I stayed in Fira the main town. The island is small so it doesn't make too much difference where you stay, no where is very far away.
Car hire cost €35/day for a Nissan Micra which is fine for the short distances and narrow roads.
The weather was hot and sunny most days with just some light cloud. It can be very windy however.
I started off on the outskirts of Fira, there is a large tip which attracts hundreds of Yellow-legged Gulls along with many Hooded Crow and around a dozen Raven. The area above the tip also proved the most productive for migrants so I made several visits. On my first day a juvenile Peregrine was hunting over the area and stooped at three distant egrets which looked like Cattle Egret.
At least two Long-legged Buzzards frequented the tip but views tended to be fairly distant as there was no easy access, however they also hunted over the fields on the south of the town and came right over the hotel. I also saw several Common Buzzard, looking much like UK birds so don't assume that all buzzards are Long-legged.
Blue Rock Thrush could be heard singing on the cliff faces and, with patience could be seen. I had at least three Short-toed Lark in the scrubby field above the tip.There was evidence of bird trapping in this area but the trap looked like it had not been used for some time, presumably since the spring. Traps were also seen on the west coast at Koloumpos.
|Long-legged Buzzard adult|
|Long-legged Buzzard juvenile|
The commonest bird of the scrubby fields was the Crested Lark and House Sparrows are common in the towns along with Collared Doves.
I was interested in the butterflies and reptiles and soon located the very common Erhard's Wall Lizard but only saw a single Green Lizard and it took quite a bit of searching to find Turkish Gecko, one of three gecko's on the island.
|Lang's Short-tailed Blue|
Chukar were seen several times around the tip and also in the south near Akrotiri, they tended to feed on the slopes leading down to the cliff faces.
I had hoped to see Eleonora's Falcons and did come across at least three birds hunting offshore at Kamari Beach when it was very windy. They were circling high over the sea then stooping to sea level and I assumed they were probably hunting dragonflies. After a couple of days of strong wind there were many Red-veined Darter on the island and were in evidence in all the scrubby areas.
Migrant birds were not much in evidence but the number of Chiffchaff seen varied from day to day with 20-30 some days indicating that birds were moving through. I had a couple of Spotted Flycatcher, Black Redstart and single Hoopoe. Hirundines were seen everyday, mainly Swallows but also House Martin and I had a group of about 30 Alpine Swifts over Firostefani.
The only gulls seen were yellow-legged, I've mentioned the numbers at the Fira tip but they could be seen up close at Vlihada Marina.
|Yellow-legged Gull - adult|
|Yellow-legged Gull - 2nd winter|
|Yellow-legged Gull - 1st winter|