Sunday, September 8, 2013

Mamma Mia!

Readers of a certain age will recognise today’s blog title as the title of a popular song by a  well known Scandinavian group. It is also the title of a not-very-good film starring those should-know-better stars, Meryl Streep and Pierce Brosnan. It’s a clue to where the blog comes from today - yes Skiathos and nearby Skopelos in Sunny Greece, the islands where the said film was shot in 2008 and where another wedding takes place this week. No folks, I’m not committing bigamy in Greece, it’s the wedding of daughter Joanne to son-in law-to-be Ian with special guests Mums and Dad.

The island of Skiathos is about 12 km long and 6 km wide on average. Despite its small size Skiathos with its many beaches and wooded landscape is a popular tourist destination. It has over 60 mostly sandy beaches scattered around the 44 km coastline. 

Skiathos, Greece

Much of the island is wooded with Aleppo Pine and a small Stone Pine forest at the Koukounaries location where there is a lagoon and a popular beach. 

The island's forests are concentrated on the southwest and northern parts, but the presence of pine trees is prevalent throughout the island. It all adds up to a good birding spot, especially during September when many birds from Northern Europe make their way south through the Mediterranean towards Africa or the Middle East. 

Skiathos Town

Skiathos Town

Birding from the off in the clear skies, the hills alive with overhead Alpine Swifts and a mix of hirundines, Swallows, Red-rumped Swallows, House Martins and Little Swift. Is Hobby the commonest bird here? Could be simply the number heading back to Africa and following the hirundines but today we had 12/15 Hobby sightings with no effort at all. 

 Alpine Swift- Photo credit: ferran pestaña / Foter / CC BY-SA 

Eastern Olivaceous Warblers seem to be everywhere, vying for attention with good numbers of Woodchat Shrikes. Just a short walk from the hotel I found Cirl Buntings, overhead Common Buzzard and Honey Buzzard, and not far away the calls of Bee Eaters - with luck I’ll find them tomorrow. 

Woodchat Shrike - Photo credit: Muchaxo / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Cirl Bunting - Photo credit: Le No / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

In the meantime we must find somewhere to have an evening meal here in Agia Paraskevi, Taverna Town as we call it, where an unseen-by-most Scops Owl calls every evening as we stroll by. 

Scops Owl

I'm not online much, there's relaxing and touristy things to do, not to mention a wedding to attend.

The house-sitter will be updating the blog with comments in between keeping the garden tidy and checking the post, so keep your comments coming in. But I'll catch up with blogging pals soon and there's more from Another Bird Blog in Greece soon.


Stuart Price said...

Enjoy the wedding Phil.........

eileeninmd said...

A wedding in Greece, sounds like a lovely time! Greece is on my bucket list of places to visit. Nice to see the cool birds there too. Great shots, Phil!

grammie g said...

Hey Phil...looks like a real swanky spot "Poor You" hahaha!!
Hang-up the birding and enjoy the festivities!!
Congratulation to the Bride and Groom!!
I feel sorry for the guy having you for a father-in-law ; ) !!
You know I'm giving you a hard time as always, I'll be waiting for you to get back at me : )!!

You and the wife enjoy!!

Terri Buster said...

Have a great time- great shots today!

Stewart M said...

Looks like a splendid place - sun and birds!

Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

Carole M. said...

have a great time Phil! Loved the birds and I had to laugh, you humming Mama Mia, and me quietly singing Don't Fence Me in (blog posts tonight).

Chris said...

Wow enjoy man, you can come back to bloggy business later on...

Mary Howell Cromer said...

What a marvelous post and it sounds like the wedding shall be dream like with such a location. Your wonderful array of insect eating birds are all such beauties and I had never even heard of that species of Owl before, so very nice indeed. One time in my wildest of dreams, I thought that one day, I should enjoy a journey to Greece and then my ears went bad. Maybe one day, I shall take a cruise and land there for a day. Your images are captivating. Have a wonderful celebration~

Chris Rohrer said...

Man!!! That looks incredible. I do like Mamma Mia and I agree....the movie was a little blah....but the scenery is gorgeous just like in your photos. And those birds!!!! The owl is just icing on the cake. Nice work. Have fun!

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