March 2008 Report
 

                                  FROM KASTELLI KISSAMOS BAY AREA

The last few days of February saw small numbers of Buzzard heading through and the 1st of this month we saw spread in several groups across the bay with more distant but unidentifiable dots but we can be sure of nearly 100+ in an hour before the skies emptied as they headed out onto the peninsula. The Buzzard continued to pass through in numbers for some days.

Also on the 1st a Long-legged Buzzard.

Our fears that we would not see the Yellow Wagtail along the beach road were unfounded as there seemed more then ever feeding in the fields.

On the 3rd we again found the Greater Sand Plover which by now was presenting as a male and getting close to full summer plumage.

On the 4th we found a Desert Wheatear  among several White Wagtail another first for us on Crete and another Greek rarity for us to report.

The 5th saw the first House Martins arriving and Isabelline Wheatear.

The first Swallows of the year seen on the 8th.

The 12th saw the first Northern Wheatears arrive also Yellow Wagtails of the Feldegg race.

On the 13th, 3 more migrants species appear.

Also on the 14th another two migrant species seen one on a trip to the south coast Sfakia area, the other local.

On the 18th the first Swift were seen in Chania Old Town harbour area.

The first Alpine Swifts and Swifts over the house on the 20th.

An Adult male Pallid Harrier at Lake Agia and on arrival at home another flew low across the car possibly the same bird on the 21st.

On the 27th our first good sightings of Stone-curlew at Kissamos.

A Black-winged Stilt on the 29th

On the 31st at Agia, a Spotted Redshank was a nice surprise as it landed near the pump house giving good views before it flew to the far reeds.Also Sedge Warbler giving us two new species this month bringing our Crete total to 167.

1st

The first bird of the month the ubiquitous Italian Sparrow quickly followed by, Black Redstart, Chaffinch, a party of 5 Great Tit, Greenfinch. At 1010hrs and for nearly an hour we watched 100+ Steppe and Common Buzzard as several groups [the largest was of 38 birds] as they spiralled across the bay with individual birds peeling off towards the north. Long-legged Buzzard 1.

Picture 2 above: Long-legged Buzzard, by and © C&S

Hooded Crow , Raven, Sardinian Warbler, White Wagtail, Goldfinch, Blue Rock Thrush, Robin. A single Griffon Vulture flew from Gramvousa heading towards Deliana gorge area. Cetti’s Warbler, Rock Dove, Blackbird, Linnet and Yellow-legged Gull.

2nd

After some early morning rain the morning and with temperatures touching 18°C  the day dawned very overcast with westerly winds thwarting any observations of spotting migrating raptors.

We only spotted the usual Hooded Crow, Italian Sparrow, Black Redstart, White Wagtail, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Yellow-legged Gull, Spanish Sparrow, House Sparrow, Woodlark, Cetti’s Warbler, Blackbird and Linnet.

3rd

Italian Sparrow, Chaffinch, Cetti’s Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Crested Lark, Woodlark, Robin, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Greenfinch, Raven, Hooded Crow and Yellow-legged Gull.

A trip into Kissamos turned out to be a real treat as after no sightings for a couple of months we again found the Greater Sand Plover using its favourite haunts. Now coming into summer plumage, the bird is presenting as a male. We hope it stays a few more weeks so others get to enjoy it.

Picture 3 above: Greater Sand Plover, by and © C&S

Goldfinch, White wagtail, Black Redstart.

Buzzard 1+3+20+7+4 all spiralling in different groups throughout the morning as they headed north.

Two Griffon Vulture flew from Gramvousa heading inland towards Deliana.

Stonechat, Linnet and Collared Dove completed the day.

4th

Hooded Crow, Italian Sparrow, Chaffinch, 14 Starling headed north in a hurry,Yellow-legged Gull 50+, Linnet, Rock Dove, Great Tit 12+, Sardinian Warbler, Buzzard 5, Goldfinch, Blue Tit, Blackbird , Cetti’s Warbler.

On the beach road area the Greater Sand Plover still in the same area, Yellow-legged Gull, Chiffchaff, Crested lark, White Wagtail and Black Redstart.

On route to and Deliana Gorge and Kandanos area.

Lots of Buzzard in evidence, Yellow-legged Gull, Sardinian Warbler, Griffon Vulture 5, Kestrel2, Peregrine Falcon 1, Raven, Wren, Song Thrush , Stonechat, Blackbird, Robin, Cetti’s warbler we heard then everywhere but failed to see one. Great Tit, Blue Tit, Linnet, Italian Sparrow and Blue Rock Thrush.

In Deliana Gorge we also met up with Alan and Margaret quite by chance, as they negotiated the several fords on foot. We used the Terios as we wanted to traverse the gorge and come out further south on the Palichora road, but failed at the 5th ford as the road was blocked by a rockfall. We retraced our way back to the village and found an unmetalled road, eventually finding the main road we wanted.

We found an area of devastation just south of Kandanos where the recent snowfall had severely damaged hundreds of olive trees and an area of orange trees had been killed off due to the harsh weather, oranges dangling from them as all the leaves lay in a pile at their foot or frost damaged still remained on the branches, if these trees do recover it will take some time.

Another rarity for Greece turned up near the Greater S.P. on the way home we spotted a Desert Wheatear and managed to get some pictures pretty bad quality unfortunately but had brief but nice views all the same.

5th

From the house……Black Redstart, Cetti’s Warbler, Hooded Crow, Italian Sparrow, Yellow-legged Gull, Chaffinch, Crested lark, Great Tit, Woodlark, Buzzard in several groups c100 over a couple of hours, the birds of prey tend to pass through for about two hours from 1030 then there is nothing. Bonellis Eagle 2 [our resident pair] Sparrowhawk 1, Kestrel 1, Peregrine Falcon 1, Griffon Vulture 9, large numbers of House Martin. White Wagtail, Blackbird, Greater Sand Plover, Goldfinch and Raven. Two Bats around the house at dusk.

Along the beach………We hunted for the Desert Wheatear we saw yesterday and spent several hours looking hard but with activity increasing on this section of beach it proved a fruitless search. We found, Meadow Pipit, White Wagtail, Sandwich Tern 2, Chiffchaff, Stonechat, Corn Bunting, Cetti’s Warbler, Crested Lark, Black Redstart, Isabelline Wheatear,

Yellow-legged Gull, Greater sand Plover, Buzzard, Hooded Crow and 30+ Starling circled the bamboo looking for a roost for the night.

A walk on Gramvousa…… Yellow-legged Gull, Chaffinch, Woodlark, Crested Lark, Raven, Goldfinch, Buzzard 2, Robin, Kestrel, Stonechat, Blue Rock Thrush, Black Redstart, Isabelline Wheatear, Cormorant 4 and 1 Shag.

6th

Blackbird, Cetti’s Warbler, Buzzard 9+2+12+4, Hooded Crow, Chaffinch, Linnet, Yellow-legged Gull, Robin, Black Redstart, Italian Sparrow, Sardinian Warbler, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Griffon Vulture 2, Song Thrush, House Martin and Raven.

Lots of Ladybirds about today or first Sour Fig [ Hotentot] seen Bat 2. A Smooth Snake which I unfortunately killed as I was shifting rocks and rubble with a pick axe.

7th

Italian Sparrow, Hooded Crow, again several groups of Buzzard 11+9+28+21+10+20 after a short lull another group of 25 with two pale morph Booted Eagle, Griffon Vulture 2 and our pair of Bonelli’s Eagle a nice sight as the sizes of the different species can clearly be seen. Large numbers of House Martin passing through now. Raven, Crested Lark, Isabelline Wheatear, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Collared Dove, Corn Bunting and Yellow-legged Gull. The weather after 1pm turned sour and we had torrential rain for the rest of the afternoon.

8th

Today we saw our first Swallows this year as a group of about 20 passed through. Song Thrush Blackbird, Linnet, Italian Sparrow, Yellow-legged Gull, Raven, Cetti’s Warbler, Chaffinch, Greater Sand Plover, Blue Rock Thrush, Hooded Crow, Great Tit, Robin, Greenfinch, Blackcap, House Martin 200+, Buzzard several groups of 10+ , a few pairs the 12+9+5 between 1030and 1130 in all around a 100. Cormorant, Griffon Vulture 6, Rock Dove, Sardinian Warbler, Woodlark, Crested lark and Black Redstart.

9th

We set off early this morning to try to get some pictures of the Greater Sand Plover, hopefully showing its summer plumage better. At 0700 we were looking for it in its usual location but it was nowhere to be seen travelling along the beach we never saw another bird at all a most disappointing morning.

From the house we saw …..Cormorant 4, Yellow-legged Gull 200+, Linnet, Chaffinch, Italian Sparrow, Goldfinch, Corn Bunting and Stonechat. Buzzard 4, Meadow Pipit, Crested Lark, House Martin,  Blue Rock Thrush, Cetti’s warbler, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Greenfinch, Black Redstart and our first Barn Owl for some time later that evening. Bats 2. No raptor migration was seen today either.

10th

Italian Sparrow, Chaffinch, Yellow-legged Gull, Hooded Crow, Goldfinch, Black Redstart, Greenfinch, Woodlark, Buzzard 5, Swallow 1, House Martin c50, Sardinian Warbler, Great Tit, Griffon Vulture 5, Kestrel 1, Linnet, Rock Dove An unknown accipiter flew past the balcony at dusk .

Weasel and Bat .

11th

Corn Bunting, Hooded Crow, Chaffinch, Cetti’s Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Greenfinch, Griffon Vulture 2, Raven, Blue Rock Thrush, Blackbird, Great Tit, Linnet, Buzzard, Goldfinch, Cormorant, Yellow-legged Gull, House Martin, Swallow, Collared Dove, Crested Lark, Stonechat and Woodlark.

An afternoon walk on Gramvousa produced no less than 4 Blue Rock Thrush, Stonechat, Yellow-legged Gull, Crested Lark, Woodlark. Two Raven fed on rubbish dumped over a ledge and we were only three metres away before they were aware.

We found our first tadpoles of the year newly hatched from their spawn. Milky Orchid, the first we have found on Gramvousa, in a small area there were 6 plants.

12th

After being woken at 0400 by the biggest clap of thunder we slept on and off as the house shook and was lit up by lightning as heavy rain fell for two hours. This storm quelled any birding in the morning. We saw only these few birds throughout the day from the house….Hooded Crow, Italian Sparrow, Chaffinch, Great Tit, Blackbird, Yellow-legged Gull, Robin, Goldfinch, Cetti’s Warbler, Buzzard 2, Black Redstart.

A Late afternoon walk on Gramvousa produced Blue Rock Thrush [heard], Shag 1, Kestrel 3 , Crested Lark 2…… a drive along the Viglia beach area to look for the GSP [still no sightings] turned out better than expected we found 50+ Starling in a tree with a single Hooded Crow and along the electric wires nearby c25 Corn Bunting and 6 Meadow Pipit. Our first sightings this year of Northern Wheatear with a female on the beach and further along a male sat atop some rubbish. Yellow wagtail [ Feldegg ] 2,again the first of this species seen this year, White Wagtail 12 sat on the rocks on the shoreline, Blackbird 1, Stonechat 1, Chaffinch, Yellow-legged Gull, Hooded Crow and Chaffinch

13th

Great Tit, Chaffinch, Hooded Crow, Yellow-legged Gull, Goldfinch, Italian Sparrow, Starling 14. The first sighting of Hoopoe this year in our olive grove. Cetti’s Warbler, Blackbird. Still 5 roosting Black Redstarts at night under the pergola.

Along the beach road.

Little Ringed Plover 3, Whinchat 1, the first of both these species this year and a Common Sandpiper only the second sighting this year.

Linnet, White Wagtail, Collared Dove, Meadow Pipit, Northern Wheatear, Isabelline Wheatear, Stonechat, Kestrel, Corn Bunting, Cormorant and Crested Lark.

On Gramvousa

Linnet, Crested Lark and a immature Shag.

14th

At home .

Yellow-legged Gull. The first Red-rumped Swallow of the year. Buzzard 2+15+ several groups of 5 heading north over Gramvousa. Cetti’s Warbler, Chaffinch, Crested Lark, Italian Sparrow, Rock Dove, Goldfinch. Our local pair of Bonelli’s Eagle put in a short appearance. Our local pair of Buzzard displayed and carried twigs for their nest site. Blackbird. We have only one Black Redstart roosting now.

A trip out to Sfakia region via local beach, Imbros Gorge Chora Sfakia, Kambos and Agios Ioannis.

Along our local beach road…..Little Ringed Plover 3, Hoopoe 1, m Marsh Harrier 1.

Northern Wheatear, Linnet, Goldfinch, Whinchat, Stonechat, White Wagtail, Meadow Pipit, Yellow-legged Gull, Black Redstart, Corn Bunting and Collared Dove.

Over the day….. Blue Rock Thrush 7, Griffon Vulture 9, Kestrel 3, Buzzard 8.

Picture 6 above: Blue Rock Thrush, by and © C&S

Blackbird and Song Thrush, we saw and heard large flocks near Sfakia.

Robin, Great Tit, Blue Tit. Our first Subalpine Warbler 1, this year hopefully they will arrive next week at home. Sardinian Warbler, House Martin, Crag Martin, Woodlark, Crested Lark, Greenfinch. An unknown Bat surprised us mid afternoon at 1530 in full sun as it fed over a large water tank.   Lammergeier 1 on the high ridges above Agios Ioannis at 15.40hrs followed shortly after by a pair of Bonelli’s Eagle at 15.54. Cetti’s Warbler sere heard everywhere and seen only a couple of times. Italian Sparrow, Chaffinch, Rock Dove, Hooded Crow and Raven. On the way home we also bumped into Alan and Margaret again with two friends also unknowingly in the same area as us.

15th

Our local Buzzard were seen mating on the crags above the house.

Griffon Vulture 11, Kestrel 1, Raven 8, Hooded Crow, Swallow, House Martin, Chaffinch, Italian Sparrow, Crested Lark, Buzzard 5+4+7. Cormorant 5, Shag 1, Great Tit, Blue Tit, juv Peregrine Falcon, m Marsh Harrier 1050-1100hrs.

Blue Rock Thrush, Blackbird, Yellow-legged Gull, Sardinian Warbler, Woodlark, Cetti’s Warbler, Linnet, Black Redstart.

Picture 8 above: One of our local Buteo’s, by and © C&S

Flowers

Cretan Valarium

16th

High on Gramvousa a Marsh Harrier headed north. Italian Sparrow, Linnet, Buzzard, 7+ 11+ again several groups of 5. Yellow-legged Gull 64, Hooded Crow, Great Tit, Chaffinch, Peregrine Falcon 1, Cormorant 2, Swallow, House Martin, Crag Martin, Crested Lark , Woodlark, Blackbird, Rock Dove and Sardinian Warbler.

On Gramvousa…

Stonechat, Kestrel, Blue Rock Thrush, Griffon Vulture 1, Hoopoe 1 which we watched feeding near to our parked car for about an hour. Robin, Chaffinch, Raven, Goldfinch,  Blackbird, Sardinian Warbler, Cetti’s Warbler, Hooded Crow, Great Tit and Blue Tit. Crested Lark, Woodlark and Linnet.

Cretan Water Frog and Tadpoles.

17th

Great Tit, Cetti’s Warbler, Hooded Crow, Cormorant 1, Buzzard 1+1+2+3, with our local pair again carrying sticks. Griffon Vulture 6 1540-1543hrs. Our local pair of Bonelli’s Eagle 1540-1548. Raven, Woodlark, Blackbird, Chaffinch, Yellow-legged Gull, Greenfinch, Blue Rock Thrush, Goldfinch, Kestrel and Crested Lark.

Beach road and Kissamos. The local stream is now dry and we do not expect to see the waders we had last year in this location.

White Wagtail 8, Yellow Wagtail flavia 1, Little Ringed Plover 1, Collared Dove, Northern Wheatear.

Gramvousa…a walk to an isolated church

Stonechat, Northern Wheatear, Crested Lark and Woodlark, Yellow-legged Gull .

18th

A early trip to Chania to meet up with old friends who are on route to the Spring ringing and Raptor count on Antikithera. It turned out that they could not travel today so we had one accompany us to the Akrotiri  Peninsula for a day  of birding and flower hunting, which turned out to be quite productive.

Before leaving home we spotted Cetti’s Warbler, Chaffinch, Yellow-legged Gull, Great Tit, Crested Lark and a Hoopoe. The last of our roosting Black Redstart left us today, we shall miss seeing them huddled in their favourite nooks.

On Akrotiri….

Linnet, Chaffinch, Blackbird, Yellow-legged Gull, Tree Sparrow, Italian Sparrow, Hoopoe … after a few years of trying at long last managed a picture of one with its crest erect.

Many Serin, Greenfinch, Linnet, Corn Bunting and Goldfinch in the trees surrounding a small puddle where they descended to drink and bath.

Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, House Martin, Crag Martin and a single Sand Martin flew together near a monastery. A distant Marsh Harrier seen near the airport, Kestrel 5, Buzzard, Crested Lark, Woodlark, Stonechat, Raven, Hooded Crow, white wagtail, Collared Dove, Greta Tit, Sardinian Warbler, Black Redstart, ? Pipit. In Chania harbour the first Swift c.50 were noisily screaming around the buildings. Here we also saw a Sparrow that initially confused us with unusual white markings on its head.

Picture 10 above: Serin, by and © C&S

19th

Cetti’s Warbler, Hooded Crow, Buzzard 4, Chaffinch, Peregrine Falcon 0945 and 1600hrs. Great Tit, pale morph Booted Eagle 1240-1249 [note that this is the same date as one seen last year].

Rock Dove, Goldfinch, Raven, Yellow-legged Gull, Crested Lark, Griffon Vulture 4+4, between 1253-1600hrs, Kestrel 1, Blackbird, Greenfinch, Stonechat, Swallow 1, Collared Dove  and in the river mouth in Kissamos 2 Little Ringed Plover.

20th

Hooded Crow, Chaffinch, Yellow-legged Gull, Cetti’s warbler, Great Tit, Blackbird, Shag1, Buzzard, Swift, Swallow, House Martin, Italian Sparrow, Griffon Vulture 0943 landed on a nearby crag. Kestrel, Woodlark, Alpine Swift, Crested Lark, Raven, Collared Dove, Crag Martin, Rock Dove, Goldfinch, Stonechat and Greenfinch.

21st

A trip to Tavronitis river and Lake Agia today, a quick look on our home patch produced….Shag 2, Little Egret 1, Kestrel 4, Chaffinch, Italian Sparrow, Woodlark, Hooded Crow, Yellow-legged Gull, Sardinian Warbler, Crested Lark, Great Tit, Linnet, Griffon Vulture 3, Buzzard, Blackbird. Later in the evening a Pallid Harrier flew low across the car as we arrived home followed minutes later by a Sparrrowhawk.

On our trip out…

Lots of water still flowing down the river a few mud banks were visible. Lots of work has been going on creating a mess around the area but we remained hopeful and set to work scouring from the road down to the sea.

Italian Sparrow, Great Tit, Swallow, Cetti’s Warbler, Corn Bunting, Greenfinch, Northern Wheatear 1, White Wagtail, Goldfinch, Hooded Crow were seen at intervals along the banks. Common Sandpiper and Grey Heron were all that were seen wader wise, very disappointing. Blackbirds were seen everywhere and also Stripe Neck Terrapins. On the beach were a party of eight Yellow-legged Gull. 

At Gerani Bridge, we saw Moorhen 2, Coot 3 and domestic goose.

Lake Agia at first looked fairly quiet but came up with some nice sightings.

A Little Egret greeted us as we arrived and flew from beside the pump station onto the dam wall nearby. Little Grebe still about in large numbers at least 70 were  seen. Yellow-legged Gull c150, Coot c150, Shoveler 8m &13f, Pochard 1f, Pintail 1f, Moorhen c30, Cetti’s Warbler teased us all the while we were there as they were heard close by but were never visible. Swallow, House Martin flew low over the water occasionally dropping onto the surface. Mute Swan 1 juv, Sardinian Warbler, Blackbird, Chiffchaff. From amongst the Yellow-legged Gull circling overhead a Harrier appeared and which we were delighted to see was a superb male Pallid which circled a few times before gaining height and disappearing westwards.

Marsh Harrier a pair hunted the reeds opposite. Buzzard 6, Booted Eagle a pale morph flew from behind and over our heads heading towards Chania.

Green Sandpiper 2 flew in and landed on the edge of the reeds on a small exposed mud bank. Teal, 10 came in from the southern bank near the church did a couple of circuits before landing most unusually in the middle of the lake. A pair of Mallard also flew in and landed close to the far reeds. Two Cormorant were spotted in amongst the gulls surfacing for only moments before resuming their underwater fishing. Kestrel 1.

Stripe Necked Terrapins were observed on any available exposed muddy area..

We also noticed since our last visit that a bridge had been constructed on the south bank weir to access the picnic area near the church, at the moment it’s still under construction and fenced off. Bamboo and thick shrub has been cleaned away along the main path.

Picture above: New footbridge still under construction, by and © C&S

On the way home we saw, Stonechat, Blackbird, Kestrel 2 and buzzard 4.

***The male Pallid Harrier seen near home, this may have been the same bird seen earlier at the lake.

22nd

At home …Great Tit, Goldfinch, Raven 2, Cetti’s Warbler, Blackbird , Woodlark, Hooded Crow, Blackcap f, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Italian Sparrow, Linnet, Yellow-legged Gull, Shag 1, Griffon Vulture 1, at 0905hrs, Buzzard 3, Blue Rock Thrush 1, Kestrel 1, Sparrowhawk 1, Hoopoe 1, Swallow, Rock Dove.

On Gramvousa for a late afternoon walk…. Hoopoe 3, Yellow Wagtail 2, Northern Wheatear 1, Shag 3, Hooded Crow, Yellow-legged Gull, Rock Dove.

23rd

Towards midday a strange light appeared in the sky, a yellow tinge,  Gaddafi’s Gift had arrived ….a sandstorm again from the direction of Libya.  It got slowly worse and when we ventured out for a spot of afternoon birding we had to dispense with camera and binoculars as they soon became covered in the finest of dust , not before we had knocked of some pictures of another Pallid Harrier.

Hooded Crow, Blackbird, Italian Sparrow, Great Tit, Subalpine Warbler, Swallow and Chiffchaff.

At 1155hrs flying together in a spiral over the sea, 2 light morph and 2 dark morph Booted Eagle, 8 Buzzard, 1 Sparrowhawk and 3 larger Eagles which we believe were Lesser Spotted Eagle.

These were heading north but deviated south as a large sandstorm blew in from the southwest. An immature Pallid  Harrier ?2cy flew in during the sandstorm [see picture in bird id page] .Lots of Blackcap both male and female moving through, Black Redstart 1, Greenfinch, Whitethroat, Woodlark, Goldfinch, Red-rumped Swallow, Crested Lark, Shag 1, Swift, Alpine Swift, Raven 1, Marsh Harrier 2 1f,1m at 1542hrs, Sand, House and Crag Martin, Yellow-legged Gull and Linnet. Cetti’s Warbler, Chaffinch, Rock Dove, Stonechat and Hoopoe 2.

24th

As the weather Had brightened and the sandstorm cleared , we thought we would try a spot of birding at Falasarna with the wind now from the west there was a promise of some migrants there. After our morning spots from home we headed off via our local beach area.

From home we spotted .

Woodlark, Swallow, House Martin, Hooded Crow, Blackbird, Subalpine Warbler, Buzzard 8, Chiffchaff, Robin, Song Thrush 3 sat in a dead tree together. Raven, Chaffinch, Blackbird, Corn Bunting, Goldfinch and Linnet.

Whitethroat, Great Tit, 2 pale morph Booted Eagle at 0954hrs. Shag, Crested Lark, Griffon Vulture 2 at 1015hrs. Kestrel 1, Sparrowhawk 1, Hoopoe 1.

Beach area …….

Large flocks of Yellow Wagtail mixed ssp’s, Crested Lark, Northern Wheatear 10, Kestrel 2, Whinchat, Goldfinch, Subalpine Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Chiffchaff and Little Ringed Plover 1, Meadow Pipit, Barn Swallow, Willow Warbler, Greenfinch and Raven. Yellow-legged Gull, Hooded Crow and Italian Sparrow.

Falasarna…..

Great Tit, Blue Tit, Yellow-legged Gull, Rock Dove, Green Sandpiper 1, Yellow Wagtail large flocks, Tawny Pipit 1, Red Rumped Swallow, Linnet, White Wagtail. Hoopoe 1, Stonechat. Little Ringed Plover 5, Isabelline Wheatear 1. Blackbird, Blue Rock Thrush, Kestrel and Raven.

Two roadkill Eastern Hedgehog.

25th

Another stormy day with heavy rain coming in from the west on force 9B winds meant little birding in the morning but by midday it cleared enough for us to get some nice ticks for the day.

Italian Sparrow, Swift, Hooded Crow, Chaffinch, Yellow-legged Gull, Blackbird. Marsh Harrier 1m at 1250hrs. Kestrel 1, Goldfinch, Great Tit, Hoopoe 5 flying in small trees at dusk. Crested Lark, Yellow Wagtails, large flocks of these mixed ssp’s flying in the fields below. Cetti’s Warbler, Blue Tit, Greenfinch. Subalpine Warbler, Buzzard, Linnet, Corn Bunting and Rock Dove.

26th

More intermittent heavy rain showers early until mid morning but as the weather cleared it gave us chance to pop into Kissamos and check out  the river and our local beach area again.

Home….

Blackbird , several, Great Tit 4, Italian Sparrow, Hooded Crow 15, Yellow Wagtails in the 100’s, Corn Bunting 1, Subalpine Warbler 1m, Blackcap 1f, Crested Lark 2, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Rock Dove, Yellow-legged Gull, Hoopoe.

Kissamos and beach area….

Hoopoe 4. At 1210hrs …. Sparrowhawk 1, Lesser Spotted Eagle 1, Buzzard 4…. Cettis Warbler, Blackbird, Chaffinch, Greenfinch and 4 Little Ringed Plover. Yellow Wagtail 100’s, Black-eared Wheatear 1 and a pair of Northern Wheatear. Tawny Pipit, Shag 2, Cormorant 1, White Wagtail, Stonechat, Red Throated Pipit and Meadow Pipit. Sardinian Warbler, Willow Warbler 10. Blackcap, Whitethroat and Subalpine Warbler. Swallow, Goldfinch and Yellow-legged Gull.

Gramvousa….

Northern Wheatear lots about now. Yellow Wagtail, Stonechat, Crested Lark, Raven and Buzzard.

27th

We had to drop our friend off to catch the ferry to Antikythera, an early morning sortie into town was arranged for catching the boat at 0800. This turned out to be a brilliant morning for us as we have long waited to catch good views of the elusive Stone-curlew. Having seen the Indian Thicknee we have not had a sighting of any on the ground and this morning was to change all that…………….

Home…

Cetti’s Warbler, Buzzard 2, Yellow-legged Gull, Subalpine Warbler, Chaffinch, Redstart [heard] and Hooded Crow. Italian Sparrow, Hoopoe 1, Goldfinch and Greenfinch.

At Kissamos port at 0810 we found 2 Stone-curlew, the first we have seen on the ground with only two previously seen flying. We nearly ran into this pair as they sat near the church. After we had seen Eike safely on the ferry we happened to turn onto a bit of waste ground for a look at the rocks behind a brick storage area. We spent 20 minutes studying these from about 7 metres awayand managed some nice pictures. A Shag fished nearbyclose into the shore. A brilliant start to the morning.

Shag 5 2 adult and 2 imm, sat on the rocks at Viglia beach as another did a fly by bringing our total to six. Stonechat, Whinchat, Northern Wheatear, Blackbird, Hoopoe 3, Little Ringed Plover 6, Common Sandpiper 1, Italian Sparrow and White Wagtail. Greenfinch, Crested Lark, Raven 1. As we arrived home Griffon Vulture, 5were seen in the hills to the north

and  Rock Dove 2.

Instead of our usual walk onto Gramvousa we thought we would stake out a small stream that crossed a dirt track to a small church as we had seen a small number of birds there the day before. A good move…  we had an hour just before lunch near up at the church where there was little to be seen except for Crested Lark and a pair of Kestrel that were either checking out nest sites or hunting in the cracks and holes. Another hour after lunch where we first heard calling and then saw our first Wryneck of the year with another possible sighted nearby. but not confirmed I had set the new Canon 40D on auto ISO and I found afterwards that the Wryneck pictures were all overexposed with the settings chosen by the camera as 200 f5.6 with an 800 ISO. Manual settings in future.

On Gramvousa……

Subalpine Warbler, large numbers we counted upward 100 throughout the afternoon. Swallow, Red Rumped Swallow, House Martin, Crag Martin and Swift filled the air. Great tit, Chaffinch, Goldfinch 50c, Hooded Crow, Kestrel 2,  Raven 1, Buzzard 1, Wryneck 1, Crested Lark huge numbers called everywhere. Woodlark, Meadow Pipit, Rock Dove, Blackbird , Hoopoe, Greenfinch, Peregrine Falcon 1, Yellow-legged Gull, Sparrowhawk 1 at 1500hrs. Blue Rock thrush 2, Willow Warbler, Stonechat, Yellow Wagtail 2 the large numbers of the last few days took advantage of the favourable weather and disappeared northwards.

Corn Bunting 6, Cetti’s Warbler, Linnet 10, Whitethroat 1 and Blue Tit.  

28th

Another stormy morning which cleared later which kept us at home and enabled the sorting of pictures for this months diary. Whilst later in the day we had we managed to check out the gulley behind the house where we watched Hoopoe flitting between the trees and had nice views of Redstart and Black-eared Wheatear.

Sightings from home today were….

Greenfinch, Italian Sparrow, Hooded Crow, Chaffinch, Great Tit, Blackbird , Blue Tit, Yellow-legged Gull, Subalpine Warbler, Redstart 2, Black-eared Wheatear 5, Northern Wheatear 4 and Hoopoe 5. Blackcap, Goldfinch, Woodlark, Buzzard, Raven, Cetti’s Warbler, Rock Dove, Whitethroat and a Tree Pipit.

29th

A quick shopping trip to Kissamos gave us another  chance to check out the river there and the local beaches and fields. From home we saw ………

Cetti’s Warbler, Blackbird, Hooded Crow, Chaffinch, Raven, Italian Sparrow, Buzzard 3. At 1020hrs 2 dark morph Booted Eagle flew past along with 3 Buzzard. Crested Lark and Swallow. At 1040 a male Marsh Harrier hunted the fields below, whilst at 1220 a pair of kestrel huntede the nearby hills. A Hoopoe was seen in the Olive grove.

Kissamos River and Viglia beach …….

Collared Dove, White Wagtail 2, Yellow Wagtail 2 [feldegg], Little Ringed Plover 1, Swallow 12, Sand Martin 1 and Yellow-legged Gull all by the river.

Whilst searching the storm bashed Viglia beach we found a Black-winged Stilt a Common Sandpiper and a Little Ringed Plover at the dried up river mouth.

A late afternoon walk in our olive grove gave us excellent views as 9 Hoopoe fed in close proximity. Further up the hill 2 Black-eared Wheatear. Great Tit, Blackbird, and a Subalpine Warbler only one was heard, where for the last few days there were many, today they had  moved on. Chaffinch, Buzzard one of our local pair hovered like a kite in the stiff breeze over hill behind the house. A female Marsh Harrier and a Barn Owl completed the day.

30th

Birding from home only today we saw….

No less than 5 male Marsh Harrier in different stages of plumage fly by heading north the first at 0913 the last at 1125.

13 Buzzard today made a nice change as the local pair went in to see them on their way rather noisily.

Cetti’s Warbler  were very vocal in the gulley to the rear and hoping to get some better pictures of this elusive bird we hid ourselves in the shrubs for a few hours in late afternoon. Although we heard several and saw several they still prove an absolute devil to photograph as they appear and disappear so quickly ….on day !!

Italian Sparrow, Goldfinch, Red Rumped Swallow, Swallow, House Martin, Hooded Crow, Chaffinch, Woodlark, Great Tit, Crested Lark and Raven.

At 1036 a pair of Sparrowhawk flew over and a single at 1730. Griffon Vulture 5 at 1126hrs and at 1229 a pair of Kestrel [we think a pair are holding territory in the next valley towards Falasarna. Alpine Swift 6, Yellow-legged Gull, Blackbird, Swift and Stonechat. Hoopoe 7 feeding in the adjacent olive grove. Blue Tit Blackcap, Willow Warbler Sardinian Warbler Greenfinch and a Peregrine falcon at 1815 hunted from the ridges again.

31st

For the last day of the month we thought a visit to Agia lake would be good to finish off the month so along with a shopping trip we set off at around 1100.

Firstly birding at home we spotted 3 Buzzard and a Peregrine Falcon was labouring up to the ridge carrying a small white bird , looking very like a Black-eared Wheatear whist being harried by a single Hooded Crow. Cetti’s warbler called in the gulley. Chaffinch, Great Tit, Yellow-legged Gull.

At 0934 and again at 1014 a pale morph Booted Eagle, possibly the same bird. 0945 3 Griffon Vulture. Woodlark Swallow, Red Rumped Swallow, House Martin and Swift flew in large numbers all around the valley. At 1015 both an adult and an imm. Male Marsh harrier flew by being harassed by Hooded Crows. Hoopoe 2 fed in the olive grove, Alpine Swift  and raven. The Peregrine Falcon sat on its usual afternoon rock scanning the area for its evening meal.

On the coast road …Northern Wheatear, Chaffinch, Italian Sparrow, Little Ringed Plover 3, Crested Lark, Blue Rock Thrush, Collared Dove, and 3 Buzzard. Later on the way home a single Sandwich Tern flew with the YLGs.

At a small beach near Chania we found Serin and a single female Black Redstart along with one White Wagtail.

At Agia Lake….

The imm Mute Swan was still present , Shoveler 8m & 7f, 150+ Coot, Yellow-legged Gull 20+, Moorhen 20+. Little grebe 30+. Large numbers 150+ of each ….Swallow, Swift, Alpine Swift, House Martin flew with a single Crag Martin. Spotted  Redshank 1 gave nice views.

 Marsh Harrier 1, Buzzard 4 circled the lake, Yellow Wagtail  6, Cetti’s Warbler several heard and 2 seen from afar. Great Tit, our first sighting of Sedge Warbler 2 chattering together. Blackbird and a lte appearance as we left a Sand Martin..

At Gerani Bridge the only birds seen two Coot .

Flowers

Most of the Orchids are slowly going over and the last few Barbary Nuts flowered for the last time yesterday, today there was not a flower to be seen.

A note on the flowers here. The flowers mentioned at home have gone over there are still lots to be seen at higher altitudes with different species coming into flower every day.

It has been an exciting and great month with lots of migrants coming through, a few firsts for us and not just the usual fleeting glimpses. So we leave another month and hope that April is just as good if not better.  We shall be looking for Red-footed Falcon and other raptors yet to arrive. The Lammergeier returning to Gramvousa [ not seen now for a couple of months]. Flycatchers, Waders and Bee-eaters.
 

 
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