Sunday, 20 May 2018

Lesvos Day 5: 25th April 2018



Day Five: 

A local day that started pre-dawn at Metochi Lake where the first rays of the day illuminated seven creeping Little Crakes including two slaty males and six Little Bitterns along with giggling Little Grebes and boisterous Coots and Moorhens.


Metochi Lake

Little Crake

Little Bittern

Little Bittern


Great Reed Warblers gurked from the tall reeds and Common Swifts were coming down to drink. However it was the trio of male Golden Orioles that perched high in their chosen oak and serenaded the morning with gusto that brought the most smiles. They were magnificent. A Middle Spotted Woodpecker briefly showed much to my relief and we returned to breakfast fully satiated by our morning excursion.


Golden O' - through the scope they were magnificent


 

A small Cicada species with an astonishingly high pitched song... a long steady note followed by a staccato trill that actually hurts my ears. It has taken till this trip to find one of the culprits. This one was on an apple tree in the Pela gardens...

From here we ventured back through Lotzaria adding two Black-necked and three Great created Grebes at the Tsiknias river mouth and the regular Long-legged Buzzard on a telegraph pole. 

Long-legged Buzzard


Ominous cloud probably 20 miles away over Turkey to the North-west

The new look lower Tsiknia ford looking north

The fields and pans were quiet and especially so with Chinook military manoeuvres going on but they did help us add Spoonbill and 11 Black Storks and get ridiculous views of Little Owl and Red-throated Pipit.  





 
Seven Black Storks and a Grey Heron
Red-throated Pipit

LIttle Owl




We made our way to the eastern end and shared Kevin's 14 male Garganey as they paddled up and down the channel. Temminck's Stint was new for the trip and a couple of Marsh Sands were noted along with 16 Ruddy Shelduck and a now perched Spoonbill. 



Garganey

Marsh Sandpiper

Black-winged Stilt



Curlew Sandpiper
 
Ruddy Shelduck

Allium sphaerocephalon var. aegaeum

Dark Spreadwing - Lestes macrostigma
Greater Flamingos


A huge female Peregrine attacked the Avocets and eventually caught one which was quite spectacular.

In for the kill...
 
Another showy Hoopoe...

The Raptor Watchpoint above Kalloni provided the usual species but nothing out of the ordinary so we broke for an early lunch at the Pela before doing the Potamia circuit but it was now seriously hot and even the insects were keeping low. 

The view from the KRWP...

Black-eared Wheatear


A Dwarf Mantis and a huge Huntsman spider were the non avian highlights and a pair of Crag Martins around the bridge were the first I have seen this close to town.

Wandering Potamia


Eusparassus walckenaeri - The huge Huntsman

European Dwarf Mantis - Ameles spallanzania

Orbed Underwing Skipper
 
Eastern Subalpine Warbler

Syrian Thistle - Notobasis syriaca

Woodchat Shrike

Scarce Swallowtail

A brief siesta and then down to Lotzaria where a male Little Bittern and female Red-backed Shrike showed well at the Ford and four Collared Pratincoles and a pair of Stone Curlews put on a great show at the Big Barn Corner while a Little Owl watched on. 

Red-backed Shrike

Little Bittern
 
Collared Pratincole


The mossies were out and ravenous so we packed up and headed for the Dionysis for the evening.

Saturday, 19 May 2018

Lesvos: Day 4: 24th April 2018



Day Four:


A pre-breakfast Hoopoe on my amble got the golden day off to a fine start and the little boat was once again out on the calm bay with Crested Larks singing softly outside the Aegeon Hotel where the usual Nightingale had taken up residence. 




Christou River

Early essesnce of Hoopoe

Crested Lark all aglow
 
And a morning Hoodie too
We collected our bread and headed for the pans. Two female Little Bitterns were perched up as we crossed the Lower Tsiknias Ford and were shortly followed by seven male and four female Red-footed Falcons lined up like orange and lavender telephone wire decorations with glowing red appendages. 

A short stop at Alykes Wetlands gave excellent views of the hoped for male Citrine Wagtail as he bobbed across the floating weed. I am always blown away by this species... magnificent. Two Ibis, Squacco and several Red-throated Pipits were seen before we headed towards the main road passing three elegant White Winged Black Terns en route although the light could be described as atmospheric at best.


White-winged Black Tern


Up north to Kavaki where four moustached male Ruppell's Warblers were seen along between the two laybys and as usual they seem to love showing off from the top of bushes regardless of the distance away and this providing some superb photographic opportunities.  A male Great Tit perched up on the angled telegraph wire that so many of us have taken shots of both Ruppell’s and Subalpine on and it seemed rude to exclude him from the club.

The view from Kavaki is always capitvating - you could hear the gulls on the offshore island

The star of the show - Ruppell's Warbler


The Great Tits on lesvos are a shade paler all over than back home


Three male Blue Rock Thrushes patrolled the cliff edge utilising their favourite outcrop perches and occasionally breaking into melodic song flights and Steve and Gina’s group found a Chukar rock hopping at about half a mile range but I will always take any view I can get of this enigmatic and sometimes difficult species. 

Blue Rock Thrush

Purring Turtle Doves surrounded us and even perched above our heads and Black-eared Wheatears, Subalpine Warblers, the regular pair of Ravens and a couple of water hugging Shags were noted . Rafts of Yelkouan Shearwaters fished offshore and provided much better views than at Faneromeni but there were no Scopoli's of Audouin’s Gulls amongst them and the Yellow-legged Gulls.

Turtle Dove
 
Holy Orchid

Molivos

Troublesome Fritillaries but I suspsct Knapweed

From here we moved to Perasma but could not find any Audouin's amongst the throng of YLG's on the relatively full reservoir. 


The insects were superb though with countless butterflies feeding on the Field Scabious - Knautia arvensis along with various hover, beeflies, other interesting diptera and a multitude of chafers.  Red-veined Darters, Emperor and Lesser Emperor, Southern and Black-tailed Skimmers were all patrolling the road side and enormous Egyptian Grasshoppers were freely flying around like I have never seen them before. 

Black-veined White



Clouded Yellow

Painted Lady

Swallowtail

Swallowtail

Scarce Swallowtail

Wall Brown

Fallenia fasciata - a member of
Nemestrinidae 

I think these are unopened Milk Thistle but I'm not sure

Lupinus varius
Giant Verbascum sp
 
Anacyclus clavatus
Chrysanthemum segetum

Crab Spider Thomisus onustus
The skies were quiet bar the amazing whooshing of the gulls as they whiffled in at breakneck speed with the air thrumming as they twisted and turned to aid a speedy decent. It was quite surreal as you could barely see them in the brightness of the blue but the sound made you jump and look up every time until they tumbled almost uncontrollably into view.

Such sky watching added three White Storks, Short-toed Eagle and several Buzzards and Ravens to the lunch list.

Red-veined Darter
 
Woodchat Shrike

The north coast track from Eftalou to Skala Sykaminias was a delight and as quiet as expected although the Yelkouan Shearwaters were giving the best views I have ever had and a second bonus Chukar sang at us from a hillside rock. 

Wave at Turkey




Yelkouan Shearwaters

A chukaring Chukar
Helichrysum orientale
 
Skala Sykaminias



Revitalizing ice cream was acquired before coming home along the coastal road the other way before veering inland past the Storks of Mantamados  and then Napi where a host of active Antlion pits were the highlight of a short walk in the overly warm sun.

White Stork nest

View from Napi to distant Turkey


Chafers sucking the life out of a thistle

Antlion Pits

A little caterpillar meeting his end - and I know I did not feed the antlion!
Un-known plant within an oak...
It seems to be a climber?



Chequered Scorpion

Sedum confertiflorum I believe...
 
A large Robber Fly

Another diversion before Agia Paraskevi to Kremasti Bridge to take in a bit of culture. It looked magnificent following restoration and removal of the scaffolding. I love the fact that you can just walk up to and over this ancient Roman byway – there are no barriers, ropes, railings or anything vaguely to suggest that you should not be treading where firstly Romans and Greeks and then countless local shepherds and their flocks crossed before the newer road bridge was put in.  Masked Shrikes sang in the groves and Nightingales belted out their music from the river bank Planes.



Kremasti Bridge

With time to spare we finished off at the saltpans where a dread of silvery terns greeted us. Three White Winged Blacks, 55 Whiskered and 30 Gull-billed swooped around us as they commuted from the pans to a ready pool across the road. The sound of their calls was as mesmerising as their graceful careening.

Whiskereds and a White-winged Black Tern




Gull-billed Tern




Three Grey Plovers were seen heading across the bay and the Long-legged Buzzard was sat on his telegraph pole leaving us with more fine memories to end our third day in the field.

The Barn Owl was screaming around the Pela after nine and seemed determined to disturb my GnT and joined the Peacock in his nightly repertoire of screeches with the pooping of the Scops Owl and the tremolo blipping of Tree Frogs as backing chorus and the single drawn out hoot of a Long-eared Owl off in the direction of the Kalloni.