MY BIRDWATCHING HIGHLIGHTS FOR AUGUST 2004

bullet2nd August.  At Neo Chorio.  A single short toed eagle lazily circling over the valley.
                  
bullet6th August.   On the National Road.  Yet another dead barn owl.  
                      At Maleme.  A flock of 35 garganey were flying out over the sea.  My right hand man swam.
                      
bullet7th August.  Out on one of the peninsulas. We saw 3 griffon vultures; a single wheatear; a lanner falcon; several crested larks; a lovely male blue rock thrush; several woodlarks; 2 bonellis eagles; a female kestrel; and a single stonechat.  The stonechat was very brightly coloured, but I am not into sub- species so make no claim for the eastern form.
                       At Afrata.  There was a flock of 4 eleonoras falcons hawking for insects.

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10th August.  At Neo Chorio.  We saw 2 eleonoras falcons and a barn owl at dusk.
                 

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13th August.  On the National Road.   Still yet another dead barn owl.  They are having a hard time this year with numbers being thinned out by collisions with vehicles.
                        On the coast.  We found a single glossy ibis, 2 yellow wagtails and a pair of wood sandpipers.

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14th August.  On the coast.  A single grey heron and out to sea a flock of 60 garganey.

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18th August.  Over a nearby beach.  A single black stork circled for ages, unable to land because of the tourists frying under the sun.

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22nd August.  Near the coast.  We found 3 marsh harriers.  Residents or migrants?  Impossible to tell at this time of year.

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23rd August.  Along the coast.  2 little egrets; a moorhen; 3 wood sandpipers; 2 little ringed plovers; a little stint; and 3 black tailed godwits.

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24th August.  Lovely views of a flock of 31 black tailed godwits

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25th August.  Along the coast.  Things are certainly picking up, as we saw a flock of 6 juvenile and 2 adult purple herons; then another flock of 62.  Then another single black stork; a flock of 8 black tailed godwits; a flock of 90+ little egrets; a sand martin; 2 green sandpipers; 24 wood sandpipers; 2 curlew sandpipers; 21 squacco herons perching in a clump of giant reed; and then an early wintering kingfisher.

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29th August.  Along the coast.  Were a little egret; a kingfisher; a flock of 50 ruff; a flock of 10 juvenile purple herons; a male lesser kestrel; and 3 red throated pipits. While out to sea a flock of 9 garganey flew by.

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30th August.  Purple herons in abundance flocks of 106, 17, 98, 22, 20, 19, 19, 183, 78 and 124!  Also 5 little egrets; a female red backed shrike; 5 squacco herons; 15 red throated pipits; a flock of 6 black winged stilts; 20+ yellow wagtails; 1 wood sandpiper; 2 little stints; a kingfisher; and 2 spotted flycatchers.

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31st August.  Along the coast.  We found 2 common sandpipers; 47 wood sandpipers; 27 yellow wagtails; a juvenile marsh harrier; 2 sand martins; a ruff flying with a flock of 47 wood sandpipers; 3+ red throated pipits; a little egret; 4 spotted flycatchers; a kingfisher; and a flock of 79 purple herons that had three great white egrets flying with them. 
               

And a few final words for August.....   A much better month with birds starting to really show towards the end as migration gets well and truly under way.  After the lean months of June and July it is a delight to be seeing lots of birds again.  The star birds have to be the great white egrets, a rarity here.  As they came in off the sea with the purple herons they split away and headed off on their own.  With their snowy plumage etched against the intense blue of the Mediterranean sky they were a picture to behold.

What will September bring?

Until then, good watching.  Paul Smith.
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