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Monday, 1 October 2012

Samos Day 5 & 6: Up in the Mountains & on the Beach!

On Monday 24th September, Parking up in the Mountains, just 1 and a half kilometers past Pyrgos, as we drove up a Raven flew right over the road, I parked by the "Pure Honey" stall and had a spectacular view over the mountain valley, a male Blue Rock Thrush, showed a flash of metallic blue as it flew across the road and perched on a pole opposite. 2 excellent Steppe Buzzards, my first since my Israel trip in the 1990's flew over the mountain, with a pale head and striking and contasting black carpal patches and white inner webs to the primaries with a black band at the base of a rusty tale. 3 single very elegant Eleonora's Falcons flew over the mountain or behind me, with typically long sleek wings and long tail. 1 male Red- backed Shrike was also seen here in the valley perched on top a bush. A visit to Potami Beach, Jenny was swimming again, I checked the local Blackberry bush by the road, which included a host of butterflies including the usual Lang's Short- tailed Blues, Long- tailed Blues plus a pale buff Skipper which would fly to a section of the bush settles for just 3 seconds and then repeat the procedure, it was a Millet Skipper, yet another new Butterfly species! I then walked along the beach found the end of a watery dyke area which ended abruptly on the beach. walking past some houses and a small enclosed field, an excellent Red- throated Pipit flew up calling a shrill metallic "psstt" and then was seen briefly by the dyke area by the beach. By some Tamarisk bushes I walked inland of the beach by some small allotments butting a stream, this was a very productive area given the time of year and in a back garden I saw and heard a Garden Warbler singing brief snatches of song. I also heard only the shrill calls of a Kingfisher and a Grey Wagtail. Another Plain Tiger seen here, plus more all too brief Scarce Swallowtail and Swallowtail butterflies flying left along the beach. By the bushes by the fence, several c10 Willow Emerald Damselflies were seen. Plus some a Brown, a Rock Grayling type and a fantastic Lattice Brown (another new butterfly species!) settled and posed on the fence for the camera! walking up the stream, 2 sudden plops eventually revealed 2 Stripe- necked Terrapins that crawled back up onto a triangular rock protruding out of the water. Later Jenny & I walked up to the source of the water by a waterfall, another Samos Grayling seen here plus by a Chapel, a possible Roesel's Bush Cricket was seen and photo'd (I'll check the ID) plus a easily identified Grey Wagtail feeding by the stream and flying up the stream. From here, we all stripped down to swimming trunks/ swimsuits and had a great time wading through the clear cool mountain water chest high through an open cavern to see the waterfall 80 yards away, British, Greek & German nationalities, all entered into the spirit and it was a fun thing to do and very cooling too after the high 30's degrees celsius temperatures on the beach. On Tuesday 25th September, at Pythagorian car park but a concrete tunnel area, I saw my very first Starry Agama, a Lizard with a jowly face, seen on the edge here on the grass and eventually scuttled into the tunnel. Further along by a wall (with a door sized gap in the middle) by the beach another Starry Agama seen on the right hand side. By the rough grass area just inland of here butterflies seen included my first Painted Lady of the year, very briefly, Mallow Skipper again and the usual Lang's ST & LT Blues. A stop by a Fig tree revealed another Millet Skipper, plus 2 Crested Larks. At Herarian archaeological site, we parked the car in front of some wires where 30 Swallows had assembled prior to their southward migration. By another wire, a Spotted Flycatcher perched plus a Whinchat nearby. Within the Herarian itself, 8 Plain Tigers seen flying around, 3 Spotted Flycatchers on various fence wires plus a female and a very close male Red- backed Shrike (but frustratingly, totally against the strong sunlight) A Common Buzzard flew by left inland, Back at Potaki beach in the early evening I managed to photograph the reasonably obliging male Red- backed Shrike on overhead wires and a fence. By the Roman temple, the sharp- eyed Jenny spotted an excellent large foot long Starry Agama perched on the very top of some stones, after playing cat and mouse for half an hour I managed some shots of this beast, another 10 inch Starry Agama crawled along by the base of a column, whilst smaller Starry agama, one 4 inches long near the original site plus one Starry Agama 7 inches long and another 4 incher diagonally opposite. 7 Starry Agamas seen in total all on very hot sun exposed stones basking in the sun, but sensitive to disturbance! A weird beastie seen by the wall outside our front door was phot'd for future ID. A walk into the town during twilight revealed a Little Owl on a telegraph post right on the edge of town!

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