31 August 2012

Golden jackal visiting

Last night we were sitting in our patio in Galaxidi when a juvenile golden jackal came to eat figs from the fig tree a few metres from us, staying there for several minutes: an amazing encounter! It was the first animal of this species we have ever seen in this area.

Because I did not want to use a flash, the photo was shot at 1600 ISO and 1/80th of second - it came out completely dark and it was then overexposed, offering a glimpse of the beauty of this endangered wild animal.

Information on the status of golden jackals Canis aureus in Europe can be found in THIS ARTICLE.

24 August 2012

Cotylorhiza invasion

The whole Gulf of Corinth has been invaded by these beauties. We took several videos and photos to document their amazing high density. This image was taken by Silvia yesterday.

Apparently, Cotylorhiza tubercolata (as well as Salpa maxima) are regularly blooming in the Gulf. There was a similar phenomenon in 2010, albeit of smaller proportions. This year's bloom is just unbelievable.

A photo album can bee seen HERE.

17 August 2012

Striped dolphin newborn

Yesterday sighted lots of dolphins, including a group of over 100 striped dolphins, with a dozen of newborns all in the same subgroup.

This image shows a particularly cute newborn jumping besides its presumed mother.

12 August 2012


We have done a fair bit of gardening together with our friend and landlord Christos. Most plants had to be planted by digging holes into the bare rock, because the whole garden was basically just rocks and stones.

We hope that the plants will grow, and next year we expect our garden to be nice and green!

A tentative Zen garden is shown below :-)

08 August 2012

Tuna feeding at the surface

This year we are seeing lots of tuna schools feeding at the surface. It often makes a spectacular sight, especially when these large streamlined animals clear the water in an attempt to catch a fish, and seagulls or shearwaters all around try to benefit.

The positions of our encounters with tuna in the Gulf of Corinths can be seein in THIS MAP. However, it should be mentioned that the map does not reflect the actual distribution in any given year. Survey effort and sea state must be taken into account.

07 August 2012

Unexpected encounter with a leatherback sea turtle

Today we made a rather extraordinary encounter: a leatherback sea turtle Dermochelys coriacea about 2-2.5m long was breathing at the surface, on a completely flat sea.

The sighting was extraordinary in three respects. First, leatherback sea turtles are classified as Critically Endangered in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, and therefore make a rare encounter anywhere. Second, the Gulf of Corinth is a semi-enclosed basin separated from open Mediterranean waters by a narrow (2-km wide) and shallow strait, crossed by a bridge. Third, historically there is only one other report of a leatherback sea turtle in the Gulf of Corinth. It dates back to 1982 (that is 30 years ago) and it refers to an animal caught in a net and killed by a fishermen, as reported by sea turtle expert Dimitris Margaritoulis in his Journal of Ethology note of 1986.

Additionally, in my 25 years of experience as a dolphin biologist I never had a chance of encountering one of these magnificent animals.

This particular turtle let our small boat approach close enough to take a few photographs and videos. It was a breathtaking experience!

(Photo by G. Bearzi, August 2012)

06 August 2012

Striped dolphin Olympic Games

The winner of the Striped Dolphin Olympic Games, in the "Jellyfish" specialty, is the animal portrayed in the two photos above.

One full centre and one hit in only 2 seconds.

An underwater video of this performance can be watched HERE.