1st March. At Neo Chorio. An adult light phase booted eagle being heavily mobbed by a very noisy and persistent gull. Then a pair of goshawks displaying while being mobbed by at least a dozen small song birds.
2nd March. At Neo Chorio. A flock of 7 honey buzzards circled with 7 local buzzards (2 pairs plus the trio) and all were later joined by a group of 3 dark phase booted eagles – for a while the sky was crowded!
4th March. At Kamisiana. There was a total of 8 mute swans. At Kolimbari there was a lovely male blue rock thrush.
At Afrata another was singing. A pair of lanner falcons were being mobbed by a buzzard.
5th March. At Neo Chorio. A single eleonoras falcon.
6th March. At Neo Chorio. A single booted eagle. At Kamisiana all the swans have departed including the one we thought might have been injured. Panic over!
8th March. At Neo Chorio. A pair of ravens, a pair of booted eagles and a pair of swallows.
9th March. At Sirili. A single booted eagle and at Tavronitis a single common sandpiper.
10th March. At Neo Chorio. A flock of 50+ swifts and a group of 5 swallows.
13th March. At Tavronitis. A group of 3 sandwich terns were fishing just offshore. Also a yellow wagtail (black headed variety) and a pair of black eared wheatears.
At Kamisiana. A lovely pair of isabelline wheatears watched from only a few metres away as they hunted for food to stock up before moving on. Another 7 swans have appeared – not the same ones as before as the proportion of adults to juveniles is different.. There was also
a ringed plover; 3 common redshanks; 1 green sandpiper; a pair of common sandpipers; and a pair of little stints.
At Polemarchi. There was a huge flock of thousands of common and pallid swifts and mixed in with them were several hundred swallows and martins.
At Neo Chorio. A flock of 1000+ sand and house martins. This is serious migration after four days of bad weather with heavy rain and high winds.
15th March. At Agia reservoir. There was a single swan, 9 shovellers; 200+ coot; 30+ red necked grebes; 6 ferruginous duck; 6 pintail; a pair of short toed eagles; 12 mallard; 9 moorhen; a single tufted duck; 5 wigeon; a pair of grey herons; a pair of marsh harriers; 7 pochard and 7 swallows. Lastly, just as we were leaving a
magnificent great spotted eagle soared over us for ten minutes giving us good close views so we could be certain of identification.
13th March. At Nembros. There was a steady trickle of swifts going through.
At Ano Nembros. A group of 3 booted eagles; a pair of kestrels and an early hoopoe. None of the 'kites' that were flying in large numbers feature in any of my bird books – today was ‘Clean Monday’ when it is traditional to go out for a picnic and fly a kite.
19th March. At Neo Chorio. A single steppe buzzard and a party of 3 honey buzzards circled with a pair of local common buzzards. A serin was singing and displaying in the walnut tree behind the house.
20th March. At Tavronitis. A sandwich tern and a wood sandpiper. At Kamisiana 1 litle ringed plover, 8 juvenile mute swans.
At Skoutolonas. A single wheatear and at Polemarchi hundreds of swifts, swallows and martins.
At Neo Chorio. Still more flocks of swallows and martins; a pair of ravens and a short toed eagle. Because of its dietary preference this latter is also known as the snake eagle. It is thus my wife's favourite bird as she hates, loathes and detests snakes.
21st March. At Neo Chorio. A group of 4 then later another 3 honey buzzards plus a female goshawk displaying.
22nd March. At Neo Chorio. Another pair of honey buzzards. There have been a lot this spring.
23rd March. At Skoutolonas. 3 little ringed plovers; 3 mute swans.
At Tavronitis. There were 2 wood sandpipers.
At Neo Chorio. Swifts, swallows and martins were streaming by all day totaling many thousands.
26th March. At Tavronitis. 2 ‘black headed’ yellow wagtails and huge numbers of swallows.
At Kamisiana. Several small pipit flocks that were too active for me to identify them. 1 little egret; 5 redshanks; 1 night heron; 3 corn buntings and 3 mute swans. Again these were different swans they were all adults, 2 males and a female. Those on the 23rd.
were a male and 2 juveniles.
At Skoutolonas. There was a dark phase booted eagle and to the day exactly it has taken me three years to see a dunnock on Crete. Apparently they are resident here but I have just not come across them before.
27th March. At Sirili. A huge flock of common and pallid swifts numbering several thousands. At Tavronitis there was a single purple heron; 1 cormorant; and again many mixed flocks of swallows and martins.
At Kamisiana. There were 2 litle ringed plovers; 1 little egret; 5 redshank; 6 knot; and a male garganey.
At Skoutolonas. There were 3 juvenile mute swans.
28th March. At Tavronitis. A great spotted eagle circled only 50 metres from us so again we had lovely views. At that distance you can really appreciate their size and wonder what makes them so difficult to identify but then most sightings are at long distance, when they are much more difficult. The single little ringed plover and
yellow wagtail hardly come into the same category as the eagle but none the less they are all birds!
At Kamisiana. 2 red throated pipits were identified. There were probably more but they dash about so much it is hard to get positive sightings. Also 3 mute swans again, this time 1 male and 2 females. 3 glossy ibis; 2 little ringed plovers; 4 redshank; 1 little egret and
several flocks of swallows.
At Nembros. Another huge flock of swifts numbering several thousand at least.
29th March. At Neo Chorio. A pair of grey herons and a flock of 19 glossy ibis.
At Polemarchi. An eleonoras falcon and a dark phase booted eagle. Back at home, Toffee, our tabby cat, got himself stung by a scorpion on his back leg and was very poorly very quickly. Sandra was sure he was going to die. None of the guide books I have seen even
mention scorpions, yet they are here and are dangerous if provoked. This happened in the house so a frantic search was carried out to catch the offender but no luck. It was probably among the logs we feed into the stove.
30th March. At Neo Chorio. A single grey heron.
At Tavronitis. 1 common sandpiper; 4 green sandpipers; 1 white wagtail and again lots of swallows.
At Kamisiana. 1 little egret; 3 glossy ibis; 3 female mute swans and 1 dunlin.
*Toffee, the cat stung by the scorpion is much better now and should be fine.