Monday, October 12, 2015

A Little Fluke And Greek Delight

I managed an hour two exploring Fluke Hall today. Whooper Swans are back from Iceland with four adults and a single juvenile below the sea wall. There was a Green Sandpiper along the landward ditch, a single Snipe, a couple of hunting Kestrels plus 2 Little Egrets and a Grey Heron.

Best I could find around the woodland turned out to be 45+ Woodpigeon, 3 Stock Dove and a Nuthatch.

Whooper Swans

That snippet of local news rather short changes regular readers so for the rest of this post there are some final pictures from our Skiathos holiday of 16th to 30th September.

We chose a sunny day to make the annual pilgrimage to the ancient abandoned fortress of Kastro where we could watch the exploits of the island’s Eleonora’s Falcons. For a more detailed insight into both Kastro and its Eleonora's Falcons, see my post of last year Fantastic Falcon.

The colony of breeding Eleonora’s live on a rocky outcrop in the far north of the island, the opposite coast to both our hotel and to Skiathos Town. Luckily we made the tortuous overland journey before the historic storms of 22/23rd September as otherwise I think the route via secondary roads and rough tracks would have been blocked by rivers of mud and rocks. 

Kastro, Skiathos

Kastro, Skiathos

The parking spot leaves a foot-slog over rocky paths towards the Greek flag with chance to see Yellow-legged Gulls, Blue Rock Thrush, Kestrel, Alpine Swifts, Common Swifts and swallows of both the common and red-rumped variety. In the vegetation skulked Willow Warblers, Chiffchaffs, Sardinian Warblers and Blackcaps. 

Yellow-legged Gull

The falcons live below the flag along the furthermost point of the rocky promontory where they remain fairly distant until one or two fly directly over. The Eleonora’s performed to their usual incredible and spectacular level, hurtling through the skies at breakneck speed to the rocks and the sea below. With approximately 20 birds present, both adults and youngsters, it was obvious there was lots of family interplay to get through before they fly to Africa for the coming winter. 

Eleonora's Falcon

Eleonora's Falcon

Eleonora's Falcon

Eleonora's Falcon

On a couple of occasion we drove to Koukounaries to visit the famous beach and the lake of Strofilia which lies between a line of pine trees and the road to Koukounaries. 

Strofilia

Strofilia, Skiathos

Strofilia from above, Skiathos

A couple of leisurely walks around the lake taking in the mix of habitats produced a good selection of species with Yellow Wagtails and Whinchats in abundance, on one day in particular 50+ Yellow Wagtails and 20+ Whinchats.

There was also Garden Warbler, Blackcap, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Hoopoe, Red-backed Shrike, Hobby, Grey Heron, Honey Buzzard, Spotted Flycatcher, Wryneck, Kingfisher, Little Egret, Kestrel and Sardinian Warbler. That’s a worthy list by any standards, especially considering that by mid to late September many species are absent having set off for Africa. 

Spotted Flycatcher

Hoopoe

A Hoopoe is a striking bird but they can be difficult to spot when they choose to stay quiet and sit motionless in a tree. 

Hoopoe

Red-backed Shrike

Yellow Wagtail

Hooded Crow

Yellow Wagtail

I hope blog readers enjoyed the recent posts from Skiathos, Greece. It’s a peaceful, stress-free place for a holiday and there's always a spot of leisurely birding available for those who choose not to sun bathe. 

Skiathos

Stay tuned to Another Bird Blog for more birds and more pictures very soon.

Linking this post to Run-a-roundranch blog and  World Bird Wednesday.


21 comments:

Fun60 said...

The yellow wagtail has very long legs. In fact it looks so elegant as though it is ready to walk down the catwalk

eileeninmd said...

Great post Phil! The Falcon shots are awesome. I really enjoyed seeing the birds from your Greece trip! Wonderful series of photos. Have a happy week!

Andrew Fulton said...

Wonderful birds to see... my partner Mandys sister lives in Dubai and Hoopoes are common there.

carol l mckenna said...

Wonderful bird photography and some birds I have never seen ~ Delightful!

Happy Week to you,
artmusedog and carol

Stuart Price said...

Nice falcon. I saw some in Greece, a few years ago and before I started taking pictures alas.

Linda said...

A lovely array of birds, Phil! I wonder how you knew the gull was yellow legged? I suppose you saw it before it took flight or at a different angle than I am seeing in the photo. Beautiful captures!

Russell Jenkins said...

Congratulations on the excellent falcon pictures. I'd love to see them too. It really is a wonderful place.All the other birds wouldn't bore me either mind you.

Margaret Adamson said...

Wonderful post Phil and great shots especially the flight shots.

Mary Cromer said...

WOW, so much wonderful in this post Phil. More beauty of the island and the many song birds along with those gorgeous swans that have arrived back to your land. The Red backed Shrike, Eleanora's Falcon, the Hoopie are so beautiful, those flight shots, are stunning, and I must not forget one that really stuck out too me as well, the Hooded Crow just chilling, love that one too. Have a marvelous week~

David Gascoigne said...

Wow, I am truly impressed with these Eleanora's Falcon shots. How spectacular it must be to witness their aerial prowess. I envy you this experience.

Janice Adcock said...

Beautiful as ever, Phil.

Breathtaking said...

Superb shots, and a thrilling experience to see the Eleanora's Falcons, a bird I would love to see.You did well to capture them in flight especially when they fly at such a tremendous speed.I'm truely surprised at the variety of birds you saw.

Marie C said...

How wonderful to get to see these falcons. Great in-flight photos! That area is so beautiful...what a great trip! Loved all the awesome bird shots!

TexWisGirl said...

gorgeous - exotic to me!

EG CameraGirl said...

Oh how I would love to see the birds of Greece!

Francisco Manuel Carrajola Oliveira said...

Belas fotografias.
Gostei do blog.
Um abraço.
http://andarilharar.blogspot.pt/

Terri @ Coloring Outside the Lines said...

Awesome, and I can imagine how exciting to see these birds. I would rather bird watch than sun bathe any day of the week!

Ida said...

Great post. - Whooper Swans...That's such a funny name but a very pretty bird. - The Hoopoe bird is so cool looking. We certainly don't have birds like that here. Also enjoyed your Hooded Crow sitting on the fencing. Some lovely countryside there as well.

Karen S. said...

What a collection of beauty!

Stewart M said...

Nice post - I miss the swans and geese that I used to see in winter - we don't have much of a winter migration here.

Nice hoopoe - I think I made rather a lot of noise myself when I saw one first!

cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

Gunilla Bäck said...

Wonderful photos of all the birds. I love the falcons.

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