Monday, 28 March 2016

Harriers, a Rock Thrush and a Bunting

Today delivered another really enjoyable day's birding. It was almost flat calm this morning, combined with warm sunshine allowed for some great birding in the main valley early on. Grounded migrants were rather unevenly spread across the headland and no where in great numbers however there was a good variety and the interest was sustained until the end of the day.

There were several more 'firsts' today including Ruppell's Warbler (2), Pallid Harrier (2), White Wagtail, Rock Thrush and Cretzschmar's Bunting.

There was also a small but distinct fall, the main species involved were: Wryneck (6), Hoopoe (10), Whitethroat (8), Subalpine Warbler (16), Nightingale (14), Black-eared Wheatear (19), Northern Wheatear (12) and Black Redstart (11).

Ornithologically the most interesting event of the day was the presence of a large number of Alpine Swifts from mid-morning. This species is regular at Cape Tenaro in spring and normally appears in small numbers (up to 40) when there is bad weather further north on the Mani peninsula. Today there was great weather yet large numbers of Apline Swifts, we reckoned there were in excess of 220 birds present (and possibly more), across much of the headland until mid-afternoon. The birds were also feeding very low down racing across the hillsides in small packs. Very spectacular !

Raptors - 2 Marsh Harrier, 2 Pallid Harrier and 2 Kestrel.

Weather - Calm early on, the wind the freshened from the north-east for a time before switching to the west. It the calmed off for a period before strengthening from the NW, being NW 6 by the end of the afternoon. Clear and sunny all day. Visibility outstanding with Crete (about 150km away) being visible during the afternoon.

The first Cretzschmar's Bunting of the year appeared at Marmari late afternoon

A distant view of the second of two Pallid Harriers that moved north today

A male Rock Thrush on wires above Kokinoghia 

An Alpine Swift feeding low over the mountain

Alpine Swifts were unusually present for much of the day today

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