That synching feeling


Synching – everything involves synching. Your iPhone needs to synch with iTunes.  Your HTC wants to synch with your laptop, The Samsung galaxy wants to synch with your car.  Can't anything just be alone? Must everything be linked and connected?  Well, in some circumstances it does make things better…

Unfortunately the EFRS synching systems haven’t been functioning very well of late…
Whenever Andrew was ready and able, I wasn’t.  But today we managed to synch.

Andrew confirmed his arrival at Ham Wall via phone.  Meanwhile I was at Wells sorting office collecting part of my Halloween outfit (that’s for another time).

10 minutes later I was at Ham Wall car park.  I had a quick catch up with Lee Dutton, who had some great news.  Congratulations on the imminent arrival of mini Dutton!

Meanwhile Andrew was watching Marsh Harriers and Bitterns from VP1. Finally EFRS was synched.

Andrew informed me of his plans to buy a new super duper lens along with his trials and tribulations with film cameras (he does make life hard for himself – I will stick with digital).

Amongst the conversation we had numerous Bittern flybys along with Marsh Harriers.  Always good to catch up with the regulars, I've said it before but to count Harriers and Bitterns as “regulars” is a lucky thing indeed.

A bold heron was stalking along the drain in search of something slimy to eat.  They do remind me of dinosaurs when they stalk along (not that I've actually seen any dinosaurs – but I have seen Jurassic Park).

Yes while James was yabberin' to Lee about what ever (Congratulations Lee BTW) I was doing the important stuff like trying to entice Marsh Harriers a bit closer and keeping my eye out for Bitterns. It's been ages since I've seen both a Bittern and  Male Marsh Harrier. Today I was in luck. James didn't!!)

First off a Buzzard. As usual I pondered why Marsh Harriers never come this close! Apparently they do come this close. Nick P Williams just confirmed this IS a Marsh Harrier

Mute Swan. Again why don't Egrets come this close

Speaking of Synching. These two were practically inseparable. I watched them on and off all day at VP2. Mostly the Little was following the Great but it did work the other way round. Teamwork or just the grass is always greener?

First Bittern of the day. Was a good flyby

And my male Marsh Harrier way to far off but worth the three pics

My take on the heron sat just up from VP2

Why don't Bitterns sit this close!

Staying stock still while the Swan inspected. It was like the Queen inspecting the troops!

Second flyby of a Bittern

After a catch up we headed over to the Avalon hide – surprisingly there was nobody in there.  A first!

Despite the slightly nippy wind flowing through the hatches we still did pretty well with yet more Marsh Harriers, a few Gadwall, Jays and a flyby Kingfisher.  Oh and a few Coots!

 Stonechat which I thought was a Linnet

That same Stonechat

 A murder

A Kestrel flew going somewhere for a change. They're usually already where they want to be.

That Jay that James was referring to

And the third Bittern flyby

 Coots with the odd Gadwall

Still a fan of these

 Peregrine, Hobby - I'm really not too sure
(A Peregrine surely!)

We have confirmation that this is a Juvenile Hobby. Prossibly fledged this year nearby and the last we will see for a while. Thanks to Lee Dutton and Nick P Williams for ID




                                          Its a Kingfisher (the colourful blob in the middle)

We wandered back to VP2 where Little and Large where still playing tag team.

Following you

Still following you

Ha Ha now your following me

Rather dark morph Buzzard

No this way

Following you again

Wait for me

What kept you?

They both caught plenty of fish doing this so it was worth the effort. Could have watched them all day but sadly time was up.

Unbelievably nearly 3 hours had passed by.  Andrew knew he would probably be in a spot of trouble when he got back.  I, on the other hand had made my timings successfully.  I was confident I would avoid any flak for being late.

With luck we will be able to synch more successfully as winter draws in.  After all, a shared experience enhances the day.


It's all salad to me!


The annual holiday was Crete. I'll confess now there wasn't much birding done and most was opportunistic while sitting in a Taverna or two. There will be a lot of flowers and some tame lizards as well. So on we go.

Hiding in the wall of the Villa

On the fig tree

I really have no explanation for this in any shape or form (Sap would be boring)

This was a large and rather cool bug

I'm pretty sure there's only one here and is upside down and possibly dead!

A bit of sticky sap oozing

Never a rest for the workers even at 39deg!

This was a big boy as well

Ah! finally a bird. A Sparrow Hawk which often went past the veranda

And finally something exotic a Stork that few over head while driving the cabriolet

There is a Botanical gardens south of Chania created in 2002 when the olive grove on the side of the mountain owned by two brothers burnt to the ground. The decided to create a large botanical garden complete with a fantastic taverna selling meals and produce only supplied from local growers. A walk filled with trees and flowers and such like from across the world. Amazing throughout including orange groves.

There were a lot of resident Peacocks and hens

I can see you (One for Robin Morrison)

Particularly like this one

And some lizards. This one looks like its used up one of its lives with a fresh tail

Peachick (I had to google the name but it's pretty obvious really!!)

Nothing too exciting in the pond at the bottom of the garden

Lots of bees, wasps and particularly bright Brown Mediterranean Hornets getting water

Andrew thats the best head shot of a Greylag Goose you'll ever take

Lots and lots and lots and lots of these

An Artichoke head gone to seed

Black Bumble Bee. I struggled to get a good shot

Another favourite

The Mediterranean in September can be a little hit and miss with the weather so when I saw a small flock of Alpine Swifts making their way slowly down to the coast the penny should have dropped. They were flying ahead of a particularly spectacular storm. It did mean I got some nice shots as they whizzed round the villa. I could climb to the room so had a 360deg position.

Sporting a particularly Hipster beard I thought

Local Kestrels favourite perch. She (it was big) was often there. I was hoping for a Lesser Kestrel but alas no.

Local Buzzard

While out driving again in the cabriolet a pair of Griffon Vultures were circling. Unfortunately the sky was as black as your hat so crap shots sorry even though they were pretty low

I'm assuming this is another Buzzard and not something exotic!

Back to the evening bug count

Another day, another bird and this time the Sparrow Hawk again amongst the Alpine Swifts who had returned.

Local kestrel is back

Quit a few Ravens around which was nice

I'm a big fan of the Hooded Crow. The ones in Crete seem to be a little different to others I've seen in Scotland and Ireland. I'm aware of sub species but not sure if this is one or not.

While up in the mountains we saw four Griffon Vultures patrolling their patch. Just the little bit too far up but still managed a few shots. There's something ominous about these large majestic birds slowly circling with ever present eyes.

The final day was out doing the ancient piles stuff. Everywhere the ants seemed to have picked that day to move house. Lots of nests being transposed via long lines of black dots going back and forth. These were rather big black dots!

To me, to you

So not as varied as other years and the birds did seem to be rather thin on the ground even accounting for not actually going to any nature reserves or particularly wild places. Still it was hot and sunny and warm. 'Nough said!