ΜΑΡΤІΟΣ - March - 2006

4th: First trip into the mountains for about six weeks. We stopped first at Maheri Gorge. At least 3 Kestrels, a pair of Ravens, c.12 Jackdaws, Feral Pigeon/Rock Doves and Buzzards were seen. This is an exciting place to watch and listen to the birds at present. The gruff voice of Ravens, shrill calls of the Kestrels and evocative call of the Buzzard are amplified in the gorge.  There is obviously competition for nest sites and clashes between species and individuals of same species are frequent.

After a couple of stops we parked at Tsakistra Church and watched a few Buzzards, pair of Ravens and a Kestrel and had a picnic.

Then at 3.30ish looking through my telescope at 30x magnification a long-winged, no very long winged buzzard with a wedge tail appeared? Brilliant, a Bearded Vulture, the long wings straight except for upturned wingtips and a slow powerful wing-stroke were my lasting impressions. Now the icing on the cake a crow decided to mob the vulture and its impressive size was brought into focus. They flew toward Mount Halave, the crow giving up the chase before the Vulture reached the mountainside. I managed to follow it for a time before it merged into the background. A little later it appeared beside the summit and I watched it again before it disappeared over the adjacent ridge. This was my third sighting of Bearded Vulture, my first sighting was brief, my second sighting when it flew overhead was spent in a desperate bid to get a photograph so I hardly saw the bird. On this, my third sighting, I was able to really watch this magnificent species. I did snatch a shot before it disappeared over the ridge, but you will have to use some imagination (see below).


5th:
Return visit to Tsakistra, best sighting was on the drive back, a female Hen Harrier hunting low over a roadside hillside. In Maheri Gorge Wren singing and Black Redstart sighting. Earlier in the day had seen a Swift sp. over the gorge.

7th: A few swifts sp. over Maheri Gorge then later at about 4pm a gathering of c.100 swifts and hirundines over coastal ridge hunting in front of an approaching rain storm, before heading north to mainland europe ?

12th:
House Martin
 
13th: After a wet morning a bright period from 12.15-1pm provided 22 Buzzards in a scan from the balcony, perhaps a dozen Swifts and a few House Martins.
 
16th: Small parties of Swifts and Alpine Swifts in bright periods.

18th: New record - 7 Buzzard together in telescope view.
Georgioupolis  Water - Ferruginous Duck
Lake Kournas - 1 Grey Heron, 3 Cormorants, Booted Eagle and at least 50 Black-necked Grebes.

19th:
Swifts and hirundines in distance but 2 Red-rumped Swallows over the house were my first identified swallows of the year.

20th: Aptera - 3 Common Wheatears, Humming Bird Hawkmoth and Swallowtail and Painted Lady Butterflies.

27th: In next garden Blue Tits nest building. 11.20 Pied Flycatcher in same area.
Likotinara coastal viewpoint - 8 Buzzards together, Ravens and a Peregrine Falcon. Many Song Thrushes perhaps gathering before migration?

Blue Tits nest building


30th:
Agia Reservoir - I female Little Crake?, Ruff, Green Sandpiper, 1 Grey Heron, Many Yellow-legged Gulls, Sedge Warbler, Marsh Harrier. At least 4 Pochard, 6 Wigeon, 2 Mallard, 12 Shoveler, 2 Teal and 1 Ferruginous Duck.
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