I got up early (ish) and made my way in the pre dawn light down to Metochi to have a look at Black Stork action that Pia had been telling me about. She was already in place and I did not want to spoil her photographic opportunities so I stayed further up what remains of the lake and had to be content with some amazing views of 36 of these imposing birds communally fishing in the two channels and single pool where plenty of fish were still available. Some were young birds and for the first time I could hear how vocal they were with wheezy whistle and whinnies as they squabbled over a catch or the best spot.
|Black Stork frenzy
Twelve Grey Herons and 22 Little Egrets were also in on the frenzy and two Little Grebes were dicing with death by feeding amongst them! One Grey Heron caught a large Mullet (which just proves that all these channel and even the lake connect to the sea further down) and after spearing it several times managed to swallow it at the first attempt before a post breakfast digestive siesta.
A Kingfisher zipped by and landed on the perch next to Pia and I hope she was paying attention at that point. I did not linger too long and snuck away when the whole flock moved to the other end.
We headed north after breakfast with a plan to visit Molivos castle but we discovered that Tuesday is the only closed day. However, you can still walk all the way round it and get spectacular views down over the fields towards Eftalou, the harbour and the beaches off towards the Kavaki cliffs. Rock Nuthatches were clambering around the battlements and Spot Flys hawked from the Olive-leaved Pears.
|The castle walls have some strange inclusions...
|Local astroturf pitch gleaming on the left!
|Squirting Cucumber - Ecballium elaterium
There was time to head into the town, have an ice-cream,
learn some Greek and watch fish in the harbour before making the short journey
back into Anaxos to meet Alison for a trip to the beach... yes I was actually trying
to do the relaxing thing. The lady in the herb and spice shop on the Molivos waterfront told me of the Delfinia hotel garden on the way out of the town in which she sees Hoopoes every morning and is it was ok to just visit for a walk I had a quick ten minutes in the baking sunshine but there were indeed Hoopoes as well as Jays, Middle Spotted Woodpeckers, Spotted Flycatchers and Willow Warblers in the oaks and olives. Nothing stopped for the camera though.
|Garfish - Belone belone
|yet another Blenny!
After a bit of a wiggle we arrived at the little cove of Kalo Limani and suffice to say the sea was clear and warm and the taverna food great. There were birds too with Crested Larks and Rock Nuthatches around the beach buildings and Spot Flys and Willow Warblers in the shady tamarisks.
|The little bay over the headland from the beach at Kalo Limani
It was then back over the top via Filia before I escaped out onto Loutzaria for the end of the day. The flava field was quieter for Wagtails but there were several Whinchats, six Red-backs dotted around it and at long last an obliging Lesser Grey. Now I know that the photographers do not like birds on the sprinkler heads but they are part of the autumn landscape and at least no errant twigs tend to get in the way.
|Whinchat - this little beauty popped up right by the car window
|I only took five shots and I love them all!
|Lesser Grey Shrike
A Buzzard was in the bale field and immediately struck me as small and very plainly rufous. It took off and flashed matching rufous underwing coverts, a very broad black terminal bar and unmarked white inside of the primaries and as it came in to land I could see a dark sub-terminal band and paler tips . I was by now quite happy that it was a Steppe Buzzard. It felt smaller and lighter built than the fat Commons perched around and unlike them it would not let me get anywhere near it before it headed off towards Kalloni.
There did not seem to be any new waders on the closest pans but I could see the Pelican flock in the distance as the Wagtails, Sparrows and Corn Buntings headed off to their respective roost.
|The angle makes this look like an Enormous White Egret...
A nice balcony Ouzo rounded up the evening...