Wednesday 2 May 2018

Crete Nature Almanack 2018 – Late Spring

“Now every field is clothed with grass, and every tree with leaves; now the woods put forth their blossoms, and the year assumes its gay attire.”  Virgil

African Queen, Danaus chrysippus
Yes, the month of May is here and yesterday's May Day dances and revels marked the middle of Spring which started with the equinox in March and ends with the Summer solstice in June. So what should we be looking for in the second half of the season? In the insect world, butterflies abound at this time of year. I went for a walk earlier in the week and photographed no less than seven different species including this beautiful African Queen (also called the Plain Tiger but I prefer the former).

Borage, Borago officinalis
As the weather begins to heat up in preparation for summer it is time to get inventive with salads. Try adding a few borage flowers and shredded leaves with their delicate cucumber-like flavour and look out for other herbs in flower, many of which can be found on the Cretan Flora website in the family Labiatae.

Sardinian Warbler, Sylvia melanocephala
This is also a great time of year to catch up on your bird call identification but how to go about it, especially if you are a beginner? Start by choosing two or three birds who's calls are very distinct such as the Chaffinch, Greenfinch and this Sardinian Warbler. Now turn your speakers on and follow this link: Sardinian Warbler. Scroll down and you'll find loads of recordings. This is the xeno-canto site where you can hear nearly 10,000 bird species from around the world.

Balkan Pond Turtle, Mauremys rivulata
Sunbathing reptiles can also be found around now such as this Balkan Pond Turtle. Look out also for lizards and snakes warming up in the mornings and Geckos in the evenings on house walls.

Ornate Wrasse, Thalassoma pavo
And finally... the sea has warmed up so it's time to get the cozzie out of winter hibernation and get down and swim with the fishes. We have some really beautiful fish around the Cretan coasts which will happily swim alongside you in a calm, unhurried way.

Enjoy your Spring.


  1. I remember beautiful bream swimming off the Cretan coast at ELounda, as well as the ubiquitous mullet. Lovely post, theornate wrasse is beautiful

  2. I love the way that the wrasse follow me around when I'm turning over stones looking for starfish; waiting to pounce on any edible tidbits I inadvertantly dislodge.

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