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Swallows
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Mouse



Joined: 20 Jun 2006
Posts: 7100
Location: Balearics

PostPosted: Fri Aug 26, 2016 9:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

We've had the freshest August for decades Very Happy when its been hot its been dry heat, low humidity, and breezy. So we've hardly had any flies or mosquitoes which has been superb! I think there's fewer insects all round.

Our swallows haven't been back since the hawks appeared 2 years ago Crying or Very sad They're such noisy birds.
Our owl is still patrolling but we've seen less bats.

As for rats our miserable sod of a neighbour (opposite) apparently has a nest of them in his palm tree but refuses to have them destroyed. Our other neighbours, next to him, saw them and alerted him. They've even said they will pay but he's declared he likes rats nests Shocked
Thank god we have a few feral (neutered) cats in the street.

Mousie
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la vache!



Joined: 16 Feb 2005
Posts: 11068

PostPosted: Fri Aug 26, 2016 6:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This year has been fly summer, not a wasp one. I haven't seen a wasp yet this summer, the cold, wet spring probably had something to do with it.
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PW in Polemi



Joined: 21 Oct 2012
Posts: 1730
Location: A village in Paphos, Cyprus

PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2016 6:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This summer has been the hottest for a long time, started back in June with 5C above normal, preceded by a very dry winter. I think this has contributed to fewer insects - although there were plenty of bees, butterflies and moths around my sweet-scented buddleia (note to self: take cuttings in autumn for more plants next year).

We had a fairly short spell earlier in the summer with quite a few wasps landing in our pool at home, due to a nest being made in a nearby "fallen over" pot. Nest got sprayed with Bio Kill, no more swimming with wasps. Other than that, and 2 rather persistent hornets last night when we were eating some delicious barbecued Greek lamb chops, very few insects this year.

Near where we barbecue, we have a large, double-cropping fig tree and we watch "our" resident hedgehog trudge across the top bank towards the tree and disappear in its shadow every night about 9pm, followed shortly by scuffling and snorting as he gobbles up the fallen figs!

We still have 2 kestrels who regularly perch on an electricity pole just below our house, looking for their next meal, plus up to 3 Bonelli's eagles have our valley as part of their territory - I can often hear their very plaintive cries long before I see them. We also have a large pale owl who flies across so silently that if he's not in our line of sight, we don't know he's there.

There's a pair (or more) of Chukka partridge in the valley now - when we first moved in, there were loads, bred and released by the game wardens. Then hunting season opened. The game wardens no longer breed & release into this valley. A few years ago, we managed to get pretty much the whole valley made into a conservation area, so hopefully the wildlife will gradually move back in, especially as the scrub is recovering from the 2013 fire that swept through most of the valley (it started in the field where a farmer was trying to burn his cuttings Rolling Eyes ).

Last year we had 2 black snakes mating beside our solar panels - it was lovely to watch their swaying entwined dance - and even lovelier to know they eat the young blunt nosed viper, as BNVs are highly venomous and a neighbour was bitten a couple of years ago by one (3 days in intensive care), our cat Ginge has been bitten twice (he should have learnt by now not to play with BNVs) and Andreas lost a goat to a BNV bite last year.

The wildlife is amazing - slow moving chameleons in the bushes, damsel or dragonflies (can't remember the difference!) dancing beside the pool, preying mantis, huge black hairy European tarantulas (not my favourite), small bright green spiders hiding on leaves, butterflies (little blue ones, large yellow ones and all sorts in between), geckos, skinks and lizards by the dozen (sometimes temporarily tail-less courtesy of Ginge!). I'm sure the farming methods help with diversity - small fields with banks separating one from t'other or small terraced fields each with wildflowers & scrub around the edges, rather than the vast expanses of single crop you see in USA.

Unfortunately, not so many swallows this year as previously - maybe caught by poachers en route between summer and winter quarters, maybe insufficient roosting spots as more people renovate their properties - and maybe simply less food as there have definitely been fewer flies/mosquitoes about this year.
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AndrewH



Joined: 12 Sep 2013
Posts: 1183
Location: Kefalonia, Greece

PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2016 11:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

PW in Polemi wrote:
Unfortunately, not so many swallows this year as previously - maybe caught by poachers en route between summer and winter quarters, maybe insufficient roosting spots as more people renovate their properties - and maybe simply less food as there have definitely been fewer flies/mosquitoes about this year.

Nice to read your whole post PW. No shortage here of swallows this year, skimming the surface of the pool to get a drink. The youngsters do a lot of practising first till they get the hang of it. The pool net is at hand in case a rescue is needed.

We don't have kestrals, but we have Eleanora's Falcons who patrol and catch swallows and other small birds as they migrate from the south to reach the island. These falcons are a rare species, although they are plentiful around here. The other place you can find them is in the Balearics.
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farley



Joined: 29 May 2014
Posts: 80
Location: Poitou Charentes

PostPosted: Thu Sep 01, 2016 10:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow PW what amazing wildlife. I'm not sure about your spiders and snakes but the rest sounds incredible. I've often thought of writing a guide to our local creatures for our guests but never managed to get around to it.
I actually stopped a guest this morning, whilst I was watering, to point out the hummingbird hawk moths who were whizzing around my salvia flowers and silk tree flowers, a lovely sight.
The watering continues to take hours, I can't remember the last time we had any significant rain.
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Mouse



Joined: 20 Jun 2006
Posts: 7100
Location: Balearics

PostPosted: Thu Sep 01, 2016 10:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes ....good read PW!

Andrew, yes we have a lot of Eleanor falcons here. And Hoopoes do you have them?
Wish I knew what type of hawk we are now getting nesting on our roof.

I wait every year for the return of our Robin. ...that signals summer is gone and I can relax!

Mousie
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PW in Polemi



Joined: 21 Oct 2012
Posts: 1730
Location: A village in Paphos, Cyprus

PostPosted: Thu Sep 01, 2016 12:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for your kind comments, AndrewH, farley and Mousie.
Although the valley overlooked by our holiday cottage is linked to the valley where we live (and indeed, forms part of the territory of the Bonelli's Eagles), there seems to be less wildlife around the cottage, possibly because it's just inside the village, whereas we live in what used to be a vineyard, surrounded by other fields and vineyards.

We too get hummingbird hawk moths, especially at the cottage where the lantana has really taken off and is flowering with a vengeance.

Sitting out on the patio first thing this morning (6am), keeping the cat company while he ate breakfast, Rolling Eyes I suddenly realised the tweets and twitters from our 2 shade mulberry trees were no more. For days (weeks?) previously, every dawn and dusk was accompanied by much twittering and fluttering from inside both trees. Little birds, sparrow sized or smaller, but no idea what colour! Must have been migratory birds, stocking up for another long flight towards their winter quarters.

We've had the occasional hoopoe in our valley, and we've seen many bright blue jays while out and about, off the beaten track. Most years we get a good few bee eaters in their bright colours, trilling their liquid song, bringing a smile to my face.

Mousie, your hawk nesting on your roof reminds me that last year we had a very noisy (raucous) black francolin in the area - and he did not shut up overnight either!
Turn the volume up and listen to this Laughing
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZP7-f3DoH2Y
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