Monday, 29 September 2008

Swimming in Greece?

A far flung safari to report on this time. A trip to the lovely island of Rhodes. The swimming bit in the title was great with tepid calm water and a multitude of fish - all of which seem to like bread even more than Stanley Park ducks. Sadly, I do not know the names of any of them so if there is a reader out there who can suggest a good field guide to the fish of the Mediterranean the safari would be very grateful. Med fish aren't as bright as those from tropical reefs but there are some subtle beauts down there.

The first creature of note was this lovely Preying Mantis who posed very nicely for her picture.

After seeing the Red Backed Shrike family in Poland it was rather sad to find this youngster covered in ants dead on the road.

However some of it's siblings were alive and kicking and eating the rather large Hornets that were flying around all over the place.

I'm not sure if they were migrants or a resident family that nested somewhere nearby but this was the only male I saw all week and boy was he wary, he wouldn't let me anywhere near him for a better shot. I saw him for a few minutes on just one morning's walk.

The cliffs at the end of the bay had a selection of fossils including several of these perfectly preserved Scallops.

The sunset before the big storm was a picture - the storm itself was a humdinger, the first rain for five months apparently.

Other highlights included single Cory's and Yelkouan Shearwaters out at sea, four Eleanora's Falcons together in off the sea, 2 Long Legged Buzzards and a very obliging Kingfisher. I only managed to track down three species of lizard, Starred Agama, Anatolian Rock Lizard (juveniles have stunningly blue tails) and Levant Skink.

Amongst the insects the stars were Humming Bird Hawk-moths, and Long Tailed Blue, Oriental Meadow Brown and Southern Swallowtail butterflies. The former wave their long tails like pretend antennae and with the eye-spots look like the head, I've never noticed them do this before and not realised that the tails could be deliberately moved. Cunning eh?

Where to next? Could be anywhere! There are high tides and strong winds coming this week....not Stormies this time but Leach's Petrels......tiny, but enigmatic, ocean wanderers.

In the meantime let us know what you have found in your outback.

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