This is bliss. Two weeks without the incessant doom and gloom of TV, radio or newspapers. Two weeks of unbridled sunshine on a beautiful Greek island.  

With a spare hour while Sue readied herself for a night on the town I set to and composed a Blogger post for eager followers of Another Bird Blog. There are a few bird pictures, hopefully more in coming days. 

The fine weather, apart from Day One, has meant few birds in quantity but made up for in a degree of quality. Day one saw parties of 30/40 Bee Eaters contact calling overhead as they headed south and over the Aegean Sea, next stop who knows? The usual suspects are around the garden of The Ostria - willow/chiffs, Yellow Wagtails, Whinchats, Red-rumped Swallows, Spotted Flycatchers, and Red-backed Shrikes. 

Red-backed Shrike
On the Internet I found the answer to the puzzle I set myself with the finding of a strange looking plant above Xanemos beach. 

Squirting Cucumber
Ecballium is a genus of flowering plants in the family Cucurbitaceae containing a single species, Ecballium elaterium, also called the squirting cucumber or exploding cucumber (but not to be confused with Cyclanthera brachystachya). It gets its unusual name from the fact that, when ripe, it squirts a stream of mucilaginous liquid containing its seeds, which can be seen with the naked eye. 

The thing looked harmless enough but as soon as I touched the lookalike cucumber out came a water pistol spray of liquid. 

Here at Xanemos were Rock Doves pursued briefly by a Peregrine. Two Blue Rock Thrushes stuck to vegetation where the raptor would not see them. Along the lane to Xanemos more flycatchers and Whinchats but sadly the nearby tomato farm was not operative and so held zero birds in the normally watered environment. 

One of the causalities of this sad year by way of not enough tourists to eat the produce and no work for producers, pickers or sellers. Maybe the grape harvest will survive as wine? 

Grapes - Skiathos
A few more pictures taken towards Skiathos Town where the lake held Little Egrets and a flash of Kingfisher. 
Red-backed Shrike

Airport ahead


Amaretto Taverna

Evenings we return to a few regular haunts as well as one or two new ones when we found both Platanias and Pegasus tavernas had decided there would be little gain from opening in 2020. 

Maistrali Taverna

Sea Bream - before

Sea Bream - after


Stay tuned. I'm still taking pictures of Skiathos.