1st Feb. At Neo Chorio. A pair of light phase eleonoras falcons prospected our valley. These could well be some of the ones that over winter on the island as it is a little early for them to be migrants. Our Bonellis eagle is still with us. After dark a barn owl was screaming in the garden, the first we have heard this year and what an eerie noise they make. The Cretan name
for them is 'Kalopoolie' which means 'good bird'. When I first learned this I thought it was a compliment to the owls' rat catching abilities but not so; it is a sarcastic label, as the locals believe the screaming is a portent of death or disaster.
2nd Feb. At Neo Chorio. The scops owls have now started calling as well. Several pairs nest nearby but they are the devil to see clearly. After three years the best views I have had have been shadowy silhouettes at dusk even though they often mated on the telegraph pole outside our lounge window.
5th Feb. At Sirili. A flock of 11 honey buzzards, at Tavronitis good close views of a booted eagle, an adult pale morph.
At Neo Chorio. A flock of 4 griffon vultures; a swift; 2 cettis warblers singing; a flock of 5 serin; 2 blackcaps singing; a pair of honey buzzards circling with a pair of local buzzards and several flocks of goldfinches. Many other song birds were
appreciating a lovely sunny and warm spring day - blackbirds, great tits, blue tits, chaffinches, chiffchaffs, black redstarts, robins and wrens, all singing.
6th Feb. At Neo Chorio. A flock of three honey buzzards; a steppe buzzard and lovely views of an adult male rough legged buzzard. Again the behaviour of rough legged buzzards is very distinctive with low, rapid flight and tight circling as opposed to the lazy, slow circling of common buzzards. The bonellis eagle again then a single lanner falcon and a female kestrel. A
single jackdaw flew over calling repeatedly, the nearest colony is a small one some four kilometres away so a rare sight for us.
7th Feb. At Neo Chorio. The nearest pair of local buzzards are nesting just above our house and took exception when the bonellis eagle flew too close, they harried it relentlessly and screamed abuse until it drifted away.
9th Feb. At Sirili. A single honey buzzard.
10th Feb. At Neo Chorio. The scops owls are calling every night.
11th Feb. At Neo Chorio. A barn owl screaming.
13th Feb. At Neo Chorio. Another flock of 3 honey buzzards.
At Rodopos. Yet another flock of 3 honey buzzards - 3 seems to be the in number this year. Lots of wood larks were singing, but even with four wheel drive we could only get a small distance out onto the peninsula as the road is washed out. A pity as no doubt there are plenty of good birds to see as it is a magnet for
migrants. We will try
again next month.
At Astrikas. There was a steppe buzzard; a female kestrel; a light phase eleonoras falcon; a pair of ravens; a single griffon vulture; a pair of booted eagles; and one of the bonellis eagles was sitting tight on the nest whilst its mate circled together with the chick raised last year. It was good to see the chick survived the winter.
14th Feb. At Kefali. An adult golden eagle and a pair of bonellis eagles. At the nest site both adult bearde vultures were seen circling together and again some time later, this time chasing away a raven that came too close to the nest. The vulture chick has probably hatched already and would be small enough to be vulnerable to attack by ravens. Also
another adult male rough legged buzzard; lots of corn buntings and linnets singing; a flock of 4 white wagtails; an adult golden eagle and a single griffon vulture.
At Vathi. A sub adult bonellis eagle.
At Pervolia. An adult bonellis eagle; a griffon vulture; and several pairs of buzzards.
15th Feb. At Kamisiana. An adult light phase booted eagle.
20th Feb. At Neo Chorio. Yet another flock of 3 honey buzzards. These are not the same ones being seen repeatedly. Large raptors keep moving to get to wherever they breed and that is not here for honey buzzards.
22nd Feb. At Nembros. A single wood pigeon.
25th Feb. At Kamisiana. A single adult female mute swan on a small flooded field.
26th Feb. At Neo Chorio. A flock of 5 bee-eaters - heard long before they could be seen. They moved north quickly and high up. The first this year.