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Mirtos River

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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.
Out & About

The birds are certainly enjoying themselves. Apart from a murder of hooded crows mustering in that gum tree over there, discussing goodness knows what, I can hear the descending trills of chaffinches, a twittering of goldfinches, the long, drawn out 'dzeee' of a greenfinch and the sharp 'tak-tak' of a male stonechat. And sitting pretty as a picture on that bush to our left is a female stonechat cocking an ear to the male whilst keeping a beady eye on us.




It's nice to see a few more wildflowers coming into bloom. The Branched Asphodels are a sure sign that spring can't be too far away and the Common Lantana (or Bacon &am…

The Art of Nature

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Out & About
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.



Starting with the obvious, sublime winter landscapes can be found almost anywhere on a crisp winter's day. This is especially so if you have a background of blue skies and mountains, an interesting old man-made structure in the mid ground (in this case a long defunct watermill) and you are looking at it through a trio of stark and leafless trees.



Landscapes are a great favourite with artists and photographers, as are the common 'pretties' such as flowers, birds and butterflies but take a closer look at any damp wood or rock and you will find an almost limitless array of interesting shapes among the world of the mo…

Water, Water, Everywhere

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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.




Out & About
However, the sun has managed to break out this morning so let us walk along by the normally dry river beds and see and hear them gushing with exuberance. Alongside the Poppy Anemones, Mandrakes and Friar's Cowls that we saw in Toplou Gorge earlier this month the Broad-leaved Anemones, (Anemone hortensis) and Salad Rocket (Eruca sativa) have also started to come into flower. Not that I'm into making salads in this wea…

Toplou Gorge

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Welcome to the all new fortnightly Series 9 of the #CreteNature Blog with a host of new features to come.

Out & About

Winter is early and severe this year as the weather system 'Telemachos' comes marching through on the heels of weather system 'Sofia' and now we have storm Zeus. Not that that deters us naturalists of course and on January 7th I set off with amateur botanist Julia Cross and a small group of intrepid individuals to explore the Toplou Gorge on the north east coast of the island.



Flowers were few and far between but the Poppy Anemones (Anemone coronaria) were abundant and there were a fair few Mediterranean Mandrakes in flower (Mandragoraofficinarum) as well as a couple of Friar's Cowls (Arisarum vulgare). Pride of place however must be given to a small yellow job with a couple of black dots which Julia informed me was a Scorpion Violet (Viola scorpiuroides). This wasoriginally a north African plant but can now be found in east and west Crete as well …