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Wednesday, 30 September 2015

A Week in Corfu

I thought it time to catch up on my blog with several trips away to record I am going to have to go backwards.

21st September as we fly over Corfu our destination lies below the small resort of Agios St George South  and Lake Korission 

As I say this was never a birding holiday but the area could have potential ,I never got down to the lake early morning ,but if the price is right it's worth a look , not a great deal other than a small harbour and lots of restaurants along the very long coast road of St Georges , and insect where rather a pain Carol getting some nasty bites which needed antibiotics, you needs some good insect repellent.   

22nd We had a walk along to the Lake it was not early and the sun well up and very hot, the sand is hard in places and other areas are soft and hard to walk , plenty of Dragonflies at a small disgusting looking pool , with other Darters perched along the trackside . Whinchats where in small groups  and also a few Spotted Flycatchers and distant Red Backed Shrikes also two wood Warblers and numerous Stonechats , but all flew ahead of us and with plenty cover they soon disappeared. This was never meant to be a birding holiday just a few days away in the sun there is always something to find when the sun shines  

Woodchat Shrike
View across the lake from a small sand dune east
and west
Meadow Browns very common and where seen everywhere much more so than at home
A small ploughed field had Whinchats and Spotted Flycatcher
Early evening we walk down for the sunset and this young lady taking in the last rays ,part of a photo shoot nearby
23rd and a walk up to Argrirades  with some nice habitat along the way before the steep climb to the small town , numerous Butterflies along the way the vast majority did not settle which was rather frustrating , I saw a large Fritillary on flowers in someone's garden but all to briefly it was gone further in and with no viewing , I was however lucky to catch  sight of a Two Tailed Pasha as it zoomed overhead I had no idea at the time of what it was but it settled High in a tree   and I got some shots it also dropped down somewhat giving better views but no open wing .
We decided to do the circular walk along the main road and back to St George but its not worth the effort as the road is busy for most of it .

I have seen this Spider posted on Twitter with the white spikes and crab like legs

Two Tailed Pasha a new species for me and it made my day the long walk and climb in the baking heat was well worth it

Stopping for lunch of salad etc , I dropped some rice and within a flash this ant had it away heaved it down several steep stone stairs  to the entrance ony to find it blocked by a team trying to get a piece of sweetcorn into the narrow gap , some pushing and pullin they just went around in circles , but I marvelled at the shear determination they have and the strength.
These popped up here and there some form of Cyclamen ?
And the inevitable Sunset which also included Kingfisher in the harbour

The Night of the 24th a storm raged from about 5 in the afternoon till the early hours of the morning and did it rain it poured down , this would have been the day to get out early but we had booked to go on a trip to Albania to the port of Sarande for my birthday seemed like a good idea at the time.

Short video with some heavy rain

We tried to walk out of town but the rain was just relentless and I only got four birds on my Albanian list which will never increase , this small harbour has  a crane that has toppled and just been left , most of the town is modern but there is still some old parts around a house we saw was built of bricks but no mortar and  the weight of a  concrete roof keeping it all in place , I did not like too photograph it as the owners where outside , Two  Cows wandered down the street , a shoe shop comprised of  Hundreds of used shoes tied together in a pile even odd shoes tied together ,, sort yourself out a pair .
 Like something out of Thunderbirds our 40 mins transfer from Corfu via this Hydrofoil thats the back,  A small party of Gulls along the quay but signed as a restricted area no way I was going to check them out with bins and camera

26th  Early morn looking from the balcony a very  large flock of  Hirundines  feeding nearby and the distinctive calls of Bee-eaters drifted over occasionally  for about an hour but I never did see them, most nights Bats could be seen giving fantastic flying shows nice to watch with a glass of wine or beer ( I have both) .Another day along the lake  and I was puzzled by a distant cloud of birds feeding in the air as some neared they turned out to be Alpine Swifts I estimated up to a thousand birds wheeling around they must have been displaced by the storm again it was late morning so god knows what I could have missed , there is a sand dune with good views over the lake so I watched from here far a couple of hours in total ,    A Hobby flashed overhead circled catching Dragonflies as it went then shot out over the lake as the Swifts came nearer , again in the distance some larger birds where mobbing what turned out to be a small raptor , these where Hooded Crows the only ones I saw , the Swifts drifted off and where later replaced with swallows and Martins as they fed over the lower level . On the lake Great White Egret , Little Egrets about six, numerous Grey Heron ,two Kingfishers and the Hobby buzzed us again giving stunning views with the strong light behind us . we walked on looking for other vantage points but did not find any it's a huge lake to walk it's entire length, we could see a lone Flamingo at the edge  and two very distant waders which I thought where Greenshank but  I only had bins with me save my super zoom SX50

Two Butterflies settle all too briefly ,presume mating

Lone Flamingo unless more where hidden the reeds and Bamboo is very high
Great White Egret
Speckled Wood only about three seen

The two mystery waders Greenshank for me
 I had glimpsed what I thought was a Turtle Dove on the way along and found this 1st year bird  in with Collared Doves on the way back the area is littered with  shotgun cartridge cases and we saw three guys with Guns and dogs
Not too many Lizards seen Carol found this for me which posed nicely on the wall

And another Sunset  a nightly event for many of us tourists
This Moth on the wall as we returned to the hotel and the constant calling of one then two Scops Owls ,which teased me every night as one sounded very close , determined to see it I went around to where I thought it would be and where it seemed to call from for most of the night  but alas it had moved on the noise of the weekend perhaps was the cause .

27th   Another walk back up to Agrirades but only what I thought was an Iberian Chiffchaff heard  apart from the numerous raucous Jays , even the likes of Great Tits and Blue Tits are very hard to see .

Long Tailed Blue ? i have not checked anything out yet this just to show how small they are next to a Bee 
This Beetle caught my eye with the sun on it what stunning colours

Comma on a wall in the town
A couple of Lizards in this old Olive tree
Swallowtail gave stunning views as it fed for sometime on these flowers just growing in tin cans on someone's steps
More Cyclamen type flowers these a bit more accessible
And this small plain white Butterfly  I could see no marks at all and the Aeroplane shaped wings ?
For some reason Skippers on the wing today and three or four seen , this one rested briefly

Swallowtail feeding most of the ones seen before just shoot past and away

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