Archive | August 2015

Sunny spells

Remaining warm despite a northerly breeze at times and hot in strong sunlight between banks of cloud. Insect life remains abundant and included this Wall butterfly patrolling the grassy border between field and hedgerow at Barley Lane today.P1040180

The Tachinid fly Tachina fera was also on the wing, the one below pictured at Hogweed flowers. A parasitic fly dependent on various noctuid moths as hosts.



Final reduction and bird notes


All that is left of the central area of the old College site by Archery Road St Leonards, although the listed buildings are retained. Materials are being sorted and reduced and almost organically recycled.

Some bird notes today as autumn passage sets in include a Garden warbler at North’s Seat and a Sand martin and Common whitethroat in St Leonards and, at 6 this evening, great views of an Osprey circling low over Quarry Hill, St Leonards.


Bottle Alley

Some moths noted resting along Bottle Alley recently. Today a Tiger Moth but when I went back with the camera I could not see it. However a Poplar Hawk Moth Laothoe populi (upper photograph) and an Oak Eggar Lasiocampa quercus (lower) were resting in the shade.P1040160 (480x640)

Several other moths were seen and I will try to identify them later.



A female of the hoverfly Chrysotoxum festivum (Linnaeus, 1758) visiting flowers of Creeping Thistle in the Coombe Haven Valley today.


Many insects were out in large numbers in the strong sunshine. Wasps were especially prominent with workers of Vespula numerous but also many solitary wasps in the genus Ectemnius which were flying out from oak and other deciduous woodland fringing the valley.

Deraeocoris ruber

There were a number of Mirid Bugs on Fleabane flowers at Pebsham today and thanks to confirmation from Joe at the UK Bugs website I can put a name to them. It is a variable species and one specimen I did not photograph was a glossy black and red. They are predatory on other insects.

Otherwise a fresh easterly breeze despite very warm sunshine – lots of butterflies on the wing including fresh Commas seen in two places.


Recent notes

Some migrating warblers appearing in habitat alongside birds still nesting;-

Fairlight Coastguards to East Hill on August 5th – some migrant songbirds and others noted included Common whitethroat 8, Lesser whitethroat 1, Blackcap 8, Willow warbler 6, Sedge warbler 2 and Reed warbler 1.

Bulverhythe fields to Pebsham August 7th from 8.10am.

Reed warbler 20, Sedge warbler 1, Willow warbler 7, Common whitethroat 7, Lesser whitethroat 2 and Blackcap 1.

Samos Greece bird notes.

This is an annotated Checklist of the wild bird species I noted at Samos from mid-June 2015 to end July with recording centred on the Archipelagos Base and the surrounding Kampos while teaching some bird survey methods to students on behalf of Operation Wallacea.

A special thanks to Dean Jones for guiding me in some of the sites after my arrival.

I refer to ‘western´and ‘eastern´Kampos to separate the lowlands to the west and east of Pithagorio. Common and Latin Names follow Handrinos, G. & Akriotis, T. (1997) ‘The Birds of Greece’ Helm. There have been some taxonomic changes since this landmark publication which I have not incorporated.  

Cory’s Shearwater Calonectris diomedea Two seen offshore on one date.

Mediterranean Shearwater Puffinus yelkouan Present offshore daily, with up to fifty seen on a watch.

Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo A flock of 22 flew north at height on 22nd July and included many non-breeding birds. Singles were seen overhead on two other dates.

Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis desmaresti Single birds seen offshore on several occasions and seen in Pythagorio harbour.

Pygmy Cormorant Phalacrocorax pygmaeus Four records. A single over the western Kampos, one circling over the river mouth at the base, and two flying together over the eastern Kampos on two dates. Evidently present in suitable habitat during the breeding season.

Dalmatian Pelican Pelecanus crispus 2 adults arrived from the south on 9th July and flew north after gaining height over the hills.

Little Egret Egretta garzetta a flock of eleven and regular sightings of pairs and single adults.

Grey Heron Ardea cinerea Post-breeding dispersal apparent from June with several birds feeding in the salt marsh before compete evaporation.

Black Stork Ciconia nigra A pair on territory in a valley Pine wood but thought to not be raising young due to the lack of water in the river. Single adults seen regularly in June and thought to represent a small breeding population.

Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea The successful breeding population dispersed from the eastern saline marsh where the population had reached 50 or more.

Mallard Anas platyrhynchos A female at the eastern Kampos.

Short-toed Eagle Circaetus gallicus Single birds seen almost daily hunting over the Kampos and thought to be part of a Samos breeding population.

Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus Adults of both sexes often seen hunting widely and present in suitable breeding habitat.

Common Buzzard Buteo buteo Adults and newly fledged young seen over nearby hills and also in suitable forested breeding habitat. Several pairs on territory in the valley inland of the base.

Long-legged Buzzard Buteo rufinus A single bird seen hunting over the western Kampos on one date.

Honey Buzzard Pernis apivorus Single birds seen on three dates and present in suitable breeding habitat where an adult female seen. 

Kestrel Falco tinnunculus Present in small numbers quite widely and thought to be nesting at the eastern saltmarsh. A resident breeding species.

Eleonora’s Falcon Falco eleonorae Becoming frequent from late June with singles or more usually pairs of birds hunting.

Peregrine Falco peregrinus brookei An adult male of this Mediterranean race seen on several dates and thought to be breeding on cliff outside Pythagorio.

Chukar Alectoris chukar Present on the eastern Kamos and quite close to the base with a brood of three half-grown young and some very small chicks seen.

Water Rail Rallus aquaticus Heard calling from suitable freshwater marsh breeding habitat in the eastern Kampos on two dates.

Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus Five or six pairs nested on the saltmarsh of the eastern Kampos.

Little Ringed plover Charadrius dubius A pair nested successfully raising two young on east Kampos beach and another pair, possibly two pairs, were noted on territory along the western Kampos beach.

Whiskered tern Chlidonias hybridus A moulting adult had arrived at the roadside pool near the airport on July 29th.

Slender-billed Gull Larus genei A single bird noted offshore on one date.

Yellow-legged Gull Larus cachinnans Widespread breeding resident with fledged juveniles seen as well as some adult pairs. Frequently seen passing offshore and also overland.

Rock Dove Columbia livia As many as 20 wild Rock Doves seen in the Kampos and also flocks of feral birds.

Woodpigeon Columba palumbus A breeding resident with some roosting movement of up to 30 in wooded valleys. Appearing in lowland arable habitat during July.

Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto Widespread as a breeding bird throughout the Kampos. Some early autumn flocking noted.

Turtle Dove Streptopelia turtur Found to be a widespread breeding bird throughout the area. Birds often recorded in song during the morning surveys. Pairs seen often and also fledged young appearing on the Kampos from July. The breeding population on Samos must be in the hundreds of pairs.

Little Owl Athene noctua Widespread in good numbers. Seen daily and four young raised by a pair nesting by the base. A widespread breeding resident species. Some mortality was observed due to fast traffic.

Tawny Owl Strix aluco Song heard on one night close to the base. Also seen on one date at a site in the east of the island.

Swift Apus apus Widespread feeding overhead, especially in the mornings.

Pallid Swift Apus pallidus Breeding populations noted at Samos Town and elsewhere on the Island. Frequent overhead during some mornings. Thought to be the commonest of the breeding swifts on the island.

Alpine Swift Apus melba Seen daily during June, sometimes in parties of ten or so, and then becoming perhaps less frequent. A breeding summer visitor to Samos or offshore islets.

Hoopoe Upupa epops Not recorded until July 24th when a single bird was present near the base.

Bee-eater Merops apiaster A flock of six seen on the western Kampos on one date and a flock flew inland over the camp on another date.

Roller Coracias garrulus Breeding summer visitor. A wary bird seen on one date in the eastern Kampos was thought to have been disturbed by a snake and may have been one of a breeding pair. Elsewhere in the area three sightings on the western Kampos on one date and up to six birds present north of Pythagorios. Two adults close to Mitiline on the 29th July.

Short-toed Lark Calandrella brachydactyla Singletons seen on two dates.

Crested Lark Galerida cristata Widespread and in good numbers as a breeding species on the Kampos lowlands, agricultural land, grassland and coastal shingles. A resident breeding species.

Swallow Hirundo rustica Breeding in numbers throughout the Kampos and often a light passage into the wind from offshore.

Red-rumped Swallow Hirundo daurica A widespread breeding population of pairs spread throughout the kampos.

House Martin Delichon urbica A colony of fifty pairs in the eastern Kampos and widespread nesting pairs likely.

White Wagtail Motacilla alba Good numbers of adults and young along the coastal kampos. Evidently a successful breeder as newly fledged birds often seen along the coast. Some adults continue to gather food during late July apparently for later broods.

Black-eared Wheatear Oenanthe hispanica A single, newly fledged bird seen on one date and a possible early migrant on July 29th.

Blackbird Turdus merula Unassuming at this time of year, but a reasonable population of residents noted.

Cetti’s Warbler Cettia cetti Widespread in the Kampos with birds singing on territory during June but becoming much less easy to detect by mid July.

Fan-tailed Warbler Cisticola juncidis A widespread breeding resident in the damper habitats throughout the Kampos.

Reed warbler Acrocephalus scirpaceus A breeding population of at least three pairs noted in reedbed in the fresh marsh of the eastern Kampos.

Olivaceous Warbler Hippolais pallida Widespread breeding summer visitor in good numbers in the olive groves of the Kampos. Birds in song widely in June but becoming silent in July and difficult to record.

Sardinian Warbler Sylvia melanocephala Adults and fledged young widely recorded in suitable habitat. Generally absent from the purely arable Kampos countryside.

Long-tailed tit Aegithalos caudatus tephronotus Noted in two areas of Samos away from the study areas.

Blue Tit Parus caeruleus Recorded on a few dates.

Great Tit Parus major A successful and widespread breeding resident with flocks of up to ten birds seen in coastal tamarisk as well as more wooded areas.

Woodchat Shrike Lanius senator The only sign of status was of a single male in suitable breeding habitat on one morning.

Jay Garrulus glandarius samios A widespread and numerous breeding resident.

Jackdaw Corvus monedula soemmerringii Up to 95 adults and juveniles on the eastern Kampos. A resident breeding bird.

Hooded Crow Corvus corone A widespread resident breeding species with roost flights of up to fifty birds noted in early mornings and evenings.

Raven Corvus corax Two pairs noted in nearby Kampos and immature birds seen. Present daily in small numbers. A resident breeder.

House Sparrow Passer domesticus A common bird with large numbers of fledged young in the Kampos forming roosting flights.

Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs Present in small numbers in mixed woodland away from the coast.

Greenfinch Carduelis chloris Singles recorded on a small number of days.

Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis Singles noted on two dates.

Cretzschmar’s Bunting Emberiza caesia Several sightings of single juveniles along the coast during July and two adults together on one date.

Black-headed Bunting Emberiza melanocephala Only noted from 18th July when fledged juveniles and moulted adults became visible in the coastal areas. Up to four seen in a day, then including two visiting the base garden.

Corn Bunting Milaria calandra Widely recorded in the arable Kampos. A breeding resident species.