|October 2008 Report
REPORT FROM KISSAMOS BAY AREA
Our report starts midway into October after our fantastic extended stay at Antikythira where we volunteered for the raptor migration monitoring. Originally a two week project we decided to stay an extra week and returned late on Wednesday 15th
We saw twenty eight different species of raptor with a few firsts for us and a total of 92 bird species. See our separate report in the Antikythira section
Black Redstart arrive, again roosting on the rear pergola on 19th
Two new species to add to our Crete list on the 20th
A Great Egret at Agia also on the 20th.
Chaffinch, Italian Sparrow, House Sparrow, Stonechat, Goldfinch, Blue Rock Thrush, Blackbird, Woodlark and Robin. Great Tit, Blackcap, Hooded Crow, Greenfinch, Blue Tit, Buzzard and Sardinian Warbler. A Juv Short-toed Eagle and a dark morph Booted Eagle interacted above the house before parting with the Shot-toed staying around to hunt.
A possible Hobby tore through the olive grove giving only the briefest view. A Shag was seen sat on a rock near Balos Beach Hotel. White Wagtail, Raven, Cetti’s Warbler, a distant Scops Owl was heard late in the evening.
We had great views of another juv. Short-toed Eagle, this was seen low over the highway at the small fishing harbour just outside Kissamos , we pulled over and watched as it flew only a few metres above us before soaring up and out over the bay. At home we had Hooded Crow, Goldfinch, Stonechat, Woodlark, Buzzard, Blackbird, Raven, Robin, Crested Lark, Grey Wagtail, Northern Wheatear, Cetti’s Warbler.
We awoke to the calls of Robin, Hooded Crow and Woodlark. Later as we sorted out our gear for a trip to Chania shops, we once again heard the harsh calls of the Hooded Crow that tells us of an intruder in their territory and found a dark morph Booted Eagle being harassed by ten birds it circled several times nearby dodging the crows attacks. Suddenly it went into a stoop and grabbed at probably a Crested Lark in the fields to the front of the house and flew low into the nearby olive trees. We never got to see it emerge as at that moment the phone rang.
Margaret called to tell us of two juv White Pelicans at Georgioupolis water. This site is over an hour away east of Chania but as we have not seen Pelican here we decided the trip would be worth it.
At Georgioupolis water there was no sign of the Pelican, Alan told us before we arrived that they had gone into the reeds, we saw, 1 Kingfisher, 5 Snipe [ the first of our new species on Crete ] 1 Little Stint, many Moorhen and Coot along with Little Grebe.
We then saw our second new species White Pelican, as single juv. was spotted swimming near the pump station, it only stayed in view for half a minute then disappeared from view. A female Marsh Harrier flew low in from our left by the main highway and later another younger bird was spotted on the other side of the lake. A single Purple Heron flew to the far side of the lake and also disappeared behind the pump station. Hooded Crow, Goldfinch, Italian and House Sparrow were quickly added to the list. One of the Pelicans flew from the pump station and landed nearby, the sight of this large bird approaching scattered all the coot , domestic duck and smaller birds which all took flight into the reeds nearby, the Pelican landed and swam in our direction coming to within metres of us.
A fantastic view, later the other bird a little older, flew in and they joined up and came in very close.
Alan and Margaret arrived and a few others on holiday, we were all treated to excellent views of these fantastic and all too rare birds.
We stayed for nearly three hours here also getting Serin, Grey wagtail, Swallow, Greenfinch, 3 Common Buzzard, Cetti’s Warbler. A pale morph Booted Eagle hunted a few hundred metres away also giving great views. Spotted Flycatcher, Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff. As we left we spotted a Sparrowhawk, we stopped to watch as it hunted and found a wing of a bird in the road which we think was from either a Ferruginus or Tufted Duck. We stopped overlooking Souda Bay, where we spotted several Yellow-legged Gulls.
We decided to pay a visit to Agia Lake as it was only a short way off our route home. A short visit was planned as we still had to get some food stocks in from Chania. Well we ended up here for over one and a half hours.
The first birds seen a flock of 60+ Starling, 8 Grey Heron were sat at various points around the still very low waters. A Sparrowhawk flew low over our heads, whilst Hooded Crow fed along the mud edges on the far side of the lake. Coot, Moorhen and Little Grebe were there in their usual large numbers, Swallow and Crag Martin flew overhead whilst on the exposed mud banks there were…Mallard 4, Gadwall 3, Ferruginous duck 19, Pochard 13,Teal 24 and Shoveler 6. Cetti’s Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Great Tit, Blackbird, Chaffinch and Robin were calling from the trees and shrub behind us. 2 Water Rail were spotted on the northern bank and 3 Little Egret appeared from the eastern side. A Great White Egret was spotted as it emerged from behind an old building that is usually partially submerged. A pair of Common Buzzard circled to the south. Whilst at least 8 Kingfisher were seen as they fished and disputed their winter quarters.
We eventually returned home well after 7pm on a day that was initially designated for a food shopping trip… We found our Black Redstart were still here, the numbers should increase and they will use the pergola for their winter roost…..What could be better!
A single Buzzard and large flocks of Goldfinch flew in the same area. Chaffinch, Hooded Crow, Great Tit, Yellow-legged Gull, Blackbird, Cetti’s Warbler and Robin. Our two Black Redstart at nightfall.
Crested Lark, Hooded Crow, at 09.10hrs, 4 Griffon Vulture followed by several more, these were seen throughout the day as they soared over the ridges of the peninsula. Goldfinch.
Peregrine Falcon, Robin, Serin, Raven, Common Buzzard 3, Stonechat and Black Redstart.
A pale morph Booted Eagle, a Marsh Harrier with 3 common Buzzard circled overhead before exiting south. Kestrel, Blackbird, Red-rumped Swallow 6 and 1 Shag.
AT HOME we saw…… Hooded Crow, Black Redstart, Robin, Willow Warbler, Italian Sparrow, Cetti’s Warbler, Blackbird, Goldfinch and Great Tit.
WE SET OFF at 08.00 heading for Agia, on route within 2km of the house we saw….
Along the beach road, White Wagtail, Kingfisher, 1 Common Sandpiper, Stonechat, Cetti’s Warbler. In the space of 1 km we saw 3 Blue Rock Thrush, Collared Dove, Common Buzzard, Corn Bunting, Great Tit, Italian Sparrow, Crested Lark and Goldfinch.
2 Little Egret, 7 Grey Heron, 1 Common Buzzard, 2 Yellow-legged Gull, 50+ Little Grebe, 14 Shoveler.
48 Teal, 23 Ferruginous Duck, 1 Garganey, 1 Mallard, 9 Pochard, 300+ Coot, 5 Water Rail, 1 Little Bittern, 1 Little Stint, 10 Snipe…. We have never seen Snipe at Agia before and ten was really a nice sight. 1 Barn Swallow, 9 possibly more Kingfisher.
Sedge Warbler, Cetti’s Warbler, Great Tit, Robin, Stonechat, White Wagtail, Yellow Wagtail and Grey Wagtail. Italian Sparrow, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Blackbird, Hooded Crow, Goldfinch, Moorhen and 1 Great Egret.
OMALOS AND ONROUTE 11.00-18.00hrs…….
A pale morph Booted Eagle, 3 Sparrowhawk, 15 Griffon Vulture, 3 Common Buzzard, 20 then 60+ Raven in two groups…the 60+ birds were seen on route home as darkness fell, they all lifted off from the roadside and circled noisily before splitting and heading into the hills, A very noisy and thrilling experience having never seen so many of these together before I think groups of Raven are called a “Conspiracy” .
11 Chough fed in a recently ploughed field on Omalos plateau, whilst Jays, Woodlark and Crested Lark could be seen and heard all around. A few Linnet and Goldfinch drank from the ever diminishing pools on the plateau.
Wren, 1 Wood Pigeon, Blue Tit, Blackbird, Cirl Bunting and Chaffinch. Great Tit, Robin, Hooded Crow, Grey Wagtail and Stonechat. Crag Martin and Swallow were seen frequently in small groups.
A long and rewarding day and if our maths are correct fifty one bird species, unfortunately we missed out on our target birds Golden Eagle and Lammergeier. We found several nice species of flower and of course the fantastic mountain scenery.
Later that night as we set the moth trap a new moth species for us a Striped Hawkmoth Hyles lineate ssp. Livornica.
Robin, Stonechat, Italian Sparrow, Hooded Crow, 2 Shag, 20+ Yellow-legged Gull, Black Redstart, Blackcap, Goldfinch, Cetti’s Warbler, Blue rock Thrush, 4 Tree Pipit, Crested Lark, Great Tit and in the early evening a Barn Owl.
After our trip to Antikythera we were delighted to still see the odd Booted and Short-toed Eagles around for the rest of the month.
We experienced problems with the internet that were not resolved until the last day of this month which hindered us getting our trip report and photos online. We can now get on with sorting a few more to put on our own blogg.
Big thanks to Alan and Margaret for calling our attention to the White Pelicans along with the Snipe and a great few hours spent in their company.
So this month ends with high temperatures and a slowing down of migration. With little rain now for several months in this area of Crete, we noticed on the 31st that many Olive trees are suffering with the crops shrivelled and small. We though are lucky, our 38 trees have reasonable crops of a good size. We can but hope for a moderate harvest which we will start in the second week of November when we can expect a week of hard work and little or no birding…….
Our Crete species list now stands at 199Colin and Sue
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