Thursday, 25 May 2017

A Waldridge Naturalist in Corfu - Days 3, 4 and 5

7th May
Checked around the Apartment at first light but away from there for the rest of the day and a trip up into the mountains. Forecast a bit cloudy but lifting later. We were headed for Mount Pantokrator, which at over 900m is the highest point on the island. When we could see it in the distance there was some cloud but the Monastery and the radio masts could still be seen even from this distance. We passed through Velonades on the way and the cloud seemed to be thickening. By the time we wound our way up we were in the cloud well before the peak. At the top visibility was often no more than a few metres, though there were gaps now and then when you could see the below and the adjacent rocky outcrops.
Spent 90 minutes at the top but it was frustrating as birds could be heard but only occasionally seen.
After the frustration of this we headed down, though Acharavi and on to Old Perithia for a lovely lunch in a very nice taverna and in glorious sunshine.  Looking back up the mountain we could even see the radio masts once again.

Honey Buzzard (1) Another single bird north over the apartment
Lesser Kestrel (1) a female, seen well flew over.
Yellow-legged Gull (26)
Wryneck (1) One was heard calling in the evening in a garden half way down the track 
Common Swift (2)
Alpine Swift (2) with hirundines 
Collared Dove (5)
Common Bee-eater (1) A single north, calling
White Wagtail (1) A male dropped down onto the lawn in front of the apartment
House Martin (54) A large gathering first thing
Red-rumped Swallow (14)
Barn Swallow (6)
Golden Oriole (2) Still present, 1 seen well in nearest poplars 
Woodchat (1) on wires on outskirts of town
Spotted Flycatcher (2) feeding from wires and bushes in the overgrown gardens
Blackbird (1) 
Cetti's Warbler (4) heard. There's 3 singing birds around the apartment  and another a bit further up the track. 
Sardinian Warbler (4)  3m, 1f - another pair located
Fan-tailed Warbler (1)  
Greenfinch (3) 
Serin (2) flew up from gardens onto wires
House Sparrow (18)
Black-headed Bunting (1) a male, presumably the bird from the other day, flew onto the wires again.
Hooded Crow (5)
Magpie (6) including one on outskirts of town
Jay (4) A group of four flew into the scrub at first light.

A few minutes stop at Velonades did not produce anything of note.

Yellow-legged Gull(2)
Barn Swallow (3)
House Sparrow (3)
Magpie (1)

Had been looking forward to Pantokrator with a good handful of species I was only going to get here. The thick low cloud put paid to much of my hopes

Barn Swallow (4)
Blue Rock Thrush (1) a single singing male at the summit.
Blackbird (2) singing males
Black-eared Wheatear (1) Should have had many but only saw and heard one male. Didn't even hear any more.
Subalpine Warbler (2) Heard two singing males, saw one.
Great Tit (3) Apparently white bellied birds here. Saw two birds but both with yellow underparts
Rock Nuthatch (1) heard one bird and managed some fleeting glimpses in the mist a little below the summit.
Chaffinch (1) My first of the trip
Goldfinch (5) in the monastery grounds
Cirl Bunting (1) a single singing male at the summit.
Hooded Crow (1)

We went back down the mountain and around to Old Perithia for a late lunch. The cloud had of course now lifted.
Old Perithia
Common Buzzard (2) over surrounding hills. Both nominate not Steppe  
Common Kestrel (1) female
Common Swift (19)
Alpine Swift (13)
Wood Pigeon (1)
Red-rumped Swallow (2)
House Martin (27)
Blackbird (2)
Cetti's Warbler (2)
Sardinian Warbler (1) singing male heard and seen
Subalpine Warbler (4) all singing / displaying males, saw two of them
Blue Tit (1)
Goldfinch (2)
House Sparrow (7)
Hooded Crow (3)
Jackdaw (18) One in a garden and a flock of 17 a few hundred metres further up the road
Common Raven (1) over nearby hills

At least I could see the plants on the mountain sos spent more time looking at them than staring into the mist trying to locate a bird singing.
Amongst the flora here was Pink Hawksbeard (Crepis rubra), Little Robin (Geranium purpureum),  Garden Grape-hyacinth (Muscari armeniacum), here in its native habitat not a garden throw-out, Jerusalem Sage (Phlomis fruticosa), Smyrnium rotundifolium, Tordylium apulum, Salsify (Tragopogon porrifolius) and the pretty thistle (Tyrimnus leucographus).

Pink Hawksbeard (Crepis rubra),

Tyrimnus leucographus

Little Robin (Geranium purpureum)

Garden Grape-hyacinth (Muscari armeniacum)

Jerusalem Sage (Phlomis fruticosa)

 Salsify (Tragopogon porrifolius)

Tordylium apulum

Smyrnium rotundifolium

8th May

Didn't venture far from the apartment today but just to the south I found a small stream so I checked this out. Open fields to the south and a couple of overgrown plots to the north proved to be fairly decent with some promise. Certainly going to cover this again.

Common Kestrel (1) 
Falcon sp. (1) A small falcon zipped by near the apartment. Got nothing on it but it seemed to have the jizz of a Hobby.
Common Buzzard (1) Soared over the apartment
Yellow-legged Gull (11)
Wryneck (1) One was heard calling in the early evening in a garden half way down the track 
Common Swift (3)
Collared Dove (6)
Common Bee-eater (1) A single north again
Blue-headed Wagtail (1) again a 'flava' male
House Martin (5)
Red-rumped Swallow (16)
Barn Swallow (23) definite increase today
Golden Oriole (2) 2 singing males still, in the usual spot.
Cetti's Warbler (9) 4 around apartment and 5 around the stream, a couple seen, most heard only.
Icterine Warbler (1) saw this bird in the stream-side vegetation before I saw either of the the Olivaceous. Did not call but obvious Hippolais with greenish upper parts and palish wing-panel.
Eastern Olivaceous Warbler (2) near the stream. Both singing males and both seen. Song treat her Great Reed Warbler-like but delivered from tall bushes or trees.
Sardinian Warbler (9), most were singing males but 5 by stream included a female.
Fan-tailed Warbler (3) 1 by the stream
Great Tit (2) 1 heard by apartment, 1 seen by stream
Blue Tit (2) by stream
Greenfinch (5)
Goldfinch (1)
House Sparrow (35)
Hooded Crow (2)
Magpie (5)

9th May

Again just around the apartment and checked the stream again. Just as I approached it met someone with binoculars who turned out to be a birder from Pagham. Walked around the stream area together and then back see the Golden Orioles. We had just crossed the bridge when I picked up a falcon on the wires. This turned out to be a male Red-footed Falcon and managed to get some quite decent photos of it perched up. Eastern Olivaceous and Woodchats also showed well for us. It was a good raptor day.

Eagle sp. (1) A large eagle soared over apartment heading north, very high up. Too high up to get anything on it but certainly an Aquila and if I had to guess I would say Lesser Spotted.
Red-footed Falcon (1) a male on wires by the stream, gave quite a show as it dropped to the ground to catch insects. 

 Red-footed Falcon
Hobby (1) One flew past carrying prey giving excellent views. Looked like a House Martin in it's talons.
Lesser Kestrel (1) - a female soared over heading north
Yellow-legged Gull (37)
Wryneck (1) Again singing down track.
Common Swift (1)
Collared Dove (6)
Blue-headed Wagtail (2) flyovers, calling
House Martin (6)
Sand Martin (1) flew over north
Red-rumped Swallow (10)
Barn Swallow (2) only 2 remaining
Golden Oriole (2) At least 2 singing males and at one point, 2 males flew from one clump of poplars.
Woodchat Shrike (2) both by stream, 1 singing.
Cetti's Warbler (5) Quite blasé about them now. Can hear then in the room even with windows shut.
Eastern Olivaceous Warbler (1) Singing and showed well at one of yesterday's spots near the stream. No sign of the other singing bird but didn't give it long.
Sardinian Warbler (6) including a showy pair by the stream
Fan-tailed Warbler (2)
Great Tit (2) 
Goldfinch (1)
House Sparrow (41)
Hooded Crow (2)
Magpie (5)

I'll do the remaining five days tomorrow and them back into the square (and beyond on occasion)

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