May 2008 Report
 

                        REPORT FROM KISSAMOS BAY AREA

All pictures attached to monthly reports are photos taken on the day of the actual species mentioned and are not archived shots.

This months regulars ……14 species.

Crested Lark….Hooded Crow….Chaffinch….Yellow-legged Gull….Italian Sparrow….Sardinian Warbler….Blackbird….Cetti’s Warbler…. Greenfinch….Rock Dove….Buzzard….Great Tit….Goldfinch, Raven and Collared Dove are seen daily and not recorded in the lists below unless they are seen in significant numbers. We also have Bats roosting in the small tiled canopies above the windows, species unknown, but they are small and probably Pipistrelle.

The Lammergeier makes a welcome return this month, our first sighting on Gramvousa since January 17th.

A Montagu’s Harrier 2cy male gives nice views for five minutes.

On the 9th we leave the house at 0530 to do Common Bird Count on our 2X2km square.

A welcome change….a good afternoons birding at Tavronitis river, the best birding there for some time.

A Turnstone, entering summer plumage on the 8th.

15 Black Stork heading northeast on the 9th, we hear that 25+ were seen two days later on Lesbos, and a 2cy Montagu’s Harrier.

A straggler male Red –footed Falcon on the 12th and 2m &2f on the 15th.

Lots of Turtle Dove and Golden Oriole, still being seen well into the middle of the month.

Female Marsh Harriers regularly hunting in the lower grass covered fields for most days.

Ten different raptor species on the 16th

A Honey Buzzard  on the 20th, and two Balkan Whip Snake mating on the gravel in front of the house .

Eleonora’s Falcon seen nearly every day and Nightjar seen and heard most nights.

1st

We awoke to the lovely calls of the Golden Oriole and find four sat in a Tamarisk tree, where they stayed for most of the morning.

A Woodchat Shrike sat nearer the house joining in with his own morning chorus.

All the regular birds were quickly checked off this morning, not to be disappointed we added 2 Shag, Swallow, Alpine Swift and House Martin. A Cuckoo was spotted sitting on the telephone wire on the road to Balos, without checking back through the records we think this is a first from home.

At 10.38 a f. Marsh Harrier put in an appearance and stayed hunting the area for most of the day.

Swift and an Eleonora’s Falcon at 11.40, with Black-eared Wheatear and Stonechat.

A nice sighting at 12.45 a pale morph Booted Eagle and 4 Red Footed Falcons made their way north onto the peninsula.

We take a trip onto Gramvousa in the afternoon and hike to one of the lower hills where we get great views of Kissamos Bay and Falasarna beach at the same time.

Our first sighting, a single Griffon Vulture, 2 Kestrel, and 3 Raven. A pale morph Booted Eagle most likely the same one we saw earlier.. Four Buzzard, and 2 Blue Rock Thrush, a Black-eared Wheatear and a male and female Marsh Harrier. As we got higher, a flock of Linnet a female Redstart and a Whitethroat. On the way down….Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Yellow wagtail, Goldfinch, Sardinian Warbler, Stonechat, Whinchat, Woodlark, Crested Lark and Corn Bunting. Hooded Crow, a Chukar was flushed and flew noisily away, Italian Sparrow, Cetti’s Warbler and Chaffinch.

A small flock of Bee-eater and 3 Woodchat Shrike rounded off our trip.

Late evening Nightjar were heard with their strange whirring call.

2nd

Swift, Swallow, House Martin, Alpine Swift. At 10.45 a f Marsh Harrier. A cuckoo, our first seen at home sat on the telephone wires on the Gramvousa road. m&f Red-footed Falcon 2, Buzzard 2, 11.00hrs, three Golden Oriole sat calling in the Eucalyptus trees, 11.20hrs, 2 Eleonora’s Falcon , Stonechat, 11.20hrs a Little Egret, 15.05hrs 10 Bee-eaters, 15.40hrs Golden Eagle seen hunting low over the hills of the peninsula. A male Woodchat Shrike, 1 Spotted Flycatcher and late evening a Nightjar.

Along the beach road………….. Buzzard, Red-footed Falcon, Crested Lark, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, 1 Little Ringed Plover, 1 Common Sandpiper, Great Tit, Yellow-legged Gull, Little Egret, Corn Bunting, Blackbird, Italian Sparrow and Collared Dove.

3rd

At 08.40hrs a f Marsh Harrier hunting the grass fields below. Swallow, House Martin, 09.30hrs a Kestrel, Alpine Swift, 2 Buzzard, a family of Great Tit moving between the olive trees, 11.07hrs a pale morph Booted Eagle and at 11.40 two more pale morphs.  At 11.20 Eleonora’s falcon 2 , Woodlark, later that evening a Nightjar and Barn Owl were heard nearby.

A Cretan Hare was seen near the house mid morning these are not often seen during daylight and we watched for some minutes before hopped slowly into some cover.

During the morning its off to do half the survey of the 2X2km square for the common bird count, finding and getting to the points proved to be easier than the first 2X2 that was on Gramvousa with some points totally inaccessible. Some of this squares points also proved to be impossible to get to so ended up with 14 instead of 15 locations. Whilst surveying birds seen were…….. Yellow-legged Gull, Cetti’s warbler, Goldfinch, Blackbird, Sardinian Warbler, Buzzard, Chaffinch, Corn Bunting, Stonechat, Crested Lark, Swallow, Cuckoo, Blue Tit at nest site, Woodlark, Italian Sparrow , Raven, a Whinchat recently fledged, a nice sighting of 5 Turtle Dove, every day we discover more of these vulnerable doves. Greenfinch, Hooded Crow, Bee-eaters 6, Spotted Flycatcher 1, Linnet and Golden Oriole. On Friday the 9th will set off early at 05.30 to do the first of the counts.

4th

The first Cicada’s heard soon the olive groves will be full of these noisy insects and the noise will be deafening in July and August.

Woodlark called up on the hill, at 08.05 three Buzzard, Goldfinch seen feeding young, Great Tit doing the same with their recently fledged. 08.27 a single f Marsh harrier hunting the fields. House martin, Swallow, 08.50 a Kestrel, 2 Spotted Flycatcher, 09.05, 19 Bee-eaters, at 09.50hrs a male Marsh Harrier joined the female, 10.00hrs two pale morph Booted Eagle, Alpine Swift, a male Blue Rock Thrush, at 18.45hrs a Peregrine Falcon did three stoops within half a minute failing in all as the targets  jinked away into cover and safety.

For the second part of the common bird count survey a trip to higher ground was necessary.

Turtle Dove, Greenfinch , Chaffinch, Sardinian Warbler, Blackbird, Great Tit, Goldfinch, Blackcap, Blue Tit, Italian Sparrow, Cetti’s Warbler, Buzzard, Yellow-legged Gull, Crested Lark, House Martin, 2 Eleonora’s Falcon, 3 Griffon Vulture, Stonechat, Alpine Swift, Linnet, Swallow, Corn Bunting, 2 Marsh Harrier and Red-rumped Swallow.

5th

No real count today as we had to go to Chania, apart from the usual we had a female Marsh Harrier seen swooping over the lower grass fields.

On route to Chania a Blue Rock Thrush, Yellow-legged Gull, 1 Little Ringed Plover. In Chania, over the harbour, the screeching of the Swift drew our attention as we lunched and were entertained watching their flying skills. Along the highway, a total of 8 Buzzard.

6th

Today the tractors were out starting to mow the spring grasses where the Harriers hunt.

We do a trip to Tavronitis river late morning.

At home we had 10 Bee-eaters, Woodchat Shrike, Swift, swallow, House Martin, at 09.50 a Cuckoo again seen this time on the fence yards from the house. Stonechat, 09.13hrs an Eleonora’s Falcon, 10.05 the female Marsh Harrier hunted to the rear of the house as the local farmers continued to cut the grass later when they had finished she returned to her regular hunting area. 10.50hrs 60+ Bee-eaters flew noisily over followed by 2 Grey Wagtail. In the evening Nightjar again heard nearby.

On the trip to Tavronitis we stopped off at Rapaniana at a small bridge over a rapidly drying river near to Minothiana, here we stopped longer than expected, we did not think we would see much but it was a lucky productive stop. We had 5 Little Bittern, 1 Little Egret. Cetti’s Warbler usually only heard , this one flew constantly under the bridge landing in the Bamboo very close to us, stopping only for seconds we never managed a picture. 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Temmincks Stint, 2 Wood Sandpiper.

Wood Sandpiper drying after its bath, photo by and © C&S

 1 Green Sandpiper, 1 Moorhen. Swallow continually flew overhead as Greenfinch and Goldfinch came in to drink and bathe. Sedge Warbler hopped from stem to stem in the riverside bamboo and a lone Blackbird sang and was occasionally seen crossing the river.

We eventually tore ourselves away hoping for good things for a change at Tavronitis, on the way we saw Crested Lark, Italian Sparrow, 2 Little Ringed Plover, Yellow-legged Gull, 3 Blue Rock Thrush, Collared Dove, Hooded Crow, Corn Bunting and Chaffinch.

At Tavronitis we found more than usual with, c10 Little Ringed Plover, 24 Bee-eater, 4 Hooded Crow, 1 Marsh Harrier, 1 Little Bittern, 1 Little Egret, 6 Wood Sandpiper, 1 Curlew Sandpiper, 4 Ruff, 2 Temmincks Stint, 2 Little Stint, Italian Sparrow, Goldfinch, Cetti’s warbler, Sedge Warbler, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Moorhen, 8 Blackbird, 1 Grey Heron, 15 Common Sandpiper, 1 Hoopoe, 3 Buzzard, 3 Serin, 2 Collared Dove and 1 Yellow Wagtail.

A single Shag flew along the coast. 1 Cuckoo. Chaffinch, and Sardinian Warbler finished off a very nice afternoon.

7th

A day at work today as we started to clear the olive grove ready for laying the water pipes.

We heard Bee-eater but could not see them but at 10.05hrs we managed to see 10 as they flew alongside a pale morph Booted Eagle, Swallow and House Martin and at night a Barn Owl.

8th

The usual birds were very quickly seen and at 10.30 we had Swift, 1 pale morph Booted Eagle, 1 Kestrel and 2 Buzzard all circling the house together.

At 11.00hrs a lone Griffon Vulture and at 11.05hrs 1 Honey buzzard. At 11.25 a Peregrine Falcon took on a Kestrel, feathers flew  and the birds tumbled and tore through he sky the Kestrel eventually losing the Peregrine as it dived fast into the olive trees and into cover.

We had to go into Kissamos 4 Km away to get supplies, at the river mouth we spotted, 2 Little Egret, 1 little Ringed |Plover,  6 Little Stint and a nice sighting, a summer plumage Turnstone, only our second sighting of this species.

Turnstone, photo by and © C&S

9th

Up early at 05.00 this morning to do the common bird count.

As I went out the door a Barn Owl flew past followed by a Nightjar.

On the bird count were seen… Blackbird, Sardinian warbler, Hooded Crow, Great tit, Chaffinch, Blue Tit, Turtle Dove, Goldfinch, Collared Dove , Yellow-legged Gull, Bee-eater, Golden Oriole, Italian Sparrow, Cetti’s Warbler, Stonechat, Whinchat, Blue Rock Thrush, Woodlark, Crested Lark, Corn Bunting, Swallow, House Martin, Swift, Alpine Swift, Buzzard, Spotted Flycatcher, Linnet, Eleonora’s Falcon.

Sue joined me at the last point and we breakfasted near a small church [Agios Alexis] we stayed here until 12.15 seeing a lone Marsh Harrier hunting the ridges nearby, a Raven and Greenfinch. A single Griffon Vulture circled overhead before heading onto the peninsula and just as we were getting packed up ready top go the best sighting of the day an immature Lammergeier suddenly appeared from nowhere right overhead circled twice to give us great views and followed  the Griffon onto Gramvousa. Elated as this is the first sighting of Lammergeier since January we returned home hoping that we would get more sightings through the day. On the way we saw another Cretan Hare.

Lammergeier, photo by and © C&S

At home we saw throughout the afternoon….. 15 Hooded Crow, Swallow, Woodlark, Swift, House Martin, 15.30 three Kestrel, Alpine Swift, Raven. A pair of Chaffinch mated on a fence whilst we ate lunch !!!. At 15.30 a 2cy Montagu’s Harrier appeared over the hill.

Montagu’s Harrier, photo by and © C&S

At 16.00 we again sighted the female Marsh Harrier as she hunted the lower fields. At 20.00 Sue spotted 15 Black Stork flying high in the south, calling me from the shower, I ran out covered in foam [not a pretty sight, thank goodness we do not have neighbours near] in my haste to catch site of these rarities and just in time to catch a distant picture as they flew northwards. We heard on the 13th that 25+ had arrived on Lesbos late on the 11th. Some of the same birds maybe?

A very distant shot of 15 Black Stork, photo by and © C&S

Later that night Nightjar and Scops Owl called.

10th

We awoke to sunshine; cloud quickly came in bringing rain which stayed with us until mid morning of 11th.

Not a large list today but we did manage a few early spots…. Bee-eater 10+, 2 female Marsh Harrier again over the lower fields, 2 Shag, 09.50hrs an Eleonora’s Falcon and at 09.50 crows harried a Black Kite and chased it off onto the peninsula. Several families of Great Tit with the adults continually feeding and moving their young.

At 10.17 a single Bonelli’s Eagle lifted  high above Gramvousa.

Swallow, Swift and House Martin.

Taking our dog Mia for her nightly walk she put up a Nightjar sat on our gatepost.

11th

We never got any birding in the early morning although we could see at 09.50 the f Marsh Harrier continued her hunting below, with the rains the farmers will not be doing the mowing, how long will she stay? We caught up on the diary and editing photos until the weather cleared. Later we heard, Bee-eater. A Spotted Flycatcher sat and hunted insects from an olive tree close to us even giving time to fetch tripod and camera we managed some close up shots. Flycatcher… NOT…. this one liked Butterflies !

Spotted Flycatcher with butterfly, photo by and © C&S

Spotted Flycatcher, photo by and © C&S

10.22 we spotted 3 Woodchat Shrike sat 100metres apart. 4 Swallow. We took a walk from the house along a dirt track, we found a Blue Tit with food and followed her flight to her nest site in a crack in a large boulder. Willow Warbler, Raven, Goldfinch, Kestrel, looking into the fields we noticed a second female Marsh Harrier. We had a Greenfinch  also carrying food but were unable to see it’s  nest site. A single Rock Dove passed quickly overhead.

12th

2 male Golden Oriole called and moved through the eucalyptus trees, their lovely piping fluty calls betrayed their presence throughout the morning. We had only brief views of this bright yellow and black bird. We find the best way to spot them is to look for the deep black and not the yellow, in the eucalyptus trees, the yellow merges with the leaves but the black really does stand out.

Swallow, Swift, 4 Buzzard, Woodchat Shrike, Raven 3, 0916hrs the two female Marsh Harrier were still present. Bee-eaters three groups 8+15+7.

Spotted Flycatcher 2. At 10.45hrs, 8 Griffon Vulture rose from Gramvousa, we were beginning to wonder where these birds were as we had only a few single sightings instead of groups. They just as quickly disappeared from view but it was with some relief that we saw them in numbers again.

We had 1 Eleonora’s Falcon at 10.55 and 14.36, a Kestrel at 10.57 and a Peregrine Falcon at 11.50. Blue Tit and Corn Bunting.

Along the beach road and Kissamos River mouth….

A nice sighting, a lone male Red-footed Falcon perched on the electric wires, this bird was at least a week later than the large numbers we saw early in the month.

Forty-one Bee-eaters sat on electric wires occasionally lifting off in the quest for large invertebrates.

Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Great Tit with young, Blackbird, Chaffinch, Blue Rock Thrush….at the river 14 Little Stint, 1 Wood Sandpiper, 2 Little egret and Collared Dove.

Little Stint, photo by and © C&S

Wood Sandpiper, photo by and © C&S

13th

Corn Bunting, at 10.46 female Marsh Harrier, Swallow 1, at 11.42 an Eleonora’s Falcon, Great Tit: 2 Adults and 5 young flew into the garden landing in the grapevine metres away. A lone Raven flew across an otherwise empty sky. At 15.15 we heard but again did not see Bee-eaters and a Kestrel was seen hovering above the hill nearby.

14th

Kestrel, 14 Bee-eater, Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, House Martin, 1 Shag, Blue Tit 2, Griffon Vulture 3, Black-eared Wheatear, 2 and Corn Bunting.

15th

A Woodchat Shrike, Bee-eater 4 plus others heard, Blue Tit, Swallow and a Golden Oriole was heard. At 10.05 Griffon Vulture 8, lifted of Gramvousa one headed south the others circled for some minutes before heading northwest onto the peninsula. A Peregrine Falcon at 10.30, joined by the Griffons which had returned. A Shag swam just offshore, a female Marsh Harrier slowly moved hunting low over the grass fields hunting. Spotted Flycatcher.

With the fuel crisis coming to an end we ventured into Kissamos, at the river mouth 6 Little Stint, 1 Little Egret. Along the way 1 Little Ringed Plover, 1 Blue Rock Thrush, Crested Lark, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Collared Dove, 6 Buzzard, Yellow-legged Gull, Spotted Flycatcher and a Shag. At 18.00 we see two Red-footed Falcon and closer looks through the telescope reveal a male and female, they continued hunting until nearly dark. Whilst watching these there are two female Marsh Harrier in the same area.

Late evening two Scops Owl and a Barn Owl heard nearby and at least four Nightjar in the vicinity

16th

We were looking to go to Lake Agia but there still appears to be no fuel deliveries in this area so we decide to stay at home.

It turned out to be a good move with several species of raptor seen over the day.

Apart from our usual birds we started the day with Spotted Flycatcher and counted 8 by evening. Stonechat, Corn Bunting, Swift, Woodchat Shrike, Swallow, 2 Golden Oriole, nice to see these are still moving through, Woodlark could be heard on the hills and Bee-eaters in small numbers throughout the day. Blue Tit, Alpine Swift and 2 Shag.

Raptors……At 08.40 an Aquila was seen sat on top of one of the higher hills of Gramvousa unfortunately the distortion from heat haze made it unable to ID properly. At 09.00 a f Marsh Harrier was again observed in the lower fields, whilst watching her hunt we noticed 4 Red-footed Falcons sitting on the electric wires along the coast road. At 09.45 a single Griffon Vulture lifted off Gramvousa and above we spotted a pale morph Booted Eagle. 10.00hrs a Bonelli’s Eagle soared high then as quickly was away over the ridges. Two Kestrel hunted nearby and at 11.23 we had an Eleonora’s Falcon swoop in close to the house.

Eleonora’s Falcon, photo by and © C&S

Five Griffon Vulture appeared at 13.05, flying in a line they headed onto Gramvousa disappearing over the high ridges.

At 15.00 an immature Peregrine Falcon soared above giving excellent views.

Immature Peregrine Falcon, photo by and © C&S

Then at 18.45 an adult female Peregrine was seen hunting from rocks nearby, she would land with the sun setting behind, sit for a while then dive off straight into a stoop down toward the olive trees several stoops were made, we left her sitting above without getting a meal.

In the night we heard several Nightjar very close to the house but again they could not be seen.

Reptiles…

A Balkan Whip Snake in the dead leaves under our Ficus tree and a Balkan Green Lizard shedding its skin.

Balkan Green Lizard, photo by and © C&S

17th

The first birds of the day were the Golden Oriole which called and flew for most of the day nearby we recorded five but there were more that we could not see.. Nine Shag down along the coast, Corn Bunting, Eleonora’s Falcon at 09.00 & 10.15, Swift, The same immature Lammergeier was seen at 09.39  a good five minutes viewing before it headed of south down the west coast. Alpine Swift, Swallow, Kestrel. Stonechat, 4 Raven, 3 Buzzard flew over the back garden one carrying a large snake in its talons. Three sightings of Griffon Vulture 11.49 [1], 13.09 [1] and 13.27 when 16 individuals lifted up catching several thermals before heading off towards the Topolia, Deliana gorge area, the most that we have seen together for a long while. A Little egret was spotted resting on rocks along the coast and 5 Jackdaws appeared in a sheep pen, a species not usually seen around here. Spotted Flycatcher around all day with numbers increasing with c 10 today. A pair of Woodchat Shrike hunted together amongst the smaller trees. At 17.15 a female Marsh Harrier was seen off the lower fields by the Hooded Crows. At least six Nightjar calling nearby.

18th

During the night at 1am Woodlark were heard calling on the hill. Great Tit with young sat on a small trough we had filled with water watching a Balkan green Lizard as it lay in the sun inches beneath them. Golden Oriole still present in the eucalyptus trees, 6 Shag, Swallow, Swift, Woodlark, at 09.29 an Eleonora’s Falcon, 4 Buzzard, 1 little Egret, Alpine Swift and Woodchat Shrike. A single Bee-eater. Blue Tit. At 19.40 a nice surprise, an Isabelline Wheatear. Just after dark a Scops Owl called and several Nightjar were also heard. During the night somewhere around 4am a Scops Owl woke us with its monotonous call. It was very close to the house and called for several minutes before flying off.

19th

We were going to do a trip to Agia but once again circumstances dictated otherwise, so apart from a quick trip to Kissamos we stayed at home. Corn Bunting could be heard on the hills along with woodlark. Swift and Swallow swooped all around, whilst the two young Great Tit are still present along with one parent. Three Turtle Dove flew low and fast onto the peninsula and at 2pm another two did the same. At 10.25, Seven Eleonora’s Falcon were spotted along with about 30 Yellow-legged Gull all circling together over the beach and lower fields a Buzzard joined them for a few moments before they all dispersed

Along the way to Kissamos 1 Shag, 1 Little Egret, Collared Dove and a Kestrel.

We stayed around the house photographing and watching approx. 15 different species of insect as they fed on a flowering Oregano plant.

20th

Today we definitely get our trip to the lake, but missing the early morning we arrive near midday.

At home we had Swift, Swallow, Kestrel, Bee-eater, Woodchat Shrike, Golden Oriole, lots of young Great Tit. At 09.00 a female Marsh harrier lifted off from the fields and spiralled high before heading off towards Falasarna. Alpine Swift and House Martin, and a nice spot at 09.20 a Honey Buzzard circled over the house before heading out onto Gramvousa.

Honey buzzard, photo by and © C&S

Blue Tit, and Woodlark. At 09.24 we watched as an Eleonora’s Falcon took on a Kestrel, as they swooped around each other the larger Eleonora’s made the Kestrel drop a snake it was holding in its talons, the Eleonora’s caught the snake in midair then dropped it a few moments later and carried on away, making no attempt to retrieve a tasty meal.

Two Balkan Whip snake were spotted as they exploded from the undergrowth onto the gravel area in front of the house, a big wow factor this, having never seen snakes performing their mating ritual before. They danced and swayed together before intertwining, this act was repeated several times before they broke away and headed in opposite directions.

Mating Balkan Whip Snakes, photo by and © C&S

Mating Balkan Whip Snakes, photo by and © C&S

Mating Balkan Whip Snakes, photo by and © C&S

Late evening a Green Toad Bufo viridis appeared on a balcony.

Nightjar could be heard, again very close to the house and two Scops Owl could also be heard.

On the way to the lake………. 4 Buzzard, Little Ringed Plover, Stonechat, Italian Sparrow, Crested Lark. Three Eleonora’s Falcon were seen hunting over the small fishing port and main road at Kissamos. Collared Dove, Yellow-legged Gull, and at Gerani Bridge a Little Egret. On from Gerani ,Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Serin, Spotted Flycatcher, Corn Bunting and Blackbird.

At the lake……Cetti’s Warbler, 1 Grey Heron. Coot and Moorhen, both with young, Little Egret 3, Squacco Heron 5, Yellow-legged Gull, Little Grebe, and 4 Little Crake. Italian Sparrow, 1 Little Bittern, 2 Buzzard, Stonechat, Hooded Crow and Swift.

21st

Corn Bunting, 1 Shag, at 08.57, 09.50 and 10.43 we had Eleonora’s Falcon over, with one spotted sat on the rocks nearby. A pale and black-throated Wheatear followed each other through the scrub in the neighbouring field. At 10.40 we spotted 2 Bonelli’s eagle on the high ridges along with 3 Kestrel, and a Woodchat Shrike drew attention to itself as it called from a nearby bush. Woodlark, Blue Tit and Stonechat. Air pollution due to sand from Africa today, reduced visibility and left everywhere with a fine covering of dust once again.

22nd

A very quiet day today with just 2Woodchat Shrike, 1 Shag, 1 Kestrel and Corn Bunting to add to the regular sightings. We have seen lots of small family parties of Great Tit moving about this morning a nice sight as the young constantly chatter away as the parent birds move them along through he olive trees. During the night [03.00] Hooded Crow, Crested Larkcould be seen flying during the full moon and heard calling. Scops Owl and Nightjar were also about.

23rd

Bee-eater, Woodchat Shrike, Corn Bunting, Kestrel, Swallow.

A local drive produced 2 Marsh Harrier, 5 Griffon Vulture, Stonechat, Swallow, Sardinian Warbler, Great Tit, Chaffinch, Cetti’s Warbler, Wren, Turtle Dove, Blackbird, Yellow-legged Gull, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Raven, Buzzard an Crested Lark. Later a Barn Owl sat on the roof and called for about 5 minutes.

24th

3 Black-eared Wheatear, Corn Bunting, House Martin. At 0815 a single Griffon Vulture joined an hour later by four more. Doing a 360 degree scan around the house, 3 Woodchat Shrike. A look out to sea through the telescope we spotted, an adult and immature Shag. Swift and Alpine Swift were seen in the afternoon in small numbers. At 10pm we sat listening to the Nightjar. Whilst taking our dog Mia for a nighttime walk a Barn Owl sat unconcerned on our boundary fence. The Balkan Green Lizard is seen regularly throughout the day, a total of six adults seen.

25th

 A Corn Bunting sat on the same piece of fence that the barn owl was on last night, its jingling call waking us at 7am, Woodchat Shrike was seen on nearby shrubs and Bee-eaters could be heard in the distance, a nice start to a Sunday morning. A Woodlark joined in with its call as we watched a Spotted Flycatcher sat on a nearby olive tree. Seven Buzzard were seen as they circled in the Kaliviani basin. At 10.20 2 Buzzard, a pale morph Booted Eagle, a Kestrel and an immature Peregrine Falcon circled above the house before heading onto the peninsula. Swallow, House Martin, Alpine Swift swooped overhead in their hunt for insects. Two Shag were seen 100metres off shore, a little later another eight were spotted as they swam together to join up with the other two. Giving us 25 species before morning coffee.

26th

House Martin, 1 Shag, Stonechat, 1 Kestrel, Corn Bunting, Bee-eater, Woodchat Shrike, Swallow.

Along the beach road…. 2 Little Ringed Plover, Yellow-legged Gull, 1 Little Egret, Crested Lark, 1 Eleonora’s Falcon, Collared Dove, Buzzard and Blue Rock Thrush.

27th

A fairly quiet day as we were kept busy grass cutting, but we managed , Corn Bunting singing very close to the house again, many young Great Tit in small family groups, Swift and Alpine Swift.

The late afternoon was brilliant, a distant Aquila on Gramvousa then the noise of very close Bee-eater, we find 6 sat on the fence behind the garden about 15 metres away, keeping low we get to the back wall and they are flying two metres above our heads, absolutely fantastic watching as they took large Scolia flavifrons as they emerged from the herb bushes for about ten minutes, unfortunately the sun was getting low right behind the fence they were using to perch. A Kestrel appeared then an Eleonora’s Falcon.

As night fell the Nightjar were in really close for a while then just as we were headed for bed a Barn Owl sat on the same fence the Bee-eaters were sat.

Barn Owl, taken with garden floodlight on, photo by and © C&S

28th

Corn Bunting, Swift, 1 Little Egret, Corn Bunting, 2 [? Pair] Woodchat Shrike, 1 Kestrel, Black-eared Wheatear, Swallow, House Martin, 1 Little Ringed Plover  3 Eleonora’s Falcon. A brief, distant glimpse of the Lammergeier as one flew onto the peninsula.  At night Mia found a Badger in the newly treed area, we had noticed a lot of ground disturbance and thought it was the work of badger.  Nightjar called from several locations.

In and around Kissamos….Little Ringed Plover 2, Common Sandpiper 1, Little Egret 1, Collared Dove, 1 Turtle Dove, Buzzard, Sardinian Warbler, Chaffinch, Blackbird, Bee-eater, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Italian Sparrow and Yellow-legged Gull.

29th

This morning we had to take a car and put on the ferry to Antikythera for 8am. We decided to walk back, not a good day to do this, we discovered when we got home at 09.45 it was 32oC. It was easier to see the Little Ringed Plover we counted 12, also a pair of Turtle Dove, an Eleonora’s Falcon and a Grey Heron.

Stonechat, Crested Lark, Goldfinch, Blue Rock Thrush, Yellow-legged Gull, Cetti’s Warbler, Great Tit, Italian Sparrow, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Swallow and Hooded Crow were also seen on route.

At home….

1 Shag was seen on the sea, Swift, Swallow, Woodchat Shrike, a pale throated Black-eared Wheatear and Corn Bunting and Nightjar.

30th

Up at 05.00 and the dawn chorus was brilliant, lots of Blackbird and a few Greenfinch and Corn Bunting.

Later a Turtle Dove was heard. A Kestrel hunted alongside the coast road.

In Kissamos a hunting Barn Owl was heard. Returning home late evening several wild rabbit were seen on our track to the house.

31st

A very quiet day to the end of the month, temperatures soar into the low 30’s and a strong SW wind starting to gust at 13.00.

Sue sights a Cretan Hare on the hill behind the house and a very large Balkan Green Lizard sat in the sun in the olive grove. An Eleonora’s Falcon flies through at 11.06. 5 Shag fish in a group just offshore. Late in the afternoon 1Corn Bunting, 1 Alpine Swift and 1 Woodchat Shrike. Sat on the balcony at night, we hear… Nightjar, Barn and Scops Owl.

SUMMARY FOR THE MONTH.

Spotted Flycatcher numbers over the last two months have been really low this year, a trend likely to continue as habitat destruction takes place both in Europe and Africa. Sightings of Griffon Vulture and Lammergeier on Gramvousa are also disappointing this month, although we search the hills around the summit of Geroskinos, the highest mountain on Gramvousa at 762m, the skies have stayed mostly empty of these impressive Vultures.

Golden Oriole and Turtle Dove numbers were up, with Turtle Dove still present in the area until the end of the month

We never got to check the Griffons again at Deliana but hope to next month to see if the young are near to flying.

There are lots of Great Tit and Goldfinch young constantly chattering away as they hunt in groups through the olive trees and nearby Garrigue.

The Red-footed Falcon did not disappoint this year and we managed some nice close up viewing. The Eleonora’s Falcon is back and several birds hunted the area and flew very close to the house for a change.

The marsh area at Falasarna has by now dried right up and wading species will have moved on.

As migration slows down and temperatures rise, June could be quiet, but then again anything could turn up at anytime…..

Colin and Sue
 

Diary index