Monday, 21 May 2012

Getting wetter and windier in the east

The Safari's hols in Thassos continued...on to Day 5
We didn't get up for the early morning trundle round the Olive groves and along the beach - heavy rain and my was it cold, going to breakfast we could see our breath!!!
After breakfast a lull in the rain gave us the chance for a quick sprint round and gave us the only Starling of the trip. A Raven was 'heard only' from the hotel.
A tour of the island in the car had us stopping at the 'Alpine' village, Panagia so called cos it has stone slabs on the roofs rather than terracotta tiles. The walk back to the car from the village gave us another Raven high on the mountain and right by the car a Pallid Swift (187) called as it nipped under a roofing slab.
On the drive back we almost hit a Bee Eater hawking over the road. Our lunch stop at a view point with thick pines and scrub on the slope below us sounded as if we were back home with Blackbird (only one of the hols) , Great Tit and Chaffinch singing in unison.
Our evening meal was interrupted by a bit of a thunderstorm across the bay over the mainland. A double flash of lightning came down parallel hitting the twin smoke stacks of a power station...impressive. it waned a bit but then returned with a vengeance for a couple of hours or more...plenty powerrrr...some of the claps of thunder threatened to split our ear drums! and rain...boy did it rain!!!!

Day 6
24 hours torrential rain, cold again too...didn't get out except for 10 minutes in the evening but only saw the House Sparrows and a Red Backed Shrike. Camera never left its bag all day :-(. we were hoping the thunder would return and we'd try to get a pic or two of the lightning but only the odd flash occurred.
Wifey's birthday - what a dreadful disappointment - - all we wanted to do was have a fun day together snorkeling in warm crystal clear waters and faffing around on the lilo.
A day lost.

Day 7 
More rain! Little opportunity to get out it was more like Blackpool in October than the Aegean in late spring.
We did eventually get out for a bit and glad of the respite from going stir-crazy. A Snipe got up from the edge of the road through the Olive groves- look at those big white patches on the sides tail - flippin Nora - Great Snipe (188 - and another Lifer).
No joy checking for Audouin's Gulls, not noted in this area it's a bit far north but with the weird weather conditions you couldn't write them off.
The sun did break through the still threatening black clouds and we had another trip out in the car taking some friends we'd made who were transport-less. top sighting was a tailess Green Lizard scuttling across the road. Flying across the road was the safari's only Blue Rock Thrush (189) and not before time!!! More Bee Eaters were seen too. Another 'not before time' species was finally found late on - Lesser Grey Shrike (190).
An hour back at the hotel had us photographing a few wild flowers a butterfly and the only moth of the trip, a Humming-Bird Hawkmoth, possibly another migrant - sure they spray the olives with a concoction of nasties - Skull & crossbones signs appeared after each area under the trees had been strimmed - we bought back Organic Olive Oil.

Day 8
The final act - coach pick up mid-morning.
A warbler that threw in a bit of dodgy parrot sounds mid song while we were packing still has us making wild guesses.
The ferry trip was uneventful, no dolphins - some had been seen on the crossing earlier in the week. But as we approached the harbour we spotted a couple of Grey Herons, an egret sp - probably Little Egret - a pair of Common Terns dived for fish in the shallows along a sandspit and a pair of Oystercatchers flew in from somewhere. Right in the harbour a pair of Bee Eaters spun out over the water but remained unseen by everyone else on the boat.
The coach gave us the White Stork still on the church and Wifey spotted another in a nearby field. A Kestrel with prey was seen over the fields and the Rice paddies held dozens of Mediterranean Gulls - not seen on the island.
At the airport there were even more Med Gulls and two Marsh Harriers. Three large BoPs hit a thermal and soared to a prodigious height preventing ID.
Back in Blighty there were more Swifts than we'd seen all week. A Buzzard sat in a tree beside the motorway. A Roe Deer was in the usual field at the junction of the motorways. Then the sun came out.

Monday 21st May - Base Camp
Woke up to blistering sunshine...and warmth...don't bally believeeeee it - CRUEL!!!

Anemone - good clear pic - didn't realise we'd dunked the lens - - oohhh errr no damage done thankfully

'Our' beach

Honey Bee

Female blue butterfly - Silver Studded?

Male blue - Silver studded again???

Any ideas?

Convolvulus sp

Cuttlefish 'bone' - lots of these on some beaches

Dining under the boughs of a huge pine tree

Eastern Bath White


Which Frit?

Which Frit?

Same? - Different place

Humming Bird Hawkmoth
Tiny ladybird



Ancient Olive trees

Periwinkle - note Zebra striped antenna


Poppy going over

Poppy bud

Scale insects or lichen? - on the pines


Spotted Flycatcher



Arch at Trypiti beach - swimmable throughable but watch for Sea Urchins!

Snorkeling ruined by strong wind

A vetch sp on the beach

The Whinchat


YLG - red tone is reflection from the boat's paint work


Where to next? A sunny (at last) safari beckons tomorrow with a a target or two.
In the meantime enjoys your hols - hope you get some sun unlike us.


Phil said...

A bit of bad luck with the weather DM but i can see a few blobs of sunshine in those pics - good variety of weeds and creepies too.

cliff said...

I reckon your 1st Fritillary is a Cardinal Frit, Argynnis pandora - I don't think the last one is the same though, I'll keep looking.

Soz to hear about the dodgy weather BTW.

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Sunshine more or less ended on Tuesday Phil. Friday may have been the one of the wettest May days in the north Aegean in the last 50 years according to some of the locals, more than an average May's rain fell in less than 24hrs.

Cliff - was thinking Cardinal Frit, not sure about the blues



Blackpool Nature said...

Welcome back ! - you've been missed - well the Blog has !
Did you get a tan - or is it rust !
Nice pics - especially the Shrike.
Are you going to Pilling to twitch the Montagus Harrier !



Stuart Price said...

Hope you're having a great time, did a double take when I saw the breach photo and thought OMG Blackpool has changed.

Amila Kanchana said...

Great post with creatures of vast diversity,way to go, Davo!