Monday, 18 July 2016

Lesvos : Day Nine : 1st May 2016

Day 9: 1st May :  

A long day out driving around the mountainous eastern interior of the island today in warm sunshine and blue skies starting at the Evergetoulas River near Lambou Mili that Steve and Paul visited yesterday. Cracking bit of river with actual flowing water and mini waterfalls and even fish!! As hoped dragonflies were plentiful and I found much the same species as they did including both Banded and Beautiful Demoiselle and the unique Odalisque. A Southern White Admiral was a new species for me and Nightingales and a Blackcap sang from the Oriental Planes while three shrike species were on the adjacent olive grove fence line. A pile of Dice snakes were having fun in the rocks.  They seem to have very peculiar faces.



Banded Demoiselle

Beautiful Demoiselle

Beautiful Demoiselle

Odalisque

Odalisque

Odalisque

Blue Featherleg

Small Skimmer

Small Pincertail

Dice Snakes
From here we headed up to Agiassos and then circumnavigated Mount Olimpus via the amazing road that takes you up through the Sweet Chestnut Forest before reaching the Pine and evergreen oak band at the heights. The views were staggering. Chaffinches, Subalpine Warblers, Wrens and Nightingales predominated but I also heard my first Song Thrush and Robin for the trip but failed to locate any of the hoped for island Chiffchaffs.  A male Levant Sparrowhawk glided over but I only saw one Buzzard all day which was odd. 

Sweet Chestnut woodland

Mount Olympus

Mount Olympus
Scarce Swallowtail
Dung Beetle with cold pizza....

There was plenty of opportunity for roadside grubbing and one particular meadow was carpeted with a yellow flowered spurge and associated flies including Eristalis, Chrysotoxum, Episyrphus and Mythropa hoverflies, some very large Bluebottles and a striking Phasia with spotty wings. There were bees aplenty with huge Violet Carpenter, Honeys, and some wasp like Nomadas (I think!). Another Southern White Admiral shone with almost Emperor colours.

Spurge covered mountain meadow

Eristalis species of hoverfly

Eristalis species of hoverfly

Myathropa florea hoverfly

Chrysotoxum species of hoverfly

Tachinid fly - similiar to our T.fera

Tachinid fly - similiar to our T.fera

Phasia species of fly

Large Bluebottle type

Potter Wasp

Solitary Bee

Violet Carpenter Bee

Southern White Admiral

Southern White Admiral
The road down through Megalohori was enlivened by some dark purple helleborines, jangling Serins and more epic landscapes before we curved back up through Akrassi (complete with Easter Procession and deafening bangers) and Abeliko to rejoin the road home. 





Megalochori

Megalochori

Violet Limodore

Violet Limodore

Birthwort - a European Pitcher Plant

Broomrape - species unknown
The almost hidden marsh to the north of the main road held two stunning hunting Hobbies and a swarm of medium sized golden Hawker dragonflies that they were feasting on. The dragons never perched and I am currently stumped.

 
From here I dropped back onto the coastal track from Achladeri towards Skala Vasillikon which was productive one again with a very obliging Purple Heron on the Great white Egret pool, innumerable singing Black-headed buntings and shrikes and at least three gurking Olive-Tree Warblers that included a couple of brief drop down fly up views.

Purple Heron

A bit calmer than the first visit!



Female Masked Shrike in the Olives
The day was rounded up driving through the very quiet birderless salt pans and having the most outrageous views of Bee-eaters I am ever likely to have...


video

And my final good deed for the day was rescuing and typically ungrateful Spur-thighed Tortoise from the pavement in Skala Kallonis after some pedestrians moved him from the road.  I took him a little further on and found a nice paddock for him otherwise I am sure he would have just plodded back out again! 

I am not amused...

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