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Crete 18th – 24th 2004


To see a list of birds seen on this trip click here


I was ornithological leader on this Naturetrek holiday to Crete.


Saturday 18th April 2004


Day spent at Creta Sun at Lagoon and Malia. Weather very pleasant, slight breeze, 26 degrees Celsius 7am pre-breakfast walk to the Creta Sun Lagoon. Then on to Malia and the head learn to at the archaeological site. Return to the Creta Sun the Goons 6pm, then a brief walk to the Creta Sun Lagoon.


Squacco Heron (1 Creta Sun Lagoon), Little Egret (to Creta Sun Lagoon), Grey Heron (1 Malia), Greater Flamingo (1 Creta Sun Lagoon), Marsh Harrier (one female Malia), Common Buzzard (5 on the route to Malia/Creta Sun Lagoon), Red-footed Falcon (two (including one definite female, Malia), Little Ringed Plover (5 Creta Sun Lagoon), Little Stint (2 Creta Sun Lagoon), Ruff (2 Creta Sun Lagoon), Greenshank (1 Creta Sun Lagoon), Wood Sandpiper (6 Creta Sun Lagoon), Common Sandpiper (2 Creta Sun Lagoon, 3 Malia), Yellow legged Gull (10 Creta Sun Lagoon), Collared Dove (4 Creta Sun Hotel), Cuckoo (1 Malia), Swift (2 Creta Sun Lagoon), Bee-eater (4 Creta Sun Lagoon, flying west. Did not stop), Crested Lark (20 plus Creta Sun Lagoon and Malia), Short-toed Lark (20 Malia), Sand Martin (1 Creta Sun Lagoon), Swallow (20 plus Creta Sun Lagoon/Malia), House Martin (4 Creta Sun Lagoon), Red-throated Pipit (6-8 Creta Sun Lagoon, 10-12 Malia), Tawny Pipit (1 Creta Sun Lagoon, 1 Malia), White Wagtail (1 Creta Sun Lagoon), Yellow Wagtail (4-6 Black-headed, Creta Sun Lagoon; 6 - 8 Black-headed Malia; 6 - 8  Blue headed Malia), Whinchat (three Malia), Stonechat (6 Malia), Blackbird (two-to-three Malia, two-to-three Creta Sun Lagoon), Cetti's Warbler (1 Creta Sun Lagoon), Sardinian Warbler (two-to-three Creta Sun Lagoon, 3-4 Malia), Woodchat Shrike (two-to-three Creta Sun Lagoon, 3-4 Malia), Golden Oriole (one male Creta Sun Lagoon), Raven (4 Malia), Hooded Crow (12 birds seen during the day), Italian House Sparrow (20 plus, of 200 plus in total during the day), Chaffinch (6), Greenfinch (4), Goldfinch (6)


Also seen today: -


Blue-Tailed Damselfly (2 Creta Sun Lagoon)

Egyptian Grasshopper (2 Creta Sun Lagoon)


Monday 19th April 2004


To Lasithi plateau after pre-breakfast walk to the Creta Sun Lagoon. Clear and sunny much of the day, late cloud to the mountain tops.


Squacco Heron (2 Creta Sun Lagoon), Little Egret (2 Creta Sun Lagoon), Greater Flamingo (1 Creta Sun Lagoon), Griffon Vulture (six in total during the day, including one over the coach very low down, late afternoon), Marsh Harrier (one female near the picnic site of the river going to the cave, Lasithi), Buzzard (2 seen during the day), Golden Eagle (three seen well from the cafe stop at the top of the plateau, to others seen later), Lesser Kestrel (view of one of male (?) at the Cafe stop, Lasithi plateau), Peregrine (one seen at the cafe with Golden Eagles), Little Ringed Plover (3 Creta Sun Lagoon), Ringed Plover (1 Creta Sun Lagoon), Booted Eagle (one dark phase Lasithi plateau), Little Stint (2 Creta Sun Lagoon), Ruff (2 Creta Sun Lagoon), Wood Sandpiper (4 Creta Sun Lagoon),  Snipe (one heard not seen a, Creta Sun Lagoon), Yellow-headed Gull (10 near Iraklion on the way back from Lasithi), Woodpigeon (five birds seen during the day), Collared Dove (4), Turtle Dove (2 heard, not seen), Cuckoo (one Creta Sun Lagoon), Swift (six during the day), Bee Eater (20 at the Cafe stop, Lasithi plateau), Crested Lark (six), Sand Martin (2 Creta Sun Lagoon), Swallow (20 plus during the day), House Martin (20, mainly in the late afternoon, Lasithi plateau), Red-throated Pipit (2 Creta Sun Lagoon), Yellow Wagtail (2 Creta Sun Lagoon), Wren (one heard in the morning on the way to Lasithi), Redstart (one male at Lasithi, at the lunch stop), Whinchat (1 Creta Sun Lagoon), Stonechat (2 Lasithi plateau), Wheatear (4-5 at the picnic stops/lunch stop, Lasithi), Blackbird (20), Cetti's Warbler (2, including one at Creta Sun Lagoon, 1 Lasithi), Sardinian Warbler (10), Blue Tit (two-to-three Lasithi), Great Tit (4-6 Lasithi and Creta Sun Hotel), Chough (2 Lasithi lunch stop, 2 others in Lasithi), Raven (4 Lasithi), Hooded Crow (100 during the day), Italian House Sparrow (100 during the day), Chaffinch (50 plus), Serin (2 Lasithi plateau), Greenfinch (10), Goldfinch (4-5), Corn Bunting (one in song, not seen, Lasithi), Cirl Bunting (one female Lasithi)


In addition: -


Lizard sp. (two individuals seen)

Scarce Swallowtail (1 Lasithi)

Bee Fly (1)


Tuesday 20th April  2004


To Elounda/Spinalonga/ Plakia headland, via Malia and Selinari gorge. Pre-breakfast visit to Creta Sun Lagoon. Clear, sunny, calm and warm of most of the day but cloudier later, and drizzle at Selinari gorge in the afternoon.


Cormorant (one adult, one immature, Elounda Harbour), Squacco Heron (2 Creta Sun Lagoon), Little Egret (2 Creta Sun Lagoon, one Elounda salt pans), Grey Heron (three Creta Sun Lagoon), Purple Heron (1 Creta Sun lagoons), [four species of Heron flushed simultaneously from one pool at the Creta Sun Lagoon], Greater Flamingo (1 Creta Sun Lagoon), Griffon Vulture (eight plus during the day, including three at nests, Selinari Gorge), Marsh Harrier (three females, one male Plakia headland), Buzzard (three plus during the day), Kestrel (1 Plakias headland), Little Ringed Plover (4 Creta Sun Lagoon), Ringed Plover (1 Creta Sun Lagoon), Curlew Sandpiper (one winter plumage bird Elounda salt pans), Little Stint (two Creta Sun lagoons, 1 summer plumage bird Elounda salt pans), Ruff (1 Creta Sun Lagoon), Wood Sandpiper (4 Creta Sun Lagoon), Common Sandpiper (3 Creta Sun Lagoon, 1 Elounda salt pans), Snipe (one heard Creta Sun Lagoon), Yellow-legged Gull (10 plus), Woodpigeon (4), Collared Dove (6), Woodlark (1 singing Plakias headland), Crested Lark (6), Swallow (6), House Martin (20 Elounda), Red-throated Pipit (6 Creta Sun Lagoon), White Wagtail (1 Creta Sun Lagoon), Whinchat (2 Plakias headland), Stonechat (2 Plakias headland), Wheatear (1), Black-eared Wheatear (1 Plakias  headland), Blue Rock Thrush (4 Selinari Gorge), Blackbird (20), Cetti's Warbler (three, two of which were at Creta Sun Lagoon), Sardinian Warbler (10), Wood Warbler (1 Plakias headland), Pied Flycatcher (one male Plakias headland), Blue Tit (2), Great Tit (2), Woodchat Shrike (two Plakias headland, 1 Creta Sun Lagoon), Raven (4), Hooded Crow (20), Italian Sparrow (50 plus), Chaffinch (50), Serin (2 Plakias headland), Greenfinch (14), Goldfinch (6), Booted Eagle (one dark phase bird Plakias headland)


Also seen: -

Praying Mantis (one,? Third instar, Selinari Gorge)


Wednesday 21st April 2004


Transfer day. Depart Hotel 8:30am. Arrived at Chania 7:30pm. The route today took us via Armeni cemetry, Spili, Kourtiolokotou Gorge and Plakias monastery. A long day, as ever. Pre-breakfast birding Creta Sun Lagoon. Weather reasonable in the morning, then increasing cloud with drizzle then heavy rain (Plakias) and finally a heavy thunderstorm.


Squacco Heron (2 Creta Sun Lagoon), Little Egret (2 Creta Sun Lagoon), Grey Heron (1 Creta Sun Lagoon), Greater Flamingo (1 Creta Sun Lagoon), Griffon Vulture (15th, including Great views at head height of one bird inb Kourtiolokotou Gorge; two-to-three birds seen at the nest), Buzzard (three during the day), Common Kestrel (1), Quail (one male heard calling only, Spili), Little Ringed Plover (2 Creta Sun Lagoon), Little Stint (1 Creta Sun Lagoon), Wood Sandpiper (four Creta Sun Lagoon ), Snipe (one flushed and seen, Creta Sun Lagoon), Yellow legged Gull (30 seen during the day), Collared Dove (4), Booted Eagle (superb views of one dark phase bird at Spili, down to 50 yards, drifting to and fro), Alpine Swift (four seen from a coach on the way to Rethymnon), Swift (10), Woodlark (one in song), Crested Lark (10), Crag Martin (16 Kourtiolokotou Gorge), Swallow (10), Red-throated Pipit (4), Yellow Wagtail (3), Wren (2 in song), Whinchat (2), Stonechat (4), Wheatear (1), Black-eared Wheatear (1), Blue Rock Thrush (one male Kourtiolokotou Gorge), Blackbird (15), Cetti's Warbler (2 Creta Sun Lagoon), Sardinian Warbler (4), Collared Flycatcher (two males), Great Tit (6), Chough (16 Kourtiolokotou Gorge ), Raven (2), Hooded Crow (10), House Sparrow (40), Chaffinch (20), Greenfinch (10), Goldfinch (4), Corn Bunting (four Spili)


Thursday 22nd April, 2004


Early-morning trip to Agia reservoir. Then a drive to Akrotiri Peninsular. The birdwatchers walked down the gorge from the top of the monastery to the first stop at the first monastery. Finally called in at Souda


Little Grebe (6 Agia), Little Bittern (one male, one female Agia), Squacco Heron (2 Agia), Little Egret (2 Agia, one Souda Bay), Mallard (2 Agia), Black Kite (1 Akrotiri peninsula), Marsh Harrier (three females Agia), Buzzard (2), Red-footed Falcon (flock of five males just above the First monastery, Akrotiri, and to lone males there also), Kestrel (1), Little Crake (3 Agia), Moorhen (10 Agia), Coot (4 Agia), Little Stint (one Souda Bay), Little Ringed Plover (one Souda Bay), Ruff (1 Souda Bay), Greenshank (one Souda Bay), Curlew Sandpiper (one Souda Bay), Wood Sandpiper (2 Agia), Yellow legged Gull (30), Feral Pigeon (1), Collared Dove (4), Turtle Dove (one Agia Triada monastery), Cuckoo (2 seen well in the day), Alpine Swift (1 near the First monastery, chasing a male Red-footed Falcon), Swift (15), Woodlark (2 Akrotiri, one of which seen well), Crested Lark (4), Sand Martin (100 Agia), Red-rumped Swallow (1 Agia), Swallow (100), House Martin (6 Agia), Tree Pipit (2 at the first monastery), Red-throated Pipit (4), Yellow Wagtail (4-6 Agia, 30 Akrotiri), Whinchat (4), Stonechat (4), Wheatear (4), Black-eared Wheatear (three, including excellent views of one male Akrotiri), Blackbird (10), Cetti's Warbler (3 Agia), Great Reed Warbler (1 Agia), Sedge Warbler (2 Agia), Sardinian Warbler (five), Wood Warbler (2 in the walk down from the second monastery in the gorge), Pied Flycatcher (one male), Collared Flycatcher (four males), Blue Tit (2), Great Tit (2), Woodchat Shrike (one first monastery), Golden Oriole (excellent views enjoyed by all of at least 3 males and one female near the first monastery, perched in the open on olive trees), Raven (2), Hooded Crow (10), Tree Sparrow (four Souda Bay), House Sparrow (100), Chaffinch (15), Serin (2 at the first monastery), Greenfinch (8-10), Goldfinch (4), Spotted Flycatcher (1)


Friday 23rd April 2004


Early stop at Agia reservoir, then up to Omalos plateau and on to the Samaria Gorge entrance. Clear but cool in a strong northerly gusty wind. A second visit later on the way home to Agia reservoir.


Little Grebe (10), Little Bittern (3 males Agia), Squacco Heron (4 Agia), Little Egret (1 Agia), Mallard (two-to-three Agia), Garganey (one male, one female, Agia in the afternoon), Lammergeir (one bird flying over the cafe, Samaria gorge), Buzzard (4), Booted Eagle (1 Omalos), Kestrel (1), Little Crake (one Agia), Moorhen (15 Agia), Coot (4 Agia), Wood Sandpiper (4 Agia), Yellow legged Gull (20), Collared Dove (6), Swift (20), Crested Lark (2), Sand Martin (200 Agia), Swallow (100), House Martin (50 Agia), Tree Pipit (4), Red-throated Pipit (2), Yellow Wagtail (10), Wren (3), Whinchat (2), Stonechat (2), Wheatear (20), Black-eared Wheatear (2 near Samaria), Blackbird (20), Cetti's Warbler (3 Agia), Sedge Warbler (2 Agia), Whitethroat (one Omalos), Sardinian Warbler (10), Collared Flycatcher (3 males), Blue Tit (1), Great Tit (3-4), Chough (100 Samaria gorge), Raven (6), Hooded Crow (30), House Sparrow (60), Chaffinch (30), Greenfinch (20 plus), Goldfinch (12), Linnet (one male, one female), Olivaceous Warbler (one Omalos), Spotted Flycatcher (1)


In addition: -


Red stripy shield bug (1 Omalos)

Scarce Swallowtail (1 Omalos)

Egyptian Grasshopper (1 Chania)

Patens orchid (one Somaria)


Saturday 24th April 2004


House Sparrow (one Chania airport)


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