ΜΑϊΟΣ - May 2007
 
1st May: Awoke at 7.45am. to calls of Golden Oriole, but peeking round shutter first bird seen was a Collared Flycatcher!

Male, Golden Oriole, Provarma 1.5.2007
 

2nd: River Church area, Golden Orioles seen and heard, Spotted and Pied Flycatcher recorded. First Broad Scarlet dragonfly of the year seen.
 
3rd: With Colin & Sue on Gramvousa (full details will appear in C&S's May Report)
Immature Bearded Vulture and 10 Bee-eaters, our first of the year, were part of a great day.
 
4th: At Provarma families of Great Tits and Goldfinch seen. Good arrival of Spotted Flycatchers and Whinchat seen with Golden Oriole heard.
10.35am. c.20 Bee-eaters heading north, a pair of Alpine Swifts appeared to be keeping them company.
1.15pm. Flock of c.40 Red-footed Falcons appeared east of Aptera, they circled up over Aptera fort, then headed north over Souda Bay.
3pm. c.60 Bee-eaters heading north over Provarma
 

Just 3 of the Red-footed Falcons
 

5th: At Provarma
2.45pm. Bee-eaters heard
4.45pm. c.10 Bee-eaters, seen first through my telescope moving up our valley from the south flew high over house heading north.
4.55. c.35 Bee-eaters a little to the east also heading north.
5.55 c.25 Bee-eaters heading north.
 
6th: Georgioupolis Water Squocco Heron, in area Marsh Harrier and Sparrowhawk.
 
7th: Moronis River Reserve, Souda Bay: 2 Squocco Herons, 2 Little Stint, Hoopoe, 2 Little-ringed Plovers, Singling Olivaceous Warbler. 1 Little Egret, 1 Common Sandpiper.
Afternoon turned cloudy and dull, many Hirundine, Swifts and Alpine Swifts over Apokoronas area.
 
10th: Several pars of Alpine Swifts over the Aporkoronas PM.
 
12th: Four woodpigeons flying steadily north!
 
13th: To Rodopos Peninsular for lunch with A&M, we stopped at Tavronitis to look for birds etc. All very quiet near the bridges but an interesting sighting on our way to the beach, a male Red-backed Shrike in superb plumage, this loop migrant is usually only seen here in the autumn. At the rivermouth a Ruff and Little-ringed Plover. It was good to meet some other birdwatchers here, and they reported, 2 Bee-eaters see earlier in the day east of Tavronitis.
 
16th: A mix of circumstances, lucky decisions and wrong date led to a great days birdwatching! We arrived at the bottom of the road up to the Kallergi Refuge to hear a Cuckoo calling, and had good views of a usually secretive Jay. On the way up in the C&S 4x4, we also heard Chukar. Wren, Common and Black-eared Wheatears were frequent. Having stopped for various plants and birds we reached the Refuge carpark. Clear blue skies allowed great views of our magnificent surroundings at 1677metres. Griffon Vultures, Alpine Swifts frequented the area and I had my first sighting of an Alpine Accentor on the Refuge Balcony. Distance views of an adult Golden Eagle added to our enjoyment.

After an interesting stroll we descended to the road again and had a snack at the Samaria Gorge entrance taverna, sightings of an adult Bearded Vulture, Kri-Kri and Chough added enjoyment to the day. On Omalos we changed our route because of road works and were delighted to see first a Glossy Ibis then a Spoonbill on the Omalos Pools.

 

Above Spoonbill and Glossy Ibis Omalos pools - around 6pm 16.5.207.
 

The Bearded Vulture above the Samaria Entrance,
photo above by and Colin & Sue Turvey
 

 
21st: Heard calls then viewed 2 Woodchat Shrikes in chase, west of Samonas.
Ayia:
Arranged to meet Anders Hammergart and his wife, Anders has provided many excellent photos for this site. Birds included 3 Squocco Herons and a Little Bittern, with many Sand Martins feeding over the water.

Above just 1 of the many Sand Martins
 

23rd: A very interesting day out with A&M, Topolia Tunnel Gorge, Griffon Vulture carrying food in bill. Visit to Rogdia Information Centre, note, appeared shut, but entrance is in fact round to the the rear of building. We found some interesting leaflets here, see new links and you can see a full size Griffon Vulture reconstruction 8ft+ wingspan. Pond at Limni, many toads and unfortunately infested with Goldfish, although the unidentified Heron probably did not mind. Emperor Dragonfly also present. From Chrisoskalitisa we drove north along the road then along a track to Livadia. Near the start of the track we found a small pond with at least 4 species of dragonfly present: Emperor, Lesser Emperor, Broad Scarlet and Black-tailed Skimmer. To the east we could see a reservoir we hope to explore at a later date. In Livadia we saw a Woodchat Shrike and Marsh Harrier. Then an interesting drive, back up to the main road!


26th:
As last few days Jackdaws down from gorge, presumably collecting food for young. On road to coast a male Pheasant on way out, and large snake on our way back, disappeared before we could identify.

28th: At 9.45m. an Eleanora's Falcon flew in from the east and settled on a tree top near Maheri. I rushed from the back balcony to grab my telescope. The first thing I spotted was an Eleanora's in flight which soon landed in a tree top, near the first bird sitting on it's tree top. One of the birds flew off and started catching insects over Maheri Gorge, where it was soon joined by Swifts and Alpine Swifts as well as a few hirundines, all catching insects. They gradually worked their way towards my area, with the second Eleanor's more Alpine Swifts and then a third Eleanora's joining the throng. I could now see what had attracted all the birds, waves of insects were flying roughly northwards. The 3 Eleanor's kept fairly low, while most of the other birds were feeding above them. There was now a large number of Alpine Swifts present. Luckily they stayed in our area for over an hour before drifting off northwards presumably following the insects. Of course I could not identify the insects, but perhaps the flying ant and a couple of species of beetle on the balcony were a clue?

After darkening the photo etc, you can I hope clearly see the waves of insects,
with one of the Eleanora's Falcons in hot pursuit.

A closer shot of one of the Eleonora's and some insects
 

This is the last entry in my Crete diary for the present. Colin and Sue will take over from here, see their Diary. Also see Alan and Margaret's reports.
 
Back to diary index