A&M’s LOCAL BIRDING DIARY

DECEMBER 2012

Hi Everyone,

FROM THE HOUSE

As expected at this time of year, we have a robin based in the garden for the winter months.  As at Christmas we have heard blackcaps, but not yet seen one.  A single chiffchaff is around most of the time, but so far there have been fewer sightings of this species than in previous years.  The greenfinch is an occasional visitor, and this one was very accommodating.

 

Greenfinch

 
Most days we sight a pale phase booted eagle, sometimes two together, but they are usually very high up.  One below photographed  on 28th.
 

pale phase booted eagle

 
Towards the end of the month, serins are feeding off seeds from the shrubs at the back of the garden.
 

GEORGIOUPOLI VIEWPOINT

1st

Our colleague, Nikos, has alerted us to a pygmy cormorant at the Georgioupoli Viewpoint.  Despite some frequent looks there, I hadn’t seen this bird, which may have just arrived.  We understand that this is only the 15th record for Crete – at least one previous record was here at Georgioupoli.

I was keen to get a record photo of this bird before it moved on, but my first decent photos weren’t until 12th as below.  Since then I have kept an eye on its whereabouts, which is usually quite distant from our viewing spot.  On 22nd I was able to gain access to the private land that contains the lake – the bird is still here, and probably overwintering.

 

Pygmy Cormorant - It is still present as at the end of the year.

 

 KALIVAKI MEADOWS

Surprisingly little seen here throughout the autumn and early winter.  We’ll keep looking!  For now, just a couple of meadow pipits are sighted most days – one below with a nice reflection.
 

meadow pipit

 

KAVROS MEADOWS

16th.

Some flood water has attracted a small flock of teal – about seven birds.  The area has been fenced off and it is not possible to get close enough for photos while the bamboo is so tall.

KOURNAS LAKE

14th.

At the lake, great crested grebe numbers have doubled – there are now two!

Unfortunately, vandalism of anything built or created to promote interest in nature and the environment, is still rife throughout the island.  The latest casualty is this information booth at Kournas Lake.

 

information booth

 
The black-necked grebe numbers are still increasing – probably 200 now.
 

NORTH COAST BEACHES (KALIVAKI TO PETRES)

1st.

Cormorants are common around the rivermouth at Georgioupoli during the winter and also along the north coasts in rocky places.  A pair on the river had been fishing and one seemed to have caught more than it could swallow!  Check out the photo below.

 

Cormorants

 

 We have been checking the coast for gull and tern activity, especially at Petres, but still nothing of interest sighted.  At Petres, a number of griffon vultures have been seen swirling around the gorge in windy weather.

30th.

On the river at Georgioupoli, a little grebe is wintering.  Today, it swam out to sea and was seen all over the bay at Kalivaki, seemingly unaffected by the rolling waves.

Other birds wintering here include kingfisher, mute swan, meadow pipit, reed bunting, grey wagtail and white wagtail – but no egrets, waders, snipe or water pipit yet.

OUR TRAVELS

We have had some unproductive trips this month.

29th.

We were told about a sighting of kittiwake at Moronis.  There were believed to be two birds there – a juvenile and an adult.  I decided to have a look for myself, and was lucky to see both birds.  Apparently, they are only the 7th and 8th nown records for Crete for this species. 

adult Kittiwake

Juvenile Kittiwake

 

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