Back in Crete for the Spring Migration
Since the last diary entry we had to return to the UK for a couple of weeks and have moved to what we hope will be a long term residency at Provarma. Time has been in short supply, and the following just a brief roundup of highlights.
26th Jan - Georgioupolis Lake - 150+coot, 20 Moorhen, 2 Little Grebe, 1 Kingfisher, 1 pair of Wigeon, 1 pair Ferruginous Duck and I Red Darter sp. Dragonfly.

2nd Feb - Returning from Milia with A&M we witnessed gathering of 100+ ravens

(Above) Some of a gathering of 100+ Ravens

13th Feb - Just along our lane there are good views to the mountains. Scanning these I was watching several Buzzards, highlighted by the snow, when I noticed a larger bird with long neat wings soar amongst them and watched it for some time, resting my binoculars on a fence to try to get a better image at one stage. It glided most of the way past me perhaps over Kefalas. It appeared dark, but at one stage I saw a white breast area. It had a long outstretched head and neck with legs stretched out behind. A telescope would probably have clinched an identification, but I will have to, (because of the distance) put it down as a probable Black Stork. (This would be an early date).
17th Feb - 6th March - UK
7th March - Hooded Crows gathering nest material
8th March - 10.15am Hoopoe seen briefly on power line from one of our windows.
pm. We were invited to R&S's garden to see some of the 15 species of orchid they have recorded there. Full report in the plant section later, but for now, photo of Giant Orchid below:

(Above) Giant Orchid - Barlia robertiana

9th March - Went to see Lupins near Xirosterni (below)

11th March - 12 noon approx, Black Kite low over the sea past Kalives.

(Had report from a lady in LIDL's Hania Car Park of a pair wintering above Plaka, if you read this please supply more info)

12th March - Two Alpine Swifts over our Vamos patch, small flock House Martins near Georgipoupolis, and at the lake, 1 Grey Heron, a red (common) darter  dragonfly and more surprisingly a few Blue Tailed Damselflies.
Lake Kournas - 170+ Black-necked Grebe, 50+ Little Grebe and at approx 2.30pm small bat hunting near lake. Red Admiral and Painted Lady butterflies seen. 5pm over local patch House Martins and Crag Martins feeding together.
13th March - 7 Ravens in dispute over local patch? One incidence of talon locked freefall cart wheeling display.
15th March - First Swallow sighting a single bird over Nippos.
16th March - Two Humming Bird Hawk moths in Duliana area. Over Nippos large flock of Swifts with a few Alpine Swifts and the same Swallow? Scops Owl calling at dusk  at Lisardi.
17th March - Trip with A&M to the Amari Valley. We sighted a flock of mixed herons flying steadily through the mountains (almost certainly visible migration). Long range sighting but perhaps Grey Herons and Little Egrets. Later we watched an interaction between five Hooded Crows and a female Sparrowhawk, did she loose her temper, at any rate feathers flew!
19th March - Stilos River at the church site, a new species of Damselfly for me, Common Winter Damselfly, a species that, unusually, hibernates in adult form.

(Above) Common Winter Damselfly Sympecma fusca

22nd March - Photographed this Hoopoe (through car windscreen) along our lane.

(Above) Hoopoe Upupa epops

24th March - Petres Rivermouth: Three Little Ringed Plovers, One Common Sandpiper, a Little Egret and Swallowtail Butterfly..
Petres Gorge: At least three sitting Griffon Vultures, One feeding young. Peregrine Falcon, Kestrel and 69 Jackdaws also recorded.
On way home along hillside south of Vamos a gathering of feeding Alpine Swifts, Swifts, Swallows and House Martins

(Above) Swallowtail Butterfly

27th March - Most days hold a surprise and today's was not only the heat, but because we abandoned a longer walk in the heat we found these tulips on our patch.


29th March - A long drive today, along the north coast to Rethimno, to the South Coast via the Kourtaliotiko Gorge, along the south coast returning via the Imbros road home to Vamos.
Kourtaliotiko Gorge: Griffon Vultures, Ravens, Buzzards, Blue Rock Thrush and Jackdaws.
Near the south coast we had good views of a Chukar through telescope.
A pair of Bonelli's Eagles circled east of the Imbros Gorge.

(Above) Chuckar Alectoris chukar

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