Posts tagged with ‘Crete’

Bird of the Year 2007: best performances in a supporting role

Best Plant There’s lots of choice here; I’ll just give a hat-tip to the big trees of Kew Gardens and Greenwich Park which I got over excited about in the autumn. But most of the possibilities were in Crete. Crete has more species of plant than the UK, and a bundle of them are endemics. […]

Bird of the Year 2007

It’s that time again. Last year when I did this, I’d been birding in Spain in the spring and then the Galapagos and Ecuador in the autumn. This year has been less dramatic—no albatrosses or toucans—but I did see some great stuff in Crete in April. First, though, some local stuff. There have been Little […]

Kolokithokeftedes (sort of)

This recipe is my attempt to reconstruct a dish I had in Crete. I don’t know if it would pass the Greek grandmother test, but it’s probably close enough that she’d recognise what it was attempting. Kolokithokeftedes [courgette balls/fritters/croquettes] 4 courgettes (zucchini) 3 spring onions (scallions), including most of the green bit a clove of […]

Blogger Bio-blitz #3: Lasithi plateau

The last of the three locations in Crete that I bio-blitzed was the Lasithi plateau, where I was from the 27th-28th of April. The plateau is just the prettiest place in the world, as well as providing some good birding for me. Apparently, it’s formed by the build-up of silt from the surrounding rivers creating […]

Blogger Bio-blitz #2: Paleohora

Paleohora is a little town on the south coast of the western end of Crete. It’s an expanding resort town with plenty of tavernas and cafes, but still small and quiet compared to the established resorts. Especially quiet in April, which is really before the tourist season starts in earnest. The town sits on a […]

Books books books

I’ve posted a few thoughts on the books I read in Crete (a couple of novels by Kazantzakis, some Marquez, Seferis, books on the Battle of Crete and resistance, Aristophanes), which can be found via my ‘What I’ve been reading’ page.

Crete by Antony Beevor

The story of the German invasion of Crete during WW2 and, to a lesser extent, the resistance thereafter. This is really a book of cockups all round; the Germans had already taken the Greek mainland and planned a completely airborne invasion of Crete using paratroops and gliders which was, as it turned out, wildly ambitious, […]

Freedom and Death by Nikos Kazantzakis

Based on this and Zorba, Kazantzakis was a bit like D.H. Lawrence: the first highly educated member of a working family, and suffering a crisis of masculinity as a result. But with Cretan shepherds instead of Nottinghamshire miners. This book in particular, which is about a rebellion against the Turks, exhibits a glamorous, nostalgic view […]

Blogger Bio-blitz #1: Ayia Lake

On April 21st, I went birding to a reservoir near the village of Αγια, written as either Agia or Ayia in Roman characters. Ayia is about 9 km SW of Chania, the capital of the westernmost province of Crete, and the reservoir is a good spot for migrating waterbirds. The reservoir is surrounded by reedbeds […]

Blogger Bio-blitz: Crete overview

Well, I’ve got back from Crete, and now’s my opportunity to write up some of my birding as full Blogger Bio Blitz posts. Now with pictures! Some general scene setting, first. Crete is a beautiful island, mainly consisting of spectacular mountains surrounded by blue Mediterranean water. But it’s not a forgiving place; in the interior […]

Lasithi

Well, I spent a couple of days in Tzermiado on the Lasithi plateau, which is like a little chunk of Holland – flat fields and fruit trees – randomly inserted in among the Cretan mountains. Some good birds (wryneck, quail, cirl bunting, black eared wheatear, griffon vulture, peregrine, blue rock thrush), and up on the […]

Hell in waiting

Well, I’ve made it to Malia. I described this place as being a good birding site and a Minoan palace, but it’s so much more than that. In the summer, it’s a place for the youth of Northern Europe to come and get sunburnt and wasted. I’m in an internet place on the ‘beach road’ […]

Long day planned

I’m jut killing time until I get the first bus of a planned three-bus, five or six hour journey halfway across Crete. Maybe even three-quarters. I considered breaking it up by stopping somewhere for a night halfway, but actually time is a limited resource and there’s no point using up extra days of my holiday […]

Bio Blitz bust

It turns out I was a bit optimstic planning to ID flowers for the bio-blitz. There are just too many different little yellow compositidae and white umbellifers to try to ID them from descriptions of petal length and leaf shape. If I do it again next year, I’ll make sure I have a field guide […]

Red-letter day

For me, one of the nice things about birding in Europe is that, in a sense, every new bird represents a lifetime ambition fulfilled. If you live in the UK, soon after you start taking an interest in birds, you get a book of birds of Britain and Europe, and spend time looking at all […]

Paleohora

I’m in Paleohora. I don’t really know why I need to share that with you all, but there you go.

The lake of crakes

I went out to a reservoir near Hania today. The guide to birdwatching in Crete listed, among the possible birds for the site, Little Crake, Spotted Crake and Baillon’s Crake. I’ve never seen any of those before, but I didn’t get my hopes up because all the crakes are notoriously difficult to see; they skulk. […]

birding at Aghia Triada

‘Aghia Triada’ is ‘Holy Trinity’, and it’s a monastery on Akrotiri. I went there not just to look at the monastery, but mainly to do birding. It was a good birding day, I’m pleased to say. Lots of birds, but the most notable were the black-headed race of Yellow Wagtail, Golden Oriole and two which […]

Hania, still.

Well, I’ve been to the Hania Archeological Museum, the Cretan Folklore Museum and the Byzantine Museum this morning, so I’m all cultured up good. The Archeology is not doubt a pale shadow of what iwould have seen if the Heraklion museum had been open, but they had some nice stuff. The Folklore Museum was probably […]

Hania/Chania/Xania/Canea

Well, here I am in Hania, and it has to said that it is extremely pretty. Turquoise waters, picturesque buildings, bright sun on stone walls; they’ve got the whole Mediterranean thing working well for them. I’m slightly antsy about getting some actual birding done, not least because my cunning plan to go to Omalos has […]

Knossos

It turns out the Heraklion Archaeological Museum is closed for renovations until July. Which is disappointing, because it holds a world-class collection of Minoan artefacts and I was looking forward to going there. Oh well. Instead I got on a bus to Knossos, one of the sites where a lot of the stuff in the […]

nopowriday

I’m off to Crete tomorrow, and with all the packing and procrastinating I didn’t write a poem. And I have to get up in about 4 hours time [yipes] so no poem today. I’ll try to write two tomorrow— I have a longish flight to fill time on. Posting may be sporadic in the next […]

A cunning plan

I just realised that my camera can screw directly on to my telescope tripod. Expect me to come back from Crete with lots of attempted panoramas. Can you tell I’m procrastinating because I don’t want to pack?