MY BIRDWATCHING HIGHLIGHTS FOR JUNE 2004

bullet1st June.  On the coast. We found a little ringed plover; a little egret; a fan tailed warbler; and near home a hoopoe.
                  
bullet4th June.  At Rapaniana.  A singing sedge warbler.
                      

bullet5th June.  At Neo Chorio.  A short toed eagle flew over carrying food a snake.

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8th June.  At Neo Chorio.  A barn owl was hissing and snoring late at night.
                 

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9th June.  On the coast.  A single rough legged buzzard; a pallid swift; and a fan tailed warbler.

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11th June. At Neo Chorio.  A single eleonoras falcon.
                   Along the coast.  We found whinchat; fan tailed warbler; and the same sedge warbler singing.

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12th June.  At Neo Chorio.  A turtle dove sang all day.

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13th June.  At Neo Chorio.  The first cicada started to sing we reckon summer has properly arrived when they start to sing.

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14th June.  At Neo Chorio.  A pair of swallows came into the lounge several times, circling around and twittering to us.

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16th June. At Neo Chorio. A flock of 10+ eleonoras falcons in the morning and then another 3 in the afternoon.

 

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17th June. At Neo Chorio.  A pair of short toed eagles with a newly fledged juvenile were heavily mobbed by a pair of local buzzards. The adults were trying desperately to protect their young, which was obviously very inexperienced at dodging buzzard attacks.

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18th June. At Neo Chorio.  The turtle dove sang for hours and a grey heron flew along the valley.

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19th June. At Rodopou peninsulaWe ventured out onto the Rodopou peninsula but as we got there so did the cloud and visibility dropped to 20 metres. We did manage to see woodlarks; stonechats; wheatears; and a male blue rock thrush.  On the way back we saw a fan railed warbler and a grey heron on the coast.

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20th June. At Nembros.  Both adult short toed eagles.

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21st June. At Neo Chorio.  A single eleonoras falcon.

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23rd June. At Tavronitis.  A flock of 47 wood sandpipers in a wide range of plumages from adult breeding to new juvenile.
                   At Neo Chorio.  One adult and a juvenile short toed eagle; a pair of ravens; and a male sparrowhawk.

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27th June. At Neo Chorio.  20 swallows were perched on the wires, all juveniles familiarising themselves with the area so they will recognise it if they survive migration and return next year. Sadly one will not even get to start migration as later on it flew into the house and our feline friend Toffee put an and to its short life.  I need to have strong words with Toffee, as he had attacked the scops owl last month and in the last few days has killed three bats as well as the swallow. This will not do! Later we saw 24 pallid swifts; an eleonoras falcon; and the male sparrowhawk.

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28th June. At Neo Chorio.  The turtle dove competed with the cicadas to see who made the most noise.  A lanner falcon came by very low down at first but then started to circle higher and higher until it disappeared into the haze.  Both the adults and the juvenile short toed eagle circled for ages.  Later 30+ pallid swifts and a dark phase eleonoras falcon.

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29th June. At Neo Chorio. Both adult short toed eagles again, and as I was watching them something floated into the field of view and it took me several seconds to realise it was a juvenile bearded vulture!  The first we have seen in our valley.  It quickly decided it was not to its liking and very rapidly sped down the valley and out of sight.  It was probably crossing from inland to one of the peninsulas in search of food. At dusk 150+ pallid swifts circled high over the twittering local swallows.
                  

And a few final words for June.....    As expected this was a very quiet month.  Migration is over and the resident birds are all breeding with some already moulting so keeping a low profile.

Our nearest swallows are yet again in a trio but cannot be the same birds as before I looked up survival rates for swallows in BWP to find that the chances of just one of them being alive after three years is a negative figure so these trios must keep re-forming.

The nesting of short toed eagles again was great to see.  Whether they nest elsewhere on Crete is an unknown, but twice now they have nested in the valley behind us. Trying to find the nesting tree would be a nightmare those of you who have been here will know just how many hundreds of thousands of trees there are for the eagles to choose from. The eagles obviously know it too, which is probably why they chose to nest here.  Given that their alternative name is the snake eagle they are extremely popular with my right hand man as she has an outright loathing of snakes.  She cheers the eagles on and shouts out to eat the lot!

The bearded vulture sighting was the icing on the cake, especially as it was so unexpected.  Sitting out on our terrace as the sun goes down, relaxing with a glass of wine and watching the late birds feed up before roosting is one of our greatest pleasures, but to be rewarded with superb views of a bearded vulture really was a bird watching highlight to be remembered and treasured for years to come.

For now, good watching.  Paul Smith.

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