again sights the Great Bittern at Agyia, managing yet another photo as it flew over the far bamboo and reedbeds. We still have not seen one here, hopefully next visit. Afternoon is the best time apparently

 

 

 

11th February

Weather....0900....18.4C....Sea, calm....Cloud 0%....Wind 0 m/s ...vis 20+ miles 1016mb

migration is slowly getting underway  with common buzzard seen moving north over the peninsula.

Kaliviani species...Cormorant 3....Collared Dove...Hooded Crow 30+...Chaffinch.... Song Thrush....Yellow-legged Gull 8....Black Redstart....Crested Lark.... Raven.... Common Buzzard 9....Woodlark....Robin....Rock Dove.... Serin....Sparrowhawk.... Griffon Vulture.... Cetti's Warbler.... Blackbird.  

Barbary Nuts, those beautiful little iris's are now blooming more each day we are having a job trying to drive around the ones pushing through our gravel !

                                                              Barbary Nut

         

           

 

 

 

10th February

Weather....0900....18.1C....Sea, calm....Cloud 70%....Wind SW-W4 m/s ...vis 20+ miles ...1016mb

Kaliviani Species....Serin....Chaffinch....Hooded Crow....Cormorant.... Blackbird.... Rock Dove....Yellow-legged Gull....Linnet....Crested Lark....Robin...Raven.... Common Buzzard....Cetti's Warbler  

 

 

9th February

Weather....0900....18.3C....Sea, choppy....Cloud 5%....Wind 5 m/s ...vis 20+ miles ...1017mb  

Mostly sunny. We took a long walk around the local area today , but with the wind there was not much to be seen. Still very few birds about, raptors were not seen apart from our local pair of buzzard that remained perched together on rocks nearby.

Black Redstart....Robin....Chaffinch and Serin were seen in good numbers, Chaffinch were over 100+ in the olive grove next to ours !

Other species seen...Blackbird....Common Buzzard....Griffon Vulture 3.... Raven.. Hooded Crow....Yellow-legged Gull.... Rock Dove....Sardinian Warbler..Greenfinch Blue Tit....Great Tit....Crested Lark....Cormorant.... Goldfinch....Linnet.

Lots of butterfly about today and carpenter bees are feeding well on the almond blossom

                                                   Robin.... Erithacus rubecula

                    

                                          Speckled Wood....Pararge aegeria

                   

                                         Red Admiral....Vanessa atalanta

              

                Greek Chamomile and several other species of plant compete                                                      for space in small earth filled rock crevices                    

                               

 

 

 

 

8th February

Weather....0900....16.0C....Sea, calm....Cloud 5%....Wind N 1 m/s ...vis 20+ miles 1018mb  mostly sunny. Wind variable , later veered from N to S cloud increased but mostly sunny.

Kaliviani species....Hooded Crow....Chaffinch....Yellow-legged Gull.... Shag .... Sandwich Tern.... Black Redstart....Sardinian Warbler....Raven....Blue Rock Thrush Rock Dove....distant Griffon Vulture 3.... Robin....Sparrowhawk 2....Kestrel....Great Tit Crested Lark....Cetti's Warbler....Common Buzzard....Blackbird.

                                           Hooded Crow....Corvus cornix

                        

                                              Sparrowhawk....Accipiter nisus

                    

                                              Griffon Vulture....Gyps fulvus

                     

 

Near Timbaki Alan and family out on a drive spotted a Great Spotted Cuckoo...Clamator glandarius

 

 

 

7th February

Weather....0900....15.1C....Sea, choppy....Cloud 50%....Wind NE 2 m/s ...vis 20+ miles ...1013mb  mostly sunny.

Rather quieter today, it was nice to see the sandwich tern was still around and we had a different dark morph booted eagle show briefly, heading over the house travelling eastward.

18 species seen... Common Buzzard 2+4....Hooded Crow.... Blue Rock Thrush 1 f... Chaffinch....Raven....Kestrel....Robin....Black Redstart .... Greenfinch....  Linnet...  Sandwich Tern 1.... Yellow-legged Gull....Shag 1.... Goldfinch.... Woodlark.... Crested Lark.... Booted Eagle.... Sparrowhawk.....

                                              Booted Eagle...Aquila pennata 

               

 

 

 

6th February

Weather....0900....14.1C....Sea, calm....Cloud 30%....Wind NNW 1m/s ...vis 20 miles... 1018mb  Occasional sunshine , clouded up PM with light rain later

It turned out to be a raptor day today with early sightings of 8 Common Buzzard , probably 10 birds all day, our local pair kept busy calling and flying up to intercept anything entering their territory ...an adult Bonelli's Eagle showed briefly followed by several sightings of Sparrowhawk, possibly the same bird. A pair of Kestrel  were around for a couple of hours,  6 Griffon Vulture moved back and forth from inland to Gramvousa peninsula.

                                           Sparrowhawk....Accipiter nisus

                  

We moved our chairs into the sunshine away from the house to get better views and were enjoying a cup of coffee when a juvenile Lammergeier flew over, stayed eight minutes circling overhead before flying off south towards Sfinari, a nice sighting , not having seen one over this way for some time!.

                                        Lammergeier ....Gypaetus barbatus

                   

             

As were were watching that a male Hen Harrier approached from behind us and circled low overhead , we were lucky to get this it soon soared up with a couple of common buzzard  and a sparrowhawk and went off northwards. One buzzard had us looking in Collins but I think it was a Common !.....

                               The suspect Common Buzzard....Buteo buteo           

               

                                   Our resident pair of Common Buzzard      

               

              

                                              Hen Harrier....Circus cyaneus 

                   

                     

Other species ....Black Redstart....Chaffinch....Blue Tit.... Great Tit....Goldfinch... Crag Martin....Linnet....Sardinian Warbler....White Wagtail....Raven 2..Rock Dove     Yellow-legged Gull 20+.... Cetti's Warbler.... Little Egret 1.

             First blooming of  Ornithogalum umbellatum  on our patch this morning

                                  

While the Almond tree is now blossoming well...... 

                                 Prunus dulcis.... Amygdalus communis

                

 

The original link to the vulture programme posted yesterday has been removed from Youtube, two alternatives are now in its place in case you missed it.

 

 

5th February

Weather....0900....12.3C....Sea, choppy....Cloud 100%....Wind 0 m/s ...vis 6 miles 1019mb Steady rain until mid afternoon then brightened.

A bit of armchair birding during the rain this morning !! Scanning  through the scope produced a Sandwich Tern sat on a rock with a Yellow-legged Gull, several other YL gulls sat in a field. Lots of small birds initially flitting through the trees, Chaffinch, greenfinch, goldfinch.

They all settled down in the rain and could be seen looking bedraggled sat in the trees. Male Black Redstart chased each other from their winter territories and a Song Thrush was seen in the olive grove. Hooded Crow, Blackbird and Sardinian Warbler completed the list. The dark morph Booted Eagle turned up again at around 5pm

Anemones carpeted the olive grove and added a lot of colour on a dull rainy day.

                                                 Anemones in the olive grove 

                 

                                               Booted Eagle ...Aquila pennata

               

               

 

For those interested in Vultures, the link below will take you to a brilliant documentary into the lives of Vultures. Its graphic but compelling viewing.

Giving a insight into the dangers they face from other species but mainly man. Filmed in Africa, with Ruppells, White backed and Lappet faced .

NATURAL WORLD ....BEAUTY IN THE BEAST 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d2z-VFSY86M

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zLZXHTKxflQ

 

 

 

 

4th February

Weather....0900....12.7C....Sea , rough....Cloud 100%....Wind N 5m/s. Vis 15miles 1017mb  The only bird of note today, a Booted Eagle, appearing at around 4pm. very bad light made photography difficult, but a few images below.....

                                           Booted eagle....Aquila pennata 

                    

                     

                     

               

 

 

 

 

3rd February

Weather....0900....13.7C....Sea , rough....Cloud 100%....Wind NE 5ms ...1010mb Cloudy AM . Persistant heavy rain PM

Very dull start to the day, a Robin and Black Redstart were perched near the house, Chaffinch were singing in the olive grove and the local population of Hooded crow were harassing our local pair of Common Buzzard. A few Yellow-legged Gull swooped over the coastline searching the waves for food. A distant Sparrowhawk  to the north and three Shag sat resting in the harbour. Heavy and persistent rain came at about noon flooding all the fields and crops along the coast. We temporarily have our wetlands back !!!! There are no birds to take advantage though .......

 

 

 

2nd February

Weather....0900....11.9C....Sea , swell....Cloud 100%....Wind E 5-7 m/s...1010mb steady rain AM showers PM

1 Griffon Vulture flying in and out of the rain clouds north of us ....1 Common Buzzard ....2 Stonechat.. 10+ Hooded Crow....1 Sardinian Warbler  

 

 

 

1st February

Kalo mina  Καλο Μινα

We added five new species to our list last month, all pretty scarce visitors to the island, what will this month bring ?

Weather...0900...11.8C...Sea, large swell....Vis 3 miles....Cloud 100%....           Wind NE 5 m/s...1020mb, Cloudy

Kaliviani List....Common Buzzard 3....Yellow-legged Gull....hopefully more to follow, its very quiet though !!