It's June and the birding is winding down for the summer. After
shopping in Chania, we took sandwiches to Agia and waited for some
"action". We didn't have to wait long for surprisingly late
sightings of red-footed falcons (2), flying above the water and the
taverna area. Over the water a single whiskered tern was busy
finding food. Otherwise it was the expected sightings of little
egret, squacco heron and a grey heron which flew in while we were
eating. The often seen female marsh harrier was around for a few
moments too. Hirundines were everywhere! Back home the red-rumped
swallows are much in evidence again, and I'm hoping to get pictures
of them at a friend's swimming pool soon.
An unusally dull and cloudy day for June, but great for jobs around
the house. An opportunity to photograph a spider, mainly because it
had caught a fly and wasn't in any mood to move despite the
close-up. I've tried to identify it. It's small, less than one
centimetre long and looks like some of the jumping spiders we see
here. The picture is a bit gruesome!
Later I had a look around Kalivaki beach. The white pelican is
being fed by the pedalo people again, but the mute swan appears to
have finally moved on.
3rd. Not for the first time this month, I am still hearing
blackcaps, and occasionally glimpsing them - could they be staying
for the summer?
4th. An Eleanora's falcon day! We are in between family visits to
us, and decided on a trip on our own to re-trace some roads we
haven't been on for a year or so. The area, south of Voukolies, is
very sparcely populated and we hoped for some raptor sightings.
Thankfully, four Eleanoroas' falcons presented themselves at a very
scenic spot, as pictured below.
we were able to watch their displays for over half an hour. Some
Later, at a picnic spot we heard blackcaps yet
again, and just one momentary sighting. Apart from this, it was
just an Eleanora's falcon day!
7th. Some weeding and pruning in the garden revealed this handsome
bush cricket, a wart biter, which I now realise I photographed for
my report this time last year! Two pictures below anyway.
8th. After not seeing one for about three weeks, a woodchat shrike
appeared in a field opposite the house today. It was in an area
where we have had woodchats stay for the summer - twice in the time
we've been here, so maybe again?
9th. Breakfast on our covered terrace, and a large number of alpine
swifts were swirling high above the house. As we watched, some
larger birds appeared - four Eleanora's falcons. They made their
way down towards Kalivaki beach area, where we watched for a while,
but the sun was against us, so we left them to it!
11th. A day trip with family on holiday here. During a visit to
the strange cave church of St. John the Hermit, near Kolimbari, I
saw a female blackcap at the top of a tall conifer - this being the
first female I've seen for some months. As we departed from the
car-park, Margaret spotted a falcon sitting on top of a telegraph
pole. Thinking this to be a peregrine at first, many photos were
taken. It wouldn't have been the right habitat, and it didn't take
long to find this was yet another Eleanora's falcon. Pictures
As we made our way to lunch a hoopoe flew across the
car, and remained in front of us for a while. I guess this is one
of a few staying for the summer, as these birds are usually early
spring migrants. After lunch we had a paddle below the taverna.
There were many small fish in the shallow water, but what took our
eye were the hermit crabs. Margaret picked one up and my close-up
12th. So far, no joy in photographing red-rumped swallows at a
friend's pool. However, finches are always around it, like the
Sitting on our balcony this evening we watched a common buzzard land
on a tall dead conifer opposite the house. Immediately, a woodchat
shrike flew up to the buzzard and started "attacking" it - jumping
on it etc! The raptor flew away, but when returning sometime later,
two woodchats approached it and "removed" it from its perch. So it
appears we have a pair of woodchats nesting and staying for the
summer? We'll keep an eye on this activity - unfortunately its's
too far away to photograph.
14th. Took a picnic stool and sat in the olive grove opposite the
house for an hour. This was prompted by the bird activity recently
viewed from the balcony, and I thought I might get a little closer
to the "action". The following birds were seen, and a few
photographed; - serin, greenfinch, goldfinch, chaffinch, house
sparrow, Italian sparrow, Sardinian warbler, olivaceous warbler,
great tit, stonechat, woodchat shrike, blackbird, barn swallow, red-rumped
swallow, common swift, alpine swift, kestrel, common buzzard, hooded
crow, turtle dove, collared dove, and yellow-legged gull. Blackcaps
and cettis' warblers were also heard.
20th. Took Alex, and two friends holidaying here, to Prassanos
Gorge for griffon viewing. We were not disappointed - it was as if
the griffons were curious and wanted a closer look at us! June has
been the best month at this spot, where today we also had brief
sighting of light phase Eleanora's falcon, raven, kestrel, wood
pigeon, blue rock thrush and red-rumped swallow. But it was the
griffons that stole the show, so two more pictures below.
21st. Our local common buzzard is still being pestered by a pair of
woodchat shrikes, as soon as it lands on a tall dead conifer
opposite the house. One of the chaps I took to Prassanos recently
has told me that the woodchats have a family of three youngsters,
which he has seen early in the morning at Argimouri, not far from
us. We've noticed collared doves are now very local to us - they
seem to be spreading out from the village.
26th. A trip to the south coast and back revealed no birds worthy of
mention. During the drive we did come across three donkeys
together, untied. We don't see so many donkeys these days, and it
was gratifying to see these were being given some freedom - see
27th. There is much activity in our garden with a family of
Sardinian warblers seeking seeds from a linaria bush. After house
sparrows, these birds are probably the most common sighted here
throughout the year - two pictures of a juvenile below.
30th. Finally this month, another sighting of what I believe to be
a honey buzzard. This one was spotted above a "Toys R Us"
equivalent shop outside Chania. It was being chased of by hooded
crows, and as I was waiting in the car park, I managed a couple of
quick photos. See what you think.