Showing posts from April, 2017

This Is Ferma

Fermais a settlement in the municipality of Ierapetraon the island of Crete. It is situated at the coast, 11 kilometers east of Ierapetra. Its beach is well known for its beauty.”
That's the Wikipedia entry for our village which ranks, for completeness, marginally above The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy entry for Earth as “Mostly harmless.” I thought that before we set off on our next expedition it would be nice to fill in a few more details. Last week we were down in the bay on the “beach well known for its beauty” so let's wander up onto the cliffs and take a look at the west end of the village.

The cliff top path runs from the little harbour and joins the main Ierapetra to Sitia road near the petrol station. It's a very pleasant walk with plenty of wild flowers and birds which we did a few years back (A Walk on the Cliffs) but we'll turn off here at this juniper bush and walk up into the village. I mentioned before that juniper berries are used to flavour gin…

Taking It Easy

What a lovely day for wandering along the beach and taking it easy after our exertions down the valley. I see that we have another of those Bee flies that we were discussing a few weeks back (see The Sweet Smell of Rain) investigating the sand. Quite an absorbing pastime and there are hobbyists who collect sand, studying its composition from places around the world. The bit that the bee fly is studying for instance contains dark grains, pure white grains and at least fifty shades of grey in between. The colours are determined by the mineral content and the shape depends upon whether it has been washed down from the hills or transported by wind and waves. Ours is angular suggesting that it has come down the valley like us and the colouration is typical of quartz and chert with that odd orange bit by his abdomen probably coming from one of the iron bearing rocks that we observed inHow To Get Blood Out Of A Stone.
Let's walk along the back of the beach and see what else we can find. …

Once More Onto The Beach, Dear Friends

Back in the middle of November last year we began our Descent into the Milonas Valley and here we are in the middle of April rapidly approaching the sea. Back then we were accompanied by Red Admiral and Painted Lady butterflies and now the Old World Swallowtails have joined us. I saw the first ones at the end of March and like the poppies that we saw last week they are now appearing about a month later than in 2006. A similar trend can be seen with the first swallows although the swifts are much the same as they were then. Only the vine leaves seem to be bucking the trend; they are now appearing about a month earlier. As we were discussing last week, the seasons are going out of synch.
No matter, we will enjoy the spring while there is still a spring to be enjoyed and I see that the Silver Wattle is now bursting into golden globes of flower. This shrubby tree, which is also known as Mimosa, was originally a native of Australia but has been widely introduced into the Mediterranean and i…

If Spring Never Sprung

We are nearly at the end of our journey down the Milonas Valley but before we reach the point where the little river enters the sea I want to take a slight detour to a small, fallow field nearby because it sums up this season of spring so succinctly. In this one field I counted twenty different wild flowers when I chanced upon it the other day so let us wander among the crown daisies and the poppies and watch spring in action.

This is no quiet landscape; a veritable orchestra of insects are chirruping, buzzing and droning as they go about their business of collecting from the flowers, pollinating as they go. The deep bass notes of the Buff-tailed Bumblebee down in this Common Poppy are counterpointed by the Honey Bees investigating the Yellow Asphodels around the edges of the field.

The beetles too are adding a further layer to the symphony. All our old friends are here; the Soldier Beetles, the Flower Chafers and the carpet Beetles but who are these small fellows hiding in the folds of…