The daily blog is now closed for the winter and will restart again mid February ready for the spring migration, we will occasionally post anything of interest or importance. Updates and images will be our priority during the next few months so keep an eye for new images being posted in the various albums
A very happy Christmas, a peaceful and healthy 2010 to all, thank you for your support and visits to our website.
News from Nikos of a couple of Mergansers...Mergus serrator at Souda Bay.
Sadder news is that he has found the Greater Flamingo....Phoenicopterus ruber from Maronis dead at Agia Lake.
We have just heard of another raptor report ....a GREATER SPOTTED EAGLE at BRAMIANA on 6/12/09 unconfirmed. Maybe an overwintering bird we will have to keep alert for this and the Eastern Imperial reported on the blog on the 9th.
We were unable to get online last night due to thunderstorms, so below are a few images and news from yesterday.
Although heavy rain showers were about in late morning we headed for the beach area at Falasarna to look for the small flowers that grow near to the beach there. We managed to get a few bird species as well but not many !
Androcymbium rechingeri is now in flower at Falasarna. This plant is endemic to Crete see image below, there also several more in the "Flowers of Crete" album.
Driving slowly along the coast at Falasarna watching a flock of Goldfinch , we had a surprise when a Sparrowhawk....Accipiter nisus flew out from cover in some reeds and hurtled into the finches, it missed, but we did'nt and got some fairly good pictures [see below] even though it rained whilst we were there.
Androcymbium rechingeri ..[ actual size ]
Rained on Linnet....... Carduelis cannabina
Early morning Black Redstart.....Phoenicurus ochruros
Female or 1st winter Stonechat....Saxicola torquata
Sparrowhawk ....Accipiter nisus just after it swooped into a flock of Goldfinch
News of an Imperial Eagle [ juvenile ] seen at the eastern end of the island, east of Ha Gorge in the Thrypti Mountains, thanks Nikos.
Meanwhile at the western end .... the juvenile Peregrine Falcon has honed its skills and is now seen regularly having a meal on the rocks just north of here.
Many Linnet in the locality today and also a Weasel seen two days running, on a dry stone wall, even snatched a picture of it this morning! Along the coast a single Shag and Little Egret and flower of the day Crocus along the coast road and on our gravel parking area, the first time we have seen these flowers, a new species on our plot of land, where we found two in flower today.
A group of 6 Kestrel, a group of 15 Crag Martins and another of 50+ Yellow-legged Gulls were all seen together this morning as they consumed large numbers of flying ants whilst the juvenile Peregrine Falcon sat on the rocks watching.
Late afternoon a couple of Cormorant flew along the coast
Twenty two species today including eight Common Buzzard along the highway to Chania
A bit of a change today....a crab in the olive grove ! we have inserted an image in the reptiles album although not a reptile nor an amphibian. Sue found it this morning after very heavy overnight rain, it was trying to climb the fence ! The species is a Fresh Water Crab... Potamon potamios
Also added, six images of Shag and four of Flamingo in the Crete Birds album
The Flamingo is still present at Maronis , thanks to Harry for that news.
With rain and winds forecast for most of the coming week we may not be updating daily.
Another rarity for Crete today, Greater Flamingo....Phoenicopterus ruber . Spotted early this morning by Manos and relayed by Nikos to us. We travelled to the site in Souda Bay and were pleased to see the bird still present, we enjoyed good views of a juvenile as it fed and rested in shallow water at the Maronis reserve. The bird was also seen by Alan and Margaret, also Nikos later this afternoon.
Greater Flamingo....Phoenicopterus ruber
We later travelled to Agia lake where all the usual birds were seen with good numbers of duck species and then onto Tavronitis towards dusk, where we found the river now flowing well and at last reaching the sea. Here we had great views of both Reed Bunting and Chiffchaff in small groups amongst the reeds.
The Greek Ornithological Society has published the ... HELLENIC RARITIES COMMITTEE ANNUAL REPORT 2008: here
Several of our site members have sightings published in the 2008 report..
More thunderstorms overnight and very heavy rain throughout the day ...no birding today thirteen species local including a Sparrowhawk.
With heavy rain and occasional thunderstorms today, we only saw eight species ! everything was undercover including us. During one lull in the storm we caught sight of two Griffon vultures over the ridges of Gramvousa.
Our November diary is now online here
Alan and Margaret's October/November report can be found here
A Peregrine Falcon stayed around all day. Five Kestrels were seen together hawking insects over the coastal fields. The Kentish Plover is still present, a Kingfisher also nearby on coastal rocks and a Little Egret at the "river" mouth at Kissamos and good numbers of stonechats and black redstarts present today...
Please if you have not alreay done so, sign the campaign to protect birds of prey on the RSPB website ....go to http://www.rspb.org.uk/supporting/campaigns/birdsofprey/index.asp and make your mark , thanks.
The first Crown Anemone in flower today. The first in 2007 was on the 27th November and 2008 was the 5th December. Friars Cowl and Southern Daisy's are also in flower.
Southern Daisy......Bellis silvestris
Crown Anemone......Anemone coronaria
Friar's Cowl....Arisarum vulgare
Sardinian Warbler....Sylvia melanocephala
Black Redstart.....Phoenicurus ochruros
"What are you looking at" !!! ........Stand off between Hooded Crow and Peregrine Falcon After much shouting by the hoody the peregrine won
Another search for the pied kingfisher ended in failure, Nikos started from Chania and we started from Kissamos searching the coastline, disappointed we met near Kolimvari and headed for Deliana Gorge. Fifteen Griffon Vultures were present at the nest sites along with two resident Kestrel, a pair of Ravens and some Crag Martins . Great sightings there for thirty minutes of a Hen Harrier as it hunted the top of the gorge. Nikos checked Tavronitis reeds on the way home and came up with ....Chiffchaff, Stonechat, Grey Wagtail, Reed Bunting and a Little Grebe and we found a Little Egret at Viglia beach.
New pictures in three albums , Raptors of Crete has the Hen Harrier, Flowers of Crete has two new images Mandrake and Crocus boryi, the insects of Crete has a picture of a Pirate spider.
Species seen today 30.
Todays Hen Harrier.... Circus cyaneus
Sparrowhawk....Accipiter nisus one of the first birds of the morning
Hen Harrier .....Circus cyaneus high over the ridges of the gorge
Hen Harrier .....Circus cyaneus soars with a Griffon Vulture....Gyps fulvus
One Griffon Vulture ....Gyps fulvus landed the other coming
in just left of centre, six landed and entered this cave
No further sightings of the pied kingfisher unfortunately, but its a big coastline and hopefully it will be spotted elsewhere, we are going to keep looking though.
In flower at the moment so a non bird photo for a change
This afternoon a couple of hundred goats were moved to their winter grazing on the peninsula, they will stay there until April when they are taken off to the summer pastures.
Some of the large goat herd on their way onto Gramvousa
After a few weeks of fairly quiet birding it looks like things are improving. Following on from yesterdays great sighting we saw our first Song Thrush....Turdus philomelos of the autumn and the other highlight of the day, a rather late Wryneck.....Jynx torquilla.
We spotted 25 species from the front balcony before breakfast in a little under fifty minutes and finished the day on 30 species. A juvenile Peregrine Falcon stayed around all day hunting from the rocks a little north of the house. The Kentish Plover was back in the same location near the harbour and a Little Egret and Common Sandpiper were at the river mouth at Kissamos.
Song Thrush....Turdus philomelos
Juvenile Peregrine Falcon....Falco peregrinus
Kentish Plover.....Charadrius alexandrinus
BIG RARITY TODAY Pied Kingfisher....Ceryle rudis
We were travelling along the coast road at Kalamaki near Chania when we both spotted a black and white bird hovering over the surf and rocks. Our first reaction STOP but as we were on a main road we pulled up a few metres along and found a way to the beach between the tavernas, disapointment though as we had no more sightings of the bird. If you are on the north coast near Chania keep your eyes open you may get lucky and even get a photo, this bird was only metres away from the taverna and perhaps 20 metres from us. We returned later this afternoon and spent three hours searching several miles of coastline but nothing.
A bit ironic really sighting this bird after just posting pictures on the India album. Nikos said we had cryogenically frozen one in India then released it here... haha
In the excitement of this bird we nearly forgot the other new species to our Crete list today, Reed Bunting ....Emberiza schoeniclus four seen late this afternoon in the reeds at the mouth of the river at Tavronitis.
A single Peregrine Falcon hunting near the house at 0730 this morning...a very early riser !
Our Crete list now stands at 217
Great views of a dark morph Booted Eagle hunting nearby today. Also a pair of Peregrine Falcon and a Sparrowhawk, no wonder all the small birds are silent and well hidden !!
The Images of India album is at long last ..now complete !!!
A very quiet day today, the only bird of note was a single Kentish Plover at yesterdays location
The last images have been added to the "Images of India" album, a total of 307 pictures of our fantastic India experience. There are still a few captions to add on this last batch. Our trip report with details of Tiger sightings and daily bird lists can be found here
Doing our balcony birding this morning, scanning along the beach through the telescope a small wader was spotted feeding on the rocks. Ever hopeful that this would be the Greater Sand Plover arriving to spend a third winter we drove quickly down the coast road to identify it. A closer observation showed three birds, two Kentish Plover and a Common Sandpiper, no GSP though. The Kentish are always a pleasure to watch here and we stayed awhile before hunger had us hurrying home for breakfast. Of note is the large number of Black Redstart, they are everywhere we looked today.
Added tonight, another forty images in the Images of India Gallery.
Common Sandpiper.....Actitis hypoleucos and Kentish Plover.... Charadrius alexandrinus
Viv Walker reports Griffon Vultures at Deliana Gorge along with ravens, both species nest and roost here, plus its also a great place to walk.
Information has been added to yesterday's India images and another twenty added today.
Another thirty images posted today on the "images of India" album there are now 202 images on four pages, still a lot more to add.
There has been a glitch on "webs", we spent an hour naming and dating the last thirty images and have noticed they are not on the images posted today, we will rectify this tomorrow.
A hastily grabbed shot of a Sparrowhawk...Accipiter nisus
that hunted nearby for most of the day
A poor day for birding , we visited Maronis... 16 species, Omalos....15 species and at Agia 13 species. Hopefully the weekend will be better.
More India images will be added over the weekend
For now a few images from today.......
Grey Heron....Ardea cinerea at Maronis
At Omalos where the air was a little thinner and the sky a deeper blue
a Goldfinch......Carduelis carduelis
We leave you tonight with our roosting Blue Rock Thrush.....Monticola solitarius which has
been with us every night since the 15th October
This morning we watched entralled as a female adult Sparrowhawk took on a pair of Kestrels. She slowly sidling up to the male as he hovered just above the little church near our house then she suddenly swooped in, the kestrel jinked away to the right and flew along the ridge where unseen by us sat a female kestrel. The Sparrowhawk suddenly swooped down on her. The perched kestrel rose up and the Sparrowhawk punched in, a cloud of feathers flew off the female kestrel but she pulled away and the pair then took off across the face of the ridge, the kestrel dived down and evaded the larger hawk, rejoined her mate and escaped. The Sparrowhawk slowly lifted higher and soared away to hunt elsewhere for her breakfast, we returned to ours !
A further twenty new images posted in the India album. There are now three pages with 172 images.
A report from Manos of two Great Crested Grebe at Maronis yesterday and this morning. Nikos could not find them this afternoon. The Redshank is still present there as are the Great, Grey and Little egrets, also some Cormorants.
News on the sat tracked Eleonora's Falcons on Skai TV tonight.
Voreas and Iris have now reached Madagascar whilst Notos and Zephyr remain in central Africa. The website with map page has not been updated since the 11th. ...... http://www.ornithologiki.gr/life/falcoel/en/program/satellite_map.htm
Twenty images in the " Images of India " album
From Viv Walker ...a pale morph Booted Eagle... Hieraaetus pennatus, flying east over Tavronitis at 11am this morning.
A further twenty images in the " Images of India " album
If you are use the "search" facility in the Picture Gallery you will find that it's not working properly.
A link to "MEDPONDS OF CRETE" added. Information of the work done on the natural ponds at Omalos, Elafonisi, Kournas,Falasarna and Gavdos island
At home this morning a Common Buzzard, Kestrel and Sparrowhawk circle together, we can only catch two of the birds on the photo !
Sparrowhawk ...Accipter nisus and Common Buzzard...Buteo buteo
As we are about to leave home a small party of Corn Bunting....Miliaria calandra lands on the bamboo
We pay a visit to Maronis reserve and Lake Agia, it seems to be a day of photographing birds in pairs today !
At Maronis a single Redshank, Grey Heron, Common Sandpiper and Kingfisher
Kingfisher ....Alcedo atthis and Grey Heron...Ardea cinerea
The Kingfisher ....Alcedo atthis comes closer
On to Agia ... a couple of pale morph Booted Eagles, Grey Wagtail. The usual species are there, also newly arrived are Wigeon and Tufted Duck as well as an increase in the Ferruginous Duck numbers, now..13+. A Cormorant flew in and a nice find was a Moustached Warbler.
The first Booted Eagle....Hieraaetus pennatus note the raggedness
The second Booted Eagle....Hieraaetus pennatus looking nice and fresh
The second Booted Eagle....Hieraaetus pennatus with a Common Buzzard...Buteo buteo
!st Winter Grey Wagtail.....Motacilla cinerea
Nikos reports from GEORGIOUPOLIS marsh and lake area
BIRDS THIS MORNING ..... MARSH HARRIER, COMMON BUZZARD, GREY HERON, 2 LITTLE EGRET, 2 COMMON SANDPIPER, GREENSHANK, 6 SNIPE, 2 MALLARD, 4 TEAL, SHOVELER, 2 PINTAIL, KINGFISHER, COOT, MOORHEN, WHITE PELICAN, WATER PIPIT, MEADOW PIPIT...Thanks Nikos
Twenty more images posted in the "Images of India" album
At home we again spotted a single lapwing + 19 usual species. Robin, Raven, Hooded Crow, Woodlark, Goldfinch, Crested Lark,Stonechat, Blue Rock Thrush, Stonechat, Corn Bunting, Sardinian Warbler, Yellow-legged Gull, Blackbird, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Blue Tit and Greenfinch
Chiffchaff.....Phylloscopus collybitta at one of our bird bathing stations
Another twenty new images in the " Images of India " album.
From Nikos....distant Griffon Vulture and Lammergeier views at Koutaliotis Gorge.
From Bob .....Griffon Vulture and Corn Bunting at Omalos plateau.
Us.....At falasarna, White Wagtail,Meadow Pipit, Shag, Linnet, Sparrowhawk and lots of Stonechats.
At home a juvenile Peregrine Falcon ...Falco peregrinus hunted most of the morning
Meadow Pipit .....Anthus pratensis at Falasarna
Juvenile Sparrowhawk....Accipiter nisus at Falasarna
At Tavronitis river there is now some flow of water after the heavy rains of the last few days. There is little in the way of birds a single Black-crowned Night Heron and a couple of Grey Wagtails. Off the coast a few Black-headed and Yellow-legged Gulls.
We have posted another thirty images in the new "Images of India" gallery with lots more to come.
Five further images of yesterdays Jack Snipe now added in the Birds of Crete Gallery. Two images of Omalos Plateau added in the Omalos, White Mountains folder.
We have added a new picture gallery "Images of India" Over the next few weeks we will slowly add some of our favourite pictures from our trip in 2007. A little late but it seemed a shame not to share the images of this fantastic trip. Our trip report can be seen here with a few images attached. The first twenty two images are now in the gallery.
After making a start yesterday on our olives we were rather dissapointed with the harvest. The storms had devastated our crop, perhaps 50% of the olives now lay on the floor, the rest were not worth bothering with, we would only manage a few sacks for several days effort to get, if we were lucky, 20 litres of oil.
So today to cheer ourselves up we had a day up at the Omalos plateau.......with very high winds there were only three griffon vultures seen and lots of ravens. Of the smaller birds there were mainly Goldfinches, we also saw a small flock of Spanish Sparrows.
The natural pools on the plateau are now full once again and the middle of the area is mostly waterlogged.
Then came our highlight of the day, Sue spotted a small bird sat in an area of burnt grass which we immediately identified as a Jack Snipe.....Lymnocryptes minimus.
This bird has only been seen on Crete we believe on four other occasions, we saw one on the 29-12-2006, so this is a special bird to catch a glimpse of. We had close views for fifteen minutes as the bird relying on its superb camouflage sat perfectly still and let us approach to within half a metre.
We called into Agia just as darkness set in. Water levels are extremely high. We watched a couple of sedge warbler busily feeding and made a quick count of the species present [ a poor 17 ]
Our first view of the Jack Snipe.....Lymnocryptes minimus
Jack Snipe.....Lymnocryptes minimus
We approach a little closer, this species will not fly until its nearly trodden on
Jack Snipe.....Lymnocryptes minimus
Check yesterdays blog if you did not look in late last night, we have posted pictures of a Scops Owl seen just before midnight. A further image is in the birds of Crete gallery.
The documentary on EC3 turned out to be a very good hours coverage on the biodiversity at Lake Kerkini. Situated in Northern Greece and just over an hours drive north of Thessaloniki this is one of the great wetland sites in Europe.
With more heavy rain today birding has yet again been very quiet with only thirteen species seen from home. Highlight of today a Sparrowhawk fly through a metre above the ground again causing chaos amongst the Goldfinch flocks.
More Black Redstarts seem to be about now, we have a few that now roost on the beams of the pergola and behind stones in the garden. A male spends his nights on the electric junction box near to the Blue Rock Thrush on the light casing. We heard the Barn Owl last night, maybe its the one we looked after !. A Scops Owl was also seen again last night sat on the fence near our entrance gates.
It has been very warm today with temperatures up to 26oC and winds from the south.
Still lots of Goldfinches around their song joined by those of the Robins and Woodlarks, the young Common Buzzard continues to call, whilst a couple of Griffon Vultures circled a little way off this morning.
Late this evening taking Mia for her walk a Scops Owl sat watching from a Carob tree. It was kind enough to stay there whilst I went indoors to get the camera.
Scops Owl .....Otus scops
While photographing the Scops the Barn Owls shrill "shhrrreeeee" could be heard nearby
For those in Greece,or those of you that can get the programme on the internet, there is a bird documentary on EC3 tomorrow at 1330hrs, we think its about birds in Greece and looks as if it may be good.
Our September and October diaries are now online at http://www.cretewww.com/colinsu/index.htm
We are pasting a letter that was posted on Interkriti from Julia Jones regarding the Red Palm Weevil, also known by several other names, it is the most dangerous pest of Date, Coconut, Oil, Sago and other palms.. After the letter there are links to this destructive pest and a photo of the one found at Elouda, plus Flowers of Crete website. We have also heard that there have been some found in the Xania area. These are a really dangerous pest .....
Last week, Flowers of Crete botanist, Rosemary John, found a dead male specimen of the destructive Red Palm Weevil in the square in Elounda. This insect is a threat to the endemic Cretan Palm forests at Vai and Preveli and every effort needs to be taken to try to stop its progress. It has been found in Aghios Nikolaos and along the coast between Heraklion and Milatos, where many infected trees have already died.
All the relevant authorities have been informed and we are waiting to hear what steps are to be taken to try to control the situation.
In the meantime, we are posting a photograph of this weevil on our website shortly. If you find this insect, please destroy it and keep the remains. Please photograph it and send details to us at Flowers of Crete, so that we can pass the information on to the authorities. Severely affected trees have to be destroyed, but other trees in the area can be sprayed and pheromone traps can be set to capture flying weevils. It is a large insect (around 4.5 cms) and a strong flyer.
Rosemary and I have been in touch with Kallia Pediatitis at MAICH - the Mediterranean Agricultural Institute - who has made a comprehensive study of the Cretan Palm and we are taking advice from her on the ways that Flowers of Crete can help with passing on information. The town council of Elounda is also aware of the situation and will be taking steps to deal with it locally.
John Fielding, co-author of Flowers of Crete, has generously offered to write an article for our next newsletter and there will be more information on the threats to P. theophrasti in the October issue, which will be sent out early next week. Please be aware that this danger has come from infested, imported palms. People who buy these will not only lose their investment because the palm will most certainly die, but they will pass the threat onto other established trees within a large area. It is essential that developers in the far east of the island do not attempt to plant these imported palms.
Please pass this information on to anyone who may have an interest in this problem, especially to hotel owners who will be facing large bills for removal and destruction should their trees die. In addition, the dead and dying trees look very unsightly and will do nothing to impress tourist in the coming seasons. The more people who understand the dangers, the better the chances of making a difference will be. It will take a huge effort on the part of all of us to try to combat this threat and the odds are stacked against us.
We hope to be able to compile a treatment plan for people concerned about the health of their own palms and this will be available shortly. Please get in touch for more information.
I have no information as to whether the weevil is spreading in the other direction towards Rethymnon and Hania, but I would be most grateful to hear from anyone who has seen this pest or has lost a tree.
RED PALM WEEVIL .....Rhynchophorus ferrugineus
Image by and copyright Julia Jones & Flowers of Crete
A very interesting new link from the Greek Ornithological Society [ HOS ] for the tracking of Eleonora's Falcon ....Falco Eleonorae
Yesterday we again found Black redstart roosting on the pergola, this year they have arrived a few weeks later than 2008.
After a night of heavy rain and more high winds we expected little today but along the coast to Kissamos today ...a 1 Yellow-legged Gull, 1 Grey Heron, 2 juv.Black-headed Gulls, 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Shag and 1 Turnstone.
Well November 1st came in with a bang, strong gale force winds,rain, high seas and no birds, today though slightly different ... the clouds cleared for a short while and we noticed the first snows of winter laying on the White Mountains [ Lefka Ori ].
Today the weather was better and birding was slightly better too...a lack of small birds though possibly due to the presence of ...........
1 dark morph Booted Eagle... Hieraaetus pennatus
1 Peregrine Falcon......Falco peregrinus
1 Kestrel....Falco tinnunculus
1 Sparrowhawk......Accipiter nisus
1 Goshawk ......Accipiter gentilis
3 Common Buzzard....Buteo buteo
and.... 6 Griffon Vulture....Gyps fulvus
The booted eagle, peregrine, sparrowhawk and kestrel were all seen at the same moment as they all hunted to the rear of the house, hooded crows harrassed the booted eagle making it head north. The peregrine making a swoop into a group of rock dove that chose that moment to pass through
Unfortunately you cannot have your camera to hand all the time and as as we looked through the kitchen window a Goshawk floated by, over our olive trees and within ten metres !! grabbing the camera and charging outside resulted in a poor image as the bird gained height and distance heading southwest.
Goshawk ......Accipiter gentilis [ Juvenile ]
Peregrine Falcon......Falco peregrinus [ Juvenile ]
Booted Eagle... Hieraaetus pennatus
Rock Dove......Columba livia
After 5 hrs of electricity outage yesterday and a further 4hrs today we are getting on quickly to report on yesterday's and today's sightings .....
A single Lapwing.......Vanellus vanellus was spotted in the lower fields before being harrassed by a hooded crow, it took to the air, headed NE out over the bay then west over the house towards Falasarna, a fairly rare bird here last autumn there were two or three birds seen.
The Lapwing.......Vanellus vanellus making its escape westward
A dark morph Booted Eagle....Hieraaetus pennatus hunted the area in the morning making several dives into linnet flocks.
The stooping Booted Eagle....Hieraaetus pennatus
A few more small groups of Starling were also seen along with coastal kingfishers.
Our local bred juvenile Common Buzzard....Buteo buteo is developing nicely and coming in close t o the house
Baby Buzzard .... as we call it due to its constant very high pitched whistling call
Today with strong winds, heavy rain and a temeprature drop to 16oC at noon we have not seen the Goldfinch flocks of the last few days. A Peregrine Falcon made a couple of stoops into Linnet flocks in the lower fields having success on one attempt when it swooped within metres of us as it headed down at a tremendous speed, thats something else when one whistles by very close, incredible!!
A couple of Griffon Vultures passed close by as they headed onto the peninsula.
October Species list added on the monthly species list page.
Four new images added on page 4 of the Antikythera gallery.
A link to give you something to think about ... a Gyps fulvus accident http://www.youtube.com/user/jianis19#p/a/0/1RcTjdY1aN4
At home the Peregrine and the Sparrowhawk continue to spoil the Goldfinch's day, repeatedly attacking the feeding groups, mostly with little success, although Sue did find the remains of a small bird in the olive grove they must have had some success.
A better day today weather wise, so we managed to get to Falasarna where we spotted in the distance a juvenile Short-toed Eagle. We even managed a distant shot of it.
Short-toed Eagle.....Circaetus gallicus
Not much else about though, lots of ..................
House Sparrow...Passer domesticus [ssp italiae]
White Wagtail........Motacilla alba
Crested Lark.......Galerida cristata
Another nice sighting today was a .......
Bee Killer....Philanthus triangulum
A late entry tonight ... a Little Owl.....Athene noctua We have heard a few in the past and tonight the first time we have seen one. Taking Mia for her evening walk one flew into the torch beam then into a tree and sat there three metres away illuminated in the light, enabling positive identification and great views.
We were hoping to get some images today for you of the Sparrowhawk and Pergrine trying to lessen the numbers of the huge flocks of Goldfinch, but the weather was against us, bad light, rain showers and wind produced less than favorable pictures.
Yesterday we had the same situation but other commitments ensured no photography then either. We found a Cat Snake in the olive grove as we prepared for this years olive harvest, the rains giving a last minute boost and swelling the fruits. In two weeks we will be all systems go to get every single olive from our 38 trees and into the press within a week, ensuring the acicity and oil quality is top notch.
The ringing and raptor migration count for the autumn season has now come to an end for another year on Antikythera, you can catch up on this and previous seasons on http://blogs.ornithologiki.gr/osa/ . If you wish to volunteer for any of HOS's projects or next spring on Antilkythera, again visit the above link for details.
We were unable to get on the internet yesterday due to storms arriving with a vengence, however a lovely fall of migrants arrived with these storms. White Wagtails... Motacilla alba seen everywhere and the area is full of singing Robins... Erithacus rubecula Chaffinch...Fringilla coelebs, Greenfinch....Carduelis chloris, Corn Bunting....Miliaria calandra, Linnet...Carduelis cannabina and Goldfinch...Carduelis carduelis also in good numbers.
Along the bay coastline 33 Grey Heron...Ardea cinerea, 3 Kingfisher ...Alcedo atthis and 2 Little Egret... Egretta garzetta.
Some of the Grey Herons, Gramvousa high peaks provide the background
19 of the group of 29 Grey Herons seen near Kissamos harbour
Raptors in the area yesterday and today include a dark morph Booted eagle .... Hieraaetus pennatus, an Eleonora's Falcon.... Falco eleonorae, Sparrowhawk...Accipiter nisus and 3 Griffon Vultures....Gyps fulvus.
After saying that the Wheatears will have left us by now, what do we see but an autumn male Northern Wheatear...Oenanthe oenanthe along the coast.
The Wheatear along the coast
The lovely little habitat just west of the promonade in Kissamos that was originally a storm drain has been cleared of all vegatation which has all but ruined it. The area where it runs into the sea did produced one Common Sandpiper....Actitis hypoleucos and a Grey Wagtail...Motacilla cinerea.
Thanks to Vivienne from Tavronitis for the information of a pale morph Booted Eagle.... Hieraaetus pennatus at Kolymbari on the 21st.
This delightful Stonechat picked a prickly landing place
As promised a few images from the last three days. First though, todays sightings. A couple of juvenile Eleonora's Falcon very vocal near the house, a Kingfisher sat on the rocky shore and 6 Grey Herons flying just offshore, a couple of really nice autumn sightings, this morning a juvenile Red-footed Falcon feeding in the lower fields and this afternoon between the storms a female Rock Thrush on the rocks near the small church.
Mud stained sea, rainbow, low cloud and rain. This afternoon at Kaliviani
A selection of the images from 21st and 22nd............
The descent to Frangokastello 21st October
The ascent from Frangokastello, 21st October
On the 22nd October, Thirty plus Griffon Vultures, part of the group of over sixty circling over Kourtaliotis gorge
Three Bonelli's Eagles were up there with the Griffons....
Along came Lammergeier number one to join in the spectacle
To be joined later by the second wearing we think a red radio transmitter or tag which can be seen on the right wing.
All the while we were at Kourtaliotis gorge Griffons soared high and low landing on the ledges on both sides of the road, this one has just taken off from a large cave.
We have returned tonight from three days away on the south coast. Hoping to add a few pictures to the blog from our trip we find that we again have problems getting images to upload due to very low speeds. We had large groups of Griffon Vultures on two days, very spectacular as they circled together before breaking off and heading in all directions. Two adult Lammergeier, 60+ and 3 Bonelli's Eagle yesterday at Kourtaliotis Gorge north of Plakias. Today a Goshawk, 30+Griffon Vultures, 3 Cough and a single Jackdaw. Our first autumn sighting of Corn Buntings today north of Spili.
From Nikos even further east........15 GREY HERON OVER GIORGIOUPOLIS,IMM NIGHT HERON AT PETRES RIVER WEST OF RETHYMNO,MANY GRIFFONS AT SELINARI AND A DISTANT ELEONORAS AT ELOUNDA . DUNLIN AND FEW TAWNY PIPITS(?).
Hopefully web speeds will be restored tomorrow and we can post our images for you.
All very quiet here today, just the calls of hundreds of Goldfinch as they gathered nearby and a lone pale morph Eleonora's Falcon hunted near the coast.
A nice sighting two days ago on Antikythera, no less than nine Short-toed Eagle seen togther, its nice to see one of this species, nine circling over the island must have been a wonderful sight.
We have changed our site email address, which can be found on the "homepage" and "about us" pages, we have also posted here on the blog so that you can instantly update your address books
We welcome any bird sightings and will post with credits on the blog, if you see anything worthwhile please let us know so we can share with others. All sightings on the island are useful data to local and national organisations and to the many birders that visit Crete. Sue and myself only see a small area of the island so any input would be appreciated.
A trip to the lake at Agia reaps its rewards ... we spot nine British birders a good number for mid October ! A 2cy male Marsh Harrier, a pale morph Booted Eagle, male Goshawk, 6 Little Crake, 1 Squacco Heron, 1 Snipe, 1 Sparrowhawk and an Eleonora's Falcon.... plus all the usual other species, 33 species in all. The Little Crake and Kingfisher still present great photo opportunite near the sluice gates. One species to note, Ferruginous Duck, we counted 14 there today along with a possible [Pochard] hybrid, the most we have seen here.
A report of a single Bee-eater at Agia this morning and a Black Stork yesterday. Nikos also saw a lammergeier at Askifou this morning.
Welcome to our newest site member Manos Papadomanolakis, see the links page to view some of Manos's stunning bird photography.
The male Goshawk...... Accipiter gentilis over Agia lake
Captions have been added to the latest images in the Antikythera gallery.
An Eleonora's Falcon, a Black Kite at 1130, a Little Egret and two Grey Herons were the main spots today.
The Black Kite ....Milvus migrans that flew high over at 1130 heading north west
We again heard Barn Owl nearby and hope that its our recovered Tyto....
The Blue Rock Thrush continues to roost on the light cover above one of the patio doors, a nice male that seems to be getting very trusting of us .
Tonight we have added 40 new images to page four to the Antikythera gallery. Due to very slow speeds tonight we will add captions tomorrow .
With the wather forecast correct we had really strong winds from the south and a poor day for birding .......9 Grey Herons flew up and down the coast trying to find a sheltered quiet area to rest up, near the small fishing harbour at Kissamos 4 Little Egret did find shelter, a couple of Eleonora's Falcon flew into the headwinds and the sparrowhawk continued to harrass the Goldfinch's. At the bottom of our road the area was filled with painted lady butterflies, it was impossible to count the numbers, they provided us with a spectacular sight as they fought the winds, being tossed like autumn leaves.
Welcome to our newest site member Diego from Italy, we hope you enjoy the content of the site.
Our first autumn Robins.....Erithicus rubecula heard today, a further 29 grey herons circled the bay and headed south and a Sparrowhawk put up another large noisy flock of 200+ Goldfinches that were feeding nearby.
A Blue Rock Thrush roosted again on a light attached to the house. Strong winds due from the south tomorrow which may keep a few of the migrants about for a few days.
News that a rarity, the Little Bunting ....Emberiza pusilla, was ringed on Antikythera yesterday......migrating from the far north, this is one to watch for ! If you want to know what may be headed Crete way this autumn a visit to the Antikythera Blog may be of help. http://blogs.ornithologiki.gr/osa/ .
A single Eleonora's Falcon seen early this morning, this may be our last sighting this year they will soon be on their way south.
A lone Kingfisher flew through the back garden from Falasarna way towards our local beach this would have entailed a risky route over the hills, a wonderful sight with the flash of blue through the garden a two second glimpse.
An adult Sparrowhawk again in the vicinity this time putting up two hundred or so Goldfinch that have been very vocal on the hillside.
A party of eighteen Grey Herons took off at 230pm and caught a thermal that took them very high up over the bay before they disappeared south
High up in the clouds the Grey Herons minutes before they departed south
We have added a three new images to the information pages on Agia Lake and Kalergi.
Welcome to Andrew our newest site member who we do not believe for one moment is THIRTEEN !!!!!!!!! Nice camera Andy
We went to take a look at Maronis reserve today after Nikos told us that he thought they were restoring the salt flats there. Lots of work with bulldozers going on removing what looks like a landfill site.
It appears that the area was used to dump rubbish in the past but now Souda council is removing the waste and some of the area may be restored for wildlife, notices have been erected on the south side of the water and we noticed a party of other nature lovers in the area on the northern side where the fencing has also been restored. It looks good for the future here, bravo Souda Council . We have updated the Maronis page with some of the images taken of the work done.
At Maronis today, a few waders, two Common Sandpipers, one Little Ringed Plover, one Little Egret and a Kingfisher, not much but not suprising with all the activity.
Another Black Kite....Milvus migrans seen along the highway betwen Kissamos and Chania this afternoon.
At Maronis today the Little Ringed Plover........Charadrius dubius
The Sparrowhawk pair were again very active over the house and an adult with a juvenile Bonelli's Eagle were seen for several hours over the high hills of Gramvousa. We heard a Barn Owl nearby late last night, was it our rescued bird ?.
Large numbers of Goldfinch Greenfinch and Italian Sparrow all around us at home today.
Sorry we have no images to share with you today hopefully we will have better luck tomorrow.
We were going to stay home today and get some jobs done , but a text from Nikos persuaded us to meet him at Omalos. We are glad we did, on route a flock of 18 Little Egret.... Egretta garzetta flew along the beach near Kissamos also a small group of 10 Grey Herons.....Ardea cineria .
A little later just east of the town a Black Kite......Milvus migrans hunting along the roadside.
At the entrance to Samaria Gorge we looked for the Lammergeier but did not see it until we moved onto the plateau, taking a track into the hills we stopped to photograph a Jay......Garrulus glandarius
that was having a drink from a sheep trough when over our heads came the Lammergeier...Gypaetus barbatus, again great views for about three minutes as it circled nearby before gaining height and moving off towards Gigilos, where later Nikos picked it up again as it flew from the top and headed southeast. We cannot believe our luck in repeated close views of this spectacular bird.
In the morning there had been a conservation/educational day for children so we decided to call in on the way home to see if there was any activity,some of their drawings were posted on the pump house wall.
With still large numbers of birders and children about we were pleased to see the Spotted Redshank.....Tringa erythropus still present and allowing close views.
Welcome onboard to our four new members
Two Sparrowhawk.....Accipiter nisus interacted above the house at 0945 giving quite a display.
Lots of Stonechat......Saxicola torquata and Spotted Flycatcher .......Muscicapa striata about today. Tonight just before dark at 6pm Sue did it again , calling me to get the camera, she had spotted a couple of juvenile Black Stork ....Ciconia nigra circling above the little church, a couple of shots below, they went north again onto the peninsula and landed for the night about a mile away, usually this species is seen as a high flyover.
The evening of release........ Today Tyto was feeling so strong that it would barely let us near it and we decided it was strong enough to be released. At 7pm local time we checked that the owl was OK and took it from its temporary home roughly 48 hours from when Sue first found it. We had cleared a small branch on the bougainvillea and placed it there where it sat for some minutes looking at us and its surroundings, the light was by now getting quite bad but we tried and managed a few photos before it decided that it really had spent enough time with us and we were pleased to see that it had recovered its strength and flew strongly out of the garden. It rose above the house did a loop around to the back and disappeared into some carob trees nearby. Hopefully we will hear it hunting tonight on the hillsides. This is the second Tyto that we have rescued the first with a smashed wing a couple of years ago which had to go to the wildlife hospital in Athens. This one was an experience that we will not forget. The weakened bird we picked up two days ago was so different to the one we released tonight, hopefully now it will have a good life hunting our nearby hills.
The cure.... as advised by the rescue hospital, a syringe filled with sugar water every so often to rehydrate it and nothing else but a darkened secure, quiet and warm resting place .
PS....... Fifty minutes later we have just heard the Schhhhreeeeeeee of a Tyto very close by .....fantastic.
A few minutes after release
strongly flying towards the north
Looping around the house a few moments later
The Barn Owl is looking a lot better today, after checking for any injuries this morning and finding none we believe it is either just weak or maybe has secondary poisoning, we left it to rest for the day, giving fluids every few hours. By this evening it was moving around in the cage and looking so much stronger, we hope we will be able to release it tomorrow. More news on that tomorrow.
Some pictures below taken as we checked for injuries .......
Site changes taking place today, new layouts in some of the pages and pieces moved. A new page where we have archived all the 2008 blog. An "About us" where we have moved some information from the home page. Images and some information have been added to the Elafonisi, Tiganis, and Kalergi pages.
A new Species List 2009 section added. This will be in chart form and will be made from all our diaries over three years they will also include our trips to various sites on Crete, this will enable an at a glance type look at any species.
This afternoon Sue took Mia for a walk and found a Barn Owl.....Tyto alba we took the car to see if it was OK and now have a visitor to stay, it let me approach and pick it up with no resistance , it is either exhausted or has been poisoned. We will see how it goes until tomorrow with fluids, if its OK but still not responding we will send it to the Greek wildlife rescue organisation. We have a link on site for them.
Found sitting in a field of stubble looking weak with no apparent injuries. at 6.00pm
Two latest Lammergeier images [ larger than on the blogg "4th" ] have been added to the raptor gallery.
A trip to Balos rewarded us with an Eleonora's Falcon and several other small raptor species along the way. We took Diego who we worked with on the EOS raptor migration scheme on Antikythera to see this fantastic beach, no birds apart from Blue Rock Thrush, so we will share an image with you of the beach area.
We paid a visit to the Griffon Vulture ......Gyps fulvus roost at Topolia in the late afternoon and were rewarded with nine birds arriving for the night just before darkness fell, a slightly enhanced image of two of them .
Today with Diego from Italy and Nikos we had a day out at Agia and Omalos. A total of 49 species were seen with the highlights being ...the best views yet of Lammergeier, 40 metres away !! a high Golden Eagle, Goshawk, two large flocks of Grey Heron, Spotted Redshank.
Our best Lammergeier image today of this superb adult Lammergeier......Gypaetus barbatus
Due to strong southerly winds today birding was not that great, we did have a Sparrowhawk perform a low level pass by the house early this morning. Of note large numbers of Goldfinch feeding noisily neearby, 200-300 at least. Resting on their journey south, a party of 17 Grey Herons sat quietly resting for the day on the rocks along our local beach.
A message for the people from Finland who emailed yesterday, we understand that you are here in Crete now and hopefully have email access .........We cannot reach you on the telephone number you supplied, so if you read this can you email again with your country and area codes also please.
The first Short-toed [Snake Eagle]....... Circaetus gallicus arrived here today, for a while it hunted the hills to the rear of the house, harrassed by hooded crow and a pair of kestrel.
Whilst out on the bay a group of twenty Little Egret....Egretta garzetta flew up and down the coastline.
The Kingfishers are still very obliging at Agia, and a Baillons Crake.....Porzana pucilla was also near the pump station in the early afternoon.
Excellent photo opportunities for Kingfisher, Little Egret and ten plus Little Crake at Agia lake today. Kingfishers landing within 2 metres on the steel girder at the sluice gates,the crake and egret showing well nearby. We have updated Manos Papadomanolakis site in the links section, fantastic photography from Manos who is from Chania.
With friends from Ireland we visited Omalos in search of Lammergeier, we were not dissapointed, an adult bird was seen on the scree area west of Gigilos dropping a bone, then swooping down to eat before rising up again to redrop pieces that were too large. Distant views but very exciting to watch. Another new species for us today, unfortunately no pictures as it was too dark to get a decent image, two Short-toed Treecreeper.....Certhia brachydactyla were seen flitting amongst the fir trees near the Samaria gorge entrance. New species for our friends too along with Woodlark. In all 33 species were seen
Our Crete species list for Crete is now 215
A real pleasure here today. Silence and lovely weather, no wind and blue skies. After our return from Antikythera the Cicada's are silent !!! hence the silence and we can now here Cetti's Warbler again..... The olive groves are full of Chaffinch, Willow Warbler and Spotted Flycatcher, While large flocks of Goldfinch feed on the dead flower heads on the hillsides. We have a Blue Rock Thrush roosting again this year on a light fitting attached to the house. An Aquila species which looked like an adult Golden Eagle was seen distant, flying along with a lone Griffon Vulture.
We are now back from our Antikythera raptor watch. Due to adverse weather the raptors were at times only seen in low numbers and most birds passed high overhead, we still managed a few pictures and hope to add them soon. With the nights drawing in we will also be adding pictures to the "Western Greece April/May gallery" and will add a new album "INDIA"
A quiet day today the Shrikes seem to have moved on, a flock of twenty five Grey Heron.....Ardea cinerea were seen circling Kissamos bay.
NEW ALBUM now in the Galleries section 104 images of Vultures to coincide with International Vulture Awareness Day on the 5th September .
Visit the websites and find out what is taking place around the world
Our first autumn Whinchat......Saxicola rubetra seen this evening and a flock of 25 Little Egret fly a couple of circuits of the bay before rising high over the sea and heading southwest.
Lovely views today of a couple of Red-backed Shrike.......Lanius collurio
We had large numbers of Northern Wheatear in the lower stubble fields for several days, early this morning they were joined by lots of White and Yellow Wagtail, by mid afternoon they had all moved on. Several nice Red-backed Shrike are still in the area. Something else to watch out for....... Hummingbird Hawkmoth, to be seen feeding on the Bourgainviilia and Geraniums, at the moment there are good numbers about.
At 350pm a Lammergeier lazily flies south off Gramvousa giving distant but great views for five minutes.
Lots of Northern Wheatear, Stonechats and Spotted Flycatchers moving through.
50-60 Little Egret....Egretta garzetta flying offshore in Kissamos Bay all day. A Red-backed Shrike....Lanius collurio on Gramvousa.
We awoke to the smell of burnt wood this morning,the air is still clouded with the smoke. Luckily here on Crete we know of only a few small fires that have been extinguished fairly quickly.
The ringed Griffon Vulture we spotted on the 21st has been identified. Thank you again Stavros.
The bird is numbered G39. It is at present a six years old bird. Found exhausted in its first year in Kourtaliotiko gorge, Crete on 15/8/2003 and was rehabilitated and released on 30/3/2004.
Fairly quiet here today although over 250+ Honey Buzzard have today passed by Antikythera
Late evening, huge smoke cloud along with burnt wood smell, slowly passes over us from the large forest fires in Attiki mainland Greece.
Another Griffon Vulture ......Gyps fulvus this time green ringed/banded, over the house today we are unable to tell the number on the band at the moment but are working on it.
Griffon Vulture ......Gyps fulvus
Some movement of raptors this morning with a single pale morph Booted Eagle....Hieraaetus pennatus and three Black Kite.....Milvus migrans all heading south on strong northerly winds
We received details on the two Griffon Vultures with tags today. Thanks to Stavros Xirouchakis for the information on these birds which he had previously tagged.
Bird 63....... Born in 2006, fledged around mid July. Found exhausted in Kourtaliotiko gorge in 10/8/2006. It was rescued by a resident of Armenoi village until it had recovered. The bird was tagged by Stavros and released in Kourtaliotiko gorge in 30/11/2006.
Bird 55.......Was also found exhausted in Plakias in July 2006. He was rehabilitated by a taverna owner. Again tagged by Stavros and also released in Kourtalitiko gorge in 10/10/2006. This bird is also a 3rdCY. A Lesser Grey Shrike still in the area
A Lesser Grey Shrike still in the area
Raptors are starting to move south with a Black Kite spotted today and a Merlin two days ago.
Another tagged Griffon Vulture seen over the house today one of twenty five heading out onto the peninsula.
Birding on Crete just gets better. We joined up with Nikos today for an Agia lake visit and then onto Omalos, where we really got lucky, with close views of not one but a pair of adult Lammergeier.... Gypaetus barbatus. They were both carrying twigs as they flew low over us and we watched as one headed to their nest site and sat for a few minutes before they joined up and flew out of sight.
One of the pair of Lammergeier...Gypaetus barbatus
Four images of the Lammergeier added to the " Raptor " gallery
Three images of spiders added in the " Other Insect " gallery
The last five images of Lammergeier in the raptor gallery today show three different birds that we have seen in the last few days. There are now believed to be only four or five breeding pairs on the island.
Migration is underway..................
16 Glossy Ibis.....Plegadis falcinellus and 100+ Wood or Green Sandpipers were at Agia. A single Kingfisher .....Alcedo atthis at Tavronitis. Reported by Nikos.
At Gramvousa area small groups of Turtle Dove passing through and a flock of 16 Little Egret flying offshore. Many Northern Wheatear seen feeding in the fields.
Deliana Gorge 1030am a sub adult Lammergeier....Gypaetus barbatus flying with fifteen Griffon Vultures.
Two new images of Griffon Vulture....Gyps fulvus added to raptor gallery.
A new page added "Our house for sale" .......
Today we had fine views of twenty plus Griffon Vultures....Gyps fulvus as they fed on presumably a goat, 500 metres away from our home.
Another nice sighting today an adult female Red-backed Shrike....Lanius senator catching a large Egyptian Grasshopper.
The final part of our Greek trip in May is now online at http://www.cretewww.com/ seeColin and Sue's May 2009 diary.
Not often seen here, a Lesser Grey Shrike .....Lanius minor paid us a visit on the 7th. Barn Swallows seen in the last few days in fairly high numbers. Griffon Vultures Gyps fulvus and groups of up to thirty Ravens Corvus corax daily heading onto the peninsula on occasions very close to the house. Eleonora's Falcons Falco eleonoraii continue to hunt the area daily.
LESSER GREY SHRIKE............Lanius minor
Kaliviani on the 7th August
New birding site added on the links page. A lovely site by Julian Bell with reports and images of Crete and other locations. Well worth a visit.
We heve been very busy since our return in June and are still working on the images of our trip, hopefully we will have the new gallery online soon.
Part two of our Greek diary is now online at http://www.cretewww.com/ see Colin and Sue's Diary "May 2009" with over 100 images. Part three coming soon
Welcome to our newest two site members John and Linda McGowan, we hope you enjoy the content and look forward to seeing you online.
For our newest diary pages go to http://www.cretewww.com/colinsu/anti003/index.htm for our visit to Antikythera in April , with 70 wildlife images. There will be further updates from our visit to mainland Greece/Italy/France [ The Camargue] and UK in May/June, we are nearly finished sorting the photos and hope that Roy and Raye will be publishing these shortly.
Unfortunately we have had to remove the guestbook due to adverse entries, we hope that we may be able to reintroduce it at a later date. There is no tool available to remove the comments section from the images in the galleries but we will try to remove these as soon as we see them.
There have been a number of nuisance comments not relevent to the content of this site added to a few of the images in the galleries. These have now been removed but we expect more ! PLEASE DO NOT CLICK ON LINKS IN COMMENTS ADDED FROM OFFSITE you are liable to computer infection etc.
We will endevour to remove others as soon as we are informed by Freewebs of a comment being posted.Thank you
Colin and Sue
Golden Oriole moving through this morning and the first Spotted Flycatchers along with small numbers of Red-throated Pipit .
Red-throated Pipit seen feeding in the meadows along the beach road
This month getrs even better as we add yet another new species
Baillons Crake.. Porzana pusilla seen at Agia Lake this afternoon.
Our Crete Bird List updated to 213 species
Image of yesterdays Bittern added below ......6 new images in the Raptor Gallery and 18 new images in the Birds of Crete Gallery.
More Bee-eaters today but high winds midday mean very few bird sightings.
A great afternoons birding at Falasarna with 42 species seen there in three hours, and another two new species to add to our Crete list with sightings of Spotted Crake and an hour and a half watching a Bittern whilst it fed 20 metres away. Bee-eaters arrive in the area today with sightings at home and Falasarna . Our Crete bird species list now stands at 212.
We add two more species to our Crete list , Audouins Gull, and Cretzschmar's Bunting images will be added to the gallery section soon.
We thought we had a Semi-collared Flycatcher but checking on the photos it was a Collared with a somewaht shortened tail giving the appearance of white edgings.
A female Montagu's Harrier has been with us for several days along with many Marsh Harriers passing through. Many other migrants passing through.
Thirty two images added to the Flower Gallery youwill have to hunt them out as the system has downloaded them amongst pages two and three. The date they were added is posted as their title.
Lots of Yellow Wagtail arrived in the area overnight, both Feldegg and flava, the first Woodchat Shrike also arrived here on Gramvousa with three sighted this morning. Also a superb male Montagu's Harrier flew low over the fields before a hooded crow decided to chase it off. It went high out over the bay before heading north.
Nine bird photos added to page four of the Crete Bird Gallery, 202 images are now in this gallery.
Eighteen new images added in the Flower Gallery. Thirty two more to add tomorrow
Our March diary along with Alan and Margaret's are now online at http://www.cretewww.com/
We have now added the Rock Thrush picture .....see 28th March ...below.
Thanks to Roy Magnussen for pointing out our error in the location of Tiganis peninsula, this has now been corrected we do indeed live in the western end of the island !
Another new species on Crete to add. This morning we were so lucky to spot a superb male Rock Thrush...Monticola saxatilis a hundred metres away from the house and 50 metres above sea level which flew into view as we were focusing on a Blue Rock Thrush. It stayed for several minutes allowing some heat hazed photos. Our Crete list now stands at 208 species
A VERY Happy Mothers Day to all you Mums out there.....
We will slowly be adding the rest of our "Bird" pictures into our new Europe Gallery today, so be sure to check in later this evening. Look into this update for a full list of new additions.
There are now 79 photos in the new Europe Gallery, also added.... 5 new pictures in the Crete Birds Gallery.
In a few days [ when we have sorted them ] we will add a few ' view pictures ' from the sites we visited into the same gallery.
Twenty nine pictures added tonight into our new Europe 2009 Gallery , more to follow soon.
Another new species to add to our Crete list. Mid afternoon a [common] Crane ...Grus grus flew in and landed a few hundred metres from home and spent some time feeding in the nearby fields before moving further along the coast giving brilliant views and taking our Crete species count to 207.
Crane first seen as it flew in front of the snow covered Lefka Ori
It came in to land virtually on our doorstep in the fields where the migrating
Harriers normally hunt.
Our new gallery will be up and running soon the first photo was uploaded today.
Migration is well underway we have seen in the last few days many Common Buzzard moving north, also Subalpine Warbler, Alpine Swift , House Martin, Barn Swallow, Marsh Harrier, Red-rumped swallow seen and Night Herons heard as they moved through.
We have just returned home after several weeks away and hope to update soon with some photos from our trip to the UK, France and Italy where we have visited family and of course managed some field trips....birding: Norfolk , Milton Keynes !!, Red Kite country [Watlington Oxon], Kent, The Somme.. France, and Venice Lagoons, Italy.
visit..... http://www.ornithologiki.gr/docs/osa/ABO_Bird_Ringing_newsletter_Vol%201.pdf where you will find the ringing report from Antikythera last Autumn.
Our Crete January diary is now online at http://www.cretewww.com/
At 0830 this morning we caught sight of an adult female Hen Harrier heading north past our house and onto the Peninsula, an overwintering bird, or early migration with the strong southwesterly winds of the last few days ?.
Today we had nice sightings of Great Crested Grebe and are able to add some pictures to the galleries.... Bird Gallery, six images, Butterfly Gallery, 1 image, Reptile Gallery, 2 images,Flowers Gallery, 3 images. Plus a few images taken today at Maronis in " Maronis and Souda Bay " information area.
A text from Nikos Samaritakis at 315pm with a report of Mute Swan and Curlew at Maronis River saw us racing off to Souda Bay arriving at a little after 4pm we spent an hour and a half with some good sightings and over fifteeen species to add to the days list. We hope to add some images later this evening or tomorrow. We never found the Swan but had great views of our first Curlew on Crete, this takes our species list for Crete to 206.
The Souda Bay two White Pelican are still in the same location and are doing well.
A wonderful mornings birding, with twenty eight species recorded before breakfast, in two and a half hours we clock up thirty species [ which was also our total for the day ] including Golden Eagle and 8 Kestrel flying together over the house.
Thanks to Nikos for the text message regarding a White Stork seen near to Chania today, where we not only had reasonable views of the bird in heavy rain but met Manos Papadomanolakis who first spotted the bird.
The bird has a deformity under its mandible, maybe this is the reason it did not make it to Africa, it does though have the ability to both fly and feed, so maybe it will return to Europe in the Spring.
For those of you that like wildlife photos be sure to visit Manos's site for some excellent and stunning images, a link is already in the links section or go from here http://www.birdphotography.gr/
We havve had to remove the 'recent picture' bar added yesterday due to a glitch which would not let the page load correctly, we hope to add it again at a later date.
Seven new photos added in the 'Bird Gallery' Also new on the homepage a sidebar that can be found on the right side which shows the latest pictures added. We are also working on several site location guides which can be accessed from the left of the screen,they all have some information added and will be updated soon, with other locations to follow.
Two pictures of Kentish Plover added in the Birds Gallery. Two photo's of a Stick Insect added in the Insects Gallery
Now over 1000 pictures in the galleries To start the new year we add another twenty-one Photos into the following galleries.....Crete Naturale 2; Birds of Crete 9; Flowers 8 and after spotting a Hedgehog today, a new picture in the Mammals gallery..and 1 in Us n' Home
A very Happy, Healthy and prosperous new year to everyone.
Our December diary and Alan and Margaret's are now online at http://www.cretewww.com/
Today the bad weather abated , with no wind and sunshine we had a beach birding day travelling from Kissamos to Gerani, we found some nice species, amongst them two Cattle Egret and four Lapwing. Most notable though a Little Gull, another first for us making our species total for Crete 205.