March 29, 2019

No Place Like Home

Spring is here at last. I don't know about you but it seems a lot longer than thirteen weeks since the winter solstice. One thing about spring is that life is so abundant that you don't have to go far to look for it. Come with me into the olive grove next door and I'll show you. Absolutely bursting with blooms: Poppies, Pimpernels, Mallow and Medicago, Shepherd's Needles and Vetch. I can see at least fourteen different flowers from here but the one I'm particularly interested in today is the ubiquitous Garland Daisy as they really attract the insects. Look, we've got a Mirid Bug, a little black Crabronid wasp, a hoverfly and three different beetles. Not a bad little haul.

Spectacular Spring, Painted Ladies on the march, Back from the dead, Rocket salad and How to make a Pinning Board #CreteNature: http://bit.ly/Cretenature173

Posted on March 29, 2019 04:52 by stevedaniels stevedaniels | 10 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

March 16, 2019

Mirtos River

The sun is shining and there's hardly a breath of wind. Drop everything, cancel all plans, we're going out! With all the rain we've had recently (and more forecast in the coming days) good walking weather is at a premium. A morning stroll by the Myrtos river followed by a spot of lunch in the town is definitely in order.

How to tell the time in a church with no clock, scrumping and how to age a corpse: #CreteNature: http://bit.ly/CreteNature172

Posted on March 16, 2019 05:04 by stevedaniels stevedaniels | 8 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

February 15, 2019

The Art of Nature

This week I'm taking you up to a little place in the hills called Psychro but instead of hiking up to the church of St. George as most people do (and indeed, as we did back in October 2016 – see Into The Woods), we're going for a short stroll down the valley on the other side of the road to look at the sometimes overlooked beauties of nature.

http://cretenature.blogspot.com/2019/02/the-art-of-nature.html

Posted on February 15, 2019 13:42 by stevedaniels stevedaniels | 6 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

February 01, 2019

Water, Water, Everywhere

January has been a wet month in these parts. The average rainfall over the past ten years, according to my little rain gauge, has been 83mm. This year we have had over 150mm. It was particularly wet last week when some fool with a digger started terraforming the olive grove behind the house and unleashed a torrent that found its way, unerringly, to the small hole where the co-axial cable enters my lounge. My thanks to Demos Ierapetras (AKA the local council) who sorted the problem promptly and efficiently and limited my discomfort to mere paddling.

http://cretenature.blogspot.com/2019/01/water-water-everywhere.html

Posted on February 01, 2019 04:53 by stevedaniels stevedaniels | 5 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

January 25, 2019

Toplou Gorge

Under the weather in Toplou Gorge starts Series 9 of the #CreteNature blog with new sections: Walking Notes, Fieldcraft & Foraging and In The Lab.

http://bit.ly/CreteNature169

Posted on January 25, 2019 06:35 by stevedaniels stevedaniels | 5 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

October 12, 2018

Kroustas Forest

Last week we were looking for Griffon Vultures on the heights above Lasithi Plateau. We found some but they were flying very high. This week as we gathered on the forest road we were treated to the inspiring spectacle of nine of these magnificent birds not fifty feet above our heads. Standing half as tall as a man and with a nine foot wingspan they truly are awesome birds. Like all vultures they feed on carrion and will often circle around elderly animals that seem to have difficulty moving. As this accurately describes quite a number of our Sunday Strollers we considered it wise to move into the cover of the trees without further delay.

http://bit.ly/CreteNature166

Posted on October 12, 2018 04:03 by stevedaniels stevedaniels | 6 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

October 05, 2018

The Oldest saint

As I dropped down onto the Lasithi Plateau a Buzzard launched itself from a telegraph pole, narrowly missed my windshield and crashed into the undergrowth to my left where it had obviously spotted its unwary breakfast. That was a good omen as I was taking my little group of intrepid strollers to the heights above Agios Charalampos to look for Grifon Vultures. The saint, after whom the village is named, was reputedly 114 years old when he was martyred for his Christian preaching in the 3rd century, thus making him the oldest saint and his claim to fame was that, whilst being tortured, one of his torturers arms miraculously fell off and another had his head put on backwards. I think that I am more inclined to believe in Betty's black snake but more of that later.

http://cretenature.blogspot.com/2018/10/the-oldest-saint.html

Posted on October 05, 2018 04:37 by stevedaniels stevedaniels | 9 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

September 28, 2018

Snakeless in Sisi

I had two reasons for wanting to visit Sisi on the north coast of Crete; firstly I'd never been there, despite having been living on the island for 14 years and secondly I'd been promised that I would find Dice Snakes lounging in the rock pools just waiting to have their photographs taken. What better way to start my series of Sunday Strolls with an enthusiastic band of budding amateur naturalists in tow? Sisi is only a small village but somehow Betty managed to get lost in it before we had even started but after a slight delay whilst we phoned her with directions we descended upon the rock pools. I should point out at this juncture that to avoid confusion and boredom by introducing loads of names into these stories (to say nothing of potential ostracism and/or libel actions) all of the ladies will be referred to as Betty and the gentlemen as Bert.

Follow the adventures of #BettyandBert as we start the first of #StevesSundayStrolls in #Sisi, #Lasithi, #Crete http://bit.ly/CreteNature164

Posted on September 28, 2018 04:30 by stevedaniels stevedaniels | 13 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

September 21, 2018

Crete Nature Almanack 2018 Autumn

Autumn is nearly upon us and the birds are already flying south from northern Europe and either staying or passing through Crete on their way to sub-Saharan Africa. Find any stretch of water and you are likely to see birds such as Ruddy Turnstones, Arenaria interpres (top left); Common Sandpipers, Actitis hypoleucos (top right); and possibly even a Spotted Redshank, Tringa erythropus (bottom right). Look out also for the first appearance of the Black Redstart, Phoenicurus ochruros (bottom left), which usually arrives down here on the south east coast somewhere between late October and the end of November.

14 Top things to look out for this autumn in the #CreteNature #AutumnAlmanack 2018: http://bit.ly/CreteNature163

Posted on September 21, 2018 04:01 by stevedaniels stevedaniels | 0 comments | Leave a comment

September 14, 2018

Here We Go Again!

I haven't been aestivating completely over the summer months. Steve Lenton (our botanist friend) and I took a trip up on to The Lassithi Plateau where we found a delightful array of wildlife including the amazing Humming Bird Hawk Moth, Macroglossum stellatarum; Grey Heron, Ardea cinera, on the prowl for amphibians such as the European Tree Frog, Hyla arborea; and the female Emperor Dragonfly, Anax imperator, even found some water in the stream (reduced to occasional puddles in the height of summer) to lay some eggs.

Series 8 of the Crete Nature Blog starts today with a round-up of the summer, a preview of where you can join me for a Sunday Stroll, and details of a new book: http://bit.ly/CreteNature162

Posted on September 14, 2018 05:15 by stevedaniels stevedaniels | 4 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment