A&M Report 33 - September 2010
Please note all photos by and A&M
Hi Everyone,

This will be a shorter report as we are spending just over half of this month in the UK.

1st.  A day at home, but by late afternoon I was seeing some large flocks over the bay, mainly grey herons.  They appeared in three separate flocks totalling several hundred birds.  A small flock of glossy ibis (c25) circulated high up for an hour or so, and later a flock of squacco herons, similar in number to those reported a couple of days ago.
2nd.  A day out with grandson Alex in search of lammergeier and golden eagle - well that's what he hoped!  We made for the mountain refuge above Irini Gorge and drew blanks except for a few griffons and ravens, which of course he's seen in numbers, and heard bee-eaters.  After our picnic we went down to Omalos where half a dozen red-backed shrikes were seen and a single water pipit - the latter only our third ever sighting.  Alex had "firsts" with the pipit, but also woodlark, whinchat and rock dove.  Other sightings there included kestrel, spotted flycaycher, jay, northern and black-eared wheatears.

Finally, we made the obligatory stop at Agia and were pleased to find some water, though the level still very low.  Some airborne battles were going on when we arrived - hooded crows versus Eleanora's falcons - so good fun to watch.  Further across the water on a sandy bank I spotted three gadwall amongst many more coots.  I managed my first photo of these birds (all female), but too distant to be shown here.  The glossy wasn't to be found this time, but a single juvenile grey heron, some distant sandpipers, little grebes and white wagtails completed the scene.  The number of species here, especially ducks and waders, should grow over the next few weeks.

7th.  My wife's birthday today and she chose the trip this week.  We made for Aradena and spent the day in the general area.  She was hoping for hoopoe sightings, and we managed two in the wooded area beyond the Aradena gorge Bailey bridge.  Our picnic here was spoiled by wasps and we ended up in the car.  Earlier we had visited the barren slopes above Livaniana and had only our second ever sighting of tawny pipit, as pictured below.


The highlight of the day came in the afternoon, when we explored the foothills behind Anopolis.  We had an unexpected sighting of wryneck, and during the next hour saw three more.  If we had known earlier in the day that they were migrating through here, I guess our sightings could easily have been in double figures?  All the birds were crouched on low shaded bare branches of conifer trees, and photographing them was nigh on impossible, but I've included one below, and also a female black-eared wheatear.


We are in the UK now until 26th - some pictures of UK sightings follow this report.
26th.  Some outside cleaning disturbed a moorish gecko.  It allowed me to get quite close - so two pictures below:

30th.  Getting over colds after our return meant we didn't venture far until today.  We were on the search for chestnuts but had a less than satisfactory outcome, compared to previous years.  We did however call in at Agia and found a glossy ibis in the nearside reeds.  As it emerged I snapped three pictures as shown below.  Prior to seeing the glossy, Margaret sighted a hoopoe near the weir.  As I approached for a photo it took off, giving me the unusual picture below:

Earlier in the day, we had only our second ever sighting of icterine warbler - this one on Omalos Plateau.  Around the plateau there were numerous sightings of jay, woodlark, whinchat, spotted flycatcher and juvenile red-backed shrikes.  Above us, as we picnicked, one golden eagle, several griffons, ravens and two marsh harriers - all high up.

Not a birdwatching holiday!  However, we managed visits to various reservoirs, nature parks and coastal sites and enjoyed the company of Raye and Roy Robinson for three days, during a week in Norfolk.

A few photos below - the first two taken in East Sussex, ie; black-headed gull and a female wheatear.  Then, at Cley in Norfolk, a distant sighting of Lapland bunting, where we also saw arctic skua and red-throated divers from the beach. At Sculthorpe Nature reserve, we were entertained at one of the hides with visits to the feeding table by, juvenile bullfinch and marsh tit, as shown below.  This was our first sighting of marsh tit, and I hadn't seen a bullfinch for 20 years or more!


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