I continued to fail miserably to get up early but by nine I was bumping down through Loutzaria (I have found a correct spelling on the new bird watching boards) and it was already scorching. As I drove along the Tsiknias I was able to check the Wagtail field in lovely morning light. There were hundreds present and the hay has now been turned into long piles making the short areas in between even more appealing to them and the Tawny Pipits, Tree Pipits, Wheatears and Whinchats present. Spanish Sparrows and Corn Buntings fossicked in the longer stuff for seeds.
Seven Turtle Doves zoomed through with a few Collareds and the Short-toed Eagle was on a closer pole than usual, much to the annoyance of the local Hoodies and Buzzards. There seemed to be more Willow Warblers flitting round and down in the river two Great White Egrets and three scampering Greenshank were feeding but the water was distinctly higher than recent days.
|Maskless Greenshanks with appropriate spacing...
I parked up and walked the inner lane of Loutzaria and was pleased to see that the birds did not really take much notice. I suspect that the number of people working the fields at the moment puts them at ease. There was more of the same to be seen with a few Red-backed Shrikes and Spot Flys thrown into the mix.
|Possibly the most Olive-backed Pipit-looking Tree Pipit I have seen
The first and only flock of Bee-eaters of the day prukked high overhead along with a mixed flock of hirundines but suddenly everything was in complete panic as a very dark male Peregrine hustled through in a rather lack lustre attempt to catch breakfast. It did however show just how many Wagtails and the like were out there! Two Kestrels joined the fray and the Common Buzzards were constantly around and I suspect that they too are largely after insects although I did find a recently deceased Günther’s Vole – a rather robust species
|This 3rd Kestrel went high overhead and the structure and underwing made me think Lesser but it was all too brief. Happy for any input
|juvenile Common Buzzard
|juv Common Buzzard
|All the Common Buzzards seen looked like this, bar one pale breasted bird
There were no Buntings in the ploughed field but three White Storks poked their heads out of the verdant field next to it and a chance glance up produced six more circling high overhead which in turn put me onto three microscopic raptors in the blue. I was not entirely sure what I was looking at and all three felt similar with quite narrow wings and longish tails but I kept getting myself confused, switching between Honey Buzzards and the much rarer Steppe Buzzard but I am now happy that all three were HBs despite initial mixed suspicions.
|Incredibly high Honey Buzzards!
The White Storks came down in a field where the farmer was turning the hay and were avidly following him and his tractor around.
The heat was almost too much and so I returned early only for Pia to message me about a Scops Owl her and Soren had found in the Pasiphae garden so I nipped down there for a quick look. It had a perfectly placed stick in an otherwise open position but it was still great to see one of these fierce little creatures.
We met Alison and some friends for lunch at the very nice Edem
Toy Bey restaurant off the main road before Mesa where more Spot Flys, Sombre Tits and
Willow Warblers were seen but I did not add Ostrich, Emu , Egyptian Goose or
Mandarin to my island list!
|The Emus were about as keen on the mini zoo as I was...
|A huge view back down onto the Kalloni Saltpans
Back to Nancy's for a cuppa and kip and then off down to Loutzaria once again for an evening fix. There was little change but a Golden Oriole had a fly around and two Ortolans were back while the young Cuckoo was still enjoying foraging in one of the wet alfalfa fields.
Down at the pans the low evening light and no haze gave me a chance to have a good scan around and I found a few more waders with nine Stilts, two Stone Curlew, six Redshank, six Greenshank, three Marsh Sands, Ruff, two Curlew Sandpipers, 12 Little Stint, the first Temminck's Stint and three Kentish Plovers, two Ringed Plover, three Little Ringed Plovers and a Grey Plover! Not a bad little haul really.
The adult Lesser Grey Shrike was
still on the wires and another first winter was still feeding in the last light
down by the racetrack where Willow Warblers were frantically feeding up. The
tide was certainly far higher than it has been and the Bay was quiet bar a
bobbing Great Crested Grebe and a quick scan across revealed that the Pelican
flock was still present and correct.
|Lesser Grey Shrike
A light dinner of boiled eggs and beer on the balcony beckoned with the Scops Owl tooting away, the Barn Owl screeching at regular intervals and the Stone Curlews calling out on the Christou. Bats were everywhere and even the International Space Station paid a visit...
|Honestly... the ISS 'streaking acros the sky'