MY BIRDWATCHING HIGHLIGHTS FOR JUNE 2003
|And a few final words for June..... Another reader of these pages came during June to sample the birdlife, we hope Henri had a good time and found some interesting birds. No doubt he will let us know.
**Feedback from our Irish friends is exciting, they found and videoed a stonechat of the eastern race, either armenica or variegata, so well done to them. Further analysis of the video should decide which of the two it was. In 1986 a specimen of variegata was recorded on the island of Zakynthos and it is suspected that the eastern races may occur quite frequently but are usually overlooked.
June is the quiet month, the migrants have already got to where they are going and the local resident birds are all nesting or already moulting so keeping a low profile. As the heat of summer has built up so less and less time is spent out looking, this is the time for swimming or lazily reclining in the shade.
Next month should see things starting to pick up again with the first of the returning waders coming to try and find somewhere damp enough to have food. They will be lucky if they do, the island is bone dry by then so most will move straight on through – the autumn migration is very different from Spring when there is plenty of both water and food. Even now the swallows are reduced to circling the swimming pools until they spot a gap and can swoop down to drink.
The barn owls have also now fledged and most nights family parties come through our area to feed. Their eerie shrieking, hissing and snoring noises are quite frightening when they stamp around on our roof and keep us awake. Only very occasionally do we catch a glimpse of a scops owl and only rarely de we hear their lovely call. They will need several years to build up their numbers again after having been almost wiped out by the extreme weather of the winter before last.
For now, good watching. Paul Smith.
|Editor: The review a of very recent book by another Cretan ornithologist which contains some superb photographs is now complete. The review is linked to a photo gallery - with kind permission from the author Anastasios Sakoulis. Have a look at the review in Books and Good Reading pages.|