(CLICK ON A PIC AND IT WILL GO BIG)
The annual holiday was Crete. I'll confess now there wasn't much birding done and most was opportunistic while sitting in a Taverna or two. There will be a lot of flowers and some tame lizards as well. So on we go.
Hiding in the wall of the Villa
On the fig tree
I really have no explanation for this in any shape or form (Sap would be boring)
This was a large and rather cool bug
I'm pretty sure there's only one here and is upside down and possibly dead!
A bit of sticky sap oozing
Never a rest for the workers even at 39deg!
This was a big boy as well
Ah! finally a bird. A Sparrow Hawk which often went past the veranda
And finally something exotic a Stork that few over head while driving the cabriolet
There is a Botanical gardens south of Chania created in 2002 when the olive grove on the side of the mountain owned by two brothers burnt to the ground. The decided to create a large botanical garden complete with a fantastic taverna selling meals and produce only supplied from local growers. A walk filled with trees and flowers and such like from across the world. Amazing throughout including orange groves.
There were a lot of resident Peacocks and hens
I can see you (One for Robin Morrison)
Particularly like this one
And some lizards. This one looks like its used up one of its lives with a fresh tail
Peachick (I had to google the name but it's pretty obvious really!!)
Nothing too exciting in the pond at the bottom of the garden
Lots of bees, wasps and particularly bright Brown Mediterranean Hornets getting water
Andrew thats the best head shot of a Greylag Goose you'll ever take
Lots and lots and lots and lots of these
An Artichoke head gone to seed
Black Bumble Bee. I struggled to get a good shot
The Mediterranean in September can be a little hit and miss with the weather so when I saw a small flock of Alpine Swifts making their way slowly down to the coast the penny should have dropped. They were flying ahead of a particularly spectacular storm. It did mean I got some nice shots as they whizzed round the villa. I could climb to the room so had a 360deg position.
Sporting a particularly Hipster beard I thought
Local Kestrels favourite perch. She (it was big) was often there. I was hoping for a Lesser Kestrel but alas no.
While out driving again in the cabriolet a pair of Griffon Vultures were circling. Unfortunately the sky was as black as your hat so crap shots sorry even though they were pretty low
I'm assuming this is another Buzzard and not something exotic!
Back to the evening bug count
Another day, another bird and this time the Sparrow Hawk again amongst the Alpine Swifts who had returned.
Local kestrel is back
Quit a few Ravens around which was nice
I'm a big fan of the Hooded Crow. The ones in Crete seem to be a little different to others I've seen in Scotland and Ireland. I'm aware of sub species but not sure if this is one or not.
While up in the mountains we saw four Griffon Vultures patrolling their patch. Just the little bit too far up but still managed a few shots. There's something ominous about these large majestic birds slowly circling with ever present eyes.
The final day was out doing the ancient piles stuff. Everywhere the ants seemed to have picked that day to move house. Lots of nests being transposed via long lines of black dots going back and forth. These were rather big black dots!
To me, to you
So not as varied as other years and the birds did seem to be rather thin on the ground even accounting for not actually going to any nature reserves or particularly wild places. Still it was hot and sunny and warm. 'Nough said!