bullet2nd July.  At  Neo Chorio.  A pair of ravens ‘kronking’ as they flew across the valley.
                 At Loukoumiheliana.  Another two ravens and three eleonoras falcons of which at least one was light phase.
bullet6th July.  At Neo Chorio.  A nightingale was singing for much of the day.
bullet7th July.  At Neo Chorio.  A single eleonoras falcon; and the nightingale again sang for much of the day.
bullet8th July.  At Tavronitis.  A flock of 5+ bee-eaters.
                 At Neo Chorio.  The nightingale was again singing.
bullet9th July.  At Neo Chorio.  At home a single eleonoras falcon.
bullet10th July. Near Galatas.  A rough legged buzzard was circling but very heavily in moult.
                  At Neo Chorio.  A rough legged buzzard, it must have been the same one.  Very heavily in moult in both wings and body.  The wings especially were very ragged with both primaries and secondaries in various stages of moult.  An old adult?

In complete contrast a pair of spotted eagles circled for almost an hour. Both in perfect plumage they looked like juveniles but this seems very early in the year.

bullet11th July. At Neo Chorio.  A pair of sparrow hawks were hunting together over the garden.
bullet12th July. At Neo Chorio.  At home 3 eleonoras falcons were trying their luck chasing 6 pallid swifts that easily eluded them.
bullet13th July. At Neo Chorio.  Over 80 pallid swifts were feeding along with several house martins.
bullet14th July. Near Chania.  While taking a friend to the main hospital in Chania we saw a pair of griffon vultures circling to the south.  Our friend was both impressed with the vultures and got good treatment from the doctors.
bullet19th July. On the coast.  We were amazed to see a long straggling line of over 200 white storks coming in from the sea and heading inland.  These were at least a month early to be migrating.  Later a flock of 70+ sandpipers also came in, too far away to identify the species.  A single hobby was chasing swallows but not with much enthusiasm, there were no determined attacks.
bullet20th July. Near a River.  A great white egret in perfect plumage was feeding in one of the rivers' that are now drying up rapidly so only weedy pools are left - with only a slow trickle of water in them.
                  At Neo Chorio.  Several small flocks of swifts were busy hawking for insects.
bullet21st July. At Pirgos.  We saw an adult bonellis eagle.
                  At Aghia Galini.  Only a single alpine swift was flying over the village.  On previous visits we have seen dozens as they nest in a cave near the harbour.  Or used to?
                  At Armeni.  A single light phase eleonoras falcon was hunting over the olive groves.
bullet22nd July. At Neo Chorio.  Several family parties of swifts were feeding over the hill behind the house.
bullet23rd July. On the coast.  A pair of red rumped swallows turned up; at least one fan tailed warbler was flitting around a grove of tamarisk trees constantly giving the characteristic ‘tick’ call.
bullet24th July. At Neo Chorio.  A superb pair of goshawks were hunting along the hillside behind the house.  The females are very big, almost as big as a buzzard - but of course with a very different flight and colouring.
bullet26th July. At Neo Chorio.  A group of 4 eleonoras falcons came at dusk to chase the swallows and bats looking for a late meal.
bullet27th July. At Neo Chorio.  There are lots of family parties of swallows on the wires - or flitting around familiarising themselves with the area for when they return from migration next spring.
bullet29th July. At Nembros.  Three turtle doves were feeding in an orange grove.
                  At Neo Chorio.  Late at night at least one purple heron was calling repeatedly.
And a few final words for July.....   As expected, July was a very quiet month with few birds to be seen. The finches, pipits and buntings are all keeping a low profile as they moult ready for migration. The swallows and swifts are ready to go.  Before long they will slip away - though some stay here all year.

The rough legged buzzard and spotted eagles show that some birds are moving already, though the storks and sandpipers really make me wonder what is going on.  Both were at least a month early and yet there has been no bad weather over Europe.  In fact the weather has been settled with a prolonged heat wave in most areas. The purple heron adds to the picture that migration is starting early this year.

Who knows what August will bring? I look forward to finding out!

For now, good watching.  Paul Smith.

Editor: The review a of very recent book by another Cretan ornithologist which contains some superb photographs is on site. 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. 
BACK HOME Archives