August 2006
3rd: Why do I carry my camera almost all the time? Well for shots like that below. My best photo to date of a Southern Comma Butterfly taken on a suntan cream stand while shopping in the centre of Almirida.

Looked for Cretan Spectre Dragonfly further south along the river but no definite sighting.
10th: We arrived at the sandbank area 4.45pm. At 4.55 to 5.05  managed to photograph female Cretan Spectre egg laying see photo below. She was laying eggs in the damp bark above the waterline. First on one bank then the other. I had to paddle in bare feet in the river to get this flash photograph! (I was restrained by the wife from going in wearing sandals) From 5.10 to 6pm six visits to the area by male Cretan Spectre/s.

12th: On the way from the river pond area to the sandbank we spotted an early Kingfisher perched on bamboo. At the Sandbank area a pair of Red-rumped Swallows were feeding.

From the Sandbank area from 4.50pm: at approx 4.55 a patrolling, presumably male, Cretan Spectre had an interaction with a male Banded Demoiselle. We had seen this before, but this time the Spectre grabbed the Banded and flew up into the trees with it, presumably to eat it. We unfortunately lost sight of them. The next sighting was at 5.20. Then at 5.55 there was an interaction between what was probably two male Spectres. They flew around each other apparently fairly peacefully before heading off in different directions along the river. We left shortly after.

As I opened the front door a young Gecko dropped on me from the top of the door frame. I put him somewhere safer. This is the first time I have handled one of these harmless little creatures.
15th: Sitting on the balcony after dark we saw a Barn Owl fly silently past.
16th: Visit to river sandbank to see Cretan Spectre. Sighting at 5pm, 5.15 and from 5.30 another six sightings before we left at 6pm because of too much attention from mosquitoes. Visit spoilt to some extent by two dead Buzzards dumped in the river perhaps after having been shot?

A&M suggested an evening visit to Ayia Reservoir. As we left our house a small party of Alpine Swifts were hunting and calling from above, a good omen? We arrived around 6pm and immediately noticed the water level was down with mud showing so ideal for attracting migrating birds such as waders and herons etc. My first real look at a Glossy Ibis, thanks A&M. Birds present included:
Little Grebe 4 Night Heron 1 Squacco Heron
3 Little Egret 3 grey Heron 1 Glossy Ibis
2 Pochard Several Mallard Yellow Wagtails
2 Little-ringed Plover Flock Curlew Sandpipers 1 Little Stint
3+ Wood Sandpipers 2 Green Sandpipers 1 Common Sandpiper
Alpine Swifts Kingfisher Crag Martins

Above the Glossy Ibis. Middle photo with Hooded Crow in background

21st: Report from A&M. Arrival at 7pm of a small flock 7-8 Spotted Flycatchers and Woodchat Shrike, also a Red-backed Shrike which may have arrived at the same time. Plus 5 Turtle Doves seen in the Xirosterni area.
22nd: Report from A&M, Drapanos area am: Red-backed Shrike and Eleonora's Falcon.
Watching from our Provarma balcony I had more sightings of Buzzards as of late, but no sign of migrants.

23rd: On our way back from a swim at Kalami we had had fleeting views of a Hoopoe.
From the back balcony, at approx 7.25 pm, I spotted 3 male Hen Harriers circling over Maheri Gorge. They gained height and drifted off southwards. Shortly afterwards, at some distance, almost certainly, an Eleonora's Falcon.
24th: On our lounge ceiling, mum? and two baby Geckos.
25th: If we have dinner after dark on the balcony this Gecko takes advantage of the insects attracted to the light. This time a lacewing is the snack.

4.55pm c.150 Alpine Swifts high over our area. The first Kestrel I have seen for some time, and a single Wood Pigeon, flew towards the Gorge area.
27th: 2.30pm. At the river sandbank I was lucky to see a Cretan Spectre settle in the trees above the opposite bank. I pinpointed its position through my binoculars, so off with my shoes again and over to the opposite bank. Although in part shade and still at some distance I was very pleased to get this photo of a male, see below:

4.45pm. c.50 Bee-eaters flew north past the balcony, later at 7pm 3 Sand Martins also flew north! There was a very strong, southerly wind at the time.

29th: Drove the Theriso Gorge on through Zourva and home via Agia Reservoir. The gorge was fairly quiet, Spotted Flycatcher only bird of note. Above Theriso the expected Ravens, Buzzards (young heard), Crows and Jackdaws. The hoped for bigger birds not appearing.

We parked near the dam at Agia Reservoir and were very pleased to meet Michalis Dretakis the Crete Bird Recorder. He mentioned the important Crete Wetlands Project, see links page.

Birds present included 3 Glossy Ibis, at least 4 Little Egrets, 3 Grey Herons, Garganey, and at the waterfall end of the dam a Hoopoe was feeding. Waders included Wood and Green Sandpipers. At least 2 Eleonora's Falcon were seen over the area.

Eleonora's Falcon above Hooded Crow

From our back balcony two adult male Golden Orioles flew north at 3.15pm. Shortly afterwards a good number of Alpine Swifts appeared and stayed in the Aporkoronas area until at least 5pm. A few Swifts and House Martins were also present. Later two sightings of Eleonora's Falcon. During the second sighting the falcon just circled slowly for a long period before descending in a fairly shallow but extremely rapid dive before unfortunately disappearing behind a ridge.
31st: As yesterday Alpine Swifts appeared in the Aporkoronas area from around 4pm. I did a scan count through the telescope of 200 individuals, probably considerably more were present. An Eleonora's Falcon also drifted around the area.

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