LESVOS BIRDING is the essential resource for birders visiting the island. Use the links left and right to search the site inc. info on Lesvos Birding Holidays & Tours and A Birdwatching Guide to Lesvos.

Sunday, 30 March 2008

Scopoli's Shearwater

Scopoli's (Cory's) Shearwater (c) Lesvos Wildlife Hospital.

Now here's one of the more unusual finds the Lesvos Wildlife Hospital has to cope with. This Scopoli's Shearwater was found on the beach at Skala Eresou on 20 March. It weighed only 414g (should be 700-800g) and today it weighs 626g, so successful release is expected shortly!

Lesvos holiday checklists available

Order your Lesvos holiday checklists here. For a PDF of the species accounts see further below.

Checklists include 8-day tick columns for birds, insects, amphibians and reptiles. Available for spring and autumn (please state which). £2.50 each (inc. p&p).

Cheques only for £2.50 payable to SP Dudley to -
SP Dudley, Lesvos Birding, PO Box 417, Peterborough PE7 3FX.
NOTE - I cannot process orders received AFTER 20 April.

Sample page.


The latest draft of the species account from my forthcoming book A Birdwatchers Guide to Lesvos (Arlequin Press, due August 2009). I can send you a PDF of this chapter. This is an extended version of what appears on on this website.

Cheques only for £2.50 payable to SP Dudley to -
SP Dudley, Lesvos Birding, PO Box 417, Peterborough PE7 3FX.
NOTE - I cannot process orders received AFTER 20 April.

The sad side of Lesvos

This Common Buzzard was found in Mechálochori near Plomari. Lesvos Wildlife Hospital has reported it to the relevant island authorities.

Visiting birders might want to think about informing their hoteliers, guest house folk or whoever you stay with on Lesvos that incidents such as this can only damage their tourist industry, not help it!

Photo courtesy of Lesvos Wildlife Hospital.

Saturday, 29 March 2008

March 08 bird news

Black-winged Stilts, Kalloni Saltpans, 22 March 2008 © Eleni Galinou

These stilts were part of 50+ present around the saltpans in mid-March. Eleni also reports 35+ Ruddy Shelduck in fields by the saltpans and numbers of Swifts and hirundines present from around the 20th and Northern Wheatear and Hoopoe seen on the 22 March.

Joris and Ineke Peeters-Lenglet at the Lesvos Wildlife Hospital tell me they had the first House Martins on 14 March and Common Swifts on 18 March, and the pair of White Storks that nest on the olive oil factory in Agai Paraskevi returned on the 28 March. The pair of disabled Barn Owls at the Wildlife Hospital are breeding and have four eggs!

I hope to be able to include more regular bird news updates from Eleni in coming weeks ahead of the main birding season starting on 17 April (when I myself will be present on the island for three weeks). Anyone with news from the islands can email me at steve(at)toadsnatcher.com (work it out!) and I will carry worthy records on here as part of my more regular spring updates.

Friday, 28 March 2008

Cattle Egret, nr Sigri, December 2007

Cattle Egret, 26/12/2007, near Sigri seen by E. Kakalis and L. Grybilakou (photo E. Kakalis).

Not the large influx of Cattle Egrets seen in the UK this winter, but one for Lesvos is an excellent find given that there is next to no coverage of the island in mid-winter. This is only the sixth record for Lesvos since 1995, the first since 2002, and like the UK, it was part of an influx (64 records of 127 birds) into Greece during 2007.

Monday, 24 March 2008

Early spring weather

Skala Kallonis Pool, 20 March 2008 (© Hotel Pasiphae )

After the disastrously dry winter of 2006/07, the winter just gone has seen a return to norm, with good rainfall which will not only provide pools for spring passage migrants, but will also help to restore the underground water resources of the island.

My good friend Vasilis, manager of Hotel Pasiphae at Skala Kallonis, emailed me to say "The weather this year is much different than last year. From November with a lot of rain and then a quite big period of low temperatures from December until end of January. February dominated from mostly south west winds and mid temperatures 12 - 17 degrees light rain and humidity at night. Until now March is more or less the same with only difference the higher temperature at days with sun".

Today is sunny with moderate southerly wind and around 20 C. Click on the link to the right for up to date weather info.

The picture above of the Skala Kallonis Pool which in spring 2007 was bone dry after the exceptionally dry winter. This year however we see the hoped for high water which will hopefully remain for when most of us visit the island from mid-April onwards. Hopefully we’ll be enjoying the usual fill of crakes and herons here later in the spring.

I know a few hardy souls visit from late March so any updates on birds, weather and standing freshwater areas will be gratefully appreciated and used on this site to keep others informed. Email me at steve(at)toadsnatcher.com (you can work out what to do here!).

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

January 08 bird news

January 2008 - from Terry Robinson (Skala Polichnitou)

Black-throated Diver - Up to 9 Gulf of Kalloni all month

Little Grebe - 10 Metochi Lake

Great Crested Grebe - 300 16th + 883 21st, Gulf of Kalloni off Polichnitos Saltpans.

Black-necked Grebe - Single in Gulf of Kalloni all month.

Yelkouan Shearwater - c.150 off Polichnitos Saltpans 30th

Great Cormorant - c.1500 16th of Polichnitos Saltpans.

Little Egret Singles Mesa all month

Great White Egret - 4 all month Polichnitos Saltpans.

White Stork - 1 over wintered on the Polichnitos Saltpans.

Greater Flamingo -
79 peak count Polichnitos Saltpans. Lots Kalloni Saltpans.

Mute Swan - 4 (2 ad + 2 juvs) Alykoudi Pool end of month.

Ruddy Shelduck - 20+ Kalloni Saltpans 27th.

Common Shelduck - 60 Kalloni Saltpans 27th max 35 Polichnitos Saltpans 7th

Wigeon - c.100 off Polichnitos Saltpans 6th Jan.

Teal - 22 Vouvaris (old fish farm) 1st.

Mallard - 20 Vouvaris 1st.

Shoveler - 4 Vouvaris 1st.

Red-breasted Merganser - 5 off Skala Vasilikon

Hen Harrier - 1 male Polichnitos Saltpans 1st , 1 male Kalloni Saltpans 1st.

Sparrowhawk - Singles seen almost daily chasing larks and buntings on coastal plain.

Long-legged Buzzard - 16 sightings of singles Polichnitos area during month.

Common Buzzard - 6 10th Jan Almyropotamia (Vatera) valley, 4 near Polichnitos Saltpans 3rd, + singles rest of month.

Water Rail - 2 Skala Polichnitos Saltpans all month.

Black-winged Stilt - 1 12th Christou River.

Avocet - 1 6th Polichnitos Saltpans, 120 Kalloni Saltpans.

Kentish Plover - c. 120 Polichnitos Saltpans 6th.

Grey Plover - 20 Kalloni Saltpans 1st.

Lapwing - 68 Christou River 12th.

Common Snipe - 5 Mesa 1st, 2 Almyropotamia River 10th, 2 Kalloni Saltpans 27th.

Curlew - 6 Kalloni Saltpans 1st, 1 Polichnitos Saltpans 6th, 2 Christou River 12th, 2 Kalloni Saltpans 27th.

Spotted Redshank - 1 Polichnitos Saltpans 9th to end of month.

Redshank - 30 max count Polichnitos Saltpans.

Greenshank - 2 Polichnitos Saltpans 4th.

Common Sandpiper - 1 Skala Vasilikon 12th, 1 Vouvaris (fish farm) 1st.

Little Stint - 30 max count Polichnitos Saltpans.

Dunlin - 150 max count Polichnitos Saltpans.

Black-headed Gull - 40 Skala Polichnitou harbour 1st.

Mediterranean Gull - 1 mid month Polichnitos Saltpans.

Sandwich Tern - 5 early in month Polichnitos Saltpans.

Little Owl - Heard nightly up to 3 calling Skala Polichnitou.

Middle Spotted Woodpecker - 3 Alykoudi pool 1st.

Skylark - Poor winter for this species, very small numbers in Polichnitos.

Woodlark - 4 in my garden in Skala Polichnitou 20th.

Dunnock - 1 Tsiknias River 1st

Robin - Common winter visitor, 4 Polichnitos Saltpans 31st.

Wren - 1 Polichnitos Saltpans all month.

Stonechat - 4 Kalloni Saltpans 1st, 6+ Polichnitos Saltpans all month.

Black Redstart 10 Vouvaris 1st.

Sardinian Warbler - pair Polichnitos Saltpans all month.

Starling - 200 + Polichnitos Saltpans 3rd.

Hawfinch - 2-3 birds present Polichnitos Saltpans most of month.

Reed Bunting - 1 male 14th Polichnitos Saltpans.

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Lesvos Wildlife Hospital news - some very sad

This female Eagle Owl was taken in to the Lesvos Wildlife Hospital on 21 February. It had a broken left wing. On arrival she weighed only 1456g (healthy weight for a female is is between 2300-3000g). By the end of the month she'd managed to get up to 1814g which is good news.

The hospital remains one of the most reliable sources of Eagle Owl records. Nearly all are foudn during the winter, including shot birds. With very few records outside the winter period this perhaps suggests moving on to the island from neighbouring Turkey (as little as a five mile sea crossing). Until someone spends some time in the west of the island in Februayr and early March we wont really know if any territorial birds are present, but judging by the complete lack of records from April onwards when birders are around the island, the presumption must remain there aren't.

Just look at the size of this bird in the hand compared to the Long-eared Owl below!
This Long-eared Owl was brought ito the hospital with a wing injury already several days old and it died.

This sub-adult male Sparrowhawk was brought in the same day as the Eagle Owl above. It too was badly underweight at only c.100g. By the end of the month it was up to full weight at 152g and the injured wing recovering well.

A more unusual patient, this Common Snipe arrived along with the Eagle Owl and Sparrowhawk above on the 21 Feb (what a busy day that was!). It was brought in by another vet who had attempted to bandage the fractured right wing but who had just caused more problems! The bird died later and a post mortem found the bird was emaciated (to the bone).

Finally, some very sad news. Runa, daughter of the hospital owners Joris and Ineke, was taken ill in Holland on 24 Feb and sadly passed away on 27 Feb. Its amazing how life events can suddenly put life itself into context. My thoughts are with Joris and Ineke.

Other birds taken in to the hospital in Feb included Common Buzzard, Starling and a Willow Warbler on 21 Feb.

All photos courtesy of Lesvos Wildlife Hospital. More news on their website here.