JULY  2009

REPORT FROM KISSAMOS BAY AREA

Not a busy month for us and the birds. We have been busy clearing and tidying our four “Strema” [approximately one acre] of olive grove and land. The majority of our sightings and images have therefore been from home.

With forty species counted on our “patch” that’s not bad for July.

Some reports from Nikos have again been included.

Highlights …….

Lammergeier over the house again

Tagged Griffon Vulture, there’s a story to this one !

Eleonora’s Falcon ….landing close by plus higher numbers of these fantastic falcons seen locally.

Golden Eagle ….sat on the high ridges being mobbed by a Kestrel.

Adult with Juvenile Peregrine Falcon

Long-legged Buzzard…. Flew north onto the peninsula

A Hoopoe in nearby olive grove

Plus all the immatures and juveniles of different species that come to feed in the olive trees and the adjacent hillsides.

A Lanner Falcon on Omalos plateau.

We have again made a chart for home sightings and for the very few trips out have listed under the relevant dates.

2nd July


Juvenile Black-eared Wheatear
- photo by and © C&S


Goldfinch with juveniles
- photo by and © C&S

8th July


Common Buzzard
- photo by and © C&S

9th July


Juvenile Black-eared Wheatear
- photo by and © C&S

12th


Eleonora’s Falcon on rocks near our house
- photo by and © C&S

Reports from Nikos

12th  

Marsh Harrier, 4 Little Ringed Plover, 2 Green Sandpiper, 1 Little Egret, 2 Squacco Heron.

Nikos words……A midsummer surprise a “Kalimina”  “Kalhmina ” [Good Mother in Greek because of its large motherhug like wings….. in English Lapwing.

A very nice description Nikos.


“Kalimina”
 - photo by and © Nikos

13th

70-90 Wood Sandpipers at Maronis


Some of the Wood Sandpipers -
photo by and © Nikos

July 13th


One of our resident Common Buzzard
- photo by and © C&S


Cricket on bins
- photo by and © C&S

July 15th


Griffon Vulture
- photo by and © C&S


Light morph Eleonora’s Falcon
- photo by and © C&S

July 17th


Two of five Common Buzzard soar over the house
- photo by and © C&S

18th Report from Nikos

1 Lapwing, 2 Squacco Heron, 3 Little Ringed Plover, Common Buzzard and 10 Wood Sandpipers still at Tavronitis.

Grey Heron and Olivaceous Warbler at Maronis and Agia lake which has now virtually dried out. Also at Agia a Cetti’s Warbler pair scolding a Dice snake that was too near their nest area.

20th July


We think this is a cockroach
- photo by and © C&S

21st July


Lammergeier
- photo by and © C&S


Lammergeier
- photo by and © C&S


Common Buzzard
- photo by and © C&S

22nd July


Griffon Vulture tagged number 63
- photo by and © C&S


Tag on Griffon Vulture
- photo by and © C&S


Orthetrum brunneum - Southern Skimmer Dragonfly - photo by and © C&S


Orthetrum brunneum - Southern Skimmer Dragonfly - photo by and © C&S


Crocothemis erythraea - Broad Scarlet Dragonfly - photo by and © C&S


Hornet
- photo by and © C&S


Marsh Frog
- photo by and © C&S

23nd July

We take a morning trip to Agia Lake then on to Maronis and Tavronitis.

After email exchanges with Roy Magnusson from Norway who is here doing Turtle conservation volunteering, we arranged a meet to go birding, we picked Roy up from the Gerani camp where the volunteers stay at 08.30 and headed for Agia.

On route we spotted ….

Red-rumped Swallow             Barn Swallow              Common Buzzard

Collared Dove                                    Turtle Dove                Italian Sparrow

Greenfinch                                          Blue Tit                       Chaffinch

Hooded Crow                                     White Wagtail

Agia Lake……..

Pochard 1                                            Mallard 1                    Coot 100+

Little Grebe 50+                                Grey Heron 2             Common Buzzard 3

Eleonora’s Falcon 1                           Hooded Crow             Wood Sandpiper 1

Common Sandpiper 1             Blackbird                    Reed Warbler

White Wagtail 1                                 Barn Swallow              Yellow Wagtail 1

Swift                                                    Alpine Swift                Pallid Swift

Kestrel                                                Blackcap                     Spotted Flycatcher

Goldfinch                                            Moorhen                     Italian Sparrow

The usual Terrapins, frogs and a Dice Snakes


Dice Snake with Wood Sandpiper
- photo by and © C&S


Sympetrum fonscolombei - Red-veined Darter - photo by and © C&S


Erythromma viridulum - Small Redeye  - Damselfly 2cm long - photo by and © C&S

Moving on to Maronis we noticed that the southern side of the reserve has been bulldozed and levelled, we hope that there is not building work planned for here!!

The only species seen were …

3 distant Cormorant on a ship mooring buoy

2 Little Ringed Plover

1 Grey Heron

1 Common Sandpiper

The lack of birds was put down to the numerous men fishing in the area, a real disappointment not to see a few more species.

After lunch we took Roy back to the camp as he had a slide show presentation and awareness talk on turtle conservation for holidaymakers later at a nearby hotel. Before saying our goodbyes we arranged a trip to the mountains with him in August for raptors.

We did a spot of shopping on the way home and then called at Tavronitis river, we had noticed that it had dried up but thought we would check it out anyway. It has been some time since we visited this area and the first thing we saw was the banks from the road on the western side had now been fenced nearly all the way to the sea and that the area from the bridge northwards was terribly overgrown with bamboo. We carried on our drive towards the sea and spotted a juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron, a great spot this; we managed a few shots before it slowly walked off into cover.


Juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron
- photo by and © C&S

Where the river had been forded half way between the road bridge and the sea there is now also a fence which is sort of gated, we entered onto the river area where there is still a few pools and found Goldfinch, juvenile White Wagtail, Italian Sparrows all having a bathing session.

Looking upriver Sue spotted a Little Egret partially hidden in a Eucalyptus tree and 3 Little Ringed Plover were seen along the banks.

Looking north  towards the sea we spotted the Lapwing which Nikos had first seen on the 12th A couple of Geese emerged from the banks looking like semi domestic Greylag. On the wires and trees nearby several Collared and Turtle Doves were sat.

Arriving home we scanned the olive grove and found a single Hoopoe, another nice sighting for July.


Hoopoe in the olive grove
- photo by and © C&S

24th July


Juvenile Black-eared Wheatear
- photo by and © C&S


Common Buzzard
- photo by and © C&S


Adult Peregrine Falcon with prey
- photo by and © C&S


Juvenile Yellow-legged Gull
- photo by and © C&S


Juvenile Yellow-legged Gulls
- photo by and © C&S

25th July


Egyptian Cricket
- photo by and © C&S


Presumably of the Robber Fly species 1cm long
- photo by and © C&S


The above with tiny prey
- photo by and © C&S


We hoped this was a juvenile Red-footed Falcon but after some discussion on Birdforum.net its assumed to be a 2cy Eleonora’s Falcon
- photo by and © C&S

27th July


Common Buzzard
- photo by and © C&S


Eleonora’s Falcon
- photo by and © C&S


Raven
- photo by and © C&S

An adult with a juvenile Peregrine Falcon hunted nearby for a while in the morning giving great views


Juvenile Peregrine Falcon
- photo by and © C&S


Juvenile Peregrine Falcon
- photo by and © C&S


Adult Peregrine Falcon
- photo by and © C&S


Griffon Vulture
- photo by and © C&S

28th July


Dark morph Eleonora’s Falcon
- photo by and © C&S

29th July

Today we have arranged to take Roy Magnusson out again this time up to the mountains of Omalos.

We picked Roy up from the Achelon turtle protection camp at 6am. We arrived at our turn off point not long after and slowly set off on one of the few dirt tracks. Our route would take us eventually to the Samaria Gorge entrance, Omalos plateau, Kalergi Hut and Ghreleska with a quick stop off at Agia at about 5pm.

The highlight of the day a Lanner Falcon seen on the plateau which landed in trees nearby and was immediately mobbed by a dozen Hooded Crows.

On our mountain tour we spotted …….

Hooded Crow                         Wood Pigeon              Raven

Griffon Vulture 15+               Sparrowhawk 1           Sardinian Warbler

Stonechat                                Northern Wheatear   Black-eared wheatear

Chukar                                    Linnet                         Blue Tit

Cirl Bunting                            Wren                           Blue Rock Thrush

Greenfinch                              Crag Martin               Barn Swallow

Woodlark                                Blackbird                    Rock Dove

Jay                                          Woodchat Shrike       Hoopoe 1

Wood Sandpiper                     Turtle Dove                Collared Dove

Tawny Pipit                             Lanner Falcon            Kestrel

Common Buzzard


Restharrow
Ononis spinosa - photo by and © C&S


Crag Martin
- photo by and © C&S


Chukar
- photo by and © C&S


Wren
- photo by and © C&S


Griffon Vulture checking us out as a potential meal
- photo by and © C&S


Tawny Pipit
- photo by and © C&S


Goldfinch, Cirl Bunting and Greenfinch at water trough
- photo by and © C&S

At Agia lake……….where water levels are quite low.

Swift                                        Grey Heron 3             Spotted Redstart 1

Wood Sandpiper         5          Little Stint 3               Teal 1

Ferruginous Duck 1               Mallard 1                    Pochard [pair]

Coot                                        Moorhen                     Little Grebe

White Wagtail                        Common Buzzard       Olivaceous Warbler

Barn Swallow


Wood Sandpiper
- photo by and © C&S                

Arriving home a little after 6pm we were greeted by a Great Tit taking our total species for the day to 45. We missed out on the larger eagles, Bonelli’s and Golden and the Bearded Vulture. We were surprised not to see Chough and Alpine Swift, but there you go, that’s birding.

BIRDFORUM.NET

If you have not tried this site birdforum.net, (we put all links on our links page, so see links page, Roy) it’s got everything, from of course birds to photography and general wildlife.

The wealth of knowledge out there is shared on this forum and at times we cannot do without it.

Take for instance our hope of a juvenile Red-footed Falcon on the 25th a lot of support for our supposed bird on the identification forum but then the debate came to the conclusion that it was a 2cy Eleonora’s Falcon.

Identifying young of some species can be particularly difficult and without other peoples experience and willingness to share their knowledge we would, at times be none the wiser with some of our sightings. A big thanks to the members, subscribers moderators and owners of this superb website. Congratulations on bringing together the world of birding.

With migration starting to get underway, Barn Swallows seen on the 31st heading south at some speed, we expect other species to show up very soon.

The Griffon Vulture story…………………

Colin celebrated another birthday this month, his 62nd !!!!  if you happen to be Greek this means you are 63 as you are entering your 63rd year. This is the day that the Gyps fulvus paid a visit with the birthday card tucked under its wing bearing the number 63 [see images above] The only tagged Griffon Vulture we have seen here, what a day to see it, quite a unique birthday card.

Finally we leave you with these three images of immature Woodchat Shrikes that we found on Omalos plateau there were three young birds attended by a single adult


Immature Woodchat Shrike
- photo by and © C&S


A couple of the young birds
- photo by and © C&S


Immature Woodchat Shrike
- photo by and © C&S

And …. A late evening visit on the 31st by a hedgehog


Hedgehog
- photo by and © C&S

Colin and Sue
 
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