Paul Smith has posted this page regularly, having missed his deadline on only two occasions, since August 2001. The recent combination of increased frequency of hospital visits and medical treatment kept Paul from his favourite occupation during the July watching period this year.

But, whether it was the horror of seeing my own effort to fill his space last month; the sheer deprivation of being unable to watch the birds; my (well intentioned) threats; or the support of readers and friends - (I suspect a combination of all) - he is back again, although still unwell, to bring the August page. Brilliant! Good reading......


3rd August.   At Galatas. There was a dead barn owl on the road.
                     At Chania hospital. A pair of lanner falcons circling over the cliffs cheered me up as I waited for yet more treatment.
                     At Tavronitis. There was just a single little egret.

5th August.   At Neo Chorio. A juvenile short toed eagle circled and called for ages.

6th August.   At Sirili. There was another dead barn owl on the road. At this time of year many dispersing juveniles meet their end by hunting along roads.

7th August.  At Tavronitis. We saw the first kingfisher of the year flash along just over the surface of the sole remaining brackish pool. A flock of 30+ wood sandpipers were trying to settle on the beach but there were too many tourists claiming the same space!

8th August.   Further along the coast. First 2 - and then a flock of 8 - little egrets flew along the coast.

10th August. At Neo Chorio. A large bat, one of the horseshoe family, shared a late film with me as it circled round and round in the lounge for ages before it found its way out again (not related to birds but at least they can fly!).

12th August. Neo Chorio. Another juvenile short toed eagle circled and called.
                       On the coast. A lovely flock of 48 glossy ibis flew to and fro for half an hour. The flock of 18 purple herons was less impressive, they fly so slowly and ponderously.

14th August. At Tavronitis. There was a male marsh harrier and then a juvenile shag fishing in the surf.
                      At Neo Chorio.  Back home I was again joined by a bat for a while.

15th August. At Maleme. While enjoying a beer at a taverna, we were treated to a flock of 43 and then 38 purple herons and also a flock of 40 and another of 24 glossy ibis.
                       At Neo Chorio. There was a turtle dove in the garden.

17th August. Near Tavronitis. We watched an osprey wing its way south while:-
                      At home in Neo Chorio. There was another short toed eagle. Later there was yet another bat in the lounge.

*Side Notes: 19th, 20th & 21st August – juvenile short toed eagles present on each day. Also on 21st. a peregrine falcon caused havoc with the swallows as it swept through on a hunting mission.

24th August. At Tavronitis. A single sandwich tern was fishing out to sea. Also a flock of 13 purple herons went by - of which 9 were juveniles. Further out to sea was a flock of 50+ garganey.

25th August. Over Kolymbari. A bonellis eagle was circling.
*Side Notes: 26th & 30th August - Juvenile short toed eagles present.
27th August. Over Neradzia. A single honey buzzard was circling.

28th August. At Tavronitis. There was a pair of white wagtails and a flock of 12 purple herons.


29th August. Over Chania hospital. A flock of 5 ravens circled and ‘kronked’ hopefully as I had yet more treatment.
                      At Galatas. 3 honey buzzards circled while:-
                      Over Platanias. Were two more and then we had wonderful views of a perfectly plumaged lesser spotted eagle.

A few final words for August. 

The enforced rest I had last month did me no good at all – I feel no better for it so am trying again to provide some information even if it is limited. I cannot drive far now so can only report on what is happening along the coast between Chania and Kolymbari.

I always felt that if I could not do a job properly then it was not worth doing but friends and readers of this page have urged me to at least provide what I can so a limited service is now in place. I do value their support and encouragement, thank you. I hope it will be informative, unlike some sites I can guarantee that the birds recorded were really those stated rather than the fanciful imaginative rubbish met elsewhere. Beware the ambitious amateur!

My right hand man has been delighted with the number of migrating short toed eagles this autumn, one even turned up on her birthday. Her favourite bird because they eat those dreaded snakes that lurk in her imagination rather than the garden! I wonder just how many different individuals we have seen, as some must linger in a suitable area for some days before drifting south again. Hopefully they will come and nest in our area again next year and make up for missing this breeding season.

A word must be said for the dreadful lack of waders and duck this autumn, I have commented before on how the coastal strip has been ruined for migrants, but I still miss the black winged stilts, squacco herons, curlew sandpipers, broad billed sandpipers and many other species that made for wonderful diversity before the cement mixers moved in.

C’est la vie!

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.