A&M’s LOCAL BIRDING DIARY

SEPTEMBER 2012

Hi Everyone,

It has been an unusually “quiet” start to this month.  Very few flocks seen over Almyros Bay compared to previous years.  Bee-eaters, on the other hand, have been in abundance – such a joy to watch, and we have had many small flocks hunting over the house.

FROM THE HOUSE

15th

For several days a juvenile subalpine warbler feasted on over-ripe figs in our garden.  It had competition from resident Sardinian warblers – but there was plenty for everyone!  Juvenile red-backed shrikes are appearing in the garden too.

(subalpine warbler)

 

17th

Bee-eater migration is in full flow now, and we are seeing small flocks every evening in the hour before sunset.  By 22nd, they appear to have gone through.  Willow warblers are showing up in singles in the garden, as are the occasional whitethroats. (002-003) 

(willow warbler)

 

(bee-eater)

 

26th.

Finally, something “different” from the house, as a dark morph booted eagle glided over at low level.  Of course I wasn’t expecting it, and by the time I got the camera to hand it was quite distant.

 

(booted eagle - dark morph)

 

GEORGIOUPOLI LAKE (THE VIEWPOINT)

12th.

With the water level too high for waders, there has been little to report from here so far.  Kingfishers are arriving and singles of teal and shoveller have joined the three garganey that arrived last month.  Today, two marsh harriers took flight from the far side of the water.  Though distant, I could make out one to be an adult female, the other an immature bird.

 

(marsh harriers)

 

13th

Grey herons have been resting in lake side trees, and at times along the bank on the far side, as below.

 

(grey herons)

 

17th

Little egrets have done the same, outnumbering the herons by more than ten to one!

 

(little egrets)

 

26th.

Whilst making a short stop here this morning, a peregrine flew over the lake disturbing the resident feral pigeons.

 

KALIVAKI MEADOWS

No rain – no birds yet!

KAVROS MEADOWS

No rain – no birds yet!

 

NORTH COAST BEACHES (KALIVAKI TO PETRES)

This area has been particularly disappointing for this month.  A couple of visits have only revealed little-ringed plovers and common sandpipers.

19th.

At last – a bird!  Walking the headland path on the far side of Kalivaki Beach I came across a dunlin.  This bird was very tolerant of people walking nearby, and allowed some good photos.

 

(dunlin)

 

28th.

Just inland from Petres Gorge, a sparrowhawk was being mobbed persistently by three hooded crows.  The photo was taken just after the bird “got away”. (009)

 

(sparrowhawk)

 

5th.

After an uneventful early morning visit to Agia, I stopped off at Moronis Reserve for the first time since late spring.  Kingfisher, sedge warbler, little egret and common sandpiper to mention, but the bird that took my eye was a cormorant.  We wouldn’t usually expect these winter visitors to arrive so early.  This bird looked bedraggled and I thought it had just been fishing.  Having posted its photo on my “flickr” site, I was then informed that this bird had been caught up in fishing nets last spring, and wasn’t able to make its way north to breeding grounds.  It has stayed at Moronis, though not seen much through the summer.

 

(cormorant)

 

OUR TRAVELS

6th.

We took a drive to the Anopoli and Aradena area.  A very high up pair of Bonelli’s eagles was the only sighting of large birds.  Plenty of the expected migrating species though, especially red-backed shrike, spotted flycatcher, whinchat and whitethroat.  Wheatears are everywhere.

 

(Bonelli’s eagle)

 

(whinchat)

 

14th.

A trip out to Omalos with John and Patti Bayley gave us a good number of species to list, but nothing unusual.  Our first sparrowhawks (two) since last spring, tawny pipits, wheatears, spotted flycatchers, red-backed shrikes, woodlarks, willow warblers, corn buntings, jays, and red-billed choughs.  But it was the bee-eaters that took up our attention.  They were everywhere around the plateau hunting at low level.  When we first arrived several griffons were about, and with them a flock of 15 common buzzards, presumably on migration.

 

(woodlark)

 

(bee-eater)

 

29th.

A morning visit to Prassanos Gorge, which we hadn’t been to in September.  Griffons made the trip memorable as usual, but apart from ravens and wood pigeons, nothing else seen here.  As we drove away, a juvenile red-backed shrike posed on a roadside fence – one of the best photo opportunities I have had of this species.
 

(griffon)

 

juvenile red-backed shrike

 

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