1st Nov. At Neo Chorio. A short toed eagle was calling and circling for ages.
On the coast. 3 grey herons and a flock of 12 meadow pipits.
2nd Nov. At Neo Chorio. A single grey heron flew very low along the valley followed by 2+ grey wagtails shortly after. In the garden several robins were singing and at least four black redstarts were fighting to establish their winter territories. Several song thrushes were feeding on our spare olives.
3rd Nov. At Nembros. An adult booted eagle was heavily mobbed by 3 hooded crows. The eagle was circling so low we had superb views of it.
On the coast. A flock of 200+ meadow pipits feeding on the beach and a wary moorhen keeping hidden it obviously knew this is the hunting season!
At Neo Chorio. A hobby and a short toed eagle while the song thrushes are still gorging themselves.
7th Nov. At Neo Chorio. Another short toed eagle or the same one as yesterday?
13th Nov. At Neo Chorio. An adult light phase booted eagle.
Near Kandanos. A lanner falcon; 10+ ravens; lovely views of a pair of rough legged buzzards; and a late or wintering eleonoras falcon.
At Topolia. There was a flock of 20 crag martins.
15th Nov. On the coast. We found the resident marsh harrier; a kingfisher; several black redstarts; while already two cettis warblers were starting to sing. But best of all was a grasshopper warbler in full song from a patch of giant reed.
16th Nov. At Neo Chorio. A short toed eagle. Several chiffchaffs were singing in the garden.
20th Nov. Near Topolia. 3 steppe buzzards were circling with a pair of honey buzzards.
Below Elos. We saw another steppe buzzard circling with a pair of common buzzards. Also a raven and 9 griffon vultures.
At Kefalas. There were the usual pair of bonellis eagles.
At the bearded vulture site. Superb views of the male being mobbed by ravens as he tried to bring food to the female who was perched on the skyline, also being mobbed by ravens. We had wonderful views, the first time I have been able to use the telescope on full (60X) zoom with no heat haze
or distortion, the air was crystal clear for once. We also saw corn buntings; meadow pipits; a flock of 30+ linnets; a pair of golden eagles; some chukkars; several white wagtails; and perched on some rocks by the sea were over 50 yellow legged gulls. On the way back we saw a short toed eagle; a jay (rare on Crete); 15+ ravens; and a blue rock thrush.
21st Nov. At Neradzia. A rough legged buzzard: and,
On the coast. 3 white wagtails; chiffchaffs singing; a flock of 30+ meadow pipits; and a marsh harrier let us drive up to within 20 metres to watch it eating a 30cm snake while perched on top of a telegraph pole.
22nd Nov. Again to the bearded vulture site. But had only 3 brief views of them. To compensate the pair of golden eagles gave a wonderful display as they courted. Amazing barrel rolls and diving for ages before alighting on a crag to rest. A pair of
rock doves were so preoccupied with their repeated matings they ignored the eagles, as if knowing that the eagles were themselves too busy with each other to bother with an easy meal! We also saw a light phase booted eagle; a pair of bonellis eagles; 50+ crag martins; a blue rock thrush; and several ravens.
24th Nov. Further investigation. Of a gorge we have found on the west of the island, mentioned in last month's 'A few final words for.....' We saw an adult dark phase booted eagle that had several primaries (seemingly) shot out of its left wing; then later a light phase booted eagle was
being mobbed by a common buzzard. This gorge is so inaccessible it is no wonder it is not on the tourist trail. Very few birds but migration is over now, perhaps it will be better in the spring.
26th Nov. At Neo Chorio. A pair of honey buzzards.
27th Nov. A long day out to survey the central part of the island.
At Vigla. 5 griffon vultures. One had a big hole in its left wing - probably gunshot injury. Also a bonellis eagle and a kestrel.
In the Kotsifou gorge. A very noisy flock of 36+ jackdaws; 6 griffon vultures; and a raven.
In the Kourtaliatiko gorge. 7 griffon vultures. A blue rock thrush sang to us as it perched on a boulder.
At Lefkogia. A flock of 50+ house martins showed how good the south coast is for wintering hirundines. On the way back we saw 2 ostriches - but they hardly count as ostrich farming is the latest in thing for some Cretan farmers.
28th Nov. On the coast. A flock of 10 meadow pipits and a fan tailed warbler.
29th Nov. At Neo Chorio. A pair of short toed eagles circled with a juvenile rough legged buzzard to entertain me as I struggled to prune some more of our many orange trees. The entertainment did not last long as I accidentally put my hand on a sheltering edible dormouse that shot away so quickly it
frightened the life out of me. Luckily my right hand man was quickly to the rescue with a glass of wine to calm me down. And yes, the pruning did get finished!