As luck would have it, and for the second time, my comprehensive
November report "disappeared" when I logged on to my draft emails
last night!!! So, like October's, I can only summarise our November
sightings with descriptions of the photos taken.
I'll start by saying that we have never experienced a November so
warm and dry. The average noon shade temperature at home has been
21.5c, with 28th being the warmest day at 29.5c - this contrasts
starkly with the UK, experiencing their coldest November for 17
years. Olive picking started earlier this year, including us, with
many locals taking advantage of the dry weather. Our crop was poor
this year, so I am now busy with some harder pruning, hoping for
better results in the next year or two.
Highlights not photographed included a flock of griffon vultures
above our house, as we returned from voting in local elections on
7th. An osprey sighted at Ravdoucha while we ate lunch with John
and Patti Bayley. First black-necked grebe arrivals at Kournas Lake
are keeping to the furthest reachest of the lake. A missed
opportunity in Georgioupolis, as the swan and pelican flew low along
the river - together! Would have been a great picture.
So, to the photos:
This kingfisher was taken at the beginning of the month on the
small bridge that crosses the river at the far end of Kalivaki
Spotted flycatchers become uncommon by November - this one was
not far from the house.
The Georgioupolis Viewpoint has not been very productive this
year, but at least this ferruginous duck was within reach of my new
camera. Since taking this picture, three were sighted here a couple
of days ago.
At the end of last month's report I had a photo of an early
arrival male black redstart. Although the female is plain by
comparison, this one posed for me!
Unlike the pelican, the mute swan on the river is reluctant
to fly. However, once this month I saw it flying low along the
river, only to land near St. Nicholas chapel at the end of the
Our favourite birdwatching area - a few kilometres south of Ano
Mallaki, has not been "up to standard" this month, so a picture of
this area we call harrier country.
Our daughter, Alison, contributes to this month with a photo of
a ruby-tailed wasp sighted on her patio. We have never seen one
We have had two or three diversions to Agia this month
without anything memorable to record. Three photos from there
below; the first being two amorous dragonflies, with an onlooker.
The second, a little egret which kept returning to the perimater
path. Lastly, a sparrowhawk overhead. This species has been
particularly common for us this month, including a "sparrowhawk
moment". As I walked along the side of the house, a sparrowhawk
glided past me within two metres at only knee height! Without a
flap, it drifted across the lawn (yes - we have grass!) and
disappeared into the olive grove opposite.
A day out with John and Patti Bayley. John took us to
Omalos, where we enjoyed summery weather of 23c all day! - but very
few birds. A small flock of red-billed choughs was the highlight
there, and John caught sight of a single water pipit. Before
leaving, we drove up to the area above the Irini Gorge. Since this
road was tarmacced a couple of years ago it has been a favourite of
ours. Today, a little late in the afternoon, we took in
breathtaking views as clouds rolled in from the south, and drifted
up the gorge towards the distant wind turbines. Just as we were
leaving the day was made even more worthwhile with a distant but
very clear view of lammergeier. This was John's first opportunity
to photograph this majestic bird - our photos ended up being of
similar quality (not great at such distance), with my one included
below for the record.
No apologies for another kingfisher pic. This time I caught
the bird by surprise on the Kalivaki headland - probably my best one
With temperatures down to 17c, drizzle and low cloud, we
took a Sunday afternoon drive to Kourtaliotis Gorge in hope of
seeing bonellis' eagles hunting below the low cloud cover. Instead,
we viewed two short-toed eagles high above the gorge as the clouds
broke for a while - too distant to photograph. Photos show a view
of the gorge looking south, and a silhouetted photo of three
griffons - we counted over thirty in total.
The iffy weather only lasted three days in the middle of the
month. On one of these we walked a track, that we had earmarked
some time ago when it was too hot.
To reach it we drove up the Theriso Gorge and turned towards Drakona.
A few minutes later we forked right and drove to where the tarmac
finished. We walked for three and a half hours in increasingly
cloudy weather. The views were spectacular - Chania and Rodopos to
the south, Lakki and Zourva to the west, and foothills of the White
Mountains to the east. Not too many birds of note - mostly
buntings, finches, larks and of course a sparrowhawk. Two pictures
from the walk below. First one shows ancient terracing from where
we parked the car, and the second a view of Chania in sunshine.
This gap in the clouds was momentary - one of those must photograph
The drive back down from Theriso meant we were back in
sunshine when we reached the coast. Margaret thought a quick look
at Moronis Reserve may make up for the lack of bird sightings
earlier, though the walk had been so good it hadn't really mattered.
It was Margaret (Hawkeye), who spotted a bird some
way down the Moronis River. It was crouching by the water's edge -
it was a juvenile night heron. I was probably a hundred metres
away for the photo below, before the bird flew off across the bay.
Later it returned, but by then we had moved to the Nature Reserve
beach area and couldn't see where it landed. We believe
someone else reported seeing it there that week. When the
heron flew back, so too did a
great white egret - the other photos below.
Juvenile night heron and moorhen
The 19th was a Red Letter day for me. At Kalivaki I spotted a
gull on the flooded areas behind the beach. I couldn't immediately
work out what was different about it, except that I don't usually
see gulls at this spot. A few photos, and at home I could identify
it as a first winter slender-billed gull (thanks to Colin Turvey for
confirmation that evening). At one point a little egret was
accompanying the gull. Some pictures below.
My first 2010 sighting of cattle egret - again on the Kalivaki
flooded meadows. It only stayed for a day.
There are a few crocii about this month, but the photo below is
of cyclamen graecum. A large member of this family photographed at
the John The Hermit cave church near Kolymbari.
More photos of the slender-billed gull at Kalivaki,
including photos of it, and little egret, seen on the beach itself.
The gull stayed for about 10 days, and during that time, Margaret,
John and Patti, Nikos, and Colin and Sue all had sightings - a very
Kalivaki is my patch and I visit it frequently. It's a
picturesque area, but it was the clouds that took my eye the other
Having seen my first cattle egret of the year, five were
spotted at Tavronitis on 28th. They were in flight, but later in
the day - a result - they were with cattle! Cows are fairly
uncommon here, and all our previous sightings of cattle egret have
been with sheep. The photo below show cow and bird eyeball to
Our Tavronitis day out concentrated on the coastal strip
between there and Kolymbari. Apart from the cattle egret, we had
two small flocks of pintail flying high over the car in red arrows
fashion. There were five sightings of a female hen harrier
(probably the same bird each time), two sightings of sparrowhawk,
and flocks of meadow pipit everywhere. The photos below are
close-ups of a chiffchaff in different poses, plus one distant photo
of the hen harrier - just couldn't get it in flight as it kept
A new sighting for us on this trip was seeing flying fish off the
coast. They were about 100 metres offshore, and I would estimate
their "flight" was about 20+ metres.
Our local pelican has been with us since October 2008 and is
currently displaying some breeding plumage and a generally pinkish
hue. The mute swan is an ever present companion - we don't know the
sexes of these two - just wonder if there is a new species on the
way, maybe a peliswan or swanican!!!
That's all until December