MY BIRDWATCHING HIGHLIGHTS FOR MARCH 2006

bullet

2nd Mar.  At Neo Chorio A flock of 3 honey buzzards.

bullet

3rd Mar.  Near Topolia.  An adult and a third year golden eagle; a long legged buzzard; 4 griffon vultures; 3 ravens; and a blue rock thrush.
                 Further south.  Were 2 golden orioles; 4 ravens; a pair of tree sparrows; a black headed bunting; and then all together for wonderful comparison were a second year, a third year and a fourth year Imperial eagles.
                 At Archandiko.  A lanner falcon; 4 griffon vultures; a dark phase booted eagle; 2 ravens; and a pair of short toed eagles.
                 At Mesavria.  Were 5 griffon vultures.
                 At Kakopetra.  A single long legged buzzard.
                 At Kolymbari.  My first ever bluethroat.
                 Along the coast.  Were some whinchats; white and pied wagtails; some swallows; meadow pipits; and a lovely dashing female lesser kestrel.

 

bullet

10th Mar.  At Tavronitis.  We saw our first woodchat shrike of the year; a shag was fishing in the surf; 2 greenshanks showed some waders are about; and a flock of 4 slender billed gulls were showing off at very close range.
                  En-route Neo Chorio.  A pair of booted eagles at Sirili.

 

bullet

13th Mar.  Along the Coast.  Were a single wood sandpiper; swift; a sedge warbler; 1+ savis warblers; 5+ yellow wagtails; a white wagtail; and 50+ house martins.

bullet

14th Mar.   At Neo Chorio An eleonoras falcon; and 50+ swifts.
 

bullet

15th Mar.  At Neo Chorio.  12+ pallid swifts; and hundreds of swallows.
                  

bullet

16th MarAt Kamisiana.  A lovely male montagues harrier.

bullet

18th MarAt Kolymbari.  A booted eagle.

bullet

19th Mar. At Neo Chorio.  A flock of 4 honey buzzards

bullet

20th Mar. At Neo Chorio.  60+ swallows and,
                 On the coast. Over 500 swallows; a grey heron; a house martin; and good views of a juvenile lesser spotted eagle.


bullet

22nd Mar.  Near Rethymnon. We saw a flock of 10+ eleonoras falcons, the largest flock we have seen for years.
                  At Gonia. There was an adult bonellis eagle; and swallows were already nesting.
                  At the Minoan cemetery at Armeni. We found an olivaceous warbler; a steppe buzzard; a pair of light phase booted eagles; and a  merlin.
                  Over the Petras gorge. Was a hen harrier.
                  At Georgopolou. 30+ coots.
                  At Galatas. A booted eagle; and,
                  Over Platanias. A flock of 3 honey buzzards,


bullet

23rd Mar.  At Neo Chorio. An eleonoras falcon.
 

bullet

26th Mar.  At Neo Chorio. A booted eagle; and an eleonoras falcon.
                   Along the coast. Were masses of swallows; 2 sedge warblers; and 40+ yellow wagtails.
 

bullet

27th Mar.  At Kolymbari. A pair of bonellis eagles; 
                   Along the coast. Were 2+ white wagtails; dozens of yellow wagtails; 2 house martins; and dozens of swallows.

bullet

28th Mar.  At Neo Chorio. A flock of 3 short toed eagles; and hundreds of swallows and house martins in mixed flocks.

bullet

29th Mar.  Along the coast. We found a flock of 12+ red throated pipits; and again dozens of swallows and yellow wagtails.
 

bullet

30th Mar.  At Tavronitis. A marsh harrier we see them there so often that we stopped noting them down. We are still fairly sure they breed there.
 

bullet

31st Mar.  At Galatas. Was a male hen harrier; and a turtle dove.
                  Over Chania. A rough legged buzzard; and,
                  Along the coast. Were 6 greenshank; 10+ yellow wagtails; another marsh harrier; and a little egret.


A few final words for March. 

A much better month with a nice variety of birds seen. Conspicuous by their absence - for the second year running, were the thousands of waders along the coast where again the normally flooded fields all dried up very early in the month. So again they must have just overflown the island. Without having to travel too far we saw quite a few raptors, though we only got up into the mountains once in the month and it was lovely to see the over wintering imperial eagles again.

The bluethroat was an exciting find though.  I was uncertain which variety it was as its plumage was pretty tatty as it was moulting.

Many of the species we saw were in small numbers but that was made up for by the variety. There are still plenty of migrants to come - the varieties of egrets, herons, storks, wheatears and many warblers - so we will be out there looking at every opportunity.

The improving weather helps a lot as summer gets into full swing. Already there are tourists about, many of them having come to see the fantastic displays of orchids that are currently in full bloom. Unfortunately, these are all over by the time the full tourist season starts in May, so the thronging masses miss them.

So far two readers of these pages have arranged to meet up and spend some time bird watching with us this spring. I greatly appreciate meeting readers and it gives me pleasure to help them avoid wasting their precious holiday time trying to find even the easier places to look for good birds.

Until next month, Good Birding!  Paul Smith.

Paul's Diary highlights commenced at the end of August 2001.  The current diary is moved to the diary archive at the end of each month - if you are considering a bird watching trip to NW Crete, the previous highlights may well help you decide the best month for your visit - your link to the diary archive is below.

COUNTRYSIDE

HOME ARCHIVES