Thursday, April 11, 2019

9th April......a day to remember.

Immediately after breakfast we set off to meet up with Colin Richardson for a days  "birding in the west"!.   We met at Asprokremnos Dam ( which is now full after quite a long period of being below capacity ), and covered the woodland near the car park. After a "gossip catch up" we set off to examine the woodland area.This produced a Lesser Whitethroat and a Wood Warbler, but little else , so we moved to the eastern end of the dam wall. The small patch of mud held a Wood Sandpiper, Little Egret and a Purple Heron whilst some Alpine and Common Swift flew overhead. A Marsh Harrier  was in view and a busy adult Sardinian Warbler looked after some recently fledged young.

We moved on to Timni Beach and looked over the various pools and into the flooded woodland. Little Egrets, Squacco Heron, Purple Heron , Black winged Stilt, Ruff, Greenshank , and Marsh Sandpiper were all on view , but the stars of the show were two Stone Curlew which "bombed" through the woodland and flew right over our heads!! Odd Yellow legged Gull flew along the coast and a few Northern Wheatear fed on the open "turf" areas behind the beach.

After examining a small stand of mature woodland, where we had a Green Sandpiper on a tiny pool, we moved on again to the Vivara area ( may be wrong spelling incidentally ).  On our way Colin kindly screeched to a halt in the village and pointed out a Laughing Dove pair. Shortly before this we'd stop to watch at least 200 plus Swallows feeding over a grazing sheep flock dutifully watched over by a young shepherd.  After negotiating a rather "exciting" track we came on a series of square irrigation pools , all of which were fringed by a band of luxuriant vegetation. Then the excitement began !!  In recent days there had been up to 15 Little Crake  counted in the area  ....  I was more than satisfied to get great views of four, particularly as we then saw the Baillons Crake nonchalantly parading about in the corner of one pool and also standing still under the vegetation, which allowed for tremendous telescope views.  I suspect prayers must have been offered up to St. Jude by someone  in the party as , yes, we then saw a Spotted Crake. Unbelievable , and all the "players"   providing excellent telescope views , even including some aggressive behaviour and chasing by two of the male Little Crake.  A supporting cast of Red-rumped Swallow, Sand Martin, House Martin and Swallow gathered over one of the pools and a Great Spotted Cuckoo flew over. Really, what's not to like about birding ?

To end the day we then went to Anarita Park where we  looked carefully at 10 plus feeding Kestrels, all of which were Common and not the forerunners of arriving Lessers.  A brief view of Ortolan Bunting and then more Great Spotted Cuckoo ended what had been a great days birdwatching.

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