Crete Birding

                                     January 2014

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                                            " WILD FLOWERS OF  CRETE "

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                                                     "CRETE-BIRDING" 

                        www.facebook.com/groups/cretebirding

31st January

Weather ...0900...13.6C....Sea, calm.... Vis 20 miles....Cloud 100%....Wind 0 1020mb cloudy

Very quiet today what birds were about could only be heard. Several Blackbirds .. Greenfinch....Chaffinch....Serin chattered in the olive grove

Raven 2....Hooded Crow....Kestrel 1....Yellow-legged Gull...Common Buzzard 4.... White wagtail 20+ were all seen in the afternoon.

At around 2300 we had a nice sighting to end the month as a Barn Owl slowly glided along through our front veranda !!!! 

Our first barbary nut in flower today, soon we will have them all over our gravel where we park our car and down the gravel track to the road. Others are seeing Orchid in flower, we have yet to go looking for them.....

 

                                    Barbary Nut.... Gynandriris sisyrinchium  

                                

 

 

 

30th January

Weather ...0900...14.1C....Sea, calm.... Vis 20+....Cloud 80% high and thin.... Wind 0 ....1020mb sunny intervals 

The last few days we have had storms with high wind, rain, thunder and lightning and even some hailstones. No birding done. Today we took a ride along the north coast o n route to Agyia lake. A lot of areas were devastated by the heavy rains, rivers were washed out and lots of the bamboo has been washed to the sea , all along the coast near Kissamos looked like a hurricane had hit and there was little in the the way of birdlife. A single Kentish Plover is still in the Kaliviani area. Yellow-legged Gulls all along the coast in groups , perhaps 200+ in total mainly in the fields and a couple of Cormorant. The Spur-winged Lapwing still present further along the coast. Coastal wise, that was it !! on route we spotted 8 Common buzzard.

At Agyia....Shoveler ...Teal....Wigeon....Pochard....Tufted Duck....Mallard.... Gadwall.... Cormorant 5....Pintail....Coot....Moorhen....Little Grebe.... Grey Heron 1  Mute Swan (ringed)....Marsh Harrier 1.... Booted Eagle 2.... Common Buzzard 4.... Hooded Crow.... Chiffchaff....Robin....Blackbird.... Yellow-legged Gull 2.... Chaffinch.... Greenfinch....UID warbler in the reeds .... Great Tit.... Starling.... Italian Sparrow.

                                         Northern Shoveler.... Anas clypeata

                 

                                  

                                          Booted Eagle....Aquila pennata

                   

                                    Yellow-legged Gull....Larus Michahellis                              

                       

                                                           Feral Mute Swan

               

                                                            Domestic Goose

                    

 

 

 

 

27th January

Weather ...0900...12.2C....Sea, choppy.... Vis 20 miles....Cloud 99%....Wind 0  998mb. Heavy intermittent showers continued through the night continued well into this evening.

Today we made up our minds to do the trip we should have done with Nikos on Saturday. We started a little later than that trip though and left home at 0900. A quick look into Giorgopouli ....

Pygmy Cormorant ....Red-crested Pochard.... Ferruginous Duck....still  among the usual species

We then headed off to Heraklion  with the intention of seeing the R C Pochard that is there but had a delay on the road when we spotted a large aquila that turned out to be an Eastern Imperial Eagle, it was being harassed by several hooded crows and flew across the highway and landed in a tree quite distant , we stayed and filmed it (video on facebook). In the air was several hundred gulls impossible to tell if there were any other than yellow-legged but suspect some were ! The crows continued to harass the aquila until it flew locally then headed back low, inland. While watching the aquila we had, sparrowhawk , Raven and Common Buzzard.

                                Eastern Imperial Eagle....Aquila heliaca   

                     

                 

         

                           

                     

Moving on we found 7 Jackdaw and a lone Starling along the highway. We were by now running very late and were hoping to get to the the inland reservoirs on roads and area we did not know before the light failed.

Rain threatened as we headed south. Our first stop which we found after much asking locally was a small lake. Here we found the female Smew that has been seen for the past few weeks. It was distant with a couple of female Tufted Duck... 4 Coot....1 Snipe ...1 Yellow-legged Gull....Common Buzzard.

Our Crete species list now 241....

                                                  Smew.... Mergellus albellus

                 

                    

            

                                                Snipe...Gallinago gallinago     

                 

 

We got stuck in some deep ruts after The heavy rains of the last few days, thank goodness for our 4x4 and after some to-ing and fro-ing we managed to extricate ourselves ! 

              

                                             Anemones were everywhere 

              

We headed off to our next site another artificial lake.....                                       White Wagtail... Stonechat ...Blackbird....Italian Sparrow....Cormorant 4.... Grey Heron 2.... Teal 12  Wigeon 2.... Mallard 13....Coot 20+....Yellow-legged Gull 2.... Linnet....Crag Martin....Crested Lark....Meadow Pipit.

                Cormorant...Phalacrocorax carbo and Mallard...Anas platyrhynchos 

 

   with a single grey heron    

      

                                                           Teal....Anas crecca

Heavy rain looked to be on its way, big very dark clouds were heading our way from the Northwest. We headed to our next reservoir. Here we found more Mallard than we have seen before on Crete 100+...Cormorant 70+....Coot 20+....Chiffchaff White-fronted Goose 1.... Great Tit....Chaffinch....Corn Bunting.... Crested Lark.... Ferruginous Duck 2.... Wigeon 2.... Grey Heron 1.... Goldfinch....Common Buzzard Black Redstart...Raven..Hooded Crow...Yellow-legged Gull 4....White Wagtail 10+   1st winter Little Gull 1....

 Our Crete species list now 242....

                                           Little Gull....Hydrocoloeus minutus

                      

             

              

 

                                      White-fronted Goose.... Anser albifrons

                      

                    

                                           Mallard...Anas platyrhynchos 

                                                   Starling....Sturnus vulgaris

            

 The rain arrived with some force and we were defeated by that and darkness, we headed slowly north and home. 

           

A great day with a good number of rare birds to be seen we arrived back in Kaliviani to more rain at around 2030hrs.  

 

 

 

26th January

Some lovely images from Nikos posted on yesterdays blog

25th January

weather ...0900...18.3C....Sea, choppy.... Vis 15....Cloud 80%....Wind SSW 12 m/s 1005mb Heavy showers through the night continued into the evening.

We were due to meet Nikos this morning for a wetland day in central Heraklion area. It meant a very early start from where we are, we overslept and left it too late to beat the weather due to get to that area. We missed out on White-fronted Goose and a female Smew that are in that area, two species we have not encountered here yet. Oh well another day maybe !

Here in Kaliviani we had only a few birds...........

Hooded Crow...Black Redstart....Great Tit....Chaffinch.... Common Buzzard..... Yellow-legged Gull

A few photos from Alan added to 23 and 24th .

Images from Nikos on the trip we should have been on with him, oh what we missed . The Smew is a fourth record for Crete. The White-fronted Goose I am not sure of the status at the moment. The birds photographed were all seen in the central prefecture of Crete

Four images by and copyright Nikos Samaritakis 

                                          Red-crested Pochard...Netta rufina

                 

                                               White Stork....Ciconia ciconia

         

                                      White-fronted Goose...Anser albifrons

      

                                                     Smew....Mergellus albellus

   

 

 

 

 

24th January

Weather...0900...13.7C....Sea, calm...Vis 20 + miles....Cloud 100%...Wind 0 m/s 1016mb  Cloudy

We had a run down to Elafonisi this morning , a drive down the west coast there was not much around , the wind increased and eventually beat us.

Species seen Kaliviani....Yellow-legged Gull....Blackbird....Great Tit.... Chaffinch Black Redstart....Song Thrush....Hooded Crow..

On route and Elafonisi....Griffon Vulture 2....Great Tit....Black Redstart.... Linnet.... Meadow Pipit....Chaffinch.... Common Buzzard 2.... Cormorant 3.... Stonechat... Yellow-legged Gull

There is a lot of work going on near the tunnel at Topolia putting up barriers and fencing on the gorge face above the road in the hope of stopping the rockfalls coming down on the road, the road is open with care. We noticed that the disturbance has stopped the griffon vulture from nesting near the cave of Agios Sofia this year, we hope they will return later in the year.

From Alan.... At Kavros

                                            Spotted Eagle....Aquila clanga 

                      

                         

 

 

 

23rd January

weather ...0900...16.2C....Sea, calm.... Vis 20+....Cloud 50%....Wind 0....1018mb mostly sunny

Kaliviani species .... Raven 5....Common Buzzard 1....Kestrel 2.... Black Redstart... Chaffinch....Great Tit....Sardinian Warbler....Yellow-legged Gull....Griffon Vulture  Italian Sparrow....Meadow Pipit.

                                            Common Buzzard....Buteo buteo 

                                   

                                          Fresh Water Crab remains in the hills

                

From Alan at Kalivaki....

                                   Red-breasted Flycatcher....Ficedula parva

                         

                                 

                                         Tree Sparrow....Passer montanus

                         

 

 

 

 

22nd January

Weather...0900...16.1C....Sea, calm...Vis 20 + miles....Cloud 90%...Wind W 3 m/s 1015mb Showers

Apologies for no reports the last few days our phone and internet went off on Friday afternoon and we are only just back online 1200 today, a lot of hard work to get everything from the last few days on and hopefully will be posted by 1900hrs Greek time.

Kaliviani species....Yellow-legged Gull....Sardinian Warbler....Cetti's Warbler.... Chaffinch....Common Buzzard.... Black Redstart....Greenfinch....Raven

We took a walk onto Gramvousa peninsula around midday  where we had sightings of Hen Harrier...Griffon Vulture 4....3 White Wagtail.... Black Redstart 4...  Great Tit 2....Shag 4... Yellow-legged Gull....Raven 2...Sparrowhawk 1...Kestrel 2

                                             Kestrel....Falco tinnunculus

                  

                                        Shag....Phalacrocorax aristotelis

                                  

                                               Hen Harrier...Circus cyaneus 

             

 

 

 

 

20th January

Weather....0900...19.1C...Sea, choppy...Vis 15 miles....Wind S 3m/s...Cloud 0...1015mb. Hazt sunshine

It stated very quiet this morning , hardly any birdsong a single Woodlark was heard distant in the hills behind the house. We found the reason for the silence a Kestrel say in a tree 50 metres west and a Sparrowhawk 30 metres east of us , when they moved off the smaller birds came out of hiding. Nothing much about though.... Sardinian Warbler....Chaffinch....Hooded Crow....Kestrel....Robin...  Black Redstart....Greenfinch....Common Buzzard....Rock Dove....Great Tit      Yellow-legged Gull....

On a shopping trip this afternoon we stopped along the coast to see if the Spur-winged Lapwing was still about, we took no binoculars and only the small Canon SX40 bridge camera which has an 800mm zoom and HD video. We managed some nice short video clips of it, which I cannot post on here but they are on our Facebook page.

                                     Spur-winged Lapwing....Vanellus spinosus

             

 

 

 

19th January

Weather....0900...18.2C, Sea calm, Vis 20+ miles, Cloud 70%, Wind SW 1, 1020mb

A restday at Kaliviani today, did not realise how unfit I was, boy do my legs ache this morning !!!  a rocky two hour walk and several hours driving on very twisty mountain roads yesterday has beaten me, so its balcony birding today !

We think we had an Armenian or Steppe Gull over the house today. I am posting it as such until I get confirmation from the experts. I hope I am right !!!!

It takes our species seen on Crete to 240

Griffon Vulture 1....Kestrel 2....Common Buzzard 2....Kentish Plover 1....Shag 1....Hooded Crow....Yellow-legged Gull....Robin....Black Redstart....Chaffinch.... Cetti's Warbler....Sparrowhawk..... Armenian Gull ?

                                           Armenian Gull ....Larus armenicus                                                                                                                  or                                                                                                                  Steppe Gull....Larus (fuscus) barabensis

                 

                        

               

              

             

                                           Sparrowhawk....Accipiter nisus

                 

               

                          

 

 

 

18th January

We headed off east this morning at 0830 to meet up with Nikos at Kaliviaki. One aim was to see if the Red-breasted Flycatcher was still present there and have a day in the mountains on the south coast.

We bypassed all the other sites on route, also the kentish Plover, the Spur-winged Plover and the Red-crested Pochard on the way, (they were all still present on the day) as we were running a little late.

We found Nikos crouched in the trees telling us with sign language that there were flycatchers in the area, how many we could not determine but at least two ! We stayed here for a short while, the flycatchers seen instantly as they flitted from reeds, fence and eucaliptus trees one even having a bathe albeit a little distance from us in the flooded fields the area where they were was very shaded and only dappled sunlight was filtering through the trees it was a job sometimes to pick out the flycathers from the chiffchaff as they all competed for the insects . Another lovely little flycatcher that we have seen before on Antikythira. 

                                 Red-breasted Flycatcher....Ficedula parva

                     

                   

                  

Also in this area we found....Grey Wagtail....Water Pipit....Meadow Pipit...White Wagtail....Little Egret....Chiffchaff....Black Redstart....Italian Sparrow....Shag....Cormorant....Yellow-legged Gull...Serin....Sardinian Warbler....Chaffinch....Cetti's Warbler.

                                           Grey Wagtail....Motacilla cinerea

             

                                              Little Egret....Egretta garzetta

                                    

                                            Chiffchaff....Phylloscopus collybita

                                     

                                              Cormorant....Phalacrocorax carbo

                                     

We eventually pulled ourselves away as we were going to be even later getting to our intended viewing places today.... Giorgopouli Water, Kalikratis, Frangokastello, Chora Sfakion, Aredena Gorge and Imbros Gorge on the return.

A short trip to the natural spring area of Giorgopouli where we found the Pygmy Cormorant, now that the waters have lowered was back in situ on its favourite rock, looking really good in its near adult plumage. Also there, the two Red-crested Pochard looking very striking in the mid morning sunshine. We had a quick look around and found .... Mallard 10....Ferruginous Duck 3....Coot....Moorhen....Little Grebe ...Common Buzzard....Cetti's Warbler....Chaffinch....Robin....Blackcap and Blackbird.

                                Pygmy Cormorant....Phalacrocorax pygmeus

                                 

                                          Red-crested Pochard....Netta rufina

              

                                                                                  Mallard....Anus platyrhynchos

             

Leaving here we headed to the mountains, we would take the left mountain road before Imbros towards Kalikratis before taking the very steep and windy road down towards the coast at Frangokastello where we would grab a bite to eat and scan the sea for half an hour. As we headed higher the cloud became thicker and our hopes of some raptor watching would be ruined if there was cloud at the viewpoint we hoped to stop at. The journey was fairly quiet, we spotted a few griffon vultures, ravens and hooded crows on near to Kalikratis. We let Nikos get ahead of us and as we stopped one hairpin bend above him we spotted one griffon vulture in the clouds and a few distant as we looked to the flat area below that was bathed in sunshine, Frangokastello castle standing out in the sunshine far below us. We started off to catch up with Nikos and out of the clouds level and not far away ..... a Lammergeier (sub adult) !!!! I just managed to catch a good look and a photo before it disapearred behind the next range of rocks, a lovely eight second view ! the cloud had beaten us, we would have been able to see it as it for several minutes here coming from the other side of the range. But hey we were lucky and should not complain......

                                        Lammergeier....Gypaetus barbatus

             

We rapidy dropped down to the coast leaving the dramatic scenery behind we drove through the flat stony olive groves and open fields, small birds were busy feeding .... Crested Lark....Serin...Greenfinch....Goldfinch....Chaffinch....Linnnet ....Sronechat.... we parked close to the castle and scanned the coatline ...a couple of Sandwich Tern and 5 Yellow-legged Gull..very very quiet birdwise and then a Sparrowhawk cruised by the castle and out of sight. We met Nikos brother and father here for a few minutes , taking a break from their work on the family olive trees. They went off for some lunch we resumed our journey, another beach to check and only Hooded Crow present.

A quick drive through Chora Sfakion and up another scenic hairpin drive towards Anopoli, Kambos and Aradena Gorge. we stopped to watch Griffon Vulture, Rock Dove, Common Buzzard along the way and also spotted a couple of Kestrel and Raven. The light was not too good for this area at this time of day the sun straight in our faces and the vultures coming out of the sun. It's now after 1400 we had to move on otherwise we would have no light for Imbros later on.

Aradena .... we parked at the bridge and shared Nikos car for a short drive before we took a walk , as we transfered our gear , an adult and young Bonelli's Eagle flew over Sue spotted another landing on a ledge in the gorge, another adult ! we set off for our walk the sun dipping even further towards the Libyan sea and more cloud moving in. A two hour stroll and we had good views of Griffon Vulture, Bonelli's Eagle , one adult with a very full crop, Blue Tit.... Great Tit.... Goldfinch....Raven.... 200+ 70+ Red-billed Chough...Hooded Crow.... We found a large old nest in a high tree in a wooed area, hard to say what had nested here but it was massive and possibly an old golden eagle nest.

                                           Bonelli's Eagle....Aquila fasciata

                  

                 

                  

                                             Griffon Vulture....Gyps fulvus

                                   

                

 

                              Red-billed Chough....Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax

              

                   

                                                                                                 

                                        Possible old Golden Eagle Nest

               

We watched as the griffons and boneli's eagles flew in the gorge, the light was really bad now, too dark for Imbros we decided to call it a day and headed off back to Anopoli where we stopped for a Sfakion Pie from "Sfakianos Fournos" a small bakery run by Giorgos Orfanoudakis.

We sat outside watched a couple of distant griffons heading for their roost for the night, a few small birds flitting in the bushes had a shock as a male sparrowhawk crashed into the bush they were in across the road from where we enjoying our pie and sekouthia (raki), it sat for a while after its miss and flew off into the trees. Giorgos also sells his own honey and raki so we purchased some along with bread to take back home. It was now dark and we had a two hour drive though very twisty and narrow roads before we arrived at Chania where Nikos invited us back to us the internet as our phone line had been cut through in the town of Kissamos by workers laying new drains and would not be fixed until Monday at the earliest. We ended up having a meal there and arrived home well after 2230 !!! A long day and tiring day, we fell into bed !

 

 

 

17th January

17th January
Weather....0900...18.7C,Sea calm, Vis 20+ miles, Wind NW 1, Cloud 20%, 1019mb

Kaliviani species.....
A Barn Owl went by at about 2am its screeching waking us as it passed ....From the house we spotted Kestrel 2....Crested Lark....Hooded Crow....Cetti's Warbler....Blue Rock Thrush....Chaffinch....Common Buzzard....Rock Dove.... Yellow-legged Gull....Great Tit....Robin....Blackbird....Greenfinch....Griffon Vulture 5....Raven 2....Kentish Plover 1 
17th January
Weather....0900...18.7C,Sea calm, Vis 20+ miles, Wind NW 1, Cloud 20%, 1019mb

Kaliviani species.....
A Barn Owl went by at about 2am its screeching waking us as it passed ....From the house we spotted Kestrel 2....Crested Lark....Hooded Crow....Cetti's Warbler....Blue Rock Thrush....Chaffinch....Common Buzzard....Rock Dove.... Yellow-legged Gull....Great Tit....Robin....Blackbird....Greenfinch....Griffon Vulture 5....Raven 2....Kentish Plover 1 
17th January
Weather....0900...18.7C,Sea calm, Vis 20+ miles, Wind NW 1, Cloud 20%, 1019mb

Kaliviani species.....
A Barn Owl went by at about 2am its screeching waking us as it passed ....From the house we spotted Kestrel 2....Crested Lark....Hooded Crow....Cetti's Warbler....Blue Rock Thrush....Chaffinch....Common Buzzard....Rock Dove.... Yellow-legged Gull....Great Tit....Robin....Blackbird....Greenfinch....Griffon Vulture 5....Raven 2....Kentish Plover 1 
Weather....0900...18.7C,Sea calm, Vis 20+ miles, Wind NW 1, Cloud 20%, 1019mb

Kaliviani species.....
A Barn Owl went by at about 2am its screeching waking us as it passed ....From the house we spotted Kestrel 2....Crested Lark....Hooded Crow....Cetti's Warbler....Blue Rock Thrush....Chaffinch....Common Buzzard....Rock Dove.... Yellow-legged Gull....Great Tit....Robin....Blackbird....Greenfinch....Griffon Vulture 5....Raven 2....Kentish Plover 1 
17th January
Weather....0900...18.7C,Sea calm, Vis 20+ miles, Wind NW 1, Cloud 20%, 1019mb

Kaliviani species.....
A Barn Owl went by at about 2am its screeching waking us as it passed ....From the house we spotted Kestrel 2....Crested Lark....Hooded Crow....Cetti's Warbler....Blue Rock Thrush....Chaffinch....Common Buzzard....Rock Dove.... Yellow-legged Gull....Great Tit....Robin....Blackbird....Greenfinch....Griffon Vulture 5....Raven 2....Kentish Plover 1 
Weather....0900...18.7C,Sea calm, Vis 20+ miles, Wind NW 1, Cloud 20%, 1019mb

Kaliviani species.....

A Barn Owl went by at about 2am its screeching waking us as it passed ....From the house we spotted Kestrel 2....Crested Lark....Hooded Crow....Cetti's Warbler. Blue Rock Thrush....Chaffinch...Common Buzzard....Rock Dove..Yellow-legged Gull Great Tit...Robin....Blackbird...Greenfinch...Griffon Vulture 5....Raven 2....     Kentish Plover 1

 
 
 

16th January

Weather ....0900...13.7C....Sea, calm.... Vis 10 miles....Wind 0....Cloud 100%... 1015mb.. Thunderstorms through the night died out around 0700, mostly cloudy , sunny intervals late afternoon.

Kaliviani.... After last nights thunderstorms there was silence this morning all the bird chatter of yesterday was gone as were most of the small birds , there was no sign of the Sombre Tit and all that could be seen was a single Common Buzzard drying itself off on the roacks overlooking us . A number of black redstart were about and of the rest of the species seen numbers were low in ones and twos .... Great Tit....Sardinian Warbler.... Hooded Crow.... Kestrel ....Italian Sparrow....          Chaffinch....    

So we were very pleased to hear from Harry Lough  who told us of a Spur-winged lapwing along the coast east of Tavronitis, His wife Pam first spotted this bird yesterday. Harry said he would wait for us to arrive and we duly rush packed everything and set off. Twenty minutes later we were greeted by Harry and the lapwing, which was feeding alongside the road, a few record shots as it fed before it flew back onto the beach, where with occasional disturbance it either just sat about or moved up along the beach. this enabled some nice pictures. Later Nikos arrived and duly had his sighting of it. There are under 10 records of this bird on Crete and it also takes our Crete list up to 239, the Crete list of 355 makes a long journey !!!!!  But three new species in a week is not bad , we only missed out on the flycatchers.............

Also Malaeme area.... Starling 11.... Grey Wagtail 1....Shag 1....Yellow-legged Gull 15.... Stonechat 3 Meadow Pipit 20+....Crested Lark....Italian Sparrow.... Common Buzzard 2....Kestrel 1.... Sardinian Warbler.... Cetti's Warbler.

                            Spur-winged Lapwing (plover)....Vanelus spinosus

                      

               

                     

                                     

                       

              

    

                      

                          

                          

                                              Meadow Pipit....Anthus pratensis

               

                                            Grey Wagtail....Motacilla cinerea

       

                                              Stonechat....Saxicola torquata

                

                                    

 

 

 

 

15th January

Weather....0900...16.3C...Cloud 100%...Sea, calm.... Wind 0....Vis 15miles.... 1016mb Hazy sunshine in the morning sunny intervals pm.

Our highlight of the day wa the sighting of a Sombre Tit, I had one on our  list for a while but it was rejected by the rarities committee  so I removed it , today was nice because after seeing them on the mainland I could say this was one, unfortunately it was to flighty for a picture and we can only remember it in our minds . This takes our Crete species list up to 238.......

Other species for Kaliviani .... Black Redstart....Hooded Crow....Yellow-legged Gull Cetti's Warbler.... Crag Martin.... Great Tit....Greenfinch....Chaffinch.... Goldfinch. Sparrowhawk....Common Buzzard 3....Rock Dove.... Kestrel ....Blackbird.... Raven. Shag 3.... Robin....Song Thrush....

A local walk and along the beach.....SandwichTern 2.... Meadow Pipit 100+... Chiffchaff 5....   Kentish Plover 1.... Common Sandpiper 1.... Corn bunting 20+.... Linnet 20+....Crested Lark 20+.... White Wagtail 30+....Stonechat 5....Italian Sparrow. 

Aposelemis Dam.... lots of Chiffchaff and two Green Sandpipers

From Alan, it appears the Red-crested Pochard have moved off, also no sign of the Red-breasted Flycatchers today ! 

Our pics from Kaliviani....

                                       Sandwich Tern....Sterna sandvicensis                                                                                                1st winter Kissamos Bay

                

              

               

                         Sardinian Warbler ....Sylvia melanocephala female

                   

                                  Kentish Plover....Charadrius alexandrinus

               

                      

                                       Chiffchaff....Phylloscopus collybita

                    

                                         Crested Lark....Galerida cristata 

                   

                                         Meadow Pipit....Anthus pratensis

                 

                                        Corn Bunting....Emberiza calandra

                

                                         Narcissus tazetta ssp italicus

                

 

 

 

 

14th January

Weather ....0900...16.1C....Vis 20 miles....Sea. calm.... Wind 0.... Cloud 50%.... 1015mb Mostly sunny , Cloud increased as did the wind from the east at noon.

Kaliviani was the hunting ground for smaller raptors today with 5 Common buzzard, 2 Kestrel, 1 Sparrowhawk and 1 Peregrine Falcon all here for most of the day. The Peregrine performed several stoops and was unsuccessful in all the Sparrowhawk came very close at one point and flew within 2 metres of me at knee height. The Kestrels thought better of being in the immediate vicinity and stayed a short distance away and got very verbal when the nisus was around.

Other species ....Crag Martin 2.... Yellow-legged Gull 200+....Hooded Crow 15+.... Goldfinch.... Sardinian Warbler....Chaffinch....Shag 1,.... Black Redstart 10+.... Rock Dove.... Griffon Vulture 5....Great Tit 3.... Crested Lark....Cetti's Warbler.... Robin.

                                      Peregrine Falcon....Falco peregrinus

                                                                   Stooping 

                 

                                      on return after two unsuccessful dives

                   

                   

                                          Sparrowhawk....Accipiter nisus

                 

                    

                                   Black Redstart....Phoenicurus ochruros

                                  

                                  

                                  

                                  

                                  

 

Alan found the flycatchers still in the same area also a Water Pipit and near Giorgopouli a Booted Eagle.

 

 

 

13th January

Weather....15.1C....Cloud 10%....Wind 0....Vis 20 miles....Sea calm....1019mb ....rain pm

Kaliviani .....Black Redstart....Great Tit....Hooded Crow....Shag 2.... Blackbird.... Robin....Yellow-legged Gull 200+....Sardinian Warbler....Crested Lark.... Stonechat Crag Martin....Chaffinch.... Kestrel 5.... Blackcap....Goldfinch....Common Buzzard. Griffon Vulture 4.... Sparrowhawk 1....Greenfinch....White Wagtail.... Rock Dove.... Italian Sparrow....Cetti's Warbler....Chiffchaff..... Blue Rock Thrush.

Alan, Alison and Nikos all went in search of the Red-breasted Flycatcher at Kalivaki and all three had good views apparently. This is the first record in January of this species for Greece and Crete. Well done Alan great find.

 Three images by and copyright Alan Hargrave 

                                    Red-breasted Flycatcher....Ficedula parva

                                 

                                  

                                

 

 Alison later got lucky and found the Spotted Eagle a few miles up the road.

 Two  images by and copyright Alison Hargrave                              

                                      Greater Spotted Eagle....Aquila clanga

                                

                                

Sue and I stayed local and walked near to the house but only found a group of kestrels hawking overhead good views made sure that we could not ID them as Lessers !!!

From us in Kaliviani

                                            Stonechat....Saxicola torquata 

                                   

                                                 Kestrel....Falco tinnunculus

                  

                                   

 

 

 

12th January

Weather...0900...18.1C...Sea calm...Cloud 30%...Wind W 3m/s...Vis 20+ miles.... 1021mb

Kaliviani Species.... Crag Martin....Crested Lark.... Yellow-legged Gull.... Goldfinch Hooded Crow....Great Tit.... Robin.... Black Redstart.... Rock Dove.... Chaffinch.... Raven.... Kestrel 2.... Shag 1....Common Buzzard 2.

Alan reports of 7 Kentish Plover between Giorgopouli and Kavros, the R C Pochard are still showing well at the lake as is the now adult Pygmy Cormorant.

Later reports from Alan of Red-breasted Flycatchers  (several) juvs and females in the Kalivaki area hopefully some images of these later. First record for January of this species in Crete

 

 

11th January

Weather....0900....16.9C...Sea, calm....Vis 20+ miles...Wind W 4m/s...Cloud 80% 1020mb

Kaliviani Species.....Crag Martin....Sparrowhawk....Crested Lark.... Goldfinch.... Hooded Crow.... Sardinian Warbler....Chaffinch.... Black Redstart.... Stonechat.... Great Tit..... Kestrel 2.... Shag 1.... Yellow-legged Gull 15.... Blue Rock Thrush 1.... Mistle Thrush 1....Raven ....Robin.

 

                                                    Kestrel....Falco tinnunculus  

                   

 Thanks to Alison for the following news.... At Gioropouli beach, 8 Kentish Plover

 

 

10th January

Weather 0900 16.7C....Sea calm.... Vis 20+ miles....Wind WNW 2m/s.... Cloud 50% .... 1020mb

Kaliviani species.... Sardinian Warbler....Goldfinch....Chaffinch....Hooded Crow.... Sparrowhawk 1.... Kestrel 2....Starling 10.... Black Redstart....Blackbird....         Crag Martin....Yellow-legged Gull

 

 

 

9th January

Weather 0900....Cloud 90%, Vis 20 Miles, Sea choppy, Wind NNE 4/5 m/s, 15.4C, 1019mb

Some images added to December 2013 blog from Alan also more from him have been added to the beginning of this month including first images of Red-crested Pochard

A treat in store for today  as we hit five birding sites .......HOME , MORONIS, GIORGOPOULI, LAKE KOURNAS AND AGYIA

We hit 237 species for Crete with our first sightings on the island of two Red-crested Pochard, this spectacular bird was first sighted by Alan a few weeks ago and obliged by staying around long enough for us to catch a glimpse, thanks for the info Alan ......

First off at KALIVIANI where things were quiet this morning, this gave us the push to move east and see what we could find......Yellow-legged Gull 50+....             Black Redstart ....Hooded Crow....Kestrel (pair).... Common Buzzard 1.... Chaffinch.

On arrival home this evening we were greeted by a local Barn Owl.

MORONIS ....With an earlier report of an Allen's Gallinule seen at Moronis I think on the 24th December, we stayed a little longer and scanned the area a bit harder than usual. Apparently a couple of people got some pictures on that date and other birders then set off to see , but there was no sign of the bird even though some stalwarts sat it out for a day or two. There have been no further reports !! 

Grey Heron.... Little Egret....Great Egret.... Greenshank....Redshank ....Coot.... Chiffchaff Grey Wagtail....Yellow-legged Gull.....Italian Sparrow...Great Tit....      Black-headed Gull.... Cormorant 3.

                                             Redshank....Tringa Totanus

              

                                         Greenshank....Tringa nebularia

                

                                       Grey Wagtail....Motacilla cinerea

                

                                    Chiffchaff....Phylloscopus collybitta

              

                  

                                           Cormorant....Phalacrocorax carbo

                                  

 

GIORGOPOULI.... Ferruginous Duck 6....Red-crested Pochard 2....Coot.... Robin....Chaffinch...Stonechat Cetti's Warbler.... Common Buzzard 3 Pygmy Cormorant 1.... Little Grebe....Blackcap.... Starling....Collared Dove.... Hooded Crow....Moorhen....From the beach , Grey Heron 1.... Bonelli's Eagle 2 (over the sea)....Mute Swan 2....Yellow-legged Gull.

Away from their usual habitat , we had a great sighting of two bonelli's eagles over the sea !! the young bird appearing first followed by an adult the adult came up to the young bird and they interacted for a while before turning back inland. We were having lunch at the time on the eastward promenade and noticed them whilst seawatching we also spotted a young mute swan moving along the coast with some gulls escorting it. We then proceeded to the lake area to see if we would get sightings of the red-crested pochard that have been there for a while, if we found them it would take our Crete species list to 237, we were in high hopes of seeing these they are a really spectacular bird and rarity on the island. We were not disappointed, we had good but fairly distant views. 

                                         Bonelli's Eagle....Aquila fasciata

                     

                

                     

                       

                                              Mute swan....Cygnus olor 

             

                                     Red-crested Pochard....Netta rufina

              

             

                             Pygmy Cormorant....Phalacrocorax pygmeus

                                  

KOURNAS LAKE.... 150+ Black-necked Grebe....Little Grebe 20+....Kestrel.... Yellow-legged Gull 400+....Cormorant 15+....Common Buzzard 3....Robin.... Cetti's Warbler....Italian Sparrow....Chiffchaff....Blackbird....Blackcap.... Great Tit Sardinian Warbler....Jay 5+. The highlight here was the common buzzard and hedgehog in the middle of the lane , it looked to us that the bird had its foot trapped when the hedgehog rolled up into a ball but looking at the photos that seems not to have been the case. When we arrived the buzzard let us get really close probably because it did not want to release its prey, but at the time we thought it was stuck there. I got out of the car and the bird tried to fly off ,but the weight i think was too much and it fluttered down the road. I followed to try to help and it the I think let go, the hedgehog I rolled into the grass and out of the road. Hopefully the hedgehog will live for another day I could not see any injuries but some of the images show that the buzzard may have done some damage.

A lot of issues on this, do you leave nature to take its course, well we do usually, but these two were in the middle of the road and there was some traffic around and seconds later an old lady came around the corner gathering "horta" so the issue would have been resolved by unnatural means anyway.

                               Common Buzzard ....Buteo buteo with hedgehog

                

                    

                     

                   

                    

                       

               

               

                

               

                  

              

                                 Black-necked Grebe....Podiceps nigricollis

      A Common Buzzard ....Buteo buteo along the road towards Giorgopouli

                   

On the way to Agyia a Sparrowhawk flew across the road near to the hospital exit from the highway. Also along the highway for the day 8 Common Buzzard.

AGYIA....Pochard....Tufted Duck....Mute Swan 1....Shoveler....Teal....Wigeon.... Gadwall... Mallard....Coot....Moorhen....Little Grebe....Cormorant 5....Crag Martin Ferruginous Duck ....Marsh Harrier 2....Starling 200+....Cetti's Warbler....           Grey Wagtail.... We met Panos here waiting with his big lens in the hope of that perfect shot, he told us and showed us a picture of great bittern he had taken earlier, this bird has been around for a dew weeks apparently.

                                                Starling....Sternus vulgaris

                  

                                     Cormorant....Phalacrocorax carbo

     

 

 

 

8th January

Weather 0900...Cloud 100%, Sea rough, Vis 20+ miles, Wind NNE 8 m/s, 14.7C , 1020mb 

Not the best of weather for birding today but we got to see a few birds that we have not seen for a while Our local pair of buzzard made an appearance and were joined by another pair for a time in the afternoon . Others  ... Griffon Vulture 5 Yellow-legged Gull , Hooded Crow, Chaffinch, Italian Sparrow, Peregrine Falcon 1.

                                              Griffon Vultures over Gramvousa 

               

 

 

 

7th January

Heavy rain overnight and showers through the morning, Cloud 100%, Wind 0, Sea flat calm, Visibility 20+ miles, 13.3oC, 1016mb at 0900

The Peregrine Falcon and Sparrowhawk again in the area also a Common Buzzard . It was nice to find a pair of Blackcap locally too. Other species at Kaliviani today....Robin.... Blackbird...Hooded Crow 20+ Yellow-legged Gull 160+....Blue Tit.... Great Tit....Chaffinch....Stonechat....Sardinian Warbler.... good numbers of Black Redstart.... White Wagtail 2.... Crag Martin 50 +.... Blue Rock Thrush 2.... Raven 1     House Sparrow.... Italian Sparrow.... Greenfinch

 

  

6th January

A cloudy day today, no wind with a flat calm sea, 16oC, 1016mb

Species seen at Kaliviani ..... Today our second day back gave us an adult Golden Eagle over the ridges north of us .

A single Barn Swallow....Robin....Cetti's Warbler.... Hooded Crow.... Crag Martin 5.. Stonechat.... Chaffinch.... Goldfinch....Common Buzzard 2.... Blackbird....    Yellow-legged Gull 50+.... Black Redstart.... 6+....Raven 2....Sardinian Warbler.... Greenfinch....Crested Lark....Rock Dove.... Italian Sparrow....Corn Bunting 6.... Cormorant 1

                      Black Redstart ....Phoenicurus ochruros sp gibraltariensis                                                                  with Stonechat....Saxicola torquata

 

                          From Alan at Giorgopouli the ringed adult mute Swan

                    

 and the wild juvenile

                        

 

 

 

 

5th January

Happy 2014

Here we are again trying to settle back into a few months on Crete.

We arrived at Souda on the night ferry from Pireaus. We had hoped to take a few days travelling down the Peloponnese and catching the ferry from Kissamos , but a phone call had us changing plans when we found the ferry would not be running to Crete throughout January.

Oh well best laid plans and all that !!

So we arrived in the dark at 0600 and set off for Kissamos , we spotted a Grey Heron fishing the shallow waters alongside the road and had 2 barn Owls fly across the road just before dawn broke.

Arriving  at Kaliviani we found a lovely adult Peregrine Falcon sat on the rocks watching us it stayed in position for at least three hours, which will grace the background for this month. A Sparrowhawk was also hunting nearby , a nice welcome back for us.

Also seen today Blue Tit,....Black Redstart.... Blackbird.... Cetti's Warbler.... Italian Sparrow.... Raven Common Buzzard....Stonechat....Crested Lark....Robin.... Sardinian Warbler ....Goldfinch.... Chaffinch. Great Tit...Hooded Crow.

We also found a very large Balkan Whip Snake in our water tank storage area , very cold and docile it was easy to handle and get a good look at , it soon warmed up in the sun and slid away into the dark.

We know the Red-crested Pochard are still around, not sure about the Shelduck and Ruddy Shelduck though. 

We will soon get out and visit a few places and get some idea of the species around , a trip to see the Red-crested Pochard looks to be on , they will be a new species for us here as will the ruddy Shelduck, if we can locate them !!! 

 News will hopefully be on a daily basis and with some good images too if all goes well. Please check in and hopefully enjoy our daily sightings and ramblings  

 

                            The Peregrine Falcon....Falco peregrinus 

   

 

 From Alan

                                                                 Chukar 

            

 

3rd January

From Alan who found an adult and juvenile Red-crested Pochard at the lake at Giorgopouli very nice find Alan a first for Crete for you I believe

                                            Red-crested Pochard....Netta rufina