A & M’s LOCAL BIRDING DIARY

JANUARY 2013

Hi Everyone,

FROM THE HOUSE

We haven’t experienced a January like this before.  We have only seen sparrows, Sardinian warblers and chaffinches in the garden, and buzzards and hooded crows flying above.  A little more distant, the odd booted eagle and raven are seen, and if we are lucky, a kestrel or sparrowhawk.  We can hear other species in the garden – Cetti’s warbler, blackcap and chiffchaff, but all these have been secretive this year. – too many cats around?

GEORGIOUPOLI VIEWPOINT

2nd.

A brief sighting of a female pintail, before it flew away to the far side of the water.

 

pintail

 

12th.

The pygmy cormorant has been present all this month, but is usually out in the middle of the lake.  Occasionally it perches on nearer rocks, as in pictures below. (002-003) ()

 

pygmy cormorant

 

KALIVAKI MEADOWS

3rd.

A small flock of serins descended on an olive tree, as I slowly drove towards Kalivaki Studios, watching for any movement in the flooded meadows, which are still proving unproductive. At least the serins were obliging.

 

serin

 

22nd.

It took until today to find something here – singles of little egret and green sandpiper, the latter quickly taking cover on my arrival.

 

little egret

 

KAVROS MEADOWS

We keep looking, but so far little of interest in this area.

KOURNAS LAKE

15th

During a visit to the lake, I found some birds in cages at one of the tavernas.  In one cage there were three quail.  I haven’t yet been able to establish if these birds were caught in the wild, or reared.

 

quail

 

22nd.

The black-necked grebes continue to occupy areas in the middle of the lake, and are rarely seen any closer.

 

black-necked grebes

 

31st.

One final look this month for the elusive greater spotted eagle, which is wintering in this area.  No luck today though.  One sighting earlier this month, but the bird was too high for a decent photo.  While watching out for this bird, several smaller species flitting around, including song thrush, black redstart, Cetti’s warbler and all the finches.

NORTH COAST BEACHES

8th.

Just off the beach in Georgioupoli I found this single Mediterranean gull strolling around the empty car-park.

 

Mediterranean gull

 

22nd.

Further along the coast at Petres, a few white (pied) wagtails were combing the beach. This area will become a haven for gulls and terns, when the weather eventually turns rough!

 

white wagtail

 

OUR TRAVELS

4th.

A trip to Elafonisi is a long and hopeful one.  Situated on the far south-west corner of the island, it can attract some birds not usually seen elsewhere here.  So, imagine our disappointment when, after walking around the beach, that all we saw were yellow-legged gulls and a single cormorant.  We had our picnic with us, and with the temperature at 17c in lovely sunshine, we explored more of the beach – and suddenly heard goldcrests!  We pitched up near the trees where the calls were coming from, and spent an hour watching through binoculars – at least two birds.  My camera was to hand, but these little birds were very active, and we left believing they had beaten me in the “now you see me, now you don’t” game!  Back home I had the last laugh with just one photo able to confirm our sightings. This was our first Crete sighting of this species, though we had heard them in the Imbros Gorge many years ago.

 

goldcrest

 

19th.

A day out visiting various north coast areas, west of Chania, revealed very little.  A dark phase booted eagle near Kolymbari, and a Sandwich tern at Moronis, are the only species worth mentioning.

 

booted eagle

 

Sandwich tern

 

27th.

We have seen very few chukar recently, but these two were found near Ano Mallaki.

 

chukar

 

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