Showing posts from September, 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.

We found plenty of life in the rock pools; everything from Peacock's Tails (see Creature's of the Blue Lagoon if you'd …

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.

The flowers will start to appear after the first autumnal rains which have been getting gradually later over the past five years; from September 16th in 2013 to September 29th in 2017. I have chosen just three of them, but can you spot the connection? The first one is the Autumn Buttercup, Ranunculus bullatus, which grows throughout the Mediterranean, including north Africa. The sec…

Here We Go Again!

Yes, the autumn equinox is nearly upon us and it's time for me to stop loafing around and take you trundling off around the natural beauties of east Crete once more. Only this time you really can come with me. Series 8 is called Steve's Sunday Strolls and I'll be giving you a couple of weeks notice of where I'll be at 11am on Sunday morning and you can either join me or avoid me, as is your wont. For instance, on Sunday 23rd of September I shall be here in Sisi.

We'll do a bit of rock pooling along the front and see if we can find some Dice snakes (don't worry, they're not dangerous). Then we'll go around the harbour and explore the inlet and the woods along the far side and finally, if time allows, we'll see if there are any nice birdies out on the spit. Then it's back to the Plori Restaurant-Cafe where we can chat about what we've seen and I'll try and identify anything that you've photographed and tell you a bit about it.
So, bring …