Report 34 October 2010
All photographs by and A@M

Hi Everyone,

Much to my dismay, I managed to delete the whole of my October report - at least up to 24th October.  That just leaves me to explain the photos this time!

1.  Walnut collecting near the Kiliaris River, Kalives.

2 - 4.  Migrating grey herons and little egrets flying around the Kalivaki Beach headland.

5.  Purple herons flying near Kalivaki Beach.

6  - 7.  Four common snipe and female marsh harrier at Agia.

8 - 10.  During a north coast walk between Petres and Rethymno, we found crested larks and only our third ever sighting of shag.  This one a juvenile.

11.  A popular spot for the local pelican is standing at the entrance to the pedalo station.

12 - 13.  A memorable sighting of lammergeier just south of Elos.  It was at some distance, but we watched for over five minutes, before it drifted out of sight.  Later this day we had unexpected sighting of hawfinch.  Initially one with just "head and shoulders" above the foliage.  We stopped nearby and saw three more - all distant, but clear through our binoculars.  One fuzzy picture for my records.

14.  The pelican takes daily flights around Georgioupoli.

15 -17.  More pictures from Kalivaki Beach area, including a one-legged yellow wagtail.

Common Sandpiper

Male Kingfisher

Yellow Wagtail/ male Flava

18 - 20.  A rainy day drive almost abandoning our picnic intentions.  We didn't though, and were immediately "surrounded" overhead by 13 Eleanoras' falcons.  As we picnicked in the car, a sparrowhawk flew along the road, returned and settled in a tree in the field opposite.

Male Kestrel

Male Kestrel trying to catch insect


21 - 22.  At the Viewpoint the water level remains high.  Managed a picture of female/juvenile garganey.  More interesting was a distant raptor on a cable next to an electricity pylon.  The photo had to be cropped severely, but confirms this was a hobby - a bird seldom seen here.

23 - 24. A single glossy ibis has turned up on the flooded meadows behind Kalivaki Beach, looking exactly like the one seen recently at Agia, having an unusually large amount of white on the head and neck.

25 - 28.  Again, the flooded meadows are turning up interesting birds.  This time a marsh sandpiper, amongst singles of redshank, ruff, wood sandpiper, common sandpiper and little stint.  Another bird is proving difficult to identify.  Apart from the length of the beak, it appears to be a curlew sandpiper, but is probably a dunlin.  One picture shows six birds, each a different species.

Marsh Sandpiper


29.  A walk around the Kalivaki Beach headland, and this little flower is showing up along the path, singly, or in small groups.

30.  As mentioned in an earlier report, the return of the mute swan meant it may team up again with the pelican - and it has!  The pelican always follows.

31 - 33.  An unexpected sighting of plain tiger butterflies as I walked along the quayside in Georgioupoli.  A new species for me, only occasionally turning up in Crete.

34 - 35.  We are nearing the end of the month, but more grey herons are migrating, a few landed on trees near the Viewpoint.

36.  Again, at the Viewpoint, a small flock of corn buntings flew past.  This photo shows some with their legs dangling, typical of this species.

37.  A walk to Petres Gorge with Swedish friends, Eva and Bengt Ranner, gave us sight of two griffons flying in the area.  They were absent from here for a couple of years until this spring.  Today we were able to see them across from our viewpoint, settled on what looks like an old nest.  Just as we were leaving, an adult peregrine flew into the gorge, and immediately dived out of sight at great speed.

38.  Kalivaki is giving some good sightings this month.  Today, a redshank in winter plumage, is mingling with common and wood sandpipers.

39 - 40.  Can't keep away from Kalivaki at the moment!  Today, a quick look revealed the glossy still there.  So too the redshank, wood and common sandpipers, and a common snipe.  In a field nearby, a great white egret roamed elegantly on the far side, but took off only to settle in a quieter spot out of sight.  A little further from the beach, a small flock of tree sparrows - a bird I've only seen a couple of times before.  Other birds seen on this walk from the house included robin, serin, great tit, stonechat, kingfisher, white and grey wagtails, sedge, Sardinian and Cetti's warblers, and singles of woodlark, meadow pipit and corn bunting, and two common buzzards.


Great White Egret
41 - 43  Today is the last day of the month, and a trip to the Aradena area was our choice for picnic.  An interesting day's sightings, not least because we saw three late autumn migrants, soon to be gone, and three new arrivals for the winter.  This overlap can only last for a short period.  The birds soon to be gone were spotted flycatcher,
black-eared wheatear and red-backed shrike.  Those just arriving were black redstart, robin and song thrush.  We also had good sighting of a first winter golden eagle, glimpses of peregrine and sparrowhawk, lots of griffons and ravens.  More common smaller birds included blue rock thrush, crag martin, corn bunting, crested lark, woodlark, wren, serin and linnet.  It was almost dusk when we reached the Georgioupoli Viewpoint as we neared home, but a quick stop and we added water rail, grey wagtail, juvenile cormorant and nine grey herons to our list.  With all the obvious daily sightings too, we had a list approaching 35 for the day.  Below are three pictures - the male black redstart, the golden eagle, and the juvenile red-backed shrike

Male Black Redstart

Immature Golden Eagle

Juvenile Red-backed Shrike

I have just remembered an unusual/very late sighting seen on 23rd this month.  Returning home in the car with my grandson, we were just 30 metres from the house when a nightjar was spotted sitting in the road caught in my headlights.  It flew off into the night passing very close to us.  I mentioned a nightjar in our lane spotted by my daughter in the August report, and I now wonder if this could have been the same bird?

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