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Thursday, 20 May 2010

Lesvos trip report : 22 - 29 April 2010

A Lesvos Birding Holiday with Steve Dudley: 22 – 29 April 2010

Participants: Emily & Peter, Jayne & Mike and Andy.

Day 1, Thursday 22 April

Steve flies out on the same flight as Emily and Peter, and arriving several hours earlier than the others they go birding down to Harmida enjoying several Glossy Ibis, Sqaucco Herons, Sardinian Warbler, Crag Martin and the agricultural song of the Great Reed Warbler! Just after 1800h we arrive back at the airport to meet up with Andy, Jayne and Mike and we drive across the island to Skala Kallonis, our base for the week.

Over dinner Steve explains a little about the week ahead and what we can look forward too.

Day 2, Friday 23 April

Weather: fine and sunny. Hot. Light NW wind.

After breakfast we head out to the Christou River. The place is pretty quiet with only a few waders to enjoy – Greenshank, Ruff and Wood Sandpiper. We drive slowly through the fields to Metochi Lake without the need to stop. Metochi Lake soon makes up for it! No sooner are we out of the minibus when et great scope views. Steve spies an adult Purple Heron sat at the far end of the pool. The light is brilliant and Jayne finds the first of two Great Reed Warblers bouncing around the tamarisk bushes. Then Steve spots a female Little Bittern in the reed edge and scopes and soon trained on to her. As we watch, a male Little Crake walks through our

view! We end seeing one more crake and up to six Little Bitterns! Common Swifts, Barn Swallows and House Martins fly overhead as we pick through the stacks of Stripe-necked Terrapins for more crakes. Sedge and Reed Warblers are seen in the reeds, Little Grebe and Moorhen on the lake itself and a Jay, the eastern ‘black-capped’ form, shows very well in a nearby olive tree. A second Purple Heron flies over before we head off around the back of the lake.

Round the rocky area behind the lake we stop and are soon watching an Agama Lizard basking and a singing male Black-eared Wheatear sat atop a high rock. Steve then spots a Rock Nuthatch. No sooner has he seen it than its heading don the slope and lands by a rock right by us. It’s carrying a caterpillar. It sits and watches us intently. Steve then spots its mud nest dome under the rock. Given the great views we have had we move on and allow the nuthatch to resume feeding its mate of young.

We drive on towards Kalloni stopping to watch two close Woodchat Shrikes and a fabulously close Little Bittern Jayne spots stood out in the open in the roadside ditch. We get stunning views and we’re all amazed at just how small this bird is – its tiny!

We stop briefly at the north-east corner of the saltpans to take our first look at the flamingos and see a White Stork circling nearby and a Common Buzzard sat on a telegraph post. We move on to Mesa and find 28 Ruddy Shelduck, 4 Common Shelduck and half a dozen Great White Egrets but no sign of yesterdays Spur-winged Plover.

At Achladeri the pine forest is very quiet. Chaffinches seem to be the only bird in evidence before Steve finds a Short-toed Treecreeper. A few minutes later we’re watching our target species, a fine male Krüper’s Nuthatch as it feeds picks away at a large pine cone. We enjoy a couple of oddly named Odalisque dragonflies on by the stream and get another brief view of another Krüper’s as it comes in to the nest hole to bring the sitting female a tit-bit.

Leaving the forest for lunch we find a stunning male Masked Shrike by the side of the road which duly obliges us with closes views and some snaps.

After lunching at the delightful seaside taverna at Ancient Pyrrha, we head back towards the saltpans. Near the Vouvaris River we stop for great views of a pair of Red-rumped Swallows which treat us to perched views as they preened on wires and some great fly-by views showing off their distinctive shape and their pale pinking rump colour. At Mesa we find several Squacco Herons in the marsh, plus Little Egret and Ruddy Shelduck. A little further on we stop and find a distant hovering Short-toed Eagle, a soaring Common Kestrel and a two Black Storks coming back south from the hills, clearly deciding better of a late afternoon attempt at navigating the island north.

We arrive at the saltpans to meet the two Black Storks arriving. There are Avocets everywhere and we can hear Stone-curlew calling. Jayne picks up a flying bird and she follows it as it lands on one of the central bunds. It’s a Stonie and a self-found lifer for Jayne! We move on a littler further and get much closer views of a second bird and Jayne feels she has really seen it now. Over one of the middle pans three White-winged Black Terns bounce along occasionally dipping down to picks something off the water surface. Swimming in the middle of the pan are seven winter plumaged Spotted Redshank. On the nearby pan there is a Little Tern sat side by side with a Common Tern – what an amazing size difference!

Moving on a find seven Glossy Ibis in the moat giving stunning views showing off their green and bronzed sheens in the late afternoon sun. Steve then picks up a Collared Pratincole sat in one of the sheep fields. The nearby flooded field is heaving with ibis, herons, egrets and stilts. A Corn Bunting provides the now familiar backing track.

We venture further round the back of the pans and go for a wander through the Alykes Wetlands. We immediately find the first of 11+ Kentish Plovers, the males looking all dapper with their orange caps and little black epaulettes. Walking through the grassland we chance upon a Red-throated Pipit, not a very red bird, which decides to relocate to a new grass patch which holds a couple of Short-toed Larks. Bonus! We spend the next 15 minutes or so watching up to four of each feeding actively in grass, including a couple of stunning brick-red pipits. A Marsh Harrier goes over and a single Northern Wheatear is found.

Heading back out past the flooded fields Steve spots a couple of Whiskered Terns feeding over the marsh before we make our last stop of the day to view the pans and pick up a feeding Spoonbill! Fantastic!

So its back to the hotel for a freshen up before dinner and our first night’s log which sees us scratch up 72 species on our first full day. Not a bad start!

Day 3, Saturday 24 April

Weather: fine and sunny. Hot. Light NW wind.

After breakfast we headed straight up to Madaros north of Kalloni. We weaved our way along the rough bumpy track to be greeted by a couple of male Orphean Warblers who were clearly upset at something below them in the bush. They showed really well in full view on the top of the bush and fence for several minutes. A Rock Nuthatch appeared briefly on a rock along the track and we got excellent views of a purring Turtle Dove sat on a large rock among the scrubby hillside. Jayne then spotted a female Marsh Harrier coming low up the valley. From the top bend we view the upper section of the Tsiknias River which held a lot of Wood Sandpipers. Hirundines and Common Swifts started to move northwards overhead. With a cloudy sky the temperature was lower but it was a lot closer and too cool for raptors to start moving so we headed off. We hadn’t got far down the track when we spotted a fine male Black-headed Bunting on a trackside bush. ‘Banana Split bird’ exclaimed Steve as we got great views of it with the sun perfectly lighting it.

We drove on up to Petra and arrived at Kavaki. In the low coastal scrub below us we found a couple of pairs of Sardinian Warblers and a female Orphean Warbler. Several Shags fed on the sea below and a couple of Crag Martin gave superb views. A pair of Blue Rock-thrushes were seen on and off, including at one point a fabulous view of a male carrying food sat up against the sea. A pair of Linnets were next up, the male showing off his brilliant red waistcoat as flock after flock of Spanish Sparrows bounced through to the north. A female Rüppell’s Warbler appeared briefly but gave good views and we eventually got good views of a male sat up on top of a bush with the brilliant blue backdrop of the sea behind him. His little white moustache gleamed in his back face. Several saw a male Red-backed Shrike briefly and a couple of male Subalpine Warblers put on a real show for us by the main lay-by – simply stunning!

We moved up to Perasma to view the reservoir. Arriving Jayne spotted three raptors in the sky which turned out to be Long-legged Buzzards which gave excellent views as they came over us. On the reservoir there were the expected melee of Yellow-legged Gulls as well as a couple of Common Sandpipers, Ruddy Shelduck and a Squacco Heron. The scrub area was very quiet apart from a male Subalpine Warbler bouncing around and visiting his nest site with food, and a bit of luck in a female Red-backed Shrike.. Butterflies included excellent views of Scarce Swallowtail, Painted Lady and Gatekeeper, whilst we also saw lots of ovipositing Red-veined Darters.

We headed in to Molivos for our leisurely lunch before heading off along the north coast. Here Turkey is only a stone throw away and ever present as we moved slowly along the coast. We stopped a couple of times but found only common birds. A bale out for a Cretzschmar’s Bunting produced a nice male Spanish Sparrow and a small movement of Little Gulls. We had 80+ in total plus a couple of Mediterranean Gulls.

At Mandamados we stopped by the army camp to view the White Stork on its nest on top of the tall chimney. It seemed to be sitting tight and attention soon turned the many hirundines and swifts overhead. Steve then spotted two smallish raptors. A male Goshawk circling with a female Sparrowhawk – wow! What a comparison. Viewing side by side we were able to see all the key differences and watched them for several minutes as they continued to circle higher and higher above us.

We arrived at the Kalloni Saltpans to be greeted by an adult Black Stork in the moat by the junction. We pulled up and got fabulous views as it feed busily, seeming oblivious to the growing interest it was causing. We also got very good views of Wood Sandpiper and could see both Black-winged Stilt and Avocet seemingly sitting on nest on the little island. A little further along the track we came across a group of eight White Storks. Clearly migrants and the largest flock Steve had ever seen on the island. Driving through the sheepfields we found plenty of yellow wagtails including stunning male Black-headed and Blue-headed birds. We were then told of a Citrine Wagtail at the corner of the Saltpans, so we about turned and made out way back for Steve to soon relocate the first-summer male on a channel feeding the main saltpan moat. We eventually got very good views as it fed close on a small pool.

And that was that! Our second day drew to a close with a bang and we a returned to the hotel very happy, if a little tired and looking forward to our dinner!

Day 4, 25 April 2010

Weather: fine and sunny, some cloud cover later in the day. Hot. Strengthening NW wind.

After a leisurely breakfast we head west. We arrive at Vigla near Ipsilou to be greeted by a stunning female Red-footed Falcon sat on the overhead wires. We get brilliant views from the bus, right down to its claws! What a start. We park up a little further on and are immediately watching displaying Isabelline Wheatears. They parachute through the sky singing their amazing mix of whirrs, whistles and clicks which pass for a song. Steve says he calls them the Star Wars Wheatear! We get good views of a Short-toed Eagle and also see Persian Squirrels distantly hopping around an old ruin.

As we disembark the bus at the bottom of Ipsilou Steve spots a Fox running across the hillside. Our second in two days. There are more Isabelline Wheatears here and a Long-legged Buzzard appears below us in the valley. We start our walk up the mount taking in a Rock Nuthatch nest (complete with chick looking out of the nest hole) before we get stuck in to some serious Cinereous Bunting hunting. Birds are singing from above and below us and it doesn’t take Steve long to find a male sat on a rock on the slope below us. We get terrific views of this and other males, all showing off their fine lemon-yellow heads and neat little eye ring. Our second Red-footed Falcon, this time a male, flashes by as we watch the buntings and a Woodlark briefly song flights overhead. A couple of male Black-eared Wheatears do aerial combat and we see a couple of Willow Warblers and hear plenty of trilling Wood Warblers. We jam in on a troop of Golden Orioles as they move across a valley and some sit out for us to enjoy. There are butterflies too including False Apollo, Brown Argus and Wall Brown. A couple of Sombre Tits put in an all too brief an appearance and a male Masked Shrike sits out on top of some dead branches at the top of a tree nearby. We arrive at the first army installation and stop to scan the skies and find a Long-legged Buzzard. Steve then finds a couple of Chukar by the large rocky outcrop below us. They both sit out in full view for us to enjoy. We head on up to the top managing to see out first Wood Warblers at long last. At the monastery itself we nip in to look at the chapel and museum and find more Wood Warblers and a cracking male Collared Flycatcher. We walk on down back towards the bus. Its fairly quiet. Steve finds a couple of Rock Sparrows high up on the cliff above us but no sooner we locate them again they’ve winged it out of sight. We continue down the road when Steve relocates the Rock Sparrows feeding by the shepherd’s building by the bus.

We drive to Skala Eresou and have a fabulous lunch at Steve’s favourite taverna, Soulatsou. Towards the end of lunch some of see a small passage of Yelkouan Shearwaters, unfortunately many of them are distant. Separately we manage to see an amazing flock of herons arrive off the sea – 39 Night-herons and 2 Purple Herons! They fly around for some time clearly sizing up the terrain below for a safe place to pitch down. But we’re on a mission. Steve has been given info of a pair of Penduline Tits building a nest on the river. We arrive at the described location and within seconds of getting out of the bus Steve has seen both birds and located the nest! Wow! A Lesvos tick for Steve and only the second ever confirmed breeding attempt for Lesvos. We spend quite some time watching them as they bomb around and busily visit the nest to keep adding bits to the entrance hole. Fantastic!

We drive north to Pithariou Reservoir. On arrival the water is deep and the usual muddy margins aren’t visible. Four Little Grebe bob on the surface an there is a huge flock of Yellow-legged Gulls out on the middle. Searching for migrants Steve spots a large raptor overhead. ‘Eagle’ he exclaims. Its clearly not the expect Short-toed (two of which are seen from here too) but an all dark eagle with quite a squarish appearance. Over the next 10-15 minutes we see it two more times, once being mobbed by a Lesser Kestrel. With improved views and better light we are able to confidently ID it as a near-adult Imperial Eagle. What a great bird!

Time’s getting on so we head back east making a brief stop at a blowy Agra with little to add for our efforts. So its back in the bus and an early return to the hotel to rest up and freshen up before dinner. What a day!

Day 5, Monday, 26 April

Weather: overcast with light rain to mid-afternoon; cool. Brightened up from mid-afternoon, sunny with scattered cloud, warmer, but with strong NW wind throughout day.

We head out to Metochi Lake straight after breakfast seeing four Squaaco Herons before an overly loud Dutch group force us to abandon things! We nip across to the Kalloni Mini Soccer pitch at Soumouria where we soon locate the roosting Scops Owl. Fabulous!

We drive along the Tsiknias River which is crawling with Wood Sandpipers and Ruff. After some diligent searching we manage to find not only a Curlew Sandpiper but some Temminck’s Stints. Nearby 13 Squacco Herons is a great sight and several Black-headed Buntings and a Hoopoe are also seen in the surrounding fields. As we cut across the ford we are surrounded by ultra-close Wood and Common Sandpipers, a fine breeding plumaged Greenshank and several Little Ringed Plovers.

The flooded fields opposite the Saltworks entrance are teeming with birds. Around 40 Glossy Ibis feed avidly in the deeper water whilst Whiskered and White-winged Black Terns bounced around above them. Steve then spotted a Gull-billed Tern which even lands briefly for us to check out its short, stubby ‘gull’ bill. The marsh terns too are alighting on a small grassy island giving great views. Over the back around a dozen Ruddy Shelduck loaf around on the short grassland and Little and Great White Egrets and Grey Herons are also present. A Marsh Harrier floats around in the distance, occasionally wandering close enough to flush everything from the marsh.

We head in to the Alykes Wetlands and find Red-throated Pipits and Short-toed Larks. But our search for Tawny Pipit draws a blank when the overcast sky decided to turn darker and rain forces a retreat to the bus.

After lunch we are back down the saltpans checking the coastal tamarisks for Rufous Bush Robin. Despite a brief glimpse by Steve, the bird isn’t playing ball and we had to settle for a Hoopoe instead.

Driving back past the flooded fields there are now seven Garganey, six fine males and a female.

We head up Napi Valley, where, just above the village of Napi we stop to watch a hovering Short-toed Eagle. We get great views as it hovers and wheels around close to us, taking in all the fine underwing barring, when a falcon flies past the eagle. Following the falcon Steve locates a group of Red-footed Falcons toing and froing from the top of a dead tree – 10 in all. Even thought a little distant the females in particular are like baubles lighting up the tree.

We move a little further up the valley and our next stop soon produces several sightings of Cirl Bunting, a Rock Nuthatch in the stream bed, Subalpine Warbler, Common Whitethroat and brief, but good, view of a single Sombre Tit. Frustratingly we hear a Middle Spotted Woodpecker but fail to see the little blighter!

We drive along the Kremastes Valley track picking up another three male Red-footed Falcons. We stop to watch them hunting over a hay meadow. The light isn’t great but it’s great to see how they hunt with short hovers and drops between long sweeping glides to and fro over the field. A little further on a Hobby slices through a flock of hirundines. We arrive at the Kremastes Bridge, built in the 16th century. A couple of Olivaceous Warblers are singing from deep within nearby bushes frustrating us again. Back in the bus a shout from Mike stops us dead in our tracks for a near, trackside Hoopoe. It’s really close and gives great views when Peter finds a male Red-backed Shrike on a nearby fence. What a belter!

We end the day back at Soumouria and a second look at the delightful Scops Owl who had barely moved since we saw him mid-morning. Happy we return to the hotel a little earlier than usual for a rest and freshen up before heading off in to the village for another delightful dinner at the Dionysos.

Day 6, Tuesday 27 April

Weather: fine and sunny. Hot. Light NW wind.

We wake to another dull, overcast and rain-threatening day with a moderate NE wind. After breakfast we head east. We stop at Lardia Valley and see a Long-legged Buzzard and Perivoli Monastery and find a couple of Serins. There are hundreds of hirundines here over the river, some perching on riverside vegetation. The frog chorus is almost deafening and nearly drowning out the babble of the water.

As we descend in to Sigri Steve spots a couple of Lesser Kestrels hovering over a nearby hillside. We get good binocular views from the bus in really good light. The birds are fighting hard to keep their hover in this strong wind.

As we enter Sigri we find both Red-backed and Masked Shrikes sharing a fence. Just a precursor of things to come! We see a handful of Jackdaws as drive in to Sigri fields. We pull up. Its ever so windy and at first glance the fields and groves lok bare. But within minutes we’re watching several Red-backed Shrikes and a handful of Golden Orioles. The first of many Black-headed Bunting appears in a fig tree and gives us a few blasts of his repetitive and rather monotonous song. The Golden Orioles now total 12 and several of the males sit out in the open on the sheltered side of the a line of trees. Red-backed Shrikes are everywhere! A single White-winged Black Tern battles through in to the wind soon followed by two Collared Pratincoles. A male Collared Flycatcher is next up when a Purple Heron almost gets blown out of the air and decides to alight in the olive grove for shelter. The birds just keep on coming with a stunning Lesser Grey Shrike feeding from a fence. A Common Whitethroat appears and then our fourth shrike if the morning, Woodchat, in the same field as the Lesser Grey and a Red-backed! We continue along the fields and see a Spotted Flycatcher and a mating pair of Woodchat Shrike. A Little Bittern adorns the little Faneromeni trackside pool and at Faneromeni Upper Ford we find three Little Bitterns, a Squacco Heron and loads of Wood Sandpipers. We head up to the Faneromeni fields. More Red-backed Shrikes are dotted along the fences. We park and walk in to the fields when ‘whoosh’ a flock of well over 100 Turtle Dives lift from within one of the olive groves. Wow! What a sight. In the same grove we find a Wood Warbler and walking back to the bus Steve spies a female Goshawk overhead getting some attention from a Hooded Crow.

We arrive at the Faneromeni Lower Ford where Peter immediately finds a male Citrine Wagtail (no two for the week!). It gives us the run around though, but we all at least get decent scope views. There are Ruff, Wood Sandpiper and Temminck’s Stints on the river and we see a single Little Bittern in flight and a Ruddy Shelduck honks as it flies over. Just as we are boarding the bus, Steve spots a Roller flying into the river. We are soon back out and looking for the bird. No sign. Some minutes later Jayne yells as it flies round us and up a shallow valley and out of sight. Oh hum. You can’t win them all.

After lunch at Australia we head in to the Petrifeid Forest Museum. Whilst the group enjoy the fabulous exhibition, Steve’s, having seen it all before countless times, opts for sitting in the museum garden and enjoys the company of a male Collared Flycatcher, several Orphean Warblers and a Common Cuckoo.

We drive down to the old sanatorium. As we approach there are 10 White-winged Black Terns flitting over the coastal marsh. We reach the dry river bed where we immediately find a Lesser Grey Shrike and several Red-backed Shrikes. Further scans soon reveals a Roller and some Golden Orioles. We are enjoying the Roller when Jayne finds a second bird! There are brilliantly lit and one sits on top of a small bush with two Golden Orioles in the bottom. Another male Golden Oriole is sitting right out on top of a rock on the hillside. Steve then spots several male Black-headed Buntings sat in the same small tree. As we watch, more and more reveal themselves until we have 12!

We continue into the Meladia Valley picking up more shrikes, Whinchat and Black-headed Buntings. Peter spots a Little Owl sat on a thin metal post looking like a lollipop. Before we reach the chapel we find a single fig tree holding four Rollers! Wow! We find a further two (making nine for the day) at the chapel plus more Golden Orioles and a couple of Wood Warblers, Whilst scanning the fig grove we spy a female Montagu’s Harrier over the marsh and can see hundreds of Yelkouan Shearwaters shooting west offshore.

At the pool we find a Squacco Heron, two Little Bitterns and Little Grebe. Walking along the track we flush a Night-heron from the poolside and it flies off across the valley. A Purple Heron then comes down the valley from towards Ipsilou and drops on to the fig grove. In the fig grove we have at least two Collared Flycatchers, Pied and Spotted Flycatchers and Wood Warblers. Time has run out so we make a mad dash across the Skala Kallonis in time to freshen up before dinner.

Day 7, Wednesday 28 April 2010

Weather: fine and sunny. Hot. Light NE wind.

We wake to a sunny morning with light NE breeze. It’s a pre-breakfast trip for some of us to Metochi Lake where we find we are not alone! There are hundreds of hirundines bombing around over the lake and many sat up in reeds and on bushes around the lake. Three Little Crakes perform well, as do up to four Little Bitterms. We also see Squacco and Purple Herons. With the number of birders increasing we head in to Potaimia Valley where we find a group of birders watching for an Olive-tree Warbler. We join them and withn about 20 minutes we get decent views of this over-sized Olivaceous Warbler. A Crag Martin is hawking over the river and we see a Common buzzard.

Its back to the hotel for breakfast and back out at 9am and over to the saltpans. We pull into the gateway of the electricity /pumping station in the corner of the pans when Steve spots a Rufous Bush Robin fly up form the gateway and in to a broom bush. We get good views through bins from the bus s the birds hops around the ground under the bushes, flicking and fanning his tail as he hops around. It eventually moves away so we get out of the bus and are soon again watching it with scopes. Fantastic!

We move up Napi Valley and enjoy a walk along a track just below Napi village where we fail to see our target of Middle Spotted Woodpecker (but hear it again) but do manage some Long-legged Buzzards, Short-toed Eagle and a single Honey-buzzard which zipped through far too fast!

We drop back down to Metochi Lake as we have a tip-off that a Baillon’s Crake has been seen. No sooner have we arrived and Steve sees the crake on the far side and we are all soon enjoying good scope views of this rare crake. Its feeding along the same reed-fringe we were enjoying Little Crakes this morning!

We head back to the saltpans and this time try our luck from the hide in the north-east corner. And wish some success as we find a stunning summer-plumage Bar-tailed Godwit feeding in the first pan and White-winged Black and Whiskered Terns feeding in distant pans. After a failed Tawny Pipit hunt we head off east, stopping off at Kalami Marsh to enjoy close views of White-winged Black and Whiskered Terns and a handful of Squacco Herons. We head off for lunch bumping in to a roadside Roller at Achladeri.

After lunch at Ancient Pyrra we take a stroll down to Pessa Waterfall. The forest is dead but we see a Grey Wagtail at the falls and Jayne spies a Krüper’s Nuthatch on the walk back. We also see a couple of orchids – Tongue-leaved Serapia and Violet Limadore.

A brief stop at Mikri Limni yields a Woodchat Shrike and a wonderful flower meadow.

Our next stop is Dimitrios. We check for Grey Wagtail on the river, but no joy, so walk over to the chapel from where we check some tall poplars for signs of nesting Middle Spotted Woodpecker. We haven’t been waiting long before Jayne spies a pecker at the top a poplar. It’s visiting a nest hole – bingo! We get good views of it perched and great views of it in flight as it makes several trips to and from the nest. Great stuff!

We end up back at the flood opposite the saltworks entrance where we enjoy round 80 Whiskered Terns and 20 White-winged Black Terns floating around the marsh. The whole scene is fabulous with terns, Glossy Ibis, egrets, herons and waders in the brilliant sunlight. A male Montagu’s Harrier then drifts by – wow!

We drive across Lotzaria and find a couple of male Red-footed Falcons on overhead wires. We stop to enjoy them in the scopes and also find three Red-backed Shrikes in the field edge.

We end the day with a fabulous male Citrine Wagtail on the Tsiknias River – our third of the week!

And what a week! We’ve seen some great birds and other wildlife and enjoyed some of the finest food on the island. Over our last dinner at the Dionysos we each chose a holiday highlight. For Peter, the view of Temminck’s Stint, Wood and Curlew Sandpipers and Ruff on the Tsiknias River was a rare chance to see waders close to and alongside one another for good comparison (although he did say it came second to the Ipsilou monastery museum!); Emily was bowled over by the pair of Red-rumped Swallows we watched perched on wires near the Vouvaris river mouth, another rare chance to see a scarce species up close and get to study it; Mike really enjoyed the short time at Sigri Old Sanatorium – a tiny spot packed with shrikes, Rollers and our ‘lemon tree’ of Black-headed Buntings; Jayne got no further than the fantastic views of the female Red-footed Falcon near Ipsilou – it showed brilliantly sat on the roadside wires in great light; and Andy and Steve went for the same thing – the olive grove full of Turtle Doves at Faneromeni when the floor moved upwards as over 100 birds rose from under the olive trees. And they were just a few of the highlights from a packed week.

Day 8, Thursday 29 April 2010

Andy, Mike and Jayne take an early taxi to the airport, leaving long before Emily, Peter and Steve are even up! The three of us spend the morning at Achladeri getting great views of the nesting Krüper’s Nuthatch before heading off to the airport where Steve bids Emily and Peter a fond farewell.


Little Grebe

Yelkouan Shearwater



Little Bittern

Squacco Heron

Little Egret

Great White Egret

Grey Heron

Purple Heron

Black Stork

White Stork

Glossy Ibis


Greater Flamingo

Ruddy Shelduck

Common Shelduck




Short-toed Eagle

Imperial Eagle

Hen Harrier

Marsh Harrier

Montagu’s Harrier



Common Buzzard

Long-legged Buzzard

Common Kestrel

Lesser Kestrel

Red-footed Falcon



Little Crake

Baillon’s Crake



Black-winged Stilt



Collared Pratincole

Little Ringed Plover

Kentish Plover

Little Stint

Temminck’s Stint

Curlew Sandpiper


Bar-tailed Godwit

Spotted Redshank

Common Redshank


Wood Sandpiper

Common Sandpiper

Common Snipe

Little Gull

Mediterranean Gull

Yellow-legged Gull

Gull-billed Tern

Common Tern

Little Tern

Whiskered Tern

White-winged Black Tern

Rock Dove

Collared Dove

Turtle Dove

Common Cuckoo

Scops Owl

Little Owl

Common Swift

Alpine Swift



Middle Spotted Woodpecker

Short-toed Lark

Crested Lark


Sand Martin

Crag Martin

Barn (Common) Swallow

Red-rumped Swallow

House Martin

Red-throated Pipit

‘Blue-headed’ Yellow Wagtail

‘Black-headed’ Yellow Wagtail

Citrine Wagtail

White Wagtail

Grey Wagtail

Common Nightingale

Common Redstart



Northern Wheatear

Isabelline Wheatear

Black-eared Wheatear

Blue Rock-thrush


Cetti’s Warbler

Sedge Warbler

Reed Warbler

Great Reed Warbler

Olivaceous Warbler

Olive-tree Warbler

Subalpine Warbler

Rüppell’s Warbler

Orphean Warbler

Sardinian Warbler

Common Whitethroat


Wood Warbler

Willow Warbler

Spotted Flycatcher

Collared Flycatcher

Pied Flycatcher

Sombre Tit

Blue Tit

Great Tit

Penduline Tit

Krüper’s Nuthatch

Western Rock Nuthatch

Golden Oriole

Red-backed Shrike

Lesser Grey Shrike

Woodchat Shrike

Masked Shrike



Hooded Crow


House Sparrow

Spanish Sparrow

Rock Sparrow






Cirl Bunting

Cinereous Bunting

Cretzschmar’s Bunting

Black-headed Bunting

Corn Bunting

Amphibians and reptiles

Marsh Frog

Balkan Green Lizard

Balkan Wall Lizard

Agama Lizard

Turkish Gecko

Stripe-necked Terrapin


Persian Squirrel

Beech Marten (deceased)

Lesser Mole Rat

Red Fox


Egyptian Grasshopper

Dung Beetle

Red-veined Darter

Black-tailed Skimmer


Scarce Swallowtail


Small White

Large White

Wall Brown

Small Heath

Orange Tip

Clouded Yellow

Painted Lady

False Apollo

Red Admiral

Small Copper

Painted Lady

Southern Gatekeeper

Turkish Meadow Brown

Southern Speckled Wood

Brown Argus

Common Blue

Orbed Red-underwing Skipper

Hummingbird Hawk-moth

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