Crete Birding

Blog 2010

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31st December

Weather at 0930hrs..... 

Sea, choppy ....Visibility, 8mls....Wind , N 2B... Cloud, 90%.-30%... 12.1oC....1023mb

We would like to wish all our friends, family and Crete Birding visitors a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous 2011..... take care out there and may your year, be a great birding year.

Today in western Crete ..... The highlight today is seeing more Golden Plover on the island than before. Twenty five plus birds were seen in a location we cannot divulge, when we went to visit friends....other species , Blue Rock Thrush 2, Shag 3, Cormorant 2, Yellow-legged Gull 10, Hooded Crow 20+, Black Redstart, Peregrine Falcon 3 hunting together, Common Buzzard 2, Crested lark, Stonechat, White Wagtail, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Linnet, Greenfinch, Griffon Vulture 1. 


Golden Plover, Shag, Goldfinch, Yellow-legged Gull, Hooded Crow, Blackbird, Black Redstart, Kestrel, Chiffchaff, Stonechat, Blue Rock Thrush, Linnet, Sardinian Warbler, Chaffinch         Greenfinch, Robin, Raven, Great Tit, Sparrowhawk, Merlin, Common Buzzard, Woodlark, White Wagtail, Starling, Crested Lark, Corn Bunting, Griffon Vulture, Crag Martin, Cormorant, Mallard, Shoveler, Wigeon, Peregrine Falcon, Tufted Duck, Ferruginous Duck, Pochard, Marsh Harrier, Teal, Kingfisher, Coot, Moorhen, Hen Harrier, Little Grebe, Grey Plover, Blue Tit, Grey Heron, Great Egret, Little Egret, Great Crested Grebe, Serin, Grey Wagtail, Italian Sparrow, Booted Eagle, Golden Eagle, Jay, Chukar, Collared Dove, Water Pipit, Meadow Pipit, Bonelli's Eagle, Slender-billed Gull, Moustached Warbler, Black-necked Grebe.  

Its been a good year for rare sightings for us with the ( Saxaul ) Grey Shrike and the Northern Gannet, the shrike ( pallidirostris ) we believe is only the 4th record for Greece, we are not sure about Gannet sightings in Crete it may be the first record for the island.

Our Species list now stands at 224 with eight new ones added this year.  Brambling, Fieldfare, Auduins Gull, Pied Kingfisher, Slender-billed Gull, Gannet, Saxual Grey Shrike, Grey Plover.                                                                                          

                               SEASONS GREETINGS

30th December

Weather at 0930hrs..... 

Sea, choppy ....Visibility, 7mls....Wind , N 5B... Cloud, 100%.... 13.4oC....1021mb

With the change in the wind direction we found a pair of Booted Eagles busy hunting in front of the house, a little later a male Hen Harrier came up from the olive grove, late afternoon a pair of Peregrine Falcons came over the hill to the west of us, hunting the area they then went off to the north working together like a pair of fighter planes, scattering all the small birds as they went. 

After trying to do a repair to the large lens we got a few not too good images, the images below shows there is some distortion, so it will have to be sent off for repair after all !!!.

Todays Kaliviani species ....

Hooded Crow, Raven 8, Booted Eagle 2, Peregrine Falcon 2, Common Buzzard 4, Hen Harrier 1, Yellow-legged Gull 6, Crested Lark, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Blue Rock Thrush, Black Redstart, Great Tit, Chiffchaff, Chaffinch, Linnet, Stonechat, White Wagtail, Sardinian Warbler


                                           Dark morphed Booted Eagle


             One of the dark morphed Booted Eagles being harrassed by Hooded Crow


                                          The two interacting Booted Eagles


                          A couple of very poor images of todays Hen Harrier


                               One of several Raven flying past the house today


   Cattle Egret one of 15 seen and photgraphed yesterday by Harry Lough near Tavronitis    


                                               Lily in flower in our garden


28th December

Weather at 0900hrs..... 

Sea, choppy ....Visibility, 6mls....Wind , N light... Cloud, 100%.rain showers... 16.2oC....1012mb

A work day today and a quick trip to Chania where some flooding had taken place after a heavy downpour.

At Kaliviani, few species, but we were not really looking !! White Wagtail, Common Buzzard, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Hooded Crow, Yellow-legged Gull, Stonechat, Crested Lark, Sardinian Warbler, Kestrel, Robin, Cetti's Warbler, Cormorant.

At Moronis ...rain !! usual species seen, Coot, Moorhen, Great Egret, Little Egret, Cormorant 5, Yellow-legged Gull, Little Ringed Plover 3, Common Sandpiper 1, Redshank 3, Kingfisher, Starling.... flying high feeding on insects , they looked like a large flock of Swifts !, A Peregrine Falcon overflew the marsh area. Meadow Pipit and Cetti's Warbler.

On router several Common buzzard and 3 Kestrel

Manos reported a Night Heron at Moronis yesterday, these overwinter in small numbers in the larger wetlands of Greece and are not normally seen here at this time of year. We had a look for it this morning but the extensive weed on the southern side provided it with good cover.

27th December

Weather at 0830hrs..... 

Sea, calm ....visibility, 3mls....Wind light, S ,... Cloud, 100%.... 16oC....1013mb

Kaliviani species today....Hooded Crow, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Cetti's Warbler, Blackbird, Crested Lark, Blue Rock Thrush, Rock Dove, Linnet, Raven 12+, Yellow-legged Gull, Sardinian Warbler, Robin, Great Tit, Chiffchaff, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Common Buzzard and an adult Peregine Falcon. 

Nikos and manos have been out at Moronis and Aygia , the same species seen on the 23rd ... B/N grebe seen at Aygia

24th December

Weather at 0800hrs..... 

Sea, calm ....visibility, 6mls....Wind light W later S ,... Cloud, 60%, sunny intervals.. 17.7oC....1014mb

We awoke to the lovely songs of Blue Rock Thrush, Woodlark and Linnet this morning...what better way to welcome Christmas Eve !

Kaliviani species today....Blue Rock Thrush, Linnet, Woodlark, Hooded Crow, Robin, Chiffchaff, Goldfinch, Blackbird, Great Tit, Greenfinch, Common Buzzard, Sardinian Warbler, Raven, Kestrel, Yellow-legged Gull, Crested Lark, Stonechat, Rock Dove, Crag martin, Shag 1, Little Egret 1, Sparrowhawk 1.

Late afternoon and we sat on the balcony and watched a juvenile Sparrowhawk try to take on a Hooded Crow, it nearly got it too !!!!





23rd December

Weather at 0730hrs..... 

Sea, calm ....visibility, 8mls....Wind 0 ,... Cloud, 0%, sunny ,.. 14.4oC....1020mb

We take a trip to Agyia and Omalos.

At home we spotted.... Blackbird, Chaffinch, Black Redstart, Yellow-legged Gull, Stonechat, Common Buzzard, Hooded Crow, Crested Lark, Corn Bunting. On our return after dark we had our first Barn Owl for some months, seen flying over on the road below the house.

On route to Agyia three roadkill Badgers were seen in different locations.

Agyia species....The highlight here was to see the Black-necked Grebe Harry had found, after a few mintues searching we found not one but two, our first of this species at Agyia.....Teal, Shoveler, Tufted Duck, Pochard, Mallard, Ferruginous Duck, Wigeon, Coot, Moorhen, Little Grebe, Kingfisher, Stonechat, Chiffchaff, Cetti's Warbler, Italian Sparrow, Marsh Harrier, Yellow-legged Gull, Cormorant 3, Gadwall, Blackbird, Starling, Sedge Warbler... Nikos has reminded us that Sedge should not be here this time of the year and its probably Moustached Warbler. We called in late afternoon on return from Omalos, no new species found.

                                   Distant view of the two Black-necked Grebe


                                           Starlings coming into Agyia to roost


                                           Marsh Harrier late afternoon at Agyia


                                Agyia Kingfishers are always a delight to see



With temperatures rising we headed for Omalos plateau where it was somewhat cooler but comfortable, in the shade though fleeces were needed !!!!

We found that a large reservoir was under construction near the natural pools on the plateau whether this will be a good thing remains to be seen, the disruption at present makes this otherwise peaceful place seem like a building site.

We were disappointed not to see a single griffon vulture...even distant... the larger raptors were not to be seen here today ! 

We found another trail to give us great views over the area and as we were about to leave spotted over the distant higher ridges a golden eagle, it circled a few times and landed on a snow free ridge, where it remained before two raven spotted it and proceeded to swoop and mob it. It remained there for some time after they got fed up, when we next looked it had itself moved off, our only large raptor of the day, a nice sighting !

A group of 60+ Chough were heard as they approached our car and dived nearby into a newly ploughed area to feed, joining 20 odd hooded crows.

Species list Omalos ....Common Buzzard, Raven, Hooded Crow, Chough 60+, Chaffinch, Blue Tit, Water Pipit, House Sparrow, Chukar, Jay 20+, Black Redstart, Stonechat, linnet, Great Tit, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Kestrel, Blackbird, Robin, Woodlark, Golden Eagle.

                                      Some of the sixty plus Chough at Omalos


                                             Water Pipit at Omalos pools



22nd December

 Weather at 0800hrs..... 

Sea, calm ....visibility, 7mls....Wind 0 ,... Cloud, 5%, mainly sunny ,.. 18.2oC....1021mb

Highlights today an immature Bonelli's Eagle over Gramvousa at 0945,accompanied by a Peregrine, minutes later it was seen off by a couple of ravens ,  and a young Golden Eagle at the same location at 1430. A small flock of Crag martins around the house for most of the day.

Other species at Kaliviani....Greenfinch, Linnet, Sardinian Warbler, Crested Lark, Yellow-legged Gull, Hooded Crow, Blue Rock Thrush, Chaffinch, White Wagtail, Stonechat, Black redstart, Corn Bunting, Kestrel, Goldfinch, Shag 1, Blackbird, Rock Dove, Sparrowhawk 1, Great Tit.

                                          Bonelli's Eagle... Aquila fasciatus


                                       Crag Martin ...Ptyonoprogne rupestris


21st December

Weather at 0900hrs..... 

Sea, calm ....visibility, 8mls....Wind SSW 2 ,... Cloud, 100%,... 18.2oC....1019mb 

Highlight of the day ... a couple of Golden Eagles, 1 juv and 1 adult showed over Gramvousa at 1345 for ten minutes and at 1525 a male Hen Harrier again glided by the side of the house.

Other species... Blue Rock Thrush, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Hooded Crow, Yellow-legged Gull, Linnet, Corn Bunting, Crested Lark, Crag Martin, Common Buzzard 2, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Raven, Kestrel, Great Tit, Blackbird, Goldfinch.

Thanks to Harry Lough for the report and pictures of a single Black-necked Grebe at Aygia today, they not often seen at Aygia, annually over 100 are seen at lake Kournas near Gorgopoli   

                                   Black-necked Grebe....Podceps nigricollis

                                           3 Images by and © Harry Lough





20th December

Weather at 0830hrs..... 

Sea, calm ....visibility, 7mls....Wind 0 ,... Cloud, 5%, sunny intervals, later 100% cloud ... 16.5oC....1020mb 

A trip to Chania gave us the opportunity to check the coast and Moronis today. Nice to see the Great Crested Grebe that Nikos notified us about and also a single Golden Plover along the coast, both uncommon here and only seen in very low numbers.

The rains have now managed to reach sea level and we found the Tavronitis and Keridis  rivers with a good outflow, each with a Little Grebe busy diving along the bamboo lined banks.

Kaliviani species... Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Hooded Crow, Greenfinch, Linnet, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Common Buzzard 4, Yellow-legged Gull, Chiffchaff, Great Tit, Woodlark, Blue Rock Thrush 2, Corn Bunting, Sardinian Warbler, Crested Lark, Sparrowhawk, Shag 1, Raven 1.

Moronis...Great Egret 1, Little Egret 2, Redshank 3, Little Ringed Plover 6, Great Crested Grebe 1, Common Sandpiper 2, Cormorant 5, Grey Heron 1, Kingfisher 2, Yellow-legged Gull, Sandwich Tern, Linnet, Hooded Crow, Meadow Pipit, Goldfinch, Coot, Moorhen, Stonechat, Black Redstart, Blackbird, Starling, White Wagtail

Coast, Chania to Kolimbari...... Collared Dove, Chaffinch, Little Egret, Little Grebe 2, Teal 2, Coot, Moorhen, Shag 2, Cormorant 1, Yellow-legged Gull, Common Buzzard 1, Black Redstart, White Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, Stonechat, Blackbird, Golden Plover, Starling.

Sorry no images, but everything was too far away with the 200mm lens....

19th December

Weather at 1000hrs..... 

Sea, choppy ....visibility, 5mls....Wind SW 3-4B ,... Cloud, 70%, sunny intervals ... 19.8oC....1018mb 

Kaliviani today....Yellow-legged Gull, Peregrine Falcon, Hooded Crow, Shag 1, Linnet, Goldfinch, Crested Lark, Corn Bunting, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Sparrowhawk, Griffon Vulture 5, Rock Dove, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Chiffchaff, White Wagtail, Robin, Common Buzzard, Kestrel, Raven .

Lovely view of the female Sparrowhawk, as we turned to scan the skies it glided past just metres away and drifted into the olive grove. Nice to see the griffons again, after days of storms they have been absent from the peninsula skies.

18th December

Weather at 1000hrs..... 

Sea, calm ....visibility, 8mls....Wind W light ,... Cloud, 80% , ...14.0oC....1016mb  Rain showers

Still very quiet with only the following seen at home....Linnet, Stonechat, Yellow-legged Gull 50+ following a trawler, Goldfinch, Blue Rock Thrush, Greenfinch, White Wagtail, Crag Martin 1, Shag 1, Black Redstart, Chiffchaff and a single female Kestrel perched nearby on our boundry fence.

News from Nikos at Moronis and Aygia....

Agyia poor, usual duck species, Little Egret, 3 Cormorant, Kingfisher, 2 Marsh Harrier

Moronis ....4+ Little Ringed Plover, Common Sandpiper, Redshank, Little Egret 1, Great Egret 1, Grey Heron 1, 3+ Cormorant, Sandwich Tern, Great Crested Grebe, 10+ Black-headed Gull, Mediterranean Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Kingfisher, 12 Coot, 6 Moorhen.



17th December

Weather at 0900hrs..... 

Sea, calm with swell....visibility, 8mls....Wind W light ,gusts 2-3B ... Cloud, 100% , ...12.2oC....1005mb  Rain showers, occasional thunderstorms

Common Buzzard, Hooded Crow, Blackbird, Black Redstart, Crested Lark, Corn Bunting, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Linnet, Kingfisher, Yellow-legged Gull, White Wagtail, Shag, Stonechat, Great Tit, Collared Dove, Crag Martin

Stormy weather is apparently to stay with us until Sunday !

16th December

Weather at 1000hrs..... 

Sea, calm with swell....visibility, 5mls....Wind W light ,gusts 4B ... Cloud, 100% , ...14.0oC....1003mb

More bad weather, heavy rain showers, thunder and lightning birds are few !!!

15th December

Weather at 0930hrs..... 

Sea, calm....visibility, 8mls....Wind W light ... Cloud, 100 showers , ...13.8oC....1011mb

Weather still not good and birds fairly scarce.

Chiffchaff, Blackbird, Sardinian Warbler, Hooded Crow, Stonechat, Yellow-legged Gull, Corn Bunting, Goldfinch, Linnet, Common Buzzard, Blue Rock Thrush, Black Redstart, Raven, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Robin

14th December

Weather at 0930hrs..... 

Sea, calm....visibility, 8mls....Wind NW light ... Cloud, 10050% , ...14.3oC....1011mb

After yesterdays bad weather and the nights heavy rain,today remained fairly calm and bright , a lot of the mountain snow has gone with the temperature rise, we were lucky here and did not suffer with the heavy snow as did central and eastern Crete.

Today we had a make and mend day and so birded when we could, during weeding we found a small Green Toad ....Bufo viridis which escaped before we could get his photo

Whislt checking the water filters a scorpion was uncovered (image below) and again whilst weeding we uncovered a large 7-8cm pupa of we presume a large moth, we are trying to ID this species, if you have an idea from the image below please let us know, we have searched several internet sites without success.

It has taken six hours to find, Oleander Hawkmoth...Daphnis nerii considering all the Oelander around its surprising we have not seen them before.


Birds .....Yellow-legged Gull, Hooded Crow, Blackbird, Blue Rock Thrush, Goldfinch, Black Redstart, White Wagtail, Common Buzzard 4, Linnet, Great Tit, Chaffinch , Greenfinch and today's highlight a dark morph Booted Eagle which was first seen over the sea with an escort of two Hooded Crows, escaping their harrassment it headed our way and performed an unsuccessful stoop into the small gully behind the house, it emerged through the olive trees and flew slowly off towards the beach, we saw it several more times hunting the area, but with the big lens out of action we never got a picture.


                                        pupa of  Oleander Hawkmoth...Daphnis nerii                                             


                                           Scorpion....Buthus occitanicus


13th December

Weather at 0930hrs..... 

Sea, calm with swell....visibility, 2-3mls....Wind W-NW 3-5B ... Cloud, 100% , ...13.9oC....1006mb

No birding or anything else today torrential rain , thunder etc etc  kept us indoors.

12th December

Weather at 0930hrs..... 

Sea, rough....visibility, 8mls....Wind N 5B ... Cloud, 40% , ...8.7oC....1010mb

We have updated  the last two days , nothing much to report other than the weather !!!

Today after the snow and bad weather of yesterday the visiblity was brilliant, from Falasarna we could see Antikythera, Kythera, and the mainland of the Pelepponese, not sure of how many miles that is but its about a five hour direct ferry crossing from Kissamos to the Pelepponese !! not many birds though and the temperature did not rise above 10oC  

Kaliviani.....Yellow-legged Gull, Chiffchaff, White Wagtail 20+, Stonechat, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Sparrowhawk, Griffon Vulture, Linnet, Crested lark, Common Buzzard, Robin, Black Redstart, Blackbird.

Falasarna....Kestrel 1, Griffon Vulture 2, White Wagtail, Common Sandpiper 2, Golden Plover 1, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Crested Lark, Yellow-legged Gull, Great Tit

From Nikos....




                                     Golden Plover... Pluvialis apricaria                  


             Beyond Falasarna, Antikythera.... and behind, the bigger island of Kythera


                          The White Mountains with the first of the winters snow


11th December

Weather at 0900hrs..... 

Sea, rough....visibility, 2-3mls....Wind N 5-7B ...Cloud, 100% , ...4.4oC....1009mb

Today we have the first snow this winter and a temperature drop  of 15.5oC , the temperature dropped to 3.9oC at 12 noon, hail, sleet, snow, thunder and lightning thwarted any birding today.

10th December

Weather at 0930hrs..... 

Sea, calm....visibility, 3mls....Wind W 2-3 B... Cloud, 95% , ...20.2oC....1008mb

All the usual passerines......along the beach a single Golden Plover

9th December

Weather at 0830hrs..... 

Sea, choppy with whitecaps....visibility, 7mls....Wind WxSW 3-4B gusting 6-7B... Cloud, 30% , ...20.5oC....1018mb

High winds mid morning put paid to any birding at home, Yellow-legged Gull, Griffon Vulture 2, Hooded Crow, White Wagtail, Linnet , Stonechat, Black Redstart.   

We took a drive to Falasarna to see if the endemic and endangered Androcymbium rechingeri were in flower, there were a good number there, but the threat of overgrazing and development at the site is still present. As we have stated before there are only three known sites ,Falasarna, the tiny island just off the peninsula and the other at Elafonisi. 

Bird species there ....Common Buzzard 2, Kestrel 1, Stonechat 20+, Black Redstart 20+, Goldfinch in small flocks, Blue Rock Thrush 1 (heard).  We stopped at a small puddle of rainwater and watched 100+ White Wagtail busily feeding, we have not seen so many in one place before. Some were bathing with Linnet, Serin, Chiffchaff, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Italian Sparrow and Goldfinch.... eight species together in this small puddle gave us a very enjoyable half an hour.

When we arrived home we were just in time to see 200+ goats being herded out onto their winter range on Gramvousa.

The big Tamron 200-500 lens has a fault so we will have to make do with the 55-200 Sigma until its repaired, soon we hope !!     

                            The endangered and rare Androcymbium rechingeri




                     The Painted Lady helps to give the size of these delicate Lilies




                        Goats heading to their winter feeding grounds on Gramvousa


7th December

Weather at 0830hrs..... 

Sea, calm....visibility, 8mls....Wind NW light... Cloud, 85% occasional light rain, ...19.8oC....1019mb

Home and along the coast to Kissamos.... Kingfisher 1, Common Sandpiper 1, Little Egret 1, Golden Plover 3, White Wagtail, Yellow Wagtail, Kestrel 2, Hooded Crow, Raven,  Stonechat, Black Redstart, Crested Lark, Corn Bunting, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Linnet, Blue Rock Thrush, Common Buzzard, Shag 2, Yellow-legged Gull.

from Manos and Nikos at Agia.....Golden Plover seen nearby , pale morph Booted Eagle, Marsh Harrier, Sparrowhawk, Common Buzzard, Peregrine Falcon, Cormorant and the usual duck and passerine species.

No bird pictures today, we took some moth species last night and a couple of wild flowers this morning.

At last we have got the link to work on the "Our publications" page so if you would like a preview of our two books thats the page to go to.

                                          Striped hawkmoth....Hyles lineata


                                                     Species not known


                                                   Species  not known


                                Wild Saffron Crocus....Crocus cartwrightianus            


                                           Crown Anemone....Anemone coronaria


4th December

Weather at 0830hrs..... 

Sea, choppy....visibility, 8mls....Wind S 2b... Cloud, 5% thin and high , ...21oC....1015mb

Highlights today.... a female Merlin flew past the house at 9am at 3pm a male Hen Harrier was spotted hunting over the fields.

A new species for Crete again today a Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola ...our Crete list is now at 224 species.



Home species.... Sparrowhawk 1, Peregrine Falcon 2, Common Buzzard 2, Goldfinch, Linnet, Black Redstart, Merlin 1, Hooded Crow, Great Tit, Cetti's Warbler, Raven, Sardinian Warbler, Corn Bunting, Yellow-legged Gull, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Crested Lark, Crag Martin 6, Blue Rock Thrush 1, Kestrel 1, Hen Harrier 1, Chiffchaff, Grey Plover 1, Golden Plover 14.

                            top bird, Grey Plover below thirteen Golden Plover

               (left) Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola   and Golden Plover... Pluvialis apricaria

3rd December

Weather at 1045hrs..... 

Sea, calm....visibility, 8mls....Wind S  light... Cloud, 50% thin and high , ...25.7oC....1018mb

Home species....Woodlark, Linnet, Great Tit, Chaffinch, Hooded Crow, Corn Bunting, Robin, Stonechat, Sardinian Warbler, Crag Martin, Greenfinch, Raven, Black Redstart, Crested Lark, Golden Plover 6, Common Buzzard 3, Sparrowhawk 1, Yellow-legged Gull

Local Common Buzzard....Buteo buteo


Agyia Species....Mallard, Kingfisher, Shoveler, Wigeon, Cetti's Warbler, Tufted Duck. Pochard, Ferruginous Duck, Chiffchaff, Coot, Moorhen, Little Grebe, Teal, Common Buzzard 4, Marsh Harrier 2, Yellow-legged Gull, Robin, Peregrine Falcon 1.

                              Juv. Moorhen ....Gallinula chloropus    at Aygia


Moronis species.... due to men invading the reserve area and standing on the waters edge fishing, there were only a few species to be seen......2 Little Egret, 1 Great Egret, 2 Cormorant, Yellow-legged Gull, Kingfisher, and Redshank.

2nd December

Weather at 0915hrs..... 

Sea, calm....visibility, 6mls....Wind S  light... Cloud, 50% thin and high , ...24.4oC....1019mb

Today we spotted through the telescope six Pluvialis a. along the coast visibly jumpy we observed them from a distance. otherwise it was again a fairly quiet day

Goldfinch, Yellow-legged Gull, hooded Crow, Black Redstart, Blackbird, Kestrel, Sardinian Warbler,Stonechat, Blue Rock Thrushm Linnet, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Raven, Robin, Cetti's Warbler, Common Buzzard, Great Tit, Golden Plover , Shag, Sparrowhawk, Woodlark, Crested Lark, Corn Bunting

1st December

Weather at 0800hrs..... 

Sea, choppy with whitecaps....visibility, 4 mls (sandstorm from N Africa)....Wind S  4-5B... Cloud, 40% thin and high , ...25.2oC....1017mb

The highlight today... 5 Golden Plover on our local beach, we took some pictures on the way to town, when we came back they had moved on. Another fairly rare bird for Crete, our previous sightings have been of a few locally, first sighted November 2007.

The number of birds seen today are shown below, high winds again made spotting any species difficult.

Species...White Wagtail 10 , Chaffinch 2, Goldfinch 20+, Crested Lark 8 , Hooded Crow 12, Greenfinch 3, Sardinian Warbler 2, Linnet 5, Raven 1, Griffon Vulture 1, Yellow-legged Gull 6, Golden Plover 5, Shag 1, Cormorant 1, Stonechat 6, Common Buzzard 2, Kestrel 1, Black Redstart, great Tit.

                                        Golden Plover....Pluvialis apricaria



                                             Shag....Phalacrocorax aristotelis


30th November

Weather at 0900hrs..... 

Sea, calm....visibility, 2 mls (sandstorm from N Africa)....Wind SSW  2-3B... Cloud, 80% thin , ...21.2oC....1020mb

Twenty one species today.... Nice views of Crag Martins feeding over the beach road, lots of Chiffchaff flitting in the olive trees. A Black-headed Gull was seen in among 46 Yellow-legged Gulls.

The day started off with a Kestrel being harrassed by Hooded Crows on the rocky crag behind the house, Goldfinch, Robin, Stonechat, Black Redstart, Sardinian Warbler, Blue Rock Thrush, Linnet, Corn Bunting, Crested Lark, Blackbird, Yellow-legged Gull, Black-headed Gull, Crag Martin, Rock Dove, Chiffchaff, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Common Buzzard, Shag 1. 

November species list… 77

Red-backed Shrike, Short-toed Eagle,,Golden Eagle, Yellow-legged Gull, Kingfisher, Cetti’s Warbler, Hooded Crow, Chaffinch, Sardinian Warbler, White Wagtail, Hen Harrier, Greenfinch, Italian Sparrow, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Stonechat,,Black Restart, Chiffchaff, Raven, Common Buzzard,,Rock Dove, Great Tit, Crested Lark, Linnet, Corn Bunting, Spotted Flycatcher, Barn Swallow, Griffon Vulture, Crag Martin, Sparrowhawk, Sandwich Tern, Cormorant, Common Sandpiper, Redshank, Coot, Moorhen, Little Egret,  Great Egret, Serin, Starling, Grey Wagtail, Slender-billed Gull, Sedge Warbler, Pelican, Mute Swan, Mallard, Kestrel, Collared Dove, Black-necked Grebe, Little Grebe, Goldfinch, Teal, Marsh Harrier Willow Warbler, Blackbird, Bonelli’s Eagle, Blue Rock Thrush, Peregrine Falcon, Shag, Blue Tit, Curlew, Gannet, Meadow Pipit, Saxaul Grey Shrike, Squacco Heron, Mediterranean Gull, Robin, Black-headed Gull, Little Ringed Plover, Booted Eagle, Woodlark, Shoveler, Pochard, Garganey, Gadwall, Ferruginous Duck, Tufted Duck.

29th November

 Weather at 1030hrs..... 

Sea, calm....visibility,  8 mls....Wind SSW 5-6 Gusting 7B... Cloud, 5%, ...30.5oC....1016mb

We forgot to mention on yesterday's blog that the Crown Anemone....Anemone coronaria are now starting to flower, we have two out in the olive grove.  



Very strong winds high night temperatures (26.7oC last night) followed today by a high of 30.5oC at 1030hrs  makes birding a little disappointing and a tad hot !!!So not too many species seen today

 ...Kestrel, Griffion Vulture 3, Sardinian warbler, Goldfinch, Yellow-legged Gull,Raven 5, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Stonechat, Crested Lark,Hooded Crow, Shag.

28th November

 Weather at 0945hrs..... 

Sea, calm....visibility,  4 mls....Wind S 2-3B... Cloud, 75%, ...27.3oC....1016mb

later the temperature rose to 29.7oC with an increase in the winds to 5-6 B  some sand in the air from Africa.

Not too good with the weather today , we thought another picture from yesterday would be nice, this one taken by Sue shows how chummy the swan and pelican are, not sure what the swan thinks of the pink rinse though !!


We have had a chat with others about the numbers of Scops and Barn Owls, several people have told us that this year they have noticed a decrease in their numbers, anyone else noticed this ? please send us your findings if you have some time.

Todays species list Kaliviani...Hooded Crow, Blackbird, Yellow-legged Gull 15, Griffon Vulture 1, Common Buzzard 2, Goldfinch, robin, Chaffinch, Corn Bunting, Kingfisher 1, Greenfinch, Stonechat, Sardinian Warbler, Sparrowhawk, Chiffchaff, White Wagtail, Great Tit, Serin, Blue Rock Thrush, Golden Eagle 1, Crested Lark.

The golden eagle put in another brief appearance, seen high over the ridge stationary in the high wind before stooping down behind the rocky crags, it appeared again for a minute, again hovering before disappearing. A Sparrowhawk came close to the house on several occasions swooping into small flocks of goldfinch.  

Report from Manos and Nikos of 3 Cattle Egret and a pale morph Booted eagle at Moronis early this morning

27th November

Weather at 0900hrs..... 

Sea, whitecaps....visibility,  8 mls....Wind S 5-7B... Cloud, 20%, ...23.5oC....1013mb

After our rarities of the last few days we decided to take a trip further east in the hope of seeing the Georgopoli Slender-billed Gull that Alan found last week.

An early start at home gave us 23 species before we set of at 0900, the highlight being a male Hen Harrier that glided by ghost like twenty metres from the balcony where we sat having our morning cuppa at 0740hrs.

                                    Sunrise over the White Mountains


HOME.....Yellow-legged Gull, Kingfisher, Cetti's Warbler,Hooded Crow, Chaffinch, Sardinian Warbler, White Wagtail, Hen Harrier, Greenfinch, Italian Sparrow, Stonechat, Black Redstart, Chiffchaff, Raven, Common Buzzard, Rock Dove, Great Tit, Crested Lark, Linnet, Corn Bunting, Griffon Vulture 3, Crag Martin, Sparrowhawk.

GORGOPOLI.....Lovely views of the Slender-billed Gull takes our Crete species list to 223

Coot, Moorhen, Grey Wagtail, White Wagtail, Slender-billed Gull, Black Redstart, Goldfinch, Pelican, Mute Swan. The Pelican is really at home by the river more domesticated than ever and has taken on a lovely pink colour !!! The ringed Mute Swan which we reported on earlier, has been researched by Alan, a report from Slimbridge that they cannot trace the ring number and believe the bird was an escaped captive bird.

LAKE KOURNOS....Highlight here was the sighting of early arrivals Black-necked Grebe......Cormorant 5, Yellow-legged Gull, Black-necked Grebe 17, Little Grebe15, Coot, Moorhen, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Teal 51, Cetti's Warbler

MORONIS....Yellow-legged Gull, Sandwich Tern, Cormorant 1, Kingfisher 3, Common Sandpiper 2, Redshank 1, Coot 2, Little Egret 3, Great Egret 1, Linnet, Serin, Cetti's Warbler, Starling 

We had hoped to catch sight of the osprey that seems to be staying in the Souda bay area and was seen there again yesterday, although we stayed until fairly late in the afternoon and was joined by Nikos there was no sighting. 

ON ROUTE.... Collared Dove, Common Buzzard, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk and a roadkill Barn Owl

Nikos reports a dark morphed Booted Eagle at Aygia .

                                              Hen Harrier....Circus cyaneus


                                Female Black Redstart.....Phoenicurus ochruros


                                               Kingfisher....Alcedo athis


                            'Flamingo pink' Pelican .....Pelecanus onocrotalus





                                          Slender-billed Gull....Larus genei


                                               Caption required !!!!!  







26th November

Weather at 1100hrs..... 

Sea, calm....visibility,  8 mls....Wind 3-4B  SSW... Cloud, 10%, ...22.5oC....1015mb

 Well our Gannet yesterday certainly provoked some interest on with suggestions of a Booby, but we could not really hope for two real mega rarities, a Gannet is a rarity here anyway so another report to go into EOE (HOS) !

Highlight of the day was another semi rarity for Crete...Curlew, we spotted four circling just off the beach, they lifted higher came towards the house then headed north out over the bay,we have only seen two before both singles in 2007/8 so a great sighting again for us.

After a mornings spotting at home we headed off to check the area again for the shrike before heading out into the centre of Gramvousa hoping to get close views of the Golden Eagle. No luck with the shrike again .

Species HOME....Black Redstart, Hooded Crow, Goldfinch, Sardinian Warbler, Kestrel, Crested Lark, Chaffinch, Sparrowhawk, Raven, Griffon Vulture 2, Common Buzzard,  Golden Eagle, Curlew 4, Little Egret, Peregrine Falcon, Chiffchaff.

BEACH AREA KISSAMOS....49 Yellow-legged Gull, Black Redstart, Marsh Harrier 1, Kestrel 1, Common Buzzard 1, Kingfisher 2, Cormorant 1, Goldfinch, White Wagtail, Linnet, Corn Bunting, Stonechat.

 GRAMVOUSA....Griffon Vulture 4, Blue Tit, Raven 2, Hooded Crow, Crested Lark, Golden Eagle, Common Buzzard, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk.

                                             Curlew....Numenius arquata


                                         Golden Eagle ....Aquila chrysaetos


                                            White Wagtail.... Motacilla alba   


                                           Common Buzzard....Buteo buteo


                                            Kestrel....Tinnunculus tinnunculus


                                             Corn Bunting....Milaria calandra


                                          Goldfinch....Carduelis carduelis


25th November

 Weather at 0800hrs..... 

Sea, calm....visibility,  8 mls....Wind 1-2B  SW... Cloud, 90%, ...22.1oC....1013mb

Well we went for the Shrike and ended up with a Gannet, another first for us and fairly rare we think in Crete, this takes our species list in Crete to 222.

                                    juvenile Gannet....Morus bassanus  

We set off early to try to locate the Shrike again but  after a few hours of seaching the coastal fields we left dissapointed. We had a cuppa whilst deciding where to head off to and spotted the above bird flying towards Kissamos, snapped off the shots for the record and found we had our next new species.

Species at home were few due to our early start so they are included in our coastal wander east towards Platanias and a late afternoon visit to Lake Agyia.

Blue Tit, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Hooded Crow, Yellow-legged Gull, Black Redstart, Raven...Corn Bunting ( many good sized flocks), Robin, Sardinian Warbler, Chiffchaff, Crested Lark, Meadow Pipit, Stonechat, Linnet, Greenfinch, White Wagtail, Great Tit, Spanish Sparrow, House Sparrow, Italian Sparrow, Gannet, Serin, Reed Bunting, Common Buzzard, Kestrel, Goldfinch, Sparrowhawk ,Collared Dove, Blackbird, Grey Wagtail.

At Agyia....Starling, Marsh Harrier, Common Buzzard, Little Grebe, Mallard, Gadwall, Shoveler, Wigeon, Teal, Pochard, Ferruginous Duck, Tufted Duck, Coot, Moorhen, Collared Dove, Kingfisher, Stonechat,  Blackbird, White Wagtail, Black Redstart

                                            Stonechat....Saxicola torquata


                                         Reed Bunting....Emberiza schoeniclus



                                  Meadow Pipit... Anthus pratensis

                                            Little Grebe....Tachybaptus ruficollis


                                         Yellow-legged Gull.... Larus cachinnans     


                                    Black redstart....Phoenicurus phurusoenic


24th November



Weather at 0800hrs..... 

Sea, choppy....visibility,  8 mls....Wind 4B  SW... Cloud, 100%, ...18.5oC....1011mb

Nothing much to report from Kaliviani, the usual small passerines, a Sparrowhawk was seen chasing and losing out on a member of the thrush species, which we think was a Blue rock Thrush a distant griffon vulture and a kestrel.

We headed off into Kissamos with some business to attend to. Finishing early we headed off to a neaby beach to walk Mia. Our first sighting was a Stonechat , but seen behind a larger grey bird ...a Shrike !! which has led to an evening of ID problems !  Thanks to members of Birdforum for the confirmation of a pallidirostris ......of course had left the camera at home so took a trip back after lunch to see if the bird was still there , luck was in and found it fairly quickly but had a job keeping track of it as a shepherd was on the move in the area and I could not really get close due to him moving it along !... Other birds in the area ...A Squacco Heron came in and landed nearby, none to worried that we were near the pools of rainwater it wanted to land at. White wagtail, Meadow Pipit, linnet, Corn Bunting, Spanish Sparrow, 40+ Starling, Common Buzzard, Kestrel, Blue Rock Thrush, Cormorant, Yellow-legged Gull,Greenfinch, Chaffinch.

                   Steppe (Saxaul) Grey Shrike .... Lanius (meridionalis) pallidirostris

                            RUBBISH IMAGES BUT IT WAS LATE AFTERNOON 








                                        Squacco Heron....Ardeola ralloides



23rd November

Weather at 1000hrs..... 

Sea, choppy....visibility,  6 mls....Wind 4B gusting 6-7B SSW... Cloud, 50%, ...24.1oC....1010mb

Todays highlight again was watching the two Golden Eagles as they interacted for an hour over the peninsula. The winds however spoilt a good days birding and where we had warm winds from the SSW, smaller species were hard to see.

Species at Kaliviani today.....Crag Martin 1, Hooded Crow, Great Tit, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Yellow-legged Gull 6, a pair of Ketrels, the male was seen to stoop into a flock of goldfinch and successfully carry one off. Crested Lark, Rock Dove, White Wagtail, Griffon Vulture 3, Golden Eagle 2, Corn Bunting, Black Redstart, Common Buzzard, Robin, Stonechat, Sardinian Warbler, Raven.

22nd November

 Weather at 1100hrs..... 

Sea, calm....visibility, good 8 mls....Wind light  W.... Cloud, 60%, ...22.7oC....1017mb.

A great day for raptors with nine different species seen, the highlight was a couple of Golden Eagles displaying high over Gramvousa, they were seen several times tumbling down, talons locked, one a juvenile the other looked to be a subadult, a thrilling 2 hours of viewing, when first seen there was a Bonelli's Eagle and a Short-toed Eagle in the frame in the first few minutes. Later a Hen Harrier was seen over the sea being seen off by hooded crows.

Species for the day 28......Cetti's Warbler, Goldfinch, Hooded Crow, Great Tit, Robin, Sardinian Warbler, Greenfinch, Common Buzzard 3, Blue Rock Thrush, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Chiffchaff, Raven, Woodlark, Yellow-legged Gull, Blackbird, Crested Lark, Chaffinch, Griffon Vulture 15, Sparrowhawk 1, Peregrine Falcon 1, White Wagtail, Bonelli's Eagle 1, Short-toed Eagle 1, Golden Eagle 2, Kestrel 2, Hen Harrier 1, Crag Martin 15.

Today's images not too good with heat haze and distance, more for the record really.

                                       Golden Eagle....Aquila chrysaetos 


                                            Short-toed Eagle....Circaetus gallicus


                                                 Griffon Vulture....Gyps fulvus


                                         Hen Harrier .....Circus cyaneus        



21st November

Weather at 1300hrs..... 

Sea, calm....visibility, good 8 mls....Wind light  W.... Cloud, 30%, ...22.7oC....1019mb.

The Slender-billed Gull is still present at the same location.

Other reports from Harry..... A pair of Wood Duck were seen at Platanius/Gerani  obviously escaped from a collection somewhere, Crete ? . Also of a Spur-winged Lapwing seen at Moronis, last Thursday a Bittern was also seen there.

Due to olive harvest (last day today) we have not been able to activly bird watch , but a report from Alan of an Osprey seen at Ravdoucha on Rhodopos, just across the bay from us yesterday.

We hope to be out and about getting some more good sightings now we have finished the harvest a few trips to our favourite locations coming soon

20th November

Weather at 1300hrs..... 

Sea, calm....visibility, good 7 mls....Wind 0 W.... Cloud, 60%, ...21.3oC....1021mb.

A quick update at 1100 GMT the Slender-billed Gull is still present at Kalivaki Beach, Georgopouli, thanks to Nikos and Alan for the update.

19th November

Weather at 0800hrs..... 

Sea, calm....visibility, good 8 mls....Wind 0,.... Cloud, 0%, ...19.5oC ....1024mb.

Thanks very much to Alan Hargrave for the news of a Slender-billed Gull at Kalivaki Beach near Georgopoli. It appears to have been there for two days, Alan will let us know if its there tomorrow and we will early blog if anyone is interested in making their way in the hope of seeing it. 

For the record, he also saw, on Tuesday, a (Great) Bittern at Moronis.   

Todays lists appear below the images

       Three images of Slender-billed Gull by and © Alan Hargrave

                              1st Winter Slender-billed Gull ....Lanus genei






Kaliviani species.....White wagtail, Common Buzzard, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Woodlark, Great Tit,Crested Lark, Hooded Crow, Rock Dove, Sardinian Warbler, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Stonechat, Goldfinch,Linnet, Black Redstart, Blackbird, Kestrel, Italian Sparrow.

Moronis......Redshank 1, Great Egret 1, Little Egret 2, Cormorant 1, Mediterranean Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Common Sandpiper 1, Kingfisher 3, White Wagtail, House Sparrow, Common Buzzard, Stonechat, Linnet, Coot, Moorhen, Black Redstart, Starling, Hooded Crow, Goldfinch, Chiffchaff, Collared Dove, an unidentified tern sat on an old shipwreck possibly a sandwich, and six Little Ringed Plover two summer plumaged.

We have added three new images to the Moronis and Souda Bay information page.

Below a picture of yesterdays rainbow over the small church overlooking our house, Gramvousa in the background.

18th November

Weather at 0800hrs..... 

Sea, calm....visibility, good 8 mls....Wind light , S.... Cloud, 70%,  ...20.1oC ....1019mb. Heavy rain showers.

Heavy rain showers persisted throughout the day, lots of Willow Warbler , Chiffchaff and Chaffinch around today. A pair of Kestrel circled in a thermal along with a Griffon Vulture, four Common Buzzard and a Sparrowhawk. Later a Sparrowhawk nearly flew in through our front window !

Todays species... Great Tit, Crested Lark, Yellow-legged Gull, Sardinian Warbler, Robin, Chaffinch, Kestrel 2, Hooded Crow, Rock Dove, Linnet, Corn Bunting, Griffon Vulture 1, White Wagtail, Stonechat, Black Redstart, Peregrine Falcon, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Sparrowhawk, Raven, Common Buzzard, Blackbird, Crag Martin.

17th November

Weather at 1300hrs..... 

Sea, calm....visibility, good 6-8 mls....Wind, SW 2-3.... Cloud, 10%,  ...21.6oC ....1013mb.

Not too much to report from here in Kaliviani today, we are still busy harvesting the olives.

We did spot at lunchtime a Little Egret over the sea being mobbed by Hooded Crows, and further near the harbour a couple of grey Herons. Plus the twenty odd species of the last week

From Nikos ..... The Osprey seems to be hanging around and was seen today by Manos also at Moronis a Cattle Egret. A couple of nice birds to look out for lets hope the Osprey is overwintering !

15th November

 Weather at 0800hrs..... 

Sea, calm....visibility, good 6-8 mls....Wind, 0.... Cloud, 100%, RAIN ...15.4oC ....1017mb...heavy rain showers through the day.

Another new species to add to our 'home' list as we find three Little Grebe sat bobbing on Kissamos bay, although these are common on Aygia this is the first time we have seen them in the bay and takes species sighted from the house to 153. Our total for Crete still stands at 220.

At this time of year we look for a juvenile Peregrine Falcon on the ridge above the house and this year did not disappoint as another juvenile now sits and hunts from the same perch as in previous years. We watched as it made several unsuccesful stoops towards the beach area to return to the same perch to start over again. Its behaviour when it returned empty handed was something to watch, almost in a fit of angry frustration it puffed itself up and shook then very slowly raised its right leg and tightened its foot and talons into what can only be described as a fist, bobbed its head a few times then relaxed for several minutes before setting off again.

Two griffon vultures came low off the peninsula, circled low over the hill southwest of the house for several minutes before settling close, but out of sight, behind the ridge west of us.

 24 species today....Goldfinch, Black Redstart, Crested lark, Stonechat, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Blackbird, Robin, Sardinian Warbler, Hooded Crow, Blue Rock Thrush,  White Wagtail, Kestrel 1, Linnet, Common Buzzard 2, Griffon Vulture2, Peregrine Falcon, raven, Blue Tit, dark morph Booted Eagle, Woodlark, Little grebe, Cetti's warbler, Shag 1. 

                                   Three Little grebe resting in kissamos Bay


               dark morph Booted Eagle, once again being harrassed by Hooded Crow


14th November

Weather at 0800hrs..... 

Sea, calm....visibility, good 10 km....Wind, 0.... Cloud, 99%...17.2oC....1012mb...rain showers through the day.

From Nikos.. Moronis pretty much the same as yesterday , only lacking the osprey ! also present today a couple of Cormorant

Kaliviani.....The highlights today, Agian we had brief views of the juvenile Golden Eagle high over Gramvousa.

A large influx of Chaffinch today, which gave a juvenile Peregrine a chance of a meal, after catching one it took it to a ridge to the north of the house where before it had its chance it was mobbed by several Hooded Crows that forced it off, one of the crows benefitting from a free lunch !.  

There were five Kestrel overhead for about half an hour feeding on a dense swarm of large flying ants.

Todays species....28

Willow Warbler, Chaffinch, Corn Bunting, Griffon Vulture 2, Rock Dove, Black Redstart, Goldfinch,Robin, Blackbird, Yellow-legged Gull, Chiffchaff, Hooded Crow, Common Buzzard, Stonechat, Sardinian Warbler, Greenfinch, White Wagtail,, Italian Sparrow, Golden Eagle,, Kestrel, Peregrine Falcon, Raven, Crested lark, Linnet, Woodlark, Blue Rock Thrush, Sparrowhawk, Great Tit

                Peregrine Falcon.....seconds from losing its meal, just visible at its feet.

                                               Kestrel .....Falco tinnunculus


                        Hopefully you can make out the flying ants the kestrel is after


                             Hooded crow feeding on flying ants with the kestrels


13th November

Weather at 0830hrs..... 

Sea, calm....visibility, good 10 km....Wind, 0.... Cloud, 50%...19.4oC....1010mb

1200hrs cloud increased thunderstorms

This morning we found a large influx of Black Redstarts,  arriving on the back end of last nights storms, around the house easily visible, we counted upwards of twenty. Other species seen between storms ....  Blue Rock Thrush, Hooded Crow, Common Buzzard, Sardinian Warbler, Robin, Woodlark,Kestrel (pair), Goldfinch, Crested Lark, Italian Sparrow, Robin, willow Warbler.

Thanks to Nikos for the report from Moronis..... The highlight being an Osprey, Grey Heron, Great Egret, Little Egret 2, Marsh Harrier, Common Buzzard 2, Coot 6, Moorhen 3, Redshank 2, Common Sandpiper 2, Yellow-legged Gull, Mediterranean Gull, Kingfisher 2.


12th November

Weather at 0900hrs..... 

Sea, calm....visibility, good 10 km....Wind, S gusting 2-3B....Cloud, 100% ...23.1oC....1010mb   at 5pm torrential rain and thunderstorms

The usual sightings today, also a dark morph Booted Eagle, mid afternoon being harrassed by several Hooded crows.

11th November

Weather at 1100hrs..... 

Sea, calm....visibility, good 10 km....Wind, 0.... Cloud, thin 20%...26.4oC....1018mb rising

This morning we were up early ...more olives to harvest.. whilst having our early breakfast we watched the sun rise over the White Mountains, we were lucky to spot very briefly a juvenile Golden Eagle which showed twice over the highest point of Gramvousa and a kingfisher was spotted on a rock on the beach area, we notched up 21 species before we started work at 730am .... Raven 17, Blackbird, Hooded Crow, Kingfisher, Goldfinch, robin, Sardinian Warbler, Peregrine Falcon, Greenfinch, Crested Lark, Golden Eagle at 0710hrs, Blue Rock Thrush, Stonechat, Black Redstart, Corn Bunting, White Wagtail, Kestrel, Linnet, Chaffinch, Common Buzzard and a Yellow-legged Gull.

We are happy to announce another link added to our links page after a communication from Spyros Skareas  they have added us to their blogspot in their links section along with a very nice entry dated 9th.

9th November

Weather at 1100hrs..... 

Sea, choppy... visibility, good 10 km....Wind, South  gusting 2/5 Beaufort .... Cloud, thin 10%...26.1oC....1011mb falling

Today we started the olive harvest so have had little time to point our binoculars to the sky. The usual passerines are to be seen and we had a nice adult White Wagtail land on the balcony six feet away as we ate breakfast.

We expect the harvesting of the olives to take about a week, we will try to keep a lookout for anything of interest and will have the camera handy so that we can share any sightings with you.

8th November

 Weather at 1100hrs..... 

Sea, calm... visibility, good 10 km....Wind, South  gusting 4/5 Beaufort .... Cloud 10%...23.7oC....1015mb falling

Our now local Sparrowhawk was again spotted being mobbed by a Hooded crow before descending to the lower fields where he again sat for a few hours . A Peregrine Falcon, as if to prove me wrong (yesterday's blog) had a stoop into a dozen or so Rock Dove sat on the grags just north of the house. Species at Kaliviani were.... Hodded Crow, Sparrowhawk, Goldfinch, Sardinian Warbler, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Corn Bunting, Linnet, Blackbird, Robin, Great Tit, Stonechat, Black Redstart, Italian Sparrow, Peregrine, Falcon, Common Buzzard, White Wagtail, Raven, Kestrel and Griffon Vulture 2.

Later in the morning we took a trip to Aygia......We met another couple there from the UK, also birding. Species present....Shoveler, Little Grebe, Common Buzzard 3, Little Egret 1, Coot, Moorhen, Pochard, Garganey (females), Ferruginous Duck, Tufted Duck, Kingfisher 3, Grey Wagtail 1, Stonechat, Sedge Warbler, Cetti's Warbler, Goldfinch, Blackbird, House Sparrow, Chaffinch.  A Balkan Whip Snake near the springs to the south.                             On route to Agia a single Griffon Vulture was seen flying with a Common Buzzard into the gorge that descends to the bay of Kissamos and a total of five Common buzzard along the main highway

7th November

 Weather at 0900hrs..... 

Sea, calm... visibility, good....Wind, West  2 gusting 4 Beaufort .... Cloud 30%   21.9oC....1016mb

A very very quiet day, only two raptors and very few passerines to be seen, we watched an adult male Sparrowhawk dive into a flock of feeding Corn Bunting in the lower fields, we have watched him the last few days and he does not seem to have much success. After his failed attempt today he sat for over an hour in the base of a small tree and watched the buntings as they fed close to him , maybe he was only playing !!

A Peregrine seems to have more luck as it stoops from out of the sun, picks its target bird and as the rest of the flock scatters, it takes its food off to a nearby crag. Not a place to be if your a small bird.

We notice that these two species never seem to go for the Rock Doves or feral pigeons locally, maybe up in the steep rock gullies to the north, but they seem to leave the ones around the sheep pastures alone and target the much smaller birds.

Our Black Redstart numbers are increasing and as night falls they vie for the favourite night time perches in the garden and under the pergolas, watching them sitting on the window and balcony ledges just before its dark is a nice way to end the day.

6th November

 Weather at 0900hrs..... 

  Sea, calm... visibility, good....Wind, 0.... Cloud, 0%.... 21.1oC....1020mb

The highlight today was spotting a Red-backed Shrike sat nearby in an almond tree. The Short-toed Eagle was seen briefly this morning before once again heading out onto Gramvousa peninsula.

Common Buzzard 2, Hooded Crow, Stonechat, Sardinian Warbler, Blue Rock Thrush, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Robin, Black Redstart, Great Tit, Italian Sparrow, White Wagtail, Crested Lark, Corn Bunting, Shag 5, Crag Martin 2, Chaffinch, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Yellow-legged Gull, Rock Dove, Griffon Vulture 1, Willow Warbler.

                                        Red-backed Shrike....Lanius collurio


                                         Black Redstart.....Phoenicurus ochruros


                                             Sparrowhawk....Accipiter nisus


News from Nikos at Moronis (Souda Bay)

Squacco Heron 1, Little Egret 2, Peregrine Falcon1, Common Buzzard, Great Egret 1, Sparrowhawk 1, Booted Eagle, Moorhen, Coot, Kentish Plover 2, Redshank 2, Common Sandpiper 2, Dunlin 1, Yellow-legged Gull2, Kingfisher 3, Hooded Crow, Sandwich Tern 1, Chiffchaff, Starling, Stonechat,House Sparrow, White Wagtail, Goldfinch.


5th November

Weather at 0900hrs..... 

Sea, calm... visibility, fair....Wind, E 1Beaufort.... Cloud, 10%.... 20.9oC....1025mb

Species from home ..... 

Eight of the twentyfour species seen were raptors, at one point as we scanned the sky they were all in view at the same time ...fantastic. We started of with a pair of Kestrel later we picked out 5 hunting around the area, Common Buzzard 5, Short-toed eagle was the highlight of the day, distant or high views for several hours, Sparrowhawk1, Peregrine Falcon 1, Griffon Vultures 7, dark morph Booted Eagle 1, Bonelli's Eagle 1 adult. Spotted Flycatcher, Raven, Robin, Rock Dove, Barn Swallow 2, Crag Martin 3, Sardinian Warbler (pair), Stonechat (pair), Hooded Crow, Goldfinch several small groups, Greenfinch, Black Redstart, Chaffinch, Corn Bunting, Linnet. 



                          Two images of the Short-toed Eagle......Circaetus gallicus            


                                             Being mobbed by a raven 


               3 images of dark morph Booted Eagle....Hieraaetus pennatus                      




                                             Griffon Vulture....Gyps fulvus


                                        Bonellis Eagle......Hieraaetus fasciatus


4th November

Weather at 0900hrs..... 

             Sea, calm... visibility, Good....Wind, 0.... Cloud, 10%.... 20.2oC....1026mb

             At 1100 a slight wind picked up from the ESE

Species from Home....

Robin, Goldfinch, Common Buzzard 5, Sardinian Warbler, Stonechat, Great Tit, Rock Dove, Chaffinch, Corn Bunting, Crested Lark, Hooded Crow, Kestrel (pair), Greenfinch, Crag Martin 4, Woodlark, Blue Rock Thrush, Black Redstart, Raven, Griffon Vulture 8, dark morph Booted Eagle and Sparrowhawk, The seasons first Black Redstart has arrived to roost. A nice male has taken the spot  the BRT  used for the last two winters !

Species at Falasarna.....

A single Little Grebe on the smallest puddle of stagnant water !! this is the first we have seen here. Another first for here, a Sandwich Tern.  White Wagtail 50+, Common Buzzard 1, Kestrel 2, Crested Lark, Linnet, Goldfinch, Stonechat, Yellow-legged Gull, Shag 5, Common Sandpiper 1, Kingfisher 1, House Sparrow, Black Redstart, Barn Swallow, Griffon Vulture 5, Collared Dove.


                                          White Wagtail....Motacilla alba          


                                        Stonechat.....Saxicola torquata


                                           Linnet....Carduelis cannabina


                                              Kestrel....Falco tinnunculus


                                           Goldfinch......carduelis carduelis


                                        Crag Martin......Ptyonoprogne rupestris


3rd November

Weather at 0900hrs..... 

             Sea calm... visibility Good....Wind 0.... Cloud 0%.... 20.2oC....1020mb

Todays species....

Woodlark, Crested Lark, Hooded Crow, Goldfinch, Robin, Great Tit, Corn Bunting, Sparrowhawk, Yellow-legged Gull, Greenfinch, Stonechat, Italian Sparrow, Blue Rock Thrush, Rock Dove, Common Buzzard, Peregrine Falcon, Kestrel 2, Spotted Flycatcher,              Griffon Vulture 8.

2nd November

The day started off fairly quiet, most of the smaller species could be heard and seen , The Sparrowhawk is still making an appearance throughout the day along with a Peregrine Falcon. A few more Spotted Flycatchers are about. We were going to say that the Blue Rock Thrush would be the bird of the day ,but at 1340hrs a 1st winter Golden Eagle showed high over the peninsula and stayed circling for sixteen minutes lovely views through the scope but at near a mile away photos are somewhat heat hazed, as the bird gained height the images became a little clearer. A Cat Snake was found enjoying a sleep in the shed but did not stay around to catch !!

Weather at 0900hrs..... 

             Sea calm... visibility Good....Wind 0.... Cloud 5%.... 19.8oC....1020mb

Todays species...

Crested Lark, Goldfinch, Great Tit , Greenfinch, Corn Bunting, Stonechat, Robin, Kestrel, Blue Rock Thrush  f, Woodlark, Hooded Crow, Raven 4, Spotted Flycatcher 3, Black Redstart f , Blackbird, Common Buzzard 3, Sparrowhawk, Golden Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, Willow Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Rock Dove, Yellow-legged Gull.      

                                           Golden Eagle.......Aquila chrysaetos




                                           Peregrine Falcon....Falco peregrinus


                                            Spotted Flycatcher.....Muscicapa striata


1st November

 Nikos five Aygia photos added for the 30th October.

Todays species from Kaliviani...

Goldfinch, Woodlark, Great Tit, Greenfinch, Blackbird, Chaffinch, Rock Dove, Robin, Hooded Crow, Griffon Vulture 1, pale morph Booted Eagle 2, Sparrowhawk 1, Stonechat (pair), Yellow-legged Gull 12, Barn Swallow 1, Common Buzzard 2, Spotted Flycatcher 1, Black Redstart 1, Raven 2, Kestrel 1, and Willow Warbler 1.

Weather at 0900hrs..... 

         Sea calm... visibility Good....Wind 0.... Cloud 0%.... 20.3oC....1022mb

The Sparrowhawk has been present for most of the day, sneaking into shrubs then hurtling out after goldfinch or robins occasionally seen circling overhead for a short while. The two Booted Eagles came over early and headed onto Gramvousa peninsula we have not seen them again. The Willow warbler and Spotted Flycatcher were nice to see at this time of the year and were spotted later in the afternoon.

                                     Sparrowhawk....Accipiter nisus


                                                             Kestrel....Falco tinnunculus


                                                         The two Common Buzzard....Buteo buteo



31st October

A great day for raptors , with four Booted Eagles putting in an appearance ! two pale and two dark morphed, they stayed around the house for most of the day at times coming within several metres of the house. We were joined at noon by Nikos and Angeliki who also delighted in the show they put on. With Nikos sightings at Aygia there seem to be more of this species on the island this season

The day started with a pair of Sparrowhawk being harrassed by the usual Hooded Crows. Later Kestrel 1, Common Buzzard 4, Peregrine Falcon 1, all came and went throughout the day, hence the passerines were limited to calls rather than many sightings ! 7 Griffon Vulture rose from the peninsula later in the afternoon and circled for a short while about a mile away.

The list of species is rather short today, added to the above we spotted or heard....

Goldfinch, Rock Dove, Robin, Stonechat, Greenfinch, Italian Sparrow, Crag Martin 1, Raven, Black Redstart m, Great Tit, Crested Lark, Sardinian Warbler, and Blackbird.

If you followed the last two years of blogs you will have seen that for the last two autumns we have had a Blue Rock Thrush roosting on an outside light, this year there has been no sign of him.

Soon we hope to report the arrival of the roosting Black Redstarts as they settle for the nights under the pergolas.

                        Pale morph Booted Eagle .....Hieraaetus pennatus


                                                      Booted Eagle


                                         a pale morph Booted Eagle


                                  pale and dark morph Booted Eagles interacting


                           ( dark morph )   Booted Eagle...Hieraaetus pennatus


                                          Sparrowhawk.....Accipiter nisus              


                        Sparrowhawk with the always harrassing Hooded Crow


                                               Mallow Skipper...Carcharodus alceae


                                          Large White....Pieris brassicae female


30th October

Near the house today... great views of 2 pale morph and 1 dark morph Booted Eagle, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk two groups of Griffon Vulture 8+7, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Cetti's Warbler, Blackbird, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Crested Lark, Stonechat, Common Buzzard 3, Hooded Crow, Raven, Woodlark and Rock Dove.

                        Pale morph Booted Eagle...Hieraaetus pennatus


News from Nikos at Agia....

Shoveler, Teal, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Little Grebe, Little Bittern, Grey Heron, Purple Heron, Little Egret, Peregrine Falcon, Marsh Harrier, Common Buzzard, Booted Eagle, Little Crake, Moorhen, Coot, Lapwing, Yellow-legged Gull, Rock Dove, Collared Dove and Kingfisher. + passerines.

Nikos Aygia images all inmages © Nikos Samaritakis



We would like to thank all those who took time to visit the site over the last twelve months, we had  2544 hits from 55 countries. 


28th October

Well we are finally back in Crete, after spending nearly five months in the UK.

We would like to thank many people for their friendship and help during this stressful time.  

The dog owners and their dogs who we met daily at the local park, the friendly neighbours and of course our relatives and friends. In Crete Nikos and Viv for their help in supplying updates and keeping the site active for us, also Nikos and Maria who kept an eye on our property.

                                           THANK YOU EVERYONE

We did not get much opportunity for birding whilst away but we did manage a few species on route. A wonderful site to visit this time of the year ... St Dizier lakes in France where we stopped for the night on our way back  not knowing that we would be met by the sights and sounds of thousands of  Grus grus coming in to roost at night then setting off to the fields in the mornings, hundreds of Anus crecca and Phalacrocorax carbo also in their hundreds mass feeding in the centre of the lake, a wonderful experience. On the ferry back to Crete, where we tried the shorter daylight crossing from Piraias tp Heraklion, we caught sight of over a hundred Calonectris diomedea that flew alongside us for perhaps fifteen minutes. Our favourite stopover at Watlingtons, White Mark Farm, again provided close up and fantastic views of the Milvus milvus.

We will add images in the various galleries in the coming days and also sightings reports from our area.   

16th October

Latest from Nikos (1945hrs GMT)

Agyia held no thrills, also battery low and soon left...Glossy Ibis still present, nice sighting of Great Reed Warbler and Marsh Harrier .

The Mute Swan reported by Viv earlier today has apparently been present since last autumn, it is ringed and flies well, but like the pelican chooses to stay. 

                                 Great Reed Warbler at Aygia © Nikos Samaritakis


                                    Marsh Harrier at Aygia ©  Nikos Samaritakis


 Thanks to Viv Walker for the following report and image

This is a photograph I took yesterday (15th October) on the 'turtle river' at Georgiopoulis. The
pelican has a new friend - a mute swan.

               Mute Swan with the Georgiopouli resident White Pelican © Viv Walker   


It was not there on 8th October when I was in Georgiopoulis last. It is a beautiful, very slender bird - much more slender that the swans I am used to at home in the UK.  I have no idea where it came from but we have had some very strong winds recently. A more prosaic answer may be that it is an escapee but it seemed a bit too wary to be that. Incidentally the pelican is a beautiful pale pink colour ... so, if it is to be named I would suggest Floyd!


 Report and  images by and © Nikos Samaritakis

I decided to revisit Moronis this morning hoping for the odd migrant. A pale morph Booted eagle circled at great height, later a Common Buzzard and a possible Peregrine Falcon. Then, out of nowhere an Osprey! circled, dived, missed ! then flew and settled on a power pole from which it was driven off by Hooded Crows, I managed some pictures but was also praying for the clouds to open and my hands to stop shaking ! what a thrill ! I may do Agyia later.

Little Egret 4, Grey Heron 2, Squacco Heron, Peregrine Falcon, Osprey, Common Buzzard, Booted Eagle, Moorhen, Redshank 2, Greenshank, Common Sandpiper 2, Yellow-legged Gull, Collared Dove 3 and Kingfisher 2.


                               Lovely close up view of Osprey at Moronis


                                           Being seen off by hooded crow


                                                   Grey Heron at Moronis


                                                      Redshank fly past



13th October

 Image and report by and © Nikos Samaritakis
South winds today and the dust has finally weakened, the weather is now from the west, little to be found at Moronis, a little more though than during the summer.

2 Little Egret, a single Squacco Heron, Common Buzzard, Moorhen, Greenshank, 2 Common Sandpiper,  2 Kingfisher, 2 Yellow-legged Gull 




We received a report and a very nice picture of a Plain Tiger or (African Monarch)... Danaus  chryssippus butterfly from Viv .


We were sitting on our balcony when we had a beautiful view of a booted eagle flying
past over the olive groves - no camera of course!
Lake Kournas is very low. There were 32 coots and 4 little grebes by the pump station (11 October) so the birds are increasing as the tourists reduce. (There were 4 pedillos out on the water.) The pelican is alive and well in Georgiopoulis.
The plain tiger butterflies are very much in evidence at the shore at Tavronitis. I have sent this photo as it shows the beautiful body markings.
We have had odd weather and it rained in the hills last night so we are very warm and humid on the coast. Rodopou was shrouded in mist until about 9.00 am this morning and the winds are very strong south westerlies.

11th October

Thanks very much to Brendan Marnell for the following, emailed to us this morning   

Night Herons from 4 to 5.30pm, 24th Sept.  Lake at lowest level we've seen.  Refill began an hour later.  Next day herons were gone.
Little Crake at noon and later, 26th Sept. Lake over half refilled by then.

Images have been entered under relavent dates


10th October


Thanks to Alan and Margaret for the following report  .....

Recently, (8th) we had a trip out and, apart from great lammergeier viewing south of Elos, we had sight of hawfinches in the afternoon, near Recently, (8th) we had a trip out and, apart from great lammergeier viewing south of Elos, we had sight of hawfinches in the afternoon, just outside (4-5minutes) Aligi  on the road to Sassalos.  The first was just "head and shoulders" clearly seen through the windscreen by us both.  It ducked back into the foliage, so no photo possible!  We parked up and watched this particular hillside and though they were fairly distant, we saw three more, among greater numbers of linnets and goldfinches.  We have twice seen hawfinches on Omalos, in December and January, and thought they were later arrivals than October?

This is a species we still have to see on Crete, so hopefully they will hang around for a while,  it looks like the hunt is on this autumn and winter for the hawfinch !

Once again Nikos comes up trumps with lovely Glossy Ibis images
 Images and report by and © Nikos Samaritakis

Pochard, Teal and  a Peregrine to add to yesterdays count, no Booted, Eleonora's or Sparrowhawk today though                    






9th October

Images and report by and © Nikos Samaritakis

Still very little rain but those cold winds here today...!
At Agyia there were a few british birderwatchers but little opportunity to get pictures due to the weather and the distance the birds kept
Glossy Ibis still there with 3 Little Egrets , 3 Redshank, Common and Wood Sandpipers, Coot, Moorhen, Little Grebe, kingfisher, Shoveler Duck, Ferruginous Duck, 2 Eleonora's Falcon, 2 Common Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Marsh Harrier and a Booted eagle too.

Thank you Nikos, a lovely image of the Glossy

                                           Sparrowhawk.... Accipiter nisus


                                             Glossy Ibis ....Plegadis falcinellus


5th October

Thanks to Viv Walker for the following report and image and © Viv Walker

This afternoon a booted eagle (pale morph) flew over us at lunch
time and 6 grey herons have just flown over - high and moving south.

                          Sorry the image is small, the herons over Tavronitis

There were 5/6 Northern Wheatears on the sea front at Tavronitis along with a couple of stonechats on the 4th- there seem to be small numbers of them moving through as well. They were there this morning (5th) as well.
There was one Little Crake at the Tavronitis River. The pool remains
very low - we have only had one short shower of rain about 2 weeks ago.


Viv also reported that she had gone along to Agia for the Pan Bird Festival 2010, that we posted on the 28th September.... Looking at the details below we noticed it said "Saturday 03/10.. poor Viv went along on the Saturday but found nothing so we believe that the event was scheduled for the Sunday, sorry to everyone who went on the Saturday, we did not notice this error in the translation.

If anyone did go on the Sunday we would be grateful to know what the turnout was like you can email us on the address on the home page...thanks

Some nice news this morning, we had an email from the Greek Ornithological Society to say that our Black Vulture (seen in 2007) and this years Steppe Eagle sighting had been accepted by the rarities committee. 


3rd October

Images and report by and © Nikos Samaritakis

OMALOS Several griffon Vultures towards Kalergi hut ,3 Common buzzard 1 Kestrel ,Choughs ,Ravens ,JAays,Rock doves,Whinchats, Stonechats Redstarts,a single Honey buzzard, sardinian warbler,Red-Backed Shrike, Meadow pipits, Northern Wheatear, Blue Tit, blackbirds Chaffinch, many Goldfinch, crag Martins and Hooded Crows.

There is no water in the Omalos pools and a lot of excavation is underway !!!!!!

At Agia a Redshank and two Marsh Harriers to add to yesterdays sightings

                                                  Dark Buzzard at Omalos


                                                   Female Redstart at omalos


                                       Yellow Wagtail with deformed bill at Agia


                                             Juvenile Meadow Pipit at Omalos


                                                    Marsh harrier at Agia


Thanks to Viv Walker for the following report and image © Viv walker

At Tavronitis a Reed Bunting that definitely did not want to be photographed but I have
a clear shot of its head and shoulders.
At Lake Agia on Friday, 1st October I saw a single glossy ibis, little
egret, grey heron, 2 kingfishers, 10 shovellers, 2 pochard and 20/30
ruff that flew in on to the mudbanks. A  sedge warbler (photo
attached) gave a beautiful display out in the open and singing to
another bird just below. It was nearly like spring! The hooded crows gave the
Glossy ibis a bad time at one stage but it is back today, none the worse for
the experience. Water in the lake was much better today and another
grey heron has arrived. There was also a marsh harrrier working the reeds.
I had a look in Platanias on Thursday, 30th September. We saw 2 very,
very nervous birds but no pied kingfisher as was seen there in the spring . The birds we saw were an egret - possibly a greater (based on size and a quick flash of a yellow
beak) as it rose immediately we stopped and I lifted the binoculars.
The other bird we saw was a moorhen, which disappeared, with a squawk
into the reeds immediately it saw us. The beer cans and bottles (of
which there are many) and the child's buggy (or rather the disturbance
as they are hurled into the river) may well be contributing to general
nervousness. It is horrible to see litter like that.


                                                      Sedge Warbler



2nd October

 Images and report by and © Nikos Samaritakis

AT MORONIS...2 Kingfisher,1 Little Egret,1 Common Sandpiper.

AT AGYIA...2 Common Buzzard ,1 Eleonora’s Falcon, ,1 Glossy Ibis (white forehead and throat!),1 Little Egret ,3 Grey Heron ,1 Snipe, A few Common and Wood Sandpipers, 10+ Teal 10+ ferruginous Duck, 10+ Shoveler , 5 Pochard, 1 Greenshank,1 Hoopoe, Tufted duck, Coot, Moorhen and Grebe.

There is no water in the Omalos pools and a lot of excavation is underway !!!!!!


                                                          Teal at Agia 


                                                    Greenshank  at Agia


                                                      Greenhank at Agia


28th September

The following is a translation from mail received from the Greek Ornithological Society......

                      Pan Festival Bird 2010

Event Location, Date, Activities, Organization / Info on our own Crete location and others throughout Greece are below

The Greek Ornithological Society invites you to the biggest event birdwatching in Europe!Those who want to learn about the magical world of wild birds have the opportunity to celebrate with the Greek Ornithological Society, the Pan-European Festival of the Birds " weekend 2 and 3 October in various locations throughout Greece.

 Excursions for bird watching , environmental games and other activities will offer children and adults the opportunity to spend an exciting day in the wild , while knowledgeable about the nature and the birds of our country.

2010 has been declared by the UN as International Year of Biodiversity in an effort to wake up to preserve the biological wealth of the planet. In this direction, this year's event focuses on informing and educating the public about the conservation of biodiversity.

 The Pan Festival Bird is an annual event that takes place in some 30 European countries and coordinated by the World Federation of BirdLife International. The events will take place in our country to organize and coordinate the Greek Ornithological Society in cooperation with Municipalities Organizations Management for Protected Areas , local agencies and organizations. Participation is free and the schedule of events is as follows :


Chania....Agia Lake Chania • Day : Saturday 03/10 Time : 10.30 - 14.00 Bird watching , information about the value and problems of the wetland 's Agia ecological initiatives Chania / Tel : 28210 28 405 , 6970 267 502

Attic :Park Environmental Awareness Antonis Tritsis , Ilion • Day : Saturday 02/10 & Sunday 03/10 Time : 11:00 - 13.00 and 11:00 -14:00 , respectively • Saturday (11:00 - 13:00) : Environmental workshop for children in cooperation with the " Seed "and" Network Oikokoinotita . Sunday (11:00 - 14:00) : Walking , birdwatching , environmental games , contests Office Ornithological Park Tel : 210 2316977

Attic : Park Schinias • Day : Saturday 03/10 Time : 09:30 - 13.30 09.30 - 10.30: Bird Watching 11.30 - 12.30: Bird Watching (meeting point at the bridge at the entrance gate )

 12.30 - 13.30 : Discussion : The richness of the avifauna of ropes , the ringing of birds and their importance ( the meeting point in the stands of the rowing ) Management Body National Park Cords Marathon / /

 Attic :Parnes and Park College Plato • Date: Sunday 03/10 Time: 11.00 and 19.00 • 11.00: Liberation successfully treated birds Parnitha 19.00: Event dedicated to birds and unstructured areas including team games in the open for all ages and Concert Association of Protection and Care Wildlife ANIMA / Tel : 210 9510075 and 6972 664 675

Messinia: Lagoon Yalova , Pylos (Old Pumping Station ) Day : Saturday 03/10 Time : 10.00 - 15.00 Bird watching , photography exhibition , telling story and drama games for children ( on Friday 01/10 and Saturday 02/10 will operate the Booth Information in the central square of Kalamata updates for the wetland and activities for children) Office Ornithological in Yalova / Tel : 27230 23046 & 6981174509

Thessaloniki: Lake Volvi ( Lakeside Park Great Volvi ) • Date : Friday 01/10 Hours : 10:00 - 14.00 tour , bird watching , environmental games Management Agency Lakes Koroneia bulb / Tel : 23940 24 553

 Pieria: Lagoon New Agathoupolis (Observatory New Agathoupolis ) • Date : Sunday 03/10 Hours: 10:00 to 13:30 tour , bird watching , observing insects , environmental workshops for children Management Agency Axios - Loudias- Aliakmonas / Tel : 2310 794 811 and Office Ornithological in Thessaloniki / Phone: 2310244245

Serres:  Wetland Kerkini Harbour Mandraki • Day : Saturday 03/10 Time: 10:00 to 14:00 birdwatching, educational activities and environmental games for kids Management Body Lake Kerkini / Phone: 23 270 28 004

Pella ...Wetland Agra - Vrytton - Island, Edessa: Information Center Wetland • Day : Saturday 03/10 Time: 11:00 to 14:00 tour , bird watching , information screenings, educational games Information Center Wetland Agra - Vrytton - Island / Phone: 6956297398

Evros .....Delta Ebro : Information Center Delta Evros • Day : Friday 01/10 Time : 09:00 - 13:00 Tour, bird watching , information screenings, educational toys Management Agency National Park Delta Ebro / Tel : 25510 61 000

Thessaloniki ......New Beach Thessaloniki Near Gardens Water • Day: Saturday 02/10 Time 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Bird watching , educational games, information kiosk Office Ornithological in Thessaloniki / Tel :2310 244245

Ioannina...Information Centre National Park Northern Pindos Aspraggeloi Ioannina • Day : Saturday 03/10 Time : 10.30 - 14.30 Birdwatching , informative presentations, Environmental games Management Authority National Parks Gorge - Aoou and Pindos / Tel : 26530 22 245


A warm welcome to our new site member Paul from Athens.

 Weekend reports

Thanks to Viv walker and Nikos Samaritakis for the following reports

From Viv........I saw a kingfisher, a moorhen and a little
crake at the Tavronitis river this morning. Five swallows are also
using it for their morning freshwater. We also had a flock of little
egrets in the bay last week. Numbers were initially 50/60 but increased
to over 100 by Thursday (23rd) when they appear to have moved on.
There were 2 ravens and 2 Griffon vultures in Deliana Gorge yesterday (27th) and I saw yellow wagtails in a small flock of around 20/25 this
morning in a field behind the beach at Tavronitis. Three had black (Feldegg C&S)
heads, others 'grey' (several ssp can be seen on Crete, C&S ) and others were (I think) juveniles. There were about 10 tawny pipits (Possibly Meadow Pipit C&S) with them and another small bird I did not recognise (sorry!).

From Nikos....for Sunday 26th at Agia.... 

                           Images below were taken by and  © Nikos Samaritakis





The following species were at Agia on Sunday ( 26th) where water levels ware on the rise again...

Wigeon 1, Mallard 7, Shoveler 12, Garganey 1, Teral 5, Pochard 3, Ferruginus Duck 13, Little Grebe 40, Little Egret 1, Eleonora's Falcon 1, Marsh Harrier 2, Common Buzzard 2, Moorhen 60, Coot 100, Little Ringed Plover 1, Snipe 5, Marsh Sandpiper 1, Wood Sandpiper 5, Common Sandpiper 1, Kingfisher 3, Little Stint 2, Temminck's Stint 2, Dunlin 1, Ruff 4.

 From Brendan

            Little Crake at noon and later, 26th Sept. Lake over half refilled by then.

                                 Image courtesy and © Brendan Marnell


Thanks to Nikos,Viv and Brendan


24th September

Forgot to say that the blog for Antikythera is now up and running, catch all the news on those small birds that may be heading in the direction of Crete. One species to look out for  Crossbill ! two were ringed on the island on the 20th. A species not seen by us up to now, lets hope some overwinter and we get to see them.

see the Antikythera blog  here

 From Brendan

Night Herons from 4 to 5.30pm, 24th Sept.  Lake at lowest level we've seen.  Refill began an hour later.  Next day herons were gone. 

                                   Juvenile and adult Night Herons  at Agyia

                                   Images courtesy and © Brendan Marnell





21st September

 Thanks to Viv Walker for the following report for the 20th

 A small flock of around 40 garganey (same as birds I reported
before and difficult to positively identify because of distance
offshore) in the bay at Malame today and a little later 26 little egret
flying across the bay towards Tavronitis.

There are small flocks of whinchats (around 30), redstarts (? Black Redstarts C&S)(around 20) and willow warblers (around 20) in the fields behind Tavronitis beach. A chiffchaff has recently arrived in the garden and seems to be particularly fond of our bouganvillea.

18th/19th September

 Images and report by and © Nikos Samaritakis,

18th from Elouda and 19th from Agia


Wigeon 1,  Mallard 7, Shoveler 8, Ferruginus Duck 5, Little Grebe, Glossy Ibis 2, Little Egret 1,Eleonora's Falcon 4, Peregrine Falcon 1, Common Buzzard 2, Moorhen, Coot, Little Ringed Plover 3, Common Snipe 1, Marsh Sandpiper 1, Wood Sandpiper 6, Common Sandpiper 2, Ruff 2, Rock Dove, Collared Dove, Kingfisher 3, Hooded Crow, Cetti's Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Blackbird, Stonechat, Spotted Flycatcher, House Sparrow, White Wagtail,Goldfinch.

                              A magical moment captured by Nikos at Agia


                                                       Glossy Ibis at Agia


                                          Dark morph Eleonora's Falcon at Agia



                                                    Peregrine at Agia                     



                                                       Spider at Agia




18th ....20-30 Griffon Vultures at Selinari of the better places on crete to see close up griffons on the ledges



                                           Griffons at Selinari gorge



               At Elouda, only 2 kingfisher, 2 Common sandpiper, Greenshank, Common  Buzzard

               Yellow-legged Gull               


                                                   Greenshank at Elouda


                                                      Kingfisher at Elouda


                                                 Sardinian Warbler at Elouda


                                                     Dice Snake at Elouda



17th September

   The Greek Ornithological Society has today published the 2009 rarity report   here


 Image by and © Nikos Samaritakis,

                                           Common Buzzard at Malia




15th September (11th and 12th also added)

 Images and report by and © Nikos Samaritakis,


Nice find Nikos, congratulations.......this is only the fourth record for Crete (Birds of Greece) and the first sighting for some years.

                                                  Oystercatcher at Moronis


                                                    Common Buzzard


                                                     The pair of Kestrels


12th September

At Agia.....images by and © Nikos Samaritakis

                                      Three Eleonora's Falcons at the 'Pool Bar'


                                                       Glossy Ibis at Agia


                                                Juvenile Red-Backed Shrike


                                         Three of the Agia brood of young Mallard


      Also at Agia 3 Teal and 3 Squacco Heron         

11th September

 At Agia......... Report and images courtesy and © Nikos Samaritakis


                                           One of the Eleonora's falcons


                           An Eleonora's Falcon after the two Glossy Ibis !!


4th September


                                           White Stork...... Ciconia ciconia


A White Stork at Agia yesterday, wader and duck species building up and an immature Peregrine Falcon...........image  by and © Nikos Samaritakis

TODAY AT AGIA.........The White Stork has gone, there was, a Grey Heron, Common Buzzard, Eleonora's Falcon, a single Tufted Duck, 7 Shoveler, 3 Kingfisher, 6 Little Stint and 6 Wood Sandpiper.

3rd September

            Thanks again to Viv for the following report from the coast west of Chania

There have been several 'wings' of little egrets now with the biggest
group being about 40/50 near Neo Choria beach and several across the bay
between Kolimbari. I have also seen 'wings of purple heron - about
20/30 at Neo Chorio and a much bigger one today over Rodopou.

The photo is of several hundred ducks in the bay in front of the house -
I could not get close enough on the beach to make a good identification
but think they are teal (though I could be persuaded they are garganey).
I opt for teal because of the double bar on the wing, white undersides
and the 'take-off and settle ' way they flew off-shore. Migration seems
to be well underway.

                                            We believe these are Garganey


The kingfisher is visible again at Agyia (30 August) at the left side of
the lake near the big taverna. Several other migrants are there as well
- common sandpiper, wood sandpiper, little ringed plover, redshank and
one ruff. Water very low.

Viv Walker

31st August


Viv Walker reported a flock of Little Egret between Kolybari and Tavronitis on the 26th


28th August


                            Three images below by and copyright Nikos Samaritakis 

                                           One of the three Buteo's at Agia         


                           Eleonora's falcons at Agia. Water levels still very low




Thanks also to Nikos for the report from AGYIA:


26th July

Again Nikos has been out and about and has sent the following sightings. Eleonora's Falcon, Common Buzzard, Barn Owl, Raven and Woodchat Shrike at Kaliviani. Whilst at Elafonisi, Little Stint, Kentish Plover and many Crested Larks. 

                               Five images below by and © to Nikos Samaritakis


                                                  Jurrasic Lizard


                                                    Kentish Plover


                                                       Little Stint


                                                Coral sands at Elafonisi 


                                                   Eleonora's falcon 

19th July

An early migrant seen by Nikos at Agia !a single juvenile or female Teal

11th July

Nikos spent some time at Agia today.....   



  A few pictures taken by and copyright of Nikos Samaritakis of Barn Swallows at Agia

                                  Thanks Nikos looking forward to a few more !





31st May

So we come to the end of another spring migration season, lots of good species and a few rarities to add .

We would  like to thank all of you who visited the site, we think from 47 countries so far, quite something for us as it started off for family to watch what we have been up to.

We will be back, we hope, to start following the "poulia" on their autumn push back to Africa. In the meantime we will post anything of interest ,so keep visiting, take a look in some of the albums as we hope to be adding more through the summer months.

A happy birthday to Lucy in UK, have a great day and great time xxxx 

Species from home  today.... 20 only, but we have not been able to spend the whole day watching !

Eleonora's Falcon, Yellow-legged Gull, Blackbird, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Sardinian Warbler, Turtle Dove, Woodchat Shrike, Common Buzzard, Rock Dove, Crested Lark, Collared Dove, Bee-eater 30+, Raven, Cetti's Warbler, Black-eared Wheatear, Greenfinch, Barn Swallow, Scops Owl and Barn Owl

 Happy and good birding have a great summer everyone and a lovely phrase from Nikos...

                                             " A blue sky wherever and forever"


30th May

Report from Nikos at Agia....Grey and Night Herons, Little Bittern and Little Egret, 1 Ruff, 5 Common Buzzard. A single Peregrine Falcon flew ion and hunted over the waters using the Yellow-legged gulls as cover when they took to the air

                                     Three Images by and copyright Nikos Samaritakis

                                              Night Heron.... Nycticorax nycticorax


                                                          Immature Night Heron    


                                             Peregrine Falcon  ....Falco peregrinus                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

28th May

Another visiting birder gave us the pleasure of their company today. We met Paul from the UK at Agia then a trip up to Omalos returning to Agia late in the afternoon.

Species from home in the half hour before we left.... Blackbird, Chaffinch, Linnet, Goldfinch, Collared Dove, Great Tit, Yellow-legged Gull, Stonechat, Sardinian Warbler, Rock Dove, Cetti's Warbler, Chukar, Corn Bunting, Woodchat Shrike, Greenfinch, Italian Sparrow, Hooded Crow, Bee-eater, Tawny Pipit and in the evening Scops Owl.

Agia Lake.... Night Heron 3, Little Bittern 2, Alpine Swift, Swift, Barn Swallow, Squacco Heron 1, Little Egret 2, Coot, Moorhen, Little Grebe, Ruff 1, Italian Sparrow, Yellow-legged Gull, Hooded Crow, Grey Heron 3, Blackcap, Serin, Great Reed Warbler, Common Buzzard, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Great Tit. We were told of a juvenile Red-footed Falcon on the southern end of the lake but we were unable to find it.

Omalos Plateau....Griffon Vultures 20, Common Buzzard, Kestrel, Jay, Cirl Bunting, Wren, Woodchat Shrike, Alpine Swift, Crag Martin, Blue Rock Thrush, Corn Bunting, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Blackbird, Stonechat, Yellow-legged Gull, Cuckoo, Linnet, Woodlark, Booted Eagle (pale morph)

I would like to thank the person who handed in my Canon 40D with 200-500 Tamron lens attached, into the taverna after inadvertently leaving it on the window ledge of the pump house, I can't thank you enough.

                                            Booted Eagle....Hieraaetus pennatus


                              Black-crowned Night Heron....Nycticorax nycticorax        


                                                   Cirl Bunting....Emberiza cirlus


                                                   Woodchat Shrike....Lanus senator


26th May

We had little chance of birding in the day, but this evening we again had great views of Nightjar  with one flying right up to the front verandah, Scops owls ... again several heard, Tawny Owl also heard, we presume the same bird and a Barn Owl also came right up to the front verandah, giving us a fright when it screeched not two metres away. Bats unidentified (there are several species) were also noted  tonight.

25th May

More great views of Nightjar this evening. This morning four dark morphed Booted Eagles circled over Gramvousa along with a single Honey Buzzard, a Marsh harrier and a Black Kite provided fifteen minutes of  views. Also along the beach road a male Red-footed Falcon. Five Griffon Vultures completed the aerial entertainment.

Todays species....38

Chaffinch, Blackbird, Stonechat, Black-eared Wheatear, Hooded Crow, Blue Rock Thrush, Great Tit, Crested Lark, Raven, Rock Dove, Swift, Alpine Swift, Yellow-legged Gull, Sardinian Warbler, Italian Sparrow, Serin, Black Kite, Woodchat Shrike, Collared Dove, Common Buzzard, Linnet, Honey Buzzard, Cetti's Warbler, Woodlark, Golden Oriole, Eleonora's Falcon, Corn Bunting, Booted Eagle 4, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Shag 3, Bee-eater, Barn Swallow, Red-footed Falcon, Marsh Harrier, Griffon Vulture, Nightjar, Scops Owl.

 Please note the blog will close for the spring season on Sunday and will reopen in time for the autumn migration.

24th May

Good views this evening of Nightjar, the closest they have come to the house in the last three years, with three flying around just before dark.

Todays species...25

Bee-eater, Chaffinch, Blackbird, Hooded Crow, Raven, Italian Sparrow, Great Tit, Greenfinch, Stonechat, Rock Dove, Crested Lark, Corn Bunting, Collared Dove, Woodlark, Kestrel, Spotted Flycatcher, Goldfinch, Barn Swallow, Woodchat Shrike, Golden Oriole, Griffon Vulture 6, Shag 4, 2 UID distant Falcon, Nightjar, Scops Owl. 

23rd May

A single Bonelli's Eagle at 0905 this morning was an early treat

Today many young Great Tit and Stonechat about. Bee-eaters in small groups of 15+ move through and four Marsh Harriers drop into the lower fields to hunt and rest.

This evening and last night we heard a female Tawny Owl along with 1 Barn and at least 6 Scops Owl tonight. 

A Weasel was spotted hunting the banks by the house pictures below.

Todays species.... 32, again from home......

Bee-eater, Chaffinch, Woodlark, Hooded Crow, Sardinian Warbler, Crested Lark, Blackbird, Sand Martin, Bonelli's Eagle, Great Tit, Yellow-legged Gull, Greenfinch, Woodchat Shrike, Cetti's Warbler, Corn Bunting, Stonechat, Barn Swallow, Marsh Harrier, Goldfinch, Black-eared Wheatear, Common Buzzard, Italian Sparrow, Rock Dove, Shag 2 , Griffon Vulture 1, Turtle Dove, House Martin, Little Egret, Scops Owl, Nightjar 3, Tawny Owl, Barn Owl     


                                        Sardinian Warbler.... Sylvia melanocephala


                                           Juvenile Stonechat....Saxicola torquata


                                                      Weasel....Mustela nivalis


22nd May

Three nice species to add to the usual birds today. On the beach road, Tawny Pipit 2 and Skylark 1, were a nice find and later this afternoon an adult male  Levant Sparrowhawk flew twenty metres off our front verandah, no Nikos we never got a picture, we were eating lunch at the time !!

Nikos reports a Little Owl in Chania last night.

 Today's species...31

Cetti's Warbler, Italian Sparrow, Corn Bunting, Chaffinch, Yellow-legged Gull, Hooded Crow, Kestrel, Great Tit, Bee-eater, Woodchat Shrike, Woodlark, Crested Lark, House Martin, Blackbird, Black-eared Wheatear, Goldfinch, Common Buzzard, Golden Oriole, Raven, Griffon Vulture, Eleonora's Falcon, Barn Swallow, Skylark, Tawny Pipit, Collared Dove, Rock Dove, Levant Sparowhawk, Stonechat, Nightjar, Scops Owl, Tawny Owl female heard.

                                                Tawny Pipit....Anthus campestris

                                                          Juvenile Stonechat.... Saxicola torquata



                                                  Skylark... Alauda arvensis


21st May

A few rain showers today and 29 species seen , a 2cy Marsh Harrier hunted in the lower fields and a Honey Buzzard was spotted being mobbed by hooded crows. Five Griffon Vulture landed 500 metres away on the slopes north of us during the rain showers.

A small flock of Bee-eaters provided half an hours close viewing when they rested and caught bees from our fence and telephone wire.

                                                    Bee-eater....Merops apiaster 


20th May

 The Antikythera ringing season ended yesterday to see their species total and list go the the following link

At home today 33 species ... Common Buzzard, Woodlark, Cetti's Warbler, Italian Sparrow, Chaffinch, Barn Swallow, Sand Martin, Great Tit, Spotted  Flycatcher, Sardinian Warbler, Hooded Crow, Golden Oriole, Yellow-legged Gull, House Martin,Blue Rock Thrush, Blackbird, Woodchat Shrike, Chukar, Greenfinch, Rock Dove, Collared Dove, Garden Warbler, Black-eared Wheatear, Icterine Warbler, Rave, Crested Lark, Kestrel, Bee-eater, Swift, Griffon Vulture, Goldfinch, Red-rumped Swallow and Skylark.

 Some of todays images, all taken from the courtyard ..............

                                           One of our local Common Buzzard


                                                 This Kestrel hunted nearby 


                                   A  single Griffon Vulture circled over the house


                               Greenfinch are feeding everywhere eating thistle seeds


                                        Passion Flower in our courtyard garden


19th May

The usual 20+ species around plus Golden Oriole, Turtle Dove and Bee-eater moving through.

17th May

A trip to Agia and Omalos today gave us 60+ species. Peter on holiday here joined us at Agia at 10am.

Good numbers of Little Egret and Squacco Herons at Agia, whilst at Omalos we saw several groups of Chough and two Alpine Chough. A group of seven Griffons were spotted close to the approach road near to the Samaria gorge entrance, where there was carrion [goat] about 100 metres away, these gave excellent views both on the ground and in the air.

Leaving the house for Agia we spotted a  couple of Red-footed Falcons.

A good and really enjoyable day out, we also saw Alan and Margaret fellow contributers to Roy and Rayes website, they were with family also busy birding Omalos plateau. We were pleased to assist Peter in adding new species to his list.

Birds at home ...

Sardinian Warbler, Chaffinch, Blackbird, Cetti's warbler, Yellow-legged Gull, Hooded Crow, Sand Martin, House Martin, Icterine Warbler, Bee-eater, Great Tit,  Red-footed Falcon, Black-eared Wheatear, Goldfinch, Scops Owl.


10 Squacco Heron, 15 Little Egret, 3 Grey Heron, Little Grebe, Coot, Moorhen, Whiskered Tern 2, Ferruginous Duck 1,  Cetti's Warbler, Ruff 2, Woodsandpiper 1, Italian Saprrow, House Sparrow, Sand Martin, Barn Swallow, Yellow-legged Gull, Swift, Alpine Swift, Sedge Warbler, Blackcap, Spotted Flycatcher, Night Heron , Little Bittern 5, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Common Buzzard, Yellow Wagtail, Serin, Blackbird ... possible Pallid Swift and distance raptor possibly a harrier.

Omalos/Samaria area...

Griffon Vulture 12, Alpine Chough 2, Chough 70+, Blue Tit, Crag Martin, Marsh Harrier, Jay, Wren, Woodlark, Great Reed Warbler [heard], Hooded Crow , Chukar, Chaffinch, Kestrel, Blue Rock Thrush, Stonechat+ nest with young, Golden Eagle, Yellow Wagtail, Wood Pigeon, Rock Dove, Cuckoo [heard] Northern Wheatear, Linnet, Cirl Bunting, Corn Bunting, Common Buzzard, Swift, Alpine Swift, Yellow-legged Gull, Sardinian Warbler, Blackbird, Woodchat Shrike and Raven.


                                             Chough....Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax



                                            Flock of 45+ Chough over Gigilos


                                                 Griffon Vulture.....Gyps fulvus


                                       Northern Wheatear....Oenanthe oenanthe


                                                Squacco Heron....Ardeola ralloides


                                                      Woodlark....Lallula arborea


                                           Red-footed Falcon ....Falco vespertinus


16th May

News from Nikos of a Black Kite near Laki on the way to Omalos, good views of Jay and Chough and Cirl Bunting on the plateau. At Agia  amongst the usual there are Little Stint and Squacco Heron present.

Nothing special to report from our western end of the island apart from a small group of Bee-eater resting on our telephone wire early this morning a small group of Red-rumped Swallow and Sand Martins

Turtle camp will be opening soon and a visit to Roy Magnussen's blog is always worth a visit

15th May

Not exactly the best day for birding with temperatures in the mid 30's C and late morning southerly winds bringing a sandstorm, so, we went shopping, well we have to eat.

Along the way we were pleased when we found a Ringed Plover on our local beach, and on the way back at nearly the same location we were surprised  to see a nice male Reed Bunting. On route to Chania a Peregrine Falcon and several Buzzard.

Our family of Sardinian Warblers are doing well, we will update regularly on their progress

There are two new Eleonora's Falcon images in the "raptors of Crete" album

A late night Barn Owl has been added to yesterdays list

14th May ....................updated 2230hrs  new moth pictures

Today's species....27

Bee-eater, Chaffinch, Hooded Crow, Yellow-legged Gull, Rock Dove, Goldfinch, Barn Swallow, Crested Lark, Woodlark, Collared Dove, Woodchat Shrike, Greenfinch, Eleonora's Falcon 7, Sardinian Warbler, Blackbird, Chukar, Stonechat, Raven, Spotted Flycatcher, Cetti's Warbler, Common Buzzard 3, Great Tit, Turtle Dove, Kestrel, Swift, Scops Owl and Barn Owl.


A few images for today                                           

                                                      Kestrel....Falco tinnunculus


                                                   Bee-eater...Merops apiaster


                     Woodchat Shrike....Lanius senator  female top left male bottom right 


                                 Possibly Pearly Heath.... Coenonympha arcania


                                          Crab Spider camouflaged on rose petals




                                        Ruby Tiger Moth....Phragmatobia fuliginosa



13th May

One of our resident pair of Sardinian Warblers have recently hatched four young, easily observed from the verandah, we have spent  most of the day watching the parents bringing food. A very trusting pair of parents too as they are so near to the house!  we have been able to watch them as they built their nest, now we hope to watch until the young fledge. As they are so near and are not worried by our presence we are able to get pictures without disturbing them.

                           Four young Sardinian Warbler...Sylvia melanocephala


                                         Our courtyard garden habitat


                                         Sardinian Warbler nest construction


Other birds nesting nearby which we will not go near, are the Woodchat Shrike pair, currently building, and a pair of dark throated Black-eared Wheatear, the male of which sits fairly well camouflaged on a rock nearby, but we can see the areas they nest easily from the house and can watch through the scope. So far other birds, Greenfinch, Chaffinch and Blackbirds have all fledged from their olive tree nests and Blue and Great Tits are busy feeding young nearby.

A lot of sand from Africa is now moving in and today still fairly quiet, Golden Oriole still moving through, we usually hear their lovely flute like calls, this year its been silent ! but we have seen more of them. A distant medium sized eagle which we were not able to ID, Bee-eaters and Spotted Flycatchers increased in number today. A single Marsh Harrier hunted in the grass fields.

A nice total of seven Eleonora's Falcon hunted around the house for a while, we noticed with these that they are actively hunting small birds, the Woodlark have been swooped on as they sing over their territories and twice we noticed them dive into a flock of Bee-eaters, in the past we have only seen them taking insects in the spring.

Other thing to note is the night singing of the Woodlark, around midnight last night there were two at it, we had noticed them singing at night in the past when there was a full moon last night there was no moon and it was pitch black, was nice to listen to though.

Today's species...only 30, but we have had our eyes on the sardies !

Italian Sparrow, Yellow-legged Gull, Hooded Crow, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Marsh Harrier, Shag 4, Bee-eater, Spotted Flycatcher, Black-eared Wheatear, Woodlark, Collared Dove, Kestrel, Eleonora's Falcon 7,Raven, Common Buzzard, Rock Dove, Sardinian Warbler, Woodchat Shrike, Sparrowhawk, Crested Lark, Cetti's Warbler, Barn Swallow, Corn Bunting, Golden Oriole,GoldfinchGreat Tit, Blue Tit, Linnet, Scops Owl


12th May

Very quiet the last two days migration seems to be slowing down.

A few Bee-eaters feeding nearby along with Spotted Flycatchers . Now its all go with the breeding season, young of Blue Tit, Great Tit, Northern Wheatear, Blackbird, Stonechat, Goldfinch and Greenfinch are all around.

Only 24 species nearby today !the only raptors to be seen Common Buzzard and an Eleonora's Falcon. 

10th May

Our first Olivaceous Warbler  this year in the olive grove, lots of Sand and House Martins, a fewer Bee-eaters today. Several Eleonora's Falcon hunting nearby and a single Marsh Harrier headed north early this morning.

Temperatures are forecast to rise to 34oC by the weekend with some strong southerly winds bringing more sand from Africa and we hope also bringing more migrants.

Species today... 31

 Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Woodlark, Hooded Crow, Wood Warbler, Blackbird, Olivaceous Warbler, Cetti's Warbler, House Martin, Italian Sparrrow, Barn Swallow, Bee-eater, Crested Lark, Collared Dve, Eleonora's Falcon, Sardinian Warbler, Woodchat Shrike, Marsh Harrier, Common Buzzard, Swift, Raven, Black-eared Wheatear, Red-rumped Swallow, Sand Martin, Kestrel, Turtle Dove, Corn Bunting, Blue Tit, Great Tit and Scops Owl

                                        Sardinian Warbler .... Sylvia melanocephala

                                         visiting our grapevine and bourgainvillia



9th May

We intended to take a day off watching the skies, but  you know how it is, we still had a little look every now and again...we saw our first Icterine Warbler this year, another Honey Buzzard and groups of Bee-eaters and Sand Martins. 

Today's species 32...

Woodlark, Chaffinch, Blackbird, Eleonora's Falcon, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Black-eared Wheatear, House Martin, Hooded Crow, Bee-eater 20+12+50+30+4+17, Yellow-legged Gull, Stonechat, Barn Swallow, Sardinian Warbler, Cetti's Warbler, Common Buzzard 8, Rock Dove, Crested Lark, Wood Warbler, Swift, Kestrel, Sand Martin, Alpine Swift, Great Tit, Icterine Warbler, Honey Buzzard, Grey Heron, Spotted Flycatcher, Italian Sparrow, Collared Dove and Scops Owl

                                              Honey Buzzard... Pernis Apivorus


                                              Hooded Crow....Corvus corone cornix


8th May  2100hrs

                        WORLD MIGRATORY BIRD DAY



at the following link....

So far today an Eastern Imperial Eagle, 2 pale morph Booted Eagles, Eleonora's Falcon, Marsh Harrier and one of our local Bonelli's Eagles, lots of small groups of Bee-eaters. Otherwise its relatively quiet, will update again this evening 

Todays species, 33, again from home...

Bee-eater 3+6+7+12+20+6, Great Tit,Chaffinch, Hooded Crow, Corn Bunting, Blackbird, Woodlark, Crested Lark, Goldfinch, Sardinian Warbler, Italian Sparrow, Rock Dove, Black-eared Wheatear, Greenfinch, Yellow-legged Gull, Woodchat Shrike, Common Buzzard 3, Stonechat, Catti's Warbler, Barn Swallow, Eleonora's Falcon 3, Honey Buzzard 1+5, Booted Eagle pale morph 2, Raven, Bonelli's Eagle 2, Eastern Imperial Eagle1, Marsh Harrier, Spotted Flycatcher, House Martin, Collared Dove, Griffon Vulture 5, Kestrel and Scops Owl.

                                             Honey Buzzard... Pernis apivorus  [male]



7th May

Little about today ,mostly the usual smaller birds , we did have a single Griffon Vulture fly past the front of the house with heavy flight it had difficulty making height and flew off to the south. A nice sighting was a single Turnstone along the beach road and a couple of Woodchat Shrike have taken up residence nearby and were seen mating on two occasions

6th May 2100hrs

Another good day for raptors, An Eastern Imperial Eagle, the 2 Bonelli's Eagles show up again, 3 pale morph Booted Eagles, yesterdays Marsh Harrier, 3 Eleonora's Falcon, 1 Peregrine Falcon,2 Kestrel, 1 Honey Buzzard, 7 Common Buzzard, 1 Griffon Vulture and  Sparrowhawk.

Most of the raptors were flying high today, light southerly winds and a lot of sand  in the air from Africa saw them flying onto the peninsula then returning inland later.

We also saw an Eleonora's Falcon  take a small bird in the air, our first sighting on Crete of active bird rather than insect hunting. After its successful catch it flew in circles nearby whilst it fed.

The Eastern Imperial and two of the Booted Eagles although very high flew inland from Gramvousa at 430pm.

Good numbers of Golden Oriole, Spotted Flycatcher, small groups of Bee-eater [total 89]

Today's species...40

Chaffinch, Grey Heron, Great Tit, Black-eared Wheatear, Crested Lark, Yellow-legged Gull, Shag, Woodlark, Barn swallow, Bee-eater, Alpine Swift, Spotted Flycatcher, Italian Sparrow, Greenfinch, Blackbird, Sardinian Warbler, Cetti's Warbler, Common Buzzard, House Martin, Red-rumped Swallow, Goldfinch, Swift, Booted Eagle, Eleonora's Falcon, Raven, Kestrel, Crag Martin, Honey Buzzard, Bonelli's Eagle, Rock Dove, Stonechat, Collared Dove, Griffon Vulture, Marsh Harrier, Peregrine Falcon, Woodchat Shrike, Meadow Pipit, Eastern Imperial Eagle, Golden Oriole and Scops Owl.


                          Two of the Booted Eagle....Hieraaetus pennatus



                                           Balkan Green Lizard....Lacerta trilineata


                                           Aegean Wall lizard....Podarcis erhardii





5th May

Lammergeier, Lesser Spotted Eagle, two Bonelli's Eagle and two Marsh Harrier in the afternoon made up for a quiet morning

 Today's List.... 39

Yellow-legged Gull, Chaffinch, Italian Sparrow, Grey Heron, Blackbird, House Martin, Barn Swallow, Woodlark, Black-eared Wheatear, Whinchat, Sardinian Warbler, Hooded Crow, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Great Tit, Cetti's Warbler, Corn Bunting, Raven, Collared Dove, Common Buzzard 5, Alpine Swift, Eleonora's Falcon 1, Sparrowhawk 1, Nightingale, Spotted Flycatcher 20+, Marsh Harrier 2, Kestrel 4, Woodchat Shrike, Bee-eater 10+15+30+, Lesser Spotted Eagle 1, Honey Buzzard 3, Bonelli's Eagle 2, Golden Oriole 1, Peregrine Falcon 2, Lammergeier 1juv., Purple Heron 1, Whitethroat, Scops Owl

                                              Lesser Spotted Eagle....Aquila pomarina


                                                 Marsh Harrier....Circus aeruginosus


                                                            Balkan Whip Snake



4th May 2130hrs

Another good day with Spotted and Lesser Spotted Eagles, several Honey Buzzard a Black Kite, Booted Eagles came through early on, with the wind change now from the east .

Todays species...48 

Bee-eaters 30+10, Chaffinch, Italian Sparrow, Woodlark, Blackbird, Cetti's Warbler, Great Tit, House Martin, Black-eared Wheatear, Barn Swallow, Hooded Crow, Yellow-legged Gull, Red-footed Falcon 1f, Goldfinch, Swift, Spotted Flycatcher, Pied Flycatcher, Alpine Swift, Golden Oriole, Whinchat, Shag, Corn Bunting, Stonechat, Turtle Dove, Honey Buzzard 10, Greenfinch, Booted Eagle pale and dark morphs, Eleonora's Falcon 2, Woodchat Shrike 3, Blue Tit, Yellow Wagtail [flava], Common Buzzard 3, Collared Dove, Kestrel, Peregrine Falcon, Raven, Rock Dove, Crested Lark, Griffon Vulture 1+4, Sardinian Warbler, Black Kite,Greater Spotted Eagle, Lesser Spotted Eagle, Spanish Sparrow, Little Ringed Plover 2, Grey Heron, Scops Owl and Nightjar.

                                         Yellow Wagtail...Motacilla flava


                                        Spanish Sparrow...Passer hispaniolensis


                                            Greenfinch....Carduelis cloris


                                           Bee-eater...Merops apiaster


                                      Lesser Spotted Eagle .... Aquila pomarina



3rd May 2130hrs

 We were joined by our friend Andy from Kissamos for a mornings birding at our house, lots of smaller birds, raptors appeared in the afternoon the highlight being another Aquila this time an Eastern Imperial Eagle and a pale morph Booted Eagle, later our first sighting for this year, in the field below us a Purple Heron was stood next to a Marsh Harrier.

Today's species....41

Woodlark, Chaffinch, Corn Bunting, Hooded Crow, Great Tit, Yellow-legged Gull, Barn Swallow, Black-eared Wheatear, Cetti's Warbler, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Rock Dove, Sardinian Warbler, Woodchat Shrike 4, Blackbird, Grey Heron, Stonechat, Bee-eater 11+14+20+9, Sparrowhawk, Willow Warbler, Blue Tit, Swift, Pied Flycatcher, Spotted Flycatcher, Subalpine Warbler, Wood warbler, Whitethroat, Alpine Swift, Golden Oriole, Shag, Common Buzzard, Garden Warbler, Crested Lark, Raven, Kestrel, Northern Wheatear, Marsh Harrier 2, Griffon Vulture 1, Honey Buzzard 4, Booted Eagle, Eastern Imperial Eagle,Purple Heron and Scops Owl

                                   Eastern Imperial Eagle....Aquila heliaca


                                          Woodchat Shrike.... Lanius senator


                                              Chaffinch....Fringilla coelebs


                                              Golden Oriole... Oriolus oriolus



                                    Yellow-legged Gull....Larus cachinnans


2 May 1530hrs updated 2130hrs

The 2cy Steppe Eagle is still here on Crete seen for 5 minutes at 3pm very high over Gramvousa peninsula, circling with 6 Griffon Vultures. Again it flew off northwesterly

Also shortly before, a single adult Osprey and a Honey Buzzard, pictures later this evening.

The Red-footed Falcons that were here for the last few days appear to have left.

Species today 38 again home at Kaliviani

Chaffinch, Blackbird, Bee-eater 20+, Great Tit, Woodlark, Yellow-legged Gull, Shag, Barn Swallow, Swift, Sardinian Warbler, Alpine Swift, House Martin, Common Buzzard 6, Spotted Flycatcher 2, Blue Tit + young, Corn Bunting, Turtle Dove, Greenfinch, Hooded Crow, Woodchat Shrike, Stonechat, Yellow Wagtail..Feldegg, Raven, Black-eared Wheatear, Goldfinch, Cetti's Warbler, Whinchat, Grey Heron, Griffon Vulture 6, Booted Eagle pale morph 2, Osprey 1, Steppe Eagle 1, Kestrel 2, Honey Buzzard 1, Eleonora's Falcon 3, Golden Oriole 3, Scops Owl and Barn Owl.

                     Steppe Eagle... Aquila nipalensis identified as yesterday's bird 

               note P7 on right [lower] wing is short on today's and yesterdays images


                    Steppe Eagle and Griffon Vulture high above Gramvousa peninsula


                                                Osprey...Pandion haliaetus 


                                               Bee-eater.....Merops apiaster


                                         Honey Buzzard ... Pernis apivorus               


                                     Nosed Grasshopper..... Acrida ungarica     


1st May .......Kalo Mina

Mega ...... over the house this morning with two other Aquila's.

Today's other news and sightings under the pics.

                     Steppe Eagle...Aquila nipalensis 2cy




Sue first spotted the above bird and then we had a Lesser Spotted Eagle with it, then along came another ragged bird in the distance which may have been another Steppe or a Greater Spotted Eagle, we can't be sure it looked the same size as the Steppe but never came as near, we had great views of this rarity and the LSE for over thirtyfive minutes, at one point flying about 30-50 metres above us. All three birds then headed of in a northwesterly direction towards the Peleponese.

This is another first for us on Crete, our Cretan list now stands at 219 and also only leaves three species of raptor to get pictures of here , Lanner Falcon, Merlin and Levant Sparrowhawk.

Later we had a recently fledged Chaffinch crash into the front window, duly recovered and looked after it later flew off a short distance into the garrigue. 

Today's Species....42 [ seen from home, we're glad we stayed here again today !!!]

Cetti's Warbler, Barn Swallow, Sardinian Warbler, Swift, Alpine Swift, Pallid Swift, House Martin, Spotted Flycatcher, Corn Bunting, Sand Martin, Black-eared Wheatear, Hooded Crow, Yellow-legged Gull, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Woodlark, Crested Lark, Pied Flycatcher,Golden Oriole, Woodchat Shrike 4, Stonechat, Chiffchaff, Goldfinch, Peregrine Falcon 2, Great Tit, Blackbird, Nightingale, Eleonora's Falcon 1, Collared Dove, Blue Tit, Steppe Eagle, Lesser Spotted Eagle,?????Greater Spotted or another Steppe Eagle????, Griffon Vulture 1, Spanish Sparrow, Italian Sparrow, Raven, Little Egret, Marsh Harrier 2, Scops Owl and Barn Owl.

30th April


 A quiet day today with only 23 species seen, more than made up for by a Goshawk that circled for a while before the local Common Buzzard saw it off and a very noisy pair of Hoopoe in the olive grove. 

 Species for the month are below….119

Mallard… Garganey… Ferruginous Duck… Chukar… Quail… Little Grebe… Shag…Little Bittern….Cattle egret….Squacco Heron…. Night Heron… Little Egret…Grey Heron…Lammergeier…Griffon Vulture…Golden Eagle…Eastern Imperial Eagle….Lesser Spotted Eagle….Greater Spotted Eagle…. Booted Eagle… Bonelli’s Eagle… Black Kite….Marsh Harrier… Montagu’s Harrier… Hen Harrier….Long-legged Buzzard… Common Buzzard…Honey Buzzard…. Sparrowhawk… Goshawk…Kestrel… Lesser Kestrel… Peregrine Falcon…Red-footed Falcon….Hobby….Eleonora’s Falcon…. Little Crake…Spotted Crake…. Moorhen… Coot… Little Ringed Plover… Little Stint….Wood Sandpiper… Green Sandpiper… Common Sandpiper… Snipe…Curlew…. Ruff….Black-headed Gull….Yellow-legged Gull…Audouin’s Gull…. Whiskered Tern….White-winged Black Tern… Rock Dove… Wood Pigeon… Collared Dove… Turtle Dove….Barn Owl… Scops Owl… Swift… Alpine Swift…. Hoopoe… Wryneck…Bee-eater…. Crested Lark… Woodlark… Crag Martin… Barn Swallow… Red-rumped Swallow… House Martin…Sand Martin…. Tawny Pipit….Water Pipit… Meadow Pipit…Tree Pipit… White Wagtail… Yellow Wagtail…Robin…

Nightingale…. Black Redstart… Northern Wheatear… Black-eared Wheatear….Stonechat… Whinchat…. Blackbird… Blue Rock Thrush… Rock Thrush….Garden Warbler…. Blackcap… Sardinian Warbler… Whitethroat….Subalpine Warbler … Sedge Warbler… Cetti’s Warbler… Willow Warbler… Wood Warbler… Chiffchaff…Great Reed Warbler…. Semi-collared  Flycatcher… Collared Flycatcher….Pied Flycatcher….Spotted Flycatcher…. Great Tit… Blue Tit… Woodchat Shrike… Chough… Hooded Crow… Raven…Golden Oriole….House Sparrow… Italian Sparrow… Spanish Sparrow…Chaffinch… Linnet… Goldfinch…. Greenfinch…Serin… Ortolan….Corn Bunting  

                         A few more images of today's Red-footed Falcons                                                   




29th April

A morning birding at home produced.....34 species

 Chaffinch, Collared Dove, Goldfinch, Marsh Harrier 1, Red-footed Falcon 34, Italian Sparrow, Great Tit, Stonechat, Whinchat, Griffon Vulture 11, Greenfinch, Sardinian Warbler, Shag 1, Yellow-legged Gull 20+, Raven 2, Common Buzzard 11, Barn Swallow 50+, Crested Lark, Woodlark, Swift, Blue Tit, Rock Dove, Golden Oriole 1, Monatgu's Harrier male, Bonelli's Eagle 2, Woodchat Shrike 2, Kestrel2, Peregrine Falcon 1, Blackbird, Cetti's Warbler, Hooded Crow, Hoopoe 1, Grey Heron 1, Blue Rock Thrush 1.

We took a trip to Agia in the afternoon and spent a pleasent four hours there....38 species seen

Booted Eagle pale morph, Ruff 30+, Mallard fem1+ 7 young, Coot + young, Moorhen, Squacco Heron 15+, Little Bittern 15+, Yellow-legged Gull 50+, White-winged Black Tern 1, Whiskered Tern 1, Marsh Harrier 2, Blackcap, Grey Heron 2, Sand Martin , Swift, Alpine Swift, Sedge Warbler, Barn Swallow, Nightingale, Wood Sandpiper 20+, Little Egret 6, Little Crake 2, Little Grebe with young, Spotted Crake 1, Snipe 2, Garganey 2 male, Great Reed Warbler, Eleonora's Falcon 1, Ferruginous Duck 1 male, Wryneck, Chaffinch, Blackbird, House Sparrow, Greenfinch, Sardinian Warbler, Common Buzzard, Cetti's Warbler, Hooded Crow. 

Species for the day  59                                  

                                                      Wood Sandpiper


                                                 Dabchick with young


                                                   Female Little Bittern


                                                         Male Little Bittern


                                                          Squacco Heron


                                                           Little Egret


                Two Squacco Heron one Little Egret and domestic Geese with one young


                                                     Great Reed Warbler


28th April

A minor crisis at home this morning meant we never got to watch the skies as usual and Sue's bad back has also meant that we have not been able to visit our usual haunts yet this month. But birding at home has been good and so far we have had some good sightings from Kaliviani.  

Today we had a a hundred yards to travel to get some more nice images of those lovely Red-footed Falcons and a nice Balkan Green Lizard on the courtyard wall allowed for close views and a nice picture. The briefest of sightings of a Black Kite and a couple of female Hen Harriers.

Species for today ...

Marsh Harrier 2, Hen Harrier 2, Black Kite 1, Long-legged Buzzard 1, Kestrel 1, Common Buzzard 3, Red-footed Falcon 20+, Eleonora's Falcon 4, Peregrine Falcon 1, Griffon Vulture 3, Hoopoe 1, Greenfinch, Tree Pipit 1, Hooded Crow, Woodlark, Crested Lark,Yellow-legged Gull, Sardinian Warbler, Barn Swallow 50+, Cetti's warbler, Italian Sparrow, Blue Rock Thrush 1, Goldfinch and Chaffinch.


         Male Red-footed Falcon. The water irrigation  poles are a favourite to perch on


                                    A female Red-footed Falcon flies in close 


                                            A female and a first summer male


                               Three males and a female rest in between feeding 


                                 Male Red-footed Falcon poses in front of the sea


                                                          Marsh Harrier


                                                      Balkan Green Lizard


27th April

A raptor day today with some nice surprises...43 species, 11 of those raptors.

Common Buzzard 5, Marsh Harrier 6, Kestrel 3, Eleonora's Falcon 4, Red-footed Falcon 20, Hobby 1, Montagu's Harrier 1, Griffon Vulture 1, Lesser Spotted Eagle 1, Greater Spotted Eagle 1, Peregrine Falcon 1.

We were really lucky to get the Lesser Spotted and Greater Spotted Eagles flying together and would like to thank Lou Solomon who through   confirmed ID of these two birds for us.

Other species Sardinian Warbler, Woodlark, Goldfinch, Yellow-legged Gull, Italian Sparrow, Great Tit, Raven, Hooded Crow, Barn Swallow, Sand Martin, Swift, Turtle Dove, Greenfinch, Bee-eater, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Alpine Swift, Cetti's Warbler, Blackbird, Black-eared Wheatear, Chiffchaff, Whinchat, Hoopoe, Rock Dove, Redstart, Blue Tit, Corn Bunting, Linnet, Stonechat, Northern Wheatear, Little-ringed Plover and Collared Dove.

                      The Greater and Lesser Spotted Eagles flying together


                                              Greater Spotted Eagle


                                                   Lesser Spotted Eagle




                                                  Male Red-footed Falcon


                                               Male Red-footed Falcon


                                               Female Red-footed Falcon


                                               Female Red-footed Falcon


                                            Four male Red-footed Falcon


26th April

Our first sighting this spring of Red-footed Falcon a male and three females along the coast road. Over the house a Hobby and a couple of Honey Buzzard along with three Eleonora's Falcon, Common Buzzard and Kestrel and a pale morph Booted Eagle, hunting the fields two female Marsh Harrier and a male flying over. Whinchats are numerous, other small birds not so and were difficult to find with strong winds keeping them hidden and their calls blown away !

At Kissamos , west of the promenade, three Little Stint, 1 Little Egret, 1 Squacco Heron, a pale morph Booted Eagle several Yellow-legged Gulls and a first summer Black-headed Gull.

Below, some not very good images from the day ......

                                            Red-footed Falcon (female)


                                               Red-footed Falcon (male)




                                                       Honey Buzzard


                                             Little Egret and Squacco Heron


                                             Three well camouflaged Little Stint



25th April

From Nikos.....At Moronis


At home , pretty much the same as yesterday apart from 3 Little Ringed Plover and a fly by Squacco Heron

24th April 1900hrs

Eleonora's Falcon have arrived, we sight our first three this morning.We also get great views of a Lesser Spotted Eagle at 0930 and manage a few pictures even thought the light was really bad, later high overhead a 3rd year Bonelli's Eagle. Harriers continue dropping in to roost nearby at 7pm.

Today's Species....46

Italian Sparrow, Chaffinch, Great Tit, Marsh Harrier 9, Goldfinch, Bee-eater, Barn Swallow, Sand Martin, Swift, Red-rumped Swallow, Shag2, Yellow-legged Gull, House Martin, Blue Tit, Black-eared Wheatear, Montagu's Harrier 1m, Cetti's Warbler, Blackbird, Nightingale, Raven, Sardinian Warbler, dark morph Booted Eagle 1, Common Buzzard 8, Crested Lark, Kestrel 2, Chiffchaff, Alpine Swift, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Lesser Spotted Eagle 1, Greenfinch, Sparrowhawk 1, Eleonora's Falcon 3, Collared Dove, Woodlark, Stonechat, Whinchat, Woodchat Shrike, Whitethroat, Bonneli's Eagle 1, Peregrine Falcon 1, Willow Warbler, Rock Dove, Redstart, Northern Wheatear. Hoopoe, spotted by Nikos when he arrived to bird with us in the afternoon.

                                     Five images of Lesser Spotted Eagle






                                                    3cy Bonelli's Eagle


                                                   Yellow-legged Gull


                                      A moulting migrating Common Buzzard


                                   An unknown spider of the funnel web group


23rd April

11 Marsh Harriers hunting the fields and overhead today , a lovely male Montagu's Harrier gave good views all afternoon as it also spent time hunting , then flew overhead as it headed north late in the afternoon accompanied by 2 Marsh harriers. Some of yesterday's  smaller birds left overnight and a few different species turned up today

Today's species....

Sardinian Warbler, Cetti's Warbler, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Great Tit, Marsh Harrier, Barn Swallow, House Martin, Sand Martin, Yellow-legged Gull, Woodchat Shrike, Redstart, Greenfinch, Collared Dove, Raven, Griffon Vulture 1, Bee-eater 30+ & 50+10+, Yellow Wagtail, Black-eared Wheatear, Whinchat, Tree Pipit, Woodlark, Crested Lark, Stonechat, a pale morph Booted Eagle heavily molted, Little Egret 1, Shag 1, Blue Tit, Chiffchaff, Grey Heron, Kestrel, Montagu's Harrier, Common Buzzard, Golden Oriole (heard), Corn Bunting, Nightingale, Italian Sparrow, Scops Owl, Barn Owl, Night Heron (heard)

                                      Montagu's Harrier.....Circus pygargus



                                               One of the Marsh harriers


                Many more juvenile Goldfinch seen today in the company of parent birds


                                                 Fifty plus Bee-eaters


22nd April

This has to be one of the better days in number of birds seen from the house 46 species, 36 were seen whilst we were having breakfast, in the first 45 minutes, 52 for the day when we went to Gerani to try and locate the pied kingfisher after a report last week of a possible sighting ...nothing found though apart from a Common Sandpiper, Night Heron [immature]  Little Crake, Moorhen and  Blackcap.

Large numbers of Swift, Alpine Swift etc feeding through the day until dark, 4 Honey Buzzard with a single Pallid Harrier, Two groups of 20+ Bee-eater.

Around 10 each of the following species , Wood Warbler, Nightingale, Golden Oriole, Turtle Dove, Black-eared Wheatear. several groups of 20+ Yellow Wagtail (Flava)

13 Marsh Harriers dropped into the long grassed fields between us and the beach to feed and roost.

The home species...Nightingale, Chaffinch, Italian Sparrow, Barn Swallow, Cetti's warbler, Goldfinch, Collared Dove, Swift, House Martin, Red-rumped Swallow, Hooded Crow, Wood Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Grey Heron, Yellow-legged Gull, Whincaht, Ortolan, Yellow Wagtail, Black-eared Wheatear, Crested Lark, Greenfinch, Stonechat, Corn Bunting, Linnet, Garden Warbler, Blackbird, Kestrel, Alpine Swift, Common Buzzard, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Raven, Tree Pipit, Pallid Harrier, Honey Buzzard 4, Woodlark, Bee-eater, Marsh Harrier, Rock Dove, Redstart, Chukar, Scops Owl and Barn Owl.

At Gerani... singles of Little Crake, immature Night Heron, Moorhen, Blackcap,Little Egret and a Common Sandpiper.


21st April 2245hrs

Thirty one species today at Kaliviani, lots of Collared and Pied Flycatcher, Golden Oriole, Turtle Dove, Nightingale, Whinchat, Wood Warbler and Woodchat Shrike about. Small numbers of Northern and Black-eared Wheatear and small groups of Spanish Sparrow and a nice close Cuckoo being harassed by several Chaffinch that did not like his presence. Numbers of juvenile Goldfinch increasing daily.

                                              Cuckoo....Cuculus canorus


                                         Redstart....Phoenicurus phoenicurus

                                             Golden Oriole.....Oriolus oriolus


                                            Goldfinch....Carduelis carduelis


                                         Woodchat Shrike....Lanius senator


                                           Wood Warbler....Philloscopus sibilatrix



19th April 1900hrs

We awoke at 0630 to a thunderstorm followed by a nice three and a half hours of rain, the first for many weeks, not much birding done during this time, the rest of the day was very fruitful

The seasons first Spotted Flycatcher was seen late morning, a lovely male Collared Flycatcher flitted amongst the olive trees close to the house giving great views. A superb male Golden Oriole alighted on an olive tree nearby but before we could get the cameras to bear it was away.

The skies were filled with hundreds of Swift, Alpine Swift, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow and House Martin, although we looked hard we did not get a pallid swift. They have been with us since 1030 and are still swooping around now at 7pm.

Our list for the day......... 35 species

Scops Owl 2...Chaffinch 20+...Hooded Crow 9...Cetti's Warbler 3...Raven 8...Great Tit 3...Blackbird 5...Nightingale 4...Golden Oriole 2...Collared Dove 1...Barn Swallow 100+...Woodlark 7...Kestrel 2...Griffon Vulture 3...Yellow-legged Gull 50+...Italian Sparrow 20+...Shag 2...Crested Lark 6...Sardinian Warbler 8...Common Buzzard 3...Turtle Dove 3...Woodchat Shrike 4...House Martin 100+...Linnet 2...Swift 20+...Alpine Swift 20+...Spotted Flycatcher 1 Red-rumped Swallow 8...Whinchat 1...Collared Flycatcher 1...dark morph Booted Eagle 1 Meadow Pipit 10...Marsh Harrier 2f...and an unidentified falcon seen only for a second as it dashed between the trees. 

                                       Collared Flycatcher....Ficedula albicollis


                    Our seasons first [distant] Spotted Flycatcher...Muscicapa striata


                                             House Martin....Delichon urbica 



18th April 2030hrs

We have had a couple of quiet days, still managing thirty species a day at home.

Today Marsh Harriers still moving through, our first Pied Flycatcher seen in our olive grove and although they have had Turtle Dove on Antikythera for the last couple of weeks we got to see our first spring birds here today . Woodchat Shrike numbers increasing with three seen locally and a nice flock of Spanish Sparrows, our first sightings this spring of young Goldfinch, todays total 34 species.

                                        Marsh Harrier....Circus aeruginosus




                                      Pied Flycatcher....Ficedula hypoleuca


                                    Wood Warbler....Phylloscopus sibilatrix


                                         Goldfinch....Carduelis carduelis 



15th April  2030hrs

Thanks to Nikos for the following sightings at Agia yesterday afternoon....A pale morph Booted Eagle...a male Montagu's Harrier...3 Marsh Harrier [1 male] 2 Common Buzzard...pairs of Teal and Ferruginous duck...6 Little adult Night Heron...Squacco Heron...Greenshank...Common Sandpiper...5 Wood Sandpiper....5 Ruff....5 Little Stint...Little Ringed Plover and 50 Yellow-legged Gull.

At home today we see our first Golden Oriole of the year... 26 species here today , with lots of Swift, House Martin,Alpine Swift and Barn Swallow,feeding noisily around the house for several hours, a lovely sight.

14th April  2300hrs

Good numbers of Nightingale about today, several Marsh Harriers moved through and our first Cuckoo heard this morning. More Shag seen today,their numbers increasing with nine spotted on a mirror calm sea. Our first sighting this year of Little Ringed Plover along our local beach and Yellow Wagtail.... feldegg have been seen in the last few weeks but today we saw [flava] for the first time this spring.

13th April 1945hrs

More migrants pass through, this morning an Eastern Imperial Eagle slowly circled as it headed north and at 1230 and 1330hrs we had two lots of Bee-eater pass through, the first we have seen this year and also looking back to last years diary a year to the day !...images will be put on tonight of both species.

The Bee-eater pictures were distant and not good enough to post but we had a Hen Harrier fly by so will post that instead. Also in the afternoon three Marsh Harriers headed north.

A late entry , this superb male Montagu's Harrier flew near the house at 7pm 

                                       Montagu's Harrier....Circus pygargus



                                       [Eastern] Imperial Eagle....Aquila heliaca


                                              Hen Harrier....Circus cyaneus   



12th April

 A great days birding today. After the winds of the last two days we awoke to a morning of no wind and were not disappointed with what came our way ....35 species at home then a further 12 at Agios Erini 4km north on the peninsula . Ten species of raptor were seen.

One of the first sightings was a Rock Thrush, then we spotted another, other nice spots for the day a Long-legged Buzzard then a Spotted Eagle......the rest of the list and fourteen images from our day are below.........

Great Tit....Hooded Crow....Chaffinch.....Swift....Alpine Swift....Barn Swallow....Red-rumped Swallow....Blue Tit.... Woodlark.... Tree Pipit.... Northern Wheatear.... Goldfinch.... Italian Sparrow.... Lesser Kestrel.... Stonechat.... Cetti's Warbler.... Yellow-legged Gull.... Shag.... Nightingale.... Sardinian Warbler.... Common Buzzard.... Blackbird.... Linnet.... Crested Lark....Raven.... Griffon Vulture.... Marsh Harrier.... Collared Dove.... Booted Eagle.... Hoopoe.... Greenfinch.... Collared Flycatcher.... Wood Warbler.... Bonelli's Eagle.... Sparrowhawk.... Redstart.... Pied Flycatcher.... Black-eared Wheatear.... Blue Rock Thrush.... Woodchat Shrike.... Rock Dove.... Chukar.... Whitethroat....Kestrel.... Scops Owl

                                [Rufous-tailed] Rock Thrush....Monticola saxatilis


                                            Woodchat Shrike....Lanius senator           


                                           Whitethroat ....Sylvia communis


                                             Tree Pipit....Anthus trivialis


                                                     Swift....Apus apus


                                               Alpine Swift....Apus melba


                                          Redstart f....Phoenicurus phoenicurus    


                                        Pied Flycatcher....Ficedula hypoleuca


                                        Nightingale....Luscinia megarhynchos


                                                   Hoopoe....Upupa epops    


                                                   Hoopoe....Upupa epops              


                                   Collared Flycatcher  f .... Ficedula albicollis


                                   Black-eared Wheatear.....Oenanthe hispanica


                                           Alpine Swift....Apus melba           



11th April

A nice mixed flock of Alpine Swift, Swift, House Martin and Swallow passed by this morning and over the day 6 Lesser Kestrel, 1 Kestrel, 2 Common Buzzard, 1 Marsh Harrier, 1 Honey Buzzard, 1 Griffon Vulture, 1 Sparrowhawk and a Peregrine Falcon  with a distant possible Booted Eagle. With the wind still strong from the NNW we saw very little in the way of the "small" birds, mainly Goldfinches and Chaffinches and only 22 species seen today.

Another 26 images of flowers from Spili added in the "Flowers" album, 6 more images on the Spili page and one new addition to the "insect" album, these are all on the last pages of each album and these new images take the total images on site to over 2000.

10th April

18 images on page 4 in the "Flowers of Crete" album now posted and

one green spider in the "Insect" album .


                                      News from Nikos from Moronis and Agia.



Here at Kissamos  not too much , Lesser Kestrel, Common Buzzard, 1 Honey Buzzard and Marsh Harrier. The small birds are staying hidden from the raptors and the cold northwest winds.


                                    A Marsh harrier glides past our front balcony 

9th April

Marsh Harriers hunt over the fields between us and the beach 2f+1m. A pale morph Booted Eagle and five Lesser Kestrel hunted the hill behind the house eventually being chased off by the Hooded Crows. Three Cattle Egrets struggled north in the strong northerly winds. Along the beach road, our first sightings this spring of several Whinchat and nearby a small flock of Spanish Sparrow , the males showing particularly well in their summer plumage. 

8th April

Some nice birds today, thirty species at home;  several groups of Common Buzzard passed through this morning and four Honey Buzzard later, along with four dark and one light morphed Booted Eagles singly throughout the afternoon and one Black Kite. Four Sparrowhawk and a Peregrine Falcon were also seen heading north.

Late this afternoon an Audouin's Gull passed close to the house whilst I was trying to get a picture of a Goldfinch that was feeding nearby, I looked up just in time to see it disappearing away and managed a quick pic.


                      The pale morph Booted Eagle as it passed in front of the house


                      The Goldfinch just before the Audouins Gull below passed by !!


7th April

We are just back from Easter in the mountains above Spili, many many species of orchid and other wild flowers now in bloom, thirty plus species of bird including Lammergeier, Curlew, Wryneck, Quail, Chukar, and two species of Harrier. We will try to put a few images on later this evening and will update the "Flowers of Crete" album in the next week and also add a location guide for the Spili area

We also looked on Friday and Tuesday for the Pied Kingfisher at Platanos, but unfortunately no further sightings.  

1st April

 Well what a day this turned out to be, thirty one species all from the comfort of our balcony.

The highlight had to be the raptors! we were looking at eight Common Buzzard, one Goshawk and a single Long-legged Buzzard heading northwest and noticed a Peregrine Falcon high up with them which suddenly swooped down and took a Woodlark high in the sky, then to see come into view a Sparrowhawk hunting low.... another look higher for the Peregrine and a Golden Eagle was spotted immediately joined by another [an adult and juv]  these look different to the two we saw mid March on Omalos!, they circled for some time high and fairly distant before the adult left towards the south and the juv headed southeast,[one in front the other behind the house] another bird in view now turned out to be one of Gramvousa's Bonelli's Eagle's that promptly targeted the juv Goldie , wow , we watched the larger bird being chased of the bonelli's patch and then noticed a Kestrel hovering nearby and a Griffon Vulture lazily circling just north of us ...nine raptors in  as many minutes.

Our species today Cetti's Warbler, Chaffinch, Great Tit, Linnet, Sardinian Warbler, Hooded Crow, Blackbird, Corn Bunting, Yellow-legged Gull, Goldfinch, Barn Swallow, Raven, Collared Dove, Tree Pipit, Common Buzzard, Long-legged Buzzard, Goshawk, Peregrine Falcon, Golden Eagle , Sparrowhawk, Bonelli's Eagle, Kestrel, Griffon Vulture, Shag, Woodlark, Subalpine Warbler, Greenfinch, Whitethroat, Rock Dove, Crested Lark, a dark throated Black-eared Wheatear and an unidentified wader that flew along the coast.

              The young Golden Eagle heading away from the peninsula , check out the  

            blog pictures of the juv. on the 20th March I don't think this is the same bird       


                   The resident Bonelli's Eagle chases the Golden Eagle from its patch.

                               The Bonelli's is the same adult we saw on the 28th



31st March

After a promising start this morning the weather suddenly turned at around 1130 and brought strong southerly winds bringing sand on the air once again from north Africa and the temperatures hitting 29oC. There were then very few birds flying with only the odd Hooded Crow, Raven and Yellow-legged Gull to be seen.

Earlier between 0830-0930, we had counted 25 species....Chaffinch, Cetti's Warbler, Yellow-legged Gull, Great Tit, Italian Sparrow, Sardinian Warbler, Corn Bunting, Swift, Alpine Swift, Griffon Vulture, Sparrowhawk, Rock Dove, Hooded Crow, Serin,Goldfinch, Linnet, Tree Pipit, Shag, Raven, Blue Tit, Kestrel, Nightingale, Common Buzzard, Greenfinch and Crested Lark.

The weather forecast looks better for the next few days so over the Easter period we will go on a few trips in search of orchids and migrants.


 Mallard… Gadwall… Shoveler… Wigeon…Teal… Garganey… Pochard… Ferruginous Duck… Tufted Duck… Chukar… Quail… Corncrake [heard]… Little Grebe… Cory’s Shearwater…Shag… Night Heron… Little Egret…Grey Heron…Lammergeier…Griffon Vulture…Golden Eagle… Booted Eagle… Bonelli’s Eagle… Marsh Harrier… Pallid Harrier… Long-legged Buzzard… Steppe Buzzard… Common Buzzard… Sparrowhawk… Goshawk…Kestrel… Lesser Kestrel… Peregrine Falcon… Little Crake… Moorhen… Coot… Little Ringed Plover… Wood Sandpiper… Green Sandpiper… Common Sandpiper… Redshank…Snipe… Yellow-legged Gull… Lesser Black-backed Gull… Sandwich Tern… Rock Dove… Wood Pigeon… Collared Dove… Barn Owl… Scops Owl… Nightjar… Swift… Pallid Swift…Alpine Swift… Hoopoe… Kingfisher… Pied Kingfisher… Wryneck… Crested Lark… Woodlark… Crag Martin… Barn Swallow… Red-rumped Swallow… House Martin… Tawny Pipit, Water Pipit… Meadow Pipit…Tree Pipit… White Wagtail… Yellow Wagtail…Robin… Nightingale… Black Redstart… Northern Wheatear… Isabelline Wheatear…Stonechat… Song Thrush… Blackbird… Blue Rock Thrush… Blackcap… Sardinian Warbler… Ruppell’s Warbler… Subalpine Warbler … Sedge Warbler… Cetti’s Warbler… Willow Warbler… Wood Warbler… Chiffchaff… Wren… Semi-collared  Flycatcher… Great Tit… Blue Tit… Woodchat Shrike… Jay… Chough… Hooded Crow… Raven…House Sparrow… Italian Sparrow… Spanish Sparrow…Chaffinch… Linnet… Goldfinch…. Greenfinch…Serin… Reed Bunting… Cirl Bunting… Corn Bunting  

29th March

No birding today it was a working day ! but we still manages a sneak look to the sky ....A Sparrowhawk flew low and fast through the olive grove, a single Griffon Vulture soared over Gramvousa and  at 4pm six Grey Herons flew very high heading north. Amongst the Swifts we catch sight of a Pallid Swift, our first of this species in over a year.

A few pics from yesterday on our trip onto Gramvousa..............

                             Young goats are everywhere on the peninsula


         The churech of Agios Eirini half way onto the peninsula Rhodapou peninsula

     in the background , just left of the church is an ideal place to watch small migrants


                                          A roadside pool full of tadpoles



28th March

Today we headed onto Gramvousa peninsula in search of migrants, at home it was fairly quiet and a strong wind was blowing in from the northwest. The small church of Agios Eirini looked a good local place to be with water and cover for the smaller species.

We found several Semi-collared Flycatchers both male and female, Blackcap, Northern Wheatear, Nightingale, Blue Tit, Great Tit,Crested Lark, Woodlark, Linnet, Goldfinch, Corn Bunting, Italian Sparrow and Blackbird, Stonechat,Yellow-legged Gull and a Cory's Shearwater. Hoopoes and Chukar seemed particularly tame today with both species virtually at our feet. Sparrowhawk, Peregrine Falcon, Kestrel, and Griffon Vulture and our first sighting for some time of one of the local pair of Bonelli's Eagle.                                      

                                             Hoopoe ....Upupa epops


                                                  Hoopoe ....Upupa epops


                           Semi-collared Flycatcher....Ficedula semitorquata female


                             Semi-collared Flycatcher ....Ficedula semitorquata male


                                           Chukar.....Alectoris Chukar 


                                             Chukar....Alectoris chukar


                                          Crested Lark....Galerida cristata


                                         Bonelli's Eagle....Hieraaetus fasciatus


27th March

 Another really quiet day, we wandered along to a fairly productive area for flycatchers it was so quiet we only found Cetti's Warbler, Blue Tit and one Nightingale.

Early morning over the house, large numbers of Alpine Swift, Swift, House Martin, Barn Swallow and 2 Red-rumped Swallow.

Over the house at 2pm a pale morphed Booted Eagle.

                                         Booted Eagle ....Hieraaetus pennatus


                                                Blue Tit.....Parus caerleus


                                          Goldfinch....Carduelis carduelis


26th March

 The Hellenic Ornithological Societies website is now updating the Antikythera spring ringing camp blog, nice news they had a Bluethroat today see  Here 

Another fairly quiet day at Kaliviani, a dark and light morphed Booted Eagle passed by this afternoon, a couple of Kestrel a Sparrowhawk and Peregrine. Nine Common Buzzard hunted above the ridges, small birds were hardly to be seen !


25th March

Report from Nikos of a flock of 200+ Garganey flying over the sea near Preveli and an Osprey at Elouda.

Kissamos area , a very quiet day several Kestrel, a well molted Peregrine chased small birds around the sky and a male Marsh Harrier sat in a tree in the lower fields for a while until the Hooded Crows chased it off.Our local Common Buzzard continue to add sticks to their nest and are to be seen mating on the rocks behind the house. A Blue Rock Thrush displays daily on the northern slopes.

24th March

Thirty species seen from the house today, raptors were male and female Marsh and male Hen Harriers, Sparrowhawk, three Kestrel, dark and pale morphed Booted Eagle, one Griffon Vulture and a Golden Eagle.

Good numbers of Subalpine Warblers a few Northern Wheatears, Willow Warblers and Corn Buntings.

A few more images of Omalos are now posted on the Omalos/White Mountains page



                                                         Tulipa bakeri


                                                     Gagea penduncularis


                              Snakes Head or Widow Iris....Hermodactylus tuberosus 


                                                    Erodium gruinum ?


                                                  Romulea bulbocodium


                                                      Daphne sericea


                                                  Romulea bulbocodium




23rd March

WE'RE BACK !!! Thanks to those of you that continue to visit the site looking for updates and we apologise that there have been none for a week.We had a few days up at Omalos [Wednesday -Saturday ] where we had some great sightings which we hoped to put on the blog on Saturday night only to find when we got home that  we had a computer problem and were unable to post. All sorted now and we hope to post this evening [fingers crossed] some of the images and news of the past week.

To wet your appetites... Golden Eagles, Lammergeiers, Pallid and Marsh Harriers and lots of wild flowers so please check back later. Now entered below under relevant dates 18th-20th, flowers will be entered tomorrow

PIED KINGFISHER NEWS... It was there on Wednesday we checked the site on Saturday afternoon but had no sighting, we will check again in the next few days. 

TODAYS NEWS......28 species including 1 male Pallid Harrier [this has been around for three days]  3 male Marsh Harrier, 2 dark morph Booted Eagle, 3 Sparrowhawk [these have also been around for the last three days. Alpine Swift, and tonight a Barn Owl.

                                       Subalpine Warbler....Sylvia cantillans



20th March

Day three on Omalos ....Not such a cold night -1.7oC early this morning  No Lammergeier for us today, although Nikos saw one at 2pm where we saw them yesterday. We had two Golden Eagles and a male marsh Harrier. Lots of Wryneck, Cirl Bunting, three Hoopoe, a Water Pipit and 9 Snipe.


 Sardinian Warbler...Jay...Blackbird...Black Redstart...Linnet...Chaffinch...Marsh Harrier...Raven...Common Buzzard...Stonechat...Sparrowhawk...Wren...Wood Pigeon...Rock Dove...Wryneck...Hooded Crow...Great Tit...Griffon Vulture...Golden Eagle...Cirl Bunting...Hoopoe...Snipe...Green Sandpiper...Crag Martin...Blue Tit...Greenfinch...Blue Rock Thrush...Barn Swallow...Italian Sparrow...House Sparrow...Lammergeier...Robin...Meadow Pipit...Water Pipit...Goldfinch...Chough...Linnet...Kestrel...Serin...Woodlark...Subalpine Warbler...Little Ringed Plover...Northern Wheatear...Whitethroat......44 species seen and a Corncrake heard.


              Jay...Garrulus glandarius  we saw nine of these in one tree on the plateau



                                           Common Buzzard....Buteo buteo


                       Golden Eagle .....Aquila Chrysaetos with Common Buzzard


                                          Golden Eagle ...Aquila Chrysaetos


                                                        Joined by adult                 



                                              Stonechat.....Saxicola torquata


                                       Cirl Bunting......Emberiza cirlus male



                                               Snipe....Gallinago gallinago




                                        Cirl Bunting......Emberiza cirlus female



19th March

Our second day on Omalos where we woke early to temperatures -5oC

The dawn chorus up here is fantastic we have brilliant views of Lammergeier again as within an hour two birds again fly right over us the second carrying a bone. Later we get another sighting on a higher ridge and later in the afternoon standing at the Samaria gorge entrance we spot another bird this time bone dropping on the scree slopes where we saw the Chough the day before, the bird dropped its food ten times before gathering up several pieces before heading off down the gorge. Another thing to note with this bird was it upending and rubbing its throat and chest into the bone marrow, is this another way it maybe gets its dark colour ?

                                        Wren .....Troglodytes troglodytes


 The second Lammergeier carrying a bone as it flew low over us, I missed the first having put the camera down....having a cup of tea !!! It flew on the same route at the same height as the one an hour before


                                 Griffon Vulture ....Gyps fulvus  over the plateau


                              Green Tiger Beetle.....Cicindela campestris


              Chough.....Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax joined us at lunchtime on the plateau


                                       Chough.....Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax


                     Lammergeier...Gypaetus barbatus bone dropping on the scree


                  Green Sandpiper...  Triga ochropus one of several at Omalos pools   


                                           Water Pipit.....Anthus spinoletta



18th March

We are off on a three day trip into the White Mountains stopping the nights on the plateau where it snowed the first night. The day had its rewards though where we heard a Corncrake but it proved elusive and we never got to see it and a fantastic late afternoon low flyover by an adult Lammergeier whilst we walked near the pools on the plateau.

A list of birds for the three days will be placed on the entry for the 20th.

            Chough ....Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax   High over the scree slopes near Gigilos


                                               Whitethroat....Sylvia communis


                            Lammergeier ...Gypaetus barbatus  over Omalos pools



16th March

Large numbers of Chaffinch about today , Black Redstart left their night roosts a couple of days ago and only a few females are to be seen, good numbers of Song Thrush can be seen moving through.

Hoopoes still present  in the olive grove along with a few Wryneck.

Raptors were few with only five Buzzard a Kestrel and a Peregrine Falcon.

Tomorrow we will have look and see if the Pied Kingfisher is still present.

15th March

A small number of Wryneck...Jynx torquila seen late this afternoon as they moved throught he gulley behind the house, it was a fairly quiet day probably due to the single Sparrowhawk and Peregrione Falcon that were hunting nearby for most of the day.

We found a Cat Snake and hope to put some pictures on the blog later tonight along with some orchids that are in flower in our olive grove

                                            Cat Snake....Telescopus fallax


                                              Cat Snake....Telescopus fallax 


                                                       Butterfly Orchid     


                               Grecian Spider Ocrchid......Ophrys spruneri


                                                     Phrygana ophrys



14th March

Nothing special today, some lovely welcome light rain, the first persistant for some time, appeared mid morning.

We saw singles of Common Buzzard, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk and Peregrine Falcon at the same moment before they all split and went in different directions.Hoopoes again, several seen preening in the almond trees very close to the house

For the last few weeks we have noticed there have been more Blackcaps and Song Thrushes locally than ever before, this morning we must have counted thirty plus Blackcaps and twenty plus Songthrushes on a sweep through 360o, this afternoon they had all disappeared.

13th March

 PIED KINGFISHER.....Ceryle rudis

Following on from yesterday's sighting of the Pied Kingfisher, we set off early this morning to the area where it was last seen.

We found a female bird at the same location as yesterday and spent most of the day there. We contacted those we could and Nikos, Angeliki and Alan turned up and had good views as the bird spent most of the time fishing nearby. We managed to get some reasonable images although we were at times some distance off. 

You may remember that we reported seeing a bird near Chania on the 26th November last year, we wonder if its the same one and has overwintered here.

Images below ...









12th March

 A report of a Pied Kingfisher west of Chania late this afternoon.

The first migrant Yellow Wagtails [Feldegg] seen at Agia and  Nikos finds another Woodchat Shrike.

We see 55 species today after a trip to Agia , with good numbers of Sedge Warbler, and Little Crake, no sign of the White Stork seen recently.

More Common Buzzard upwards of 70 seen flying north today over Gramvousa betwen 0900-1100.

Images below taken at Agia lake today .......


                                  Sedge Warbler....Acrocephalus schoenobaenus


                         The Yellow Wagtails arrive Motacilla flava ssp feldegg


                     Ferruginous Duck....Aythya nyroca four of a group of twelve


                                       Little Grebe.....Tachybaptus ruficollis     


                                            Early young Coot....Fulica atra


                  Balkan Green Lizard ....Lacerta trilineata with Egyptian Grasshopper   


                                              Tree frog.....Hyla arborea

                                            Yellow Flag....Iris pseudacorus

                                         Cretan Arum......Arum creticum

11th March

We counted thirty two species from the house today, including three new spring migrants....Montagu's Harrier,  one in with a group of ( Common Buzzard (total for the day 53 including our local breeders)... Alpine Swift a group of 20+....Tree Pipits 4.....A  Wryneck, 7 Hoopoes stayed feeding near the house all day, A Goshawk, dark morph Booted Eagle, 3 Griffon Vultures and a Kestrel were the raptors for the day.

More Subalpine Warblers, Blackcaps and Song Thrush present..

Other species to give an idea of what is about......Chaffinch,Stonechat, Raven, Yellow-legged Gull, Blue Tit, Sardinian Warbler, Blackbird, Linnet, Blue Rock Thrush, Black Redstart, Robin, Great Tit, Hooded Crow, Crested Lark, Collared Dove, Woodlark, Cetti's Warbler, Serin, Barn Swallow, Rock Dove, Chiffchaff. A late addition , Scops Owl.

Thanks to Nikos and Manos for the report of a single White Stork near Agia Lake. 

                                                Wryneck.....Jynx torquila 


                                   Three images of Hoopoe.... Upupa epops



                                      Subalpine Warbler......Sylvia cantillans


                                        Black Redstart....Pheonicurus ochurus  


                                      Sardinian Warbler....Slyvia melanocephalus


10th March

Our first Swifts the season today as two passed through, also three Marsh Harrier, 2 males and a female were seen along with 94 Common Buzzard. Late this afternoon, 4 Lesser Kestrel hunted the slopes to the rear of the house.

A nice 31 species seen from home today, seven of which were raptors.

An email received about the Black Vulture (see blog 6th March) has told of the bird is ringed ! we looked closer and there is a yellow ring to be seen, apparently Greece uses green rings and the yellow ring points to it being from Bulgaria, thanks to Stavros for for the information.

We stated earlier that our Crete species list was 221, having checked the list we found some species entered twice also some missing, after a recount we have the new figure its actually 216 !!. still some way to go to the two hundred mark.

9th March

Well we have finally got our rogue species this afternoon, we at last found in the gulley to the rear of the house the Ruppell's Warbler.....Sylvia rueppelli   A nice male was briefly spotted flitting between scrub bushes.

The first Woodchat Shrike of spring seen in the fields below {minutes after Sue returned from taking Bob and Dawn home} sorry Bob you missed that one !!

Also the first Corn Buntings are back, a few on the coastal electric wires and one Grey Heron sat on the rocks along the beach road.

Lots of Northern Wheatear, Subalpine Warbler, Blackcap, Chaffinch, Linnet, Greenfinch and Goldfinch plus Willow Warbler in low numbers.

Two Hoopoe feeding in the olive grove.

Three Griffon Vulture lifted off from the rocks just to the north this morning and headed towards the Deliana Gorge area

A nice twenty nine species all seen from home.

May we ask you if you have not already done so please go to the following link and sign the poll about spring hunting in Malta The poll is part way down the right side of the homepage. Thank you

8th March

Its really starting to happen now...Brought in by the strong overnight southerlies that turned to northerlies with lots of blown in north African sand lingering through the day, we found 5 Lesser Kestrel over the house at 945am, this afternoon at 355pm 5 Grey Herons struggled along the coast thirty metres above the sea. Late afternoon brought the best spots of the day when we found Subalpine Warblers in several locations [a week earlier than we have found before] and then 3 Hoopoes dust bathed on the track up to our house. A reasonable 28 species.....not bad for the day considering the weather conditions.

Lots more Blackcap and  Song Thrush around as they move through. Several Griffon Vultures flew onto the peninsula and a Northern wheatear has just shwon itself at 630pm.

Images today are really very poor you will notice the colour of the sky with the sandstorm.


                                       Rear end of a Subalpine Warbler



                                another poor image of a Subalpine Warbler


                                         Our local pair of Common Buzzard



                                            One of the Lesser Kestrel



                                                   Hoopoes dust bathing


7th March

Another good movement of both Common and Steppe Buzzard this morning. At around 10am a steady flow of upwards of seventy birds flew north, at the same time two Griffon Vultures flew off towards the south.

6th March

With Nikos here for a visit , we were on the front veranda, all seemed quiet, then our first Nightjar.....Caprimulgus europaeus  of the spring was spotted by Nikos as it flew a hundred metres off to the right and into the trees on the lower road. The first Nightjar we have seen in daylight !

Our Crete list goes up to 221 species ! After browsing old picture files, we found last night two suspect pictures that in our earlier days we had not identified . Now to start sorting those warblers !!!

One is the rare Black Vulture, the other the Greater Spotted Eagle.

The GSE was seen on the 05-12-2006 ! and the Vulture on the 14-07-2007 which was flying along with the Griffons, both seen from the house. There are few records of this on Crete


                          Greater Spotted Eagle.....Aquila clanga  05-12-2006


                           Greater Spotted Eagle ....Aquila clanga  05-12-2006                   


                              Black Vulture.......Aegypius monachus   14-07-2007


5th March 1000hrs

With strong south , then westerly winds there is only the usual small birds about, with luck these southerlies should bring a few more early migrants along soon.

On our diary is now published for February , also Nikos Notes and A&M's wildlife report are also online there. Lots of new pictures included in them.

3rd March


Still with internet connection problems , we have this morning added yesterdays images, see below........

TODAY.................THE BARN SWALLOW....Hirundo rustica  has arrived , a small group passed by this morning at around 10am and small groups of Common Buzzard  still passing north

2nd March  


                                        Butterfly Orchids are now to be seen


                                                   Hedgehog on a mission 


                                      The first spring Hoopoe ....Upupa epops


           we spent a nice hour at Agia watching a group of serins feeding in the grasses


                                               Serin.......Serinus serinus


With some fairly strong winds the last two days we have not seen too much about, there are still lots of Serin and Blackcap at Agia, only Shoveler, Wigeon and Gadwall to be seen there today with the usual Coot, Moorhen, Little Grebe and 100+ Yellow-legged Gull. Raptors ... just the resident Common Buzzard and the odd Kestrel

Butterfly Orchids are now in flower in the olive grove, we again spotted the single Hoopoe this afternoon and our local hedgehog was also seen nearby.

28th February


The first Hoopoe of 2010 in the olive grove adjacent to ours this morning and a first winter plumaged Golden Eagle flew over at 330pm onto Gramvousa . Another 25+ Common and Steppe Buzzard tried to head north but with the winds just east of north they turned back into the hills south of us.


27th February

                                      Some of the images from yesterday

            Picture 1 at Agia.......Pictures 2 & 5 at Home.....Pictures 3,4,6,7 Maronis

                                           Fieldfare........Turdis polaris

                                                     Winter vagrant


                        Common Buzzard.......Buteo buteo and a few ssp ....vulpinus


                                  Little Ringed Plover......Charadrius dubius 


                              Yellow-legged Gull........Larus michahellis


                                              Goshawk.....Accipiter gentilis


                                          Kingfisher.......Alcedo atthis


                                             Grey Heron.......Ardea cinera


26th February

A few problems getting on the web , tonight we seem to be OK so news from the day.

Agia Lake ......First another new species for our Crete list [219] , a Fieldfare .....Turdis pilaris, a single bird at Agia  in the afternoon. Also at Agia both dark and pale morph Booted Eagle, a Sparrowhawk, lots of Serin,Chaffinch and Blackcap. Shoveler, Ferruginus Duck, Gadwall, Mallard, Wigeon, Tufted Duck, 2 Marsh Harrier, Sedge Warbler, Cetti's Warbler and Stonechat .

Moronis.....a  Green Sandpiper, Redshank, Little Egret, Little Ringed Plover, 2 Kingfisher, Sandwich Tern, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Mediterranean Gull, Black-headed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Grey Heron and a Meadow Pipit.

Home...90+ Common and Vulpinus Buzzard, largest group 40+ circled overhead before heading northwards, also with themn two Goshawk was a nice sighting, a couple of Griffon Vultures flew onto Gramvousa. Lots of  the smaller species, Blackcap, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Song Thrush, Woodlark, Cretsed Lark, Linnet, Hooded Crow, Cetti's Warbler and Blackbird.

Will try to put pictures on later if the internet is OK  

24th February

During the night we heard Barn Owl and Scops Owl hunting nearby. This morning 6 Common Buzzard and a distant possible Steppe Buzzard, later at 130pm a male Hen Harrier was seen off by our local Common buzzards.

23rd February

Another group 20+Common Buzzard... Buteo buteo moved through this morning with one Accipiter.

                Late afternoon two groups of 100+ House Martin....Delichon urbica


               A hedgehog was seen drinking from one of our wildlife watering stations.



Two Shag....Phalocrocorax aristotelis on the bay and a Kingfisher....Alcedo atthis on the coast.

                                           One of our local Black Redstart's


22nd February

 1200 noon


This morning 2 Honey Buzzard....Pernis apivorus and some small groups of Common Buzzard...Buteo buteo 4+5+11 passed through, circled high over Gramvousa catching a thermal before heading north at 1040hrs.

A Peregrine Falcon....Falco peregrinus was heard.

Another new species to add to our Crete list, now 218 species. This morning we sight our first Brambling ...Fringilla montifringilla amongst a group of Chaffinch, we hope to post a picture later today.

A male Blackcap....Sylvia atricapilla

Lots of Black Redstart ... Phoenicurus ochruros around,  many still roost on the house fittings at night and our Blue Rock Thrush..... Monticola solitarius that started roosting on the 15th October  2009 still uses its favourite night perch on the back door light.


We managed a few images of the Brambling and also another of a group of 9 Common Buzzard as they circled before heading north


                        Our first Brambling .....Fringilla Montifringilla seen on Crete

                            a slightly better image is in the Birds of Crete album


                             The group of nine Common Buzzard ....Buteo buteo

               as they circled before gaining height and heading north onto Gramvousa

Later in the day a single distant Griffon Vulture... Gyps fulvus was seen heading south off Gramvousa and along the coast road a Northern Wheatear....Oenanthe oenanthe, another bird like the Honey Buzzard that is not usually around here at this time of year. Maybe the sand storm from north Africa of the last few days with south and south westerly winds has blown them in !

21st February

An immature Spoonbill, a single Great Crested Grebe, Redshank, three overwintering Little Ringed Plover, a Little Egret, Common Sandpiper and Cormorant at Souda Bay.

Whilst at Kaliviani, a splendid male Hen harrier hunted the fields near the beach, a Sparrowhawk and Kestrel in the hills near the Balos Hotel. Good numbers of Goldfinch, Chaffinch and Greenfinch. A small party of Crag Martin tore about in the high winds. Cetti's Warbler and Woodlark were heard.

On the flora front... some nice almond blossom is to be seen and the Barbury Nuts and Anemone's are still showing well.


           The male Hen Harrier... Circus cyaneus as it hunted the fields of fresh crops


                                                      Barbury Nuts


                                                    Almond blossom


5th February

News that a Little Gull... Hydrocoloeus minimus was seen in the vicinty of Souda Bay a couple of days ago, a nice bird to look out for.


31st January


                                    Red-crested Pochard......Netta rufina 

                                 Photo by and copyright Nikos Samaritakis

                   The above female was spotted by Nikos at Maronis on the 28th  



25th January

Please go to ..... and  sign the petitions to stop illegal hunting in Malta add your name and make a difference.....Thankyou

22nd January

The second edition of the ABO [Antikythera Bird Observatory] newsletter is now online at with report of spring and autumn ringing in 2009.

3rd January 2010

A very Happy New Year to all 

The blog is now closed until February when it will be opened up in time for the spring migration.....unless of course something really good comes up, like now !

Alan and Margarets very nice December 2009 wildlife diary is now online at enjoy..............