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.


                                                              Total                     Date  

          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                                         

          SPARROWHAWK                  Daily                      

          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

          BLACKCAP                                   Daily

         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.








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