FIELD TRIP REPORT TO ANTIKITHERA, GREECE
SEPTEMBER 27TH – 12TH OCTOBER 2007
On the 27th September at 16.00hrs in Kissamos harbour I boarded the ferry “Mirtiodissia”, a week behind schedule due to bad weather, having volunteered for a two week stint with the HOS on their Raptor migration project. The cost for the journey was 9 euro [ £6.30 ] for the two hour trip. With the seas once again calm I duly arrived to be met by Angelos and Eika . As two volunteers departed I was escorted to the ABO by Angelos the HOS co-ordinator. On arrival I was introduced to the rest of the people there…Kati from Hungary… Eika from Germany, along with Angelos doing the ringing and later with Thoderos the raptor co-ordinator … there was only myself doing the raptor migration I had just passed the others as they boarded the ferry , I had some hard work ahead of me !
The hours of work were 08.00-13.00 and15.00-19.00. Choosing one of the four migration observation points was easy. The most favourable I found was to stay at the ABO, most of the island can be seen from this point, and also three of the posts had no facilities, keeping the water on the boil for numerous beverages helped the time along. I also chose to rise at six and accompany the ringers for the first hour at the nets and learn a little about what is entailed there, it also allowed some close observation of the birds themselves. Crete is notoriously bad for getting close to wildlife due to hunting, birds have long been wary of humans here and although hunting is not as prolific as once it was, the instilled fear built within them still makes them very cautious of us.
After the sessions there I watched the skies in all directions dutifully logging all that passed by.
Most of the time the weather was good with only a few days of high winds affecting ringing and a few adverse winds for migration. Temperatures were in the mid twenties Celsius.
The only downside of the trip.. The council chose the time I was there to asphalt the main dirt road through the island, and trucks were busy between sites where HOS were having a hide and water hole constructed and the new guest building. For such a small peaceful place the disturbance seemed huge.
There are very few trees mostly the habitat is Garrigue along with terraced land with many ruined buildings the coast is rocky with mainly steep cliffs and two very tiny beaches. The few Olive trees on a farm are the location for the ringing.
CORY’S SHEARWATER 12 from ferry 27th
BLACK STORK 2 4th
BLACK KITE 1 4th
EGYPTIAN VULTURE 1 ? Very distant 2nd
GRIFFON VULTURE 1 5th
SHORT-TOED EAGLE 8 28th /29th / 3rd /4th
MARSH HARRIER 7 28th /29th /30th /3rd /5th /8th
+ 2 from ferry near Kissamos Crete
GOSHAWK 3 4th /9th /10th
BUZZARD 3 resident daily + max 9 on 4th
STEPPE BUZZARD 7 30th /3rd /12th
LESSER SPOTTED EAGLE 9 30th / 3rd /4th/ 5th
[max 5 on the 4th]
EASTERN IMPERIAL EAGLE 1 4th
BOOTED EAGLE 102 seen almost daily numbers peaking in low 20’s 30th to 3rd
BONELLI’S EAGLE 2 resident seen daily
KESTREL 10+ seen daily 1 ringed on 9th
LANNER 2 4th
ELEONORA’S FALCON daily 70 + visible late afternoon on 28th
PEREGRINE FALCON 2 seen daily
CHUKAR [protected bird] seen and heard everywhere
YELLOW-LEGGED GULL 1 5th
BARN OWL 1 11th
SCOPS OWL One ringed…… heard every night
LITTLE OWL 1 4th
NIGHTJAR 3 Two ringed 5th /11th
KINGFISHER 1 On rocks near harbour 27th
WRYNECK 1 resident in Potamos town
SWALLOW small numbers seen daily
HOUSE MARTIN small party passed through on 4th
TREE PIPIT 1 7th
YELLOW WAGTAIL 1 11th
WHITE WAGTAIL 2 Potamos harbour daily
ROBIN Daily everywhere, large numbers
REDSTART 2 5th / 11th
STONECHAT 1 10th
NORTHERN WHEATEAR 5 30th / 1st
BLUE ROCK THRUSH 4 2 resident in Potamos harbour
SONG THRUSH 6 ringed
LESSER WHITETHROAT 1 ringed 9th
WHITETHROAT 1 28th
GARDEN WARBLER 3 28th / 30th / 8th
WOOD WARBLER 1 11th
WILLOW WARBLER Daily
YELLOW-BROWED WARBLER 1 ringed 8th
I missed this one!
SPOTTED FLYCATCHER small numbers daily
RED-BREASTED FLYCATCHER small numbers daily
RED-BACKED SHRIKE 3 29th / 30th / 6th
RAVEN 2 resident birds
STARLING 5 daily on 8th / 9th / 10th /11th/12th
SPANISH SPARROW Daily with 12 flocks of 100+ birds
moving south on the 10th
WADERS ??? on the 30th three birds very distant
AQUILLA ?? two, one distant 30th another on 3rd, Lesser Spotted Eagle?
ACCIPTERS ??????? 7 birds high on the 4th
Unknown BATS roost in the roof space of ABO.
A single TUNA[ 2 metres ] jumped in the wake of the ferry near
Antikithera on 27th
KOTSCHY’S GECKO on 10th
The 4th October was the best raptor day with a large spiral of birds including the Black Storks ,5 Lesser Spotted and 2 Bonelli’s Eagle, 1 Black Kite , numerous Kestrels, Sparrowhawks, Peregrine, Eleonora’s Falcon, plus other Accipters too high in the group to ID for certain , in all there was a 70+ mix of birds together for perhaps ten minutes which moved higher and southerly , a fantastic sight .
The sheer number of Eleonora’s Falcon has to be seen, look from any cliff top to see 20+ birds. The evening hunting is amazing one count revealed 70+ near ABO.
A brilliant two weeks, thanks HOS for the hospitality. Also to new found friends for the knowledge imparted and companionship, I couldn’t have wished for a better group to be with.
SEE LINKS PAGE FOR ANTIKITHERA RELATED LINKS
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