MY BIRDWATCHING HIGHLIGHTS FOR DECEMBER 2006

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1st Dec.  At Neo Chorio. A goldcrest was very busy feeding on insects attracted to orange blossom on a tree just outside the lounge window. Talk about an armchair bird watcher!

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3rd Dec.  Along the Coast. Were stonechats; white wagtails; whinchats; and a marsh harrier.

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4th Dec.   At Sirili. A group of 3 honey buzzards circled for a while before drifting south it is very late for migrants! On the coast a very lively male sparrow hawk delighted us as it sped along just above the ground in pursuit of anything edible.

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8th Dec.  Along the Coast. The usual mix of  stonechats, whinchats and white wagtails - plus a single moorhen; a marsh harrier; a flock of 6+ meadow pipits;  and then another male sparrow hawk, which must have been a different one from the 4th as is was nearly 5 kilometers away . They are mainly winter visitors here in large numbers though there is a breeding population as well.
 

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 9th Dec. At Neo Chorio. Just to prove the point, a male sparrow hawk hunted through the garden at home, ten kilometers inland from the coast.

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14th Dec. At Chania. Proving the point still further there was a female sparrow hawk hunting in the grounds of Chania hospital, so the pair of white wagtails kept a low profile. On the way back home a pair of booted eagles circled over the national highway.

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15th Dec. On the Coast. A lovely pair of booted eagles circling very low down, just above our heads.
                 At Nembros. A female sparrow hawk took advantage of the lovely sunny weather to soar and display in wanting to attract a mate.

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23rd Dec. At Neo Chorio. We spotted a red kite that slowly headed south along the valley.
                 Back on the coast. A rough legged buzzard; a marsh harrier; a flock of 12+ serin; a single moorhen; and a male reed bunting.


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27th Dec. At Neo Chorio. What must by now be a temporary resident male sparrow hawk tried its luck at the numbers of small birds attracted to the insects feeding on the orange blossom blackcaps; sardinian warblers; a male great tit; several blue tits; and even the only second dunnock we have seen on the island in 8 years. Overhead a single booted eagle supervised what was going on.

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29th Dec. On the Coast. We were surprised when a flock of 20+ ruff flew up and out to sea, followed moments later by a flock of 21 ferruginous ducks. Flocks of 10+ and 5+ meadow pipits; a marsh harrier; some stonechats; and black redstarts kept us amused despite the inclement weather.

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31st Dec. At Neo Chorio. Very appropriately, a barn owl flew up onto our house roof at dusk to help us see the New Year in.

A few final words for December.

A very quiet month December over the years has been like that, the lull before migration proper gets under way. Also the weather was poor for much of the month so we did not stray far.  

Instead we contented ourselves with the now annual invasion of robins in our lounge! This year 25 of them - plus 3 french hens and just two turtle doves. Missing from the line up this year were partridges. They could not perch in the pear tree as they were on my plate for dinner and much enjoyed too! Hopefully you too had a good festive season!

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.

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