MY BIRDWATCHING HIGHLIGHTS FOR APRIL 2006

bullet1st Apr.  At Neo ChorioThere was a hoopoe in the garden.

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3rd Apr.  At Neo Chorio.   A golden oriole in the garden they look like flying lemons!
                Along the coast
. Were 3 little ringed plovers; 2 ruff; 20+ yellow wagtails; 1 common sandpiper; 4 little egrets; 2 crested larks; a pair of wheatear; 1 moorhen; 1 pied wagtail; 1 turtle dove; 5 male blackbirds; and a flock of 50+ swallows.
                 

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4th Apr.  At Tavronitis. There were 10+ house martins; a moorhen; 4+ linnets; and 1 purple heron.
 

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6th Apr.  At Neo Chorio.  A hobby hunted along the hillside behind the house.

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8th Apr.   On the coast.  Were a moorhen; 50+ swifts; 1 whinchat; 1 little stint; 1 house martin; and hunting the small birds with great vigour was a hobby.
 

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10th Apr.  At Neo Chorio. A group of 3 honey buzzards drifted north and not far away were a pair of turtle doves.
                  

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11th AprAt Nembros. Was a lesser kestrel and,
         On the coast.  Were a black winged stilt; another lesser kestrel; 1 grey heron; 1 moorhen; 1 purple heron; 2 crested larks; a male and a female whinchat; 1 sub alpine warbler; 1 teal; 1 yellow wagtail; and most exciting, were 2 lesser spotted eagles almost together in good second year plumage.
 

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12th AprAt Neo Chorio. 2 eleonoras falcons; and, just to the north, were an alpine swift; a hobby; and an amazing flock of several hundred Spanish sparrows. A single wheatear looked very lonely.
 

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13th Apr. At Neo Chorio. A single eleonoras falcon.
 

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14th Apr. At Neo Chorio. Many small flocks of swallows kept going by, most were 20+ and also another hobby came through.
 

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15th Apr.  At Sirili. Yet another hobby.
                  At Polymarchi.  A pair of juvenile long legged buzzards; and on the coast were a wheatear; 2 little ringed plovers; a black winged stilt; 1 grey heron; and 2 moorhens.
 

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16th Apr.  At Kamisiana. Was a single spotted flycatcher; and a pair of turtle doves..
                   Near Tavronitis. Were another pair of turtle doves; 2 shags; 3 female hen harriers; 2 migrating buzzards heading steadily out to sea; 6 moorhens; 1 linnet; 2 ruff; 2 little egrets; 3 common sandpipers; 6+ wood sandpipers; 2 glossy ibis; 2 night herons; 30+ yellow wagtails; and a little stint. We were amazed that when my right hand man went swimming, several swallows swooped down around her and skimmed the surface to drink. I have never heard of swallows drinking sea water but then you learn something new every day.

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17th Apr.  At Neo Chorio. Many hundreds of swallows were heading north.
 

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18th Apr.  At Neo Chorio. A single swallow came into the living room as we had brunch and circled several times as if looking for a nest site.

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19th Apr.  On the coast. Was a black kite and,
                  At Galatas.  Were a pair of second calendar year booted eagles.
 

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20th Apr.  At Neo Chorio. A single eleonoras falcon.
 

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22nd Apr.  Along the Coast. We saw 3 little egrets; a female marsh harrier; 3 moorhens; 9 wood sandpipers; 2 ruff; 2 little egrets; 3 glossy ibis; 1 squacco heron; and 1 little stint.
 

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23rd Apr.  At Kolimbari. Were 2 little stints and a blue rock thrush.
                   At Astratigos. We saw an adult bonellis eagle; several alpine swifts; 1,000+ swallows; and another blue rock thrush. All while we stuffed ourselves with barbecued Easter lamb with the Cretanvista site webmaster and a group of friends. The lamb was lovely. Wilf and Pam made a great contribution to a most enjoyable feast.

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24th Apr.  At Tavronitis. Were 3 little stints; 5 moorhen; 7+ wood sandpipers; 2 marsh sandpipers; 1 common sandpiper; 50+ swifts; hundreds of swallows; 1 little egret; and 1squacco heron.
 

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26th Apr. Again along the coast. We saw 1 raven; 2 moorhen; hundreds of swallows; 1 crested lark; 1 whinchat; 1 adult osprey; 9 wood sandpipers; 1 common sandpiper; 1 marsh harrier; 1 collared flycatcher; 2 little egrets; 3 squacco herons; 1 little stint; and 1 yellow wagtail.
                 At Nembros. A weasel scuttled across the road just in front of us.
                    On the coast. Was a hobby; 2 grey herons; 3 ruff; 4+ yellow wagtails; dozens of swallows and house martins; 17 wood sandpipers; 2 little ringed plovers; 1 little egret; 2 little stints; 1 (very late) kingfisher; 1 black eared wheatear; and 1 booted eagle.

 

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28th Apr. On the coast. Were 2 white wagtails; dozens of swallows; 40+ house martins; 1 woodchat shrike; 2 moorhens; 2 green sandpipers; 3 little stint; 7 wood sandpipers; 1 ruff; 2 terek sandpipers together; and, in full breeding plumage, a booted eagle and a single honey buzzard.
 

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29th Apr. Along the coast. Were a grey heron; a woodchat shrike; a female kestrel; 5 red footed falcons; dozens of swallows; 7 little stint; a sedge warbler in full song; 7 little stint; 4 moorhens; 1 glossy ibis; 4 ruff, 6 yellow wagtails; 9 wood sandpipers; 1 night heron; and 1 common sandpiper.


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30th Apr. At Tavronitis. Were 2 red footed falcons; 1 wood sandpiper; 2 spotted flycatchers; 3 ringed plovers; 1 green sandpiper; 2 ruff; and 3 little stints.

A few final words for April.  An excellent month with lots to see again.  We did not manage to get up into the mountains at all so stayed near or on the coast.  Now so much drainage work has been done to facilitate building of new hotels, shops and tavernas there are very few fields left that flood - so wader numbers are very reduced and instead of seeing thousands of garganey we did not see one. The crested larks are being pushed out by all the new building work destroying their habitat, which is why I have started to record them.  Only three years ago they were so common that, like sparrows, they were not worth writing down.

The fan tailed warbler colony at Kolymbari seems to have been completely destroyed by building work as we cannot find any at all this year.

The terek sandpipers were a delight to see, as were the lesser spotted eagles, but it was also very pleasing to see all the egrets and herons coming back.  Summer has arrived!

May should be really good and no doubt with the better weather we will be able to get into the mountains and go out along the peninsulas.  Our hopes are high of some really exciting trips out.

Good luck to all of you - and a 'tip of the month' is to keep the lenses of your binoculars, telescopes and cameras really clean.  A speck of dust magnified sixty times can easily be mistaken for a big eagle!

Until next month, good watching.  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.

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