Red-rumped Swallows joined us for our Pela breakfast before
we trundled west around the Bay to Parakila and my favourite Turpentine trees
on the way to the little harbour.
As hoped they were pinging with birds with silvery Lesser
Whitethroats, Willow Warblers, Chaffinches, House Sparrows and Great Tits.
Spotted Flycatchers each had their preferred perches that they defended from
all comers. You could hear the snap of their bills when they went after prey.
|Spotted Flycatcher and Great Tit|
Middle Spotted Woodpeckers were vocal in the olives and both
Eastern Black-eared and Northern Wheatears were in the dry field opposite with
Cirl Buntings and grumpy Red-backed Shrikes around the margins. A couple of
Persian Squirrels scampered along the way and noisy Black-capped Jays
accompanied us as we walked down to the harbour where 12 Med Gulls, a Shag and
a Great White Egret were on the breakwater. A Black Stork was feeding in the
pool just inland.
The hemp-like smell of
the False Yellowhead strengthened as the oily plants heated up.
|Great White Egret and Black-headed Gulls|
|Courting Freyer's Graylings|
|Courting Freyer's Graylings|
| False Yellowhead (Dittrichia viscosa)|
It was already very hot and with no shade we moved on
passing a couple of roadside Rock Nuthatches and Rock Sparrows at my Agra stop en
route to the reservoir and Monastery at Pithariou.
| Agra crags|
|All the above are Violet Dropwings - they change colour depending on the angle|
There was a pleasant breeze at the dam where Crag Martins
cruised past at head height and gangs of Ravens tumbled and kronked in the
cloudless blue sky. A dark Eleonora's Falcon made two circuits before simply
vanishing and Short-toed Eagle and Common Buzzard circled the craggy heights.
|Oak leaf mines just for Antony|
|Hogbite (Chondrilla juncea)|
|Rough cocklebur (Xanthium strumarium)|
shady lunch was taken at the bandstand by the Monastery and then we went down
to check the green bridge at Skala Eresou for Moorhens, Mullets and Terrapins;
all three of which were seen and fed! Some of the Mullets were monsters!
|Stranglewort (Cynanchum acutum)|
The road over the top to the Ipsilou junction was dry and
almost birdless but Perivolis Monastery was once again a pleasant place to
spend a while with a similar suite of Warblers, Redstarts and Spotted
Flycatchers to the other day. A male Cirl Bunting posed after a bath and we had
to check the car for stowaway kittens before tackling the roadwork strewn road
back to base.
|One of the six - leaf bed|
|Always check your car before you leave|
A swim and early dinner and then out onto Loutzaria for a
Nightjar hunt. It was unsuccessful but Stone Curlews called and Bats fluttered
by but it was the celestial heavens that left us gawping skywards with the
Milky Way snaking its way overhead. Jupiter and Saturn attempted to stand out
from the billions of shimmering pin pricks of light while satellites criss-crossed
below them. The International Space Station shone like a beacon as it passed over
252 miles above us and a fiery meteorite blazed a trail for long enough to get
the binoculars up!
|The ISS if you try to just use your phone!|
If this was not enough to stretch the mind, you could
clearly see the elliptical disc of our nearest neighbour, the Andromeda Galaxy,
a staggering 2.5 million light years away...
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