A&M’s LOCAL BIRDING DIARY

OCTOBER 2012

Hi Everyone,

This has been an exasperating month for birdwatching – we’ve had no rainfall to speak of, and no waders to be seen as a result.  The autumn migration went through earlier than usual, as far as the smaller species are concerned, and we have had little to see, especially in the garden.  Better sightings were to be had on our travels, speaking of which, this month’s report will be shorter, as we are off for a holiday.  We are away at the eastern end of the island for the last few days of October and the first few days of November, and will incorporate a trip report with next month’s diary.

FROM THE HOUSE

6th.

One wintering visitor we can rely on arriving this month is the chiffchaff. This one was seen in the garden, but by the end of the month, only a few had been seen – and no more from the house. A “first” from the house for us was to see a small flock of jackdaws. These birds, common in the UK, are usually only found in gorges and some tracts of open country here.

 

(chiffchaff)

 

10th.

Saying goodbye to friends at the front door, our attention was taken by a flock of distant grey herons, circling over a ridge.  This continued for about an hour, before they moved on.

 

(grey herons)

 

16th.

A local common buzzard gave me a good photo opportunity as it almost hovered over the house.

 

(common buzzard)

 

GEORGIOUPOLI VIEWPOINT

8th.

The Viewpoint continues to have a high water level, so it came as a shock today to find it completely drained!  The story was that sewage had been emptied into it by the driver of a sewage collection vehicle.  We understand he is to be prosecuted.

 

(Viewpoint drained)

 

9th.

A quick look today to see if the level is still very low, and surprise, surprise, it is rapidly returning to normal.  My daughter Alison came with me, and it was her that sighted a large bird approaching overhead.  I had to adjust the camera quickly as the bird was quite close – it was a lesser spotted eagle.  Two images below.

 

(lesser spotted eagle)

 

(lesser spotted eagle)

 
Another look later in the day revealed a small flock of night herons – all juveniles.
 

(night herons)

 

KALIVAKI MEADOWS

With no heavy rainfall, the meadows continue to be dry and only attract Italian sparrows, stonechats and hooded crows.

KAVROS MEADOWS

Same as above.

OUR TRAVELS

1st.

An afternoon drive south of Rethymno taking in the Kotsifou Gorge revealed very few birds to mention.  One species, that we had only identified here once before, is tree pipit, and that was the only photo taken on this trip.

 

(tree pipit)

 

5th.

Now that the hot weather is behind us, an English friend and I arrange monthly walks, mainly for the exercise and company.  I always look out for birds, but it’s not the main purpose of these trips.  However, when Brian asked what might we see in this area (near Kallikratis), I said griffon vultures, and maybe golden eagle or lammergeier, if we are lucky.  And we were!  First, a lammergeier following a single griffon, and half an hour later, two golden eagles – an adult and a juvenile.

 

(lammergeier)

 

(golden eagle adult)

 

(golden eagle juvenile)

 

15th.

A brief visit to Agia this month, and a little crake is busy feeding in the open – very obliging.  Many dragonflies to be seen, and the one photographed is, I believe, a migrant hawker?

 

(little crake)

 

(migrant hawker)

 

17th.

Leaving the best to the last, a day out with John and Patti Bayley provided us all with fantastic views of Bonelli’s eagle.  Initially two high above with circling griffons.  One then reappeared much closer and lower – even at eye level – and John and I had our cameras hard at work!  We were half way down the descent from Imbros to Chora Sfakia, taking a coffee stop at a disused refreshment bar.  The gorge was still far below us and the eagle was approaching it at the very point where we stood.
 

 

(Bonelli’s eagles above)

 

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