Monday, 15 August 2016

Lesvos : Day Twelve : 4th May 2016

Day 12 : 4th May : 

A strange day weather wise with immense towering thunderheads, roiling clouds and scattered showers and so I stayed local and checked out the Kalloni Saltpans after breakfast where the Red-necked Phalarope was still spinning circles around his Little Stint buddies and the Bee-eaters were again irresistibly close on the fence. 

Red-necked Phaladot.... thanks to Paul Manning fot the image

My only Nightingale shot all holiday!

A look in the woodland around Mesa was terminated by the rain and the close attention of two affection seeking puppies (and no I am not smuggling them home) but a Scops Owl was calling and Nightingales were in full flow. We came back to the Pela to await the eventual arrival of Andrea's suitcase from its European travels where I was entertained firstly by Kratos - Thekla's huge but very affable Rottie and then a Glow-worm larvae attacking and technically eating a crushed Garden Snail alive and capped of with the smartest and largest Earwing I have ever seen... 

The mighty Kratos

Grisly... yes... fascinating... also yes...

Forficula smyrnensis - what a smart Earwing!
After all this excitement we headed back out and up the Potamia Valley where the sunshine seemed to be hanging on while the cloud was covering the adjacent hills. 

There was plenty of insect life to be found with many more Small Skimmers and Small Pincertail dragonflies on the wing and enormous Egyptian Grasshoppers exploded from cover with whirring wings. They often land in view but shimmy around the back of a twig if they see you watching. Two male Masked Shrikes mechanically serenaded at least one female and a Hoopoe poop pooped invisibly from the olives. 

male Small Pincertail

male Small Pincertail

female Small Pincertail

Robberflies doing what comes naturally...

A very pale Egyptian Grasshopper

I wonder how many summers this Olive has seen?

Small robust Grasshopper species - perhaps a Blue or Red-winged instar?
Blue Featherleg
The drive out took us past Metochi as I guided two Dutch cars from Potamia to the lake. The ditch sides were lined with heaps of sundried terrapins with the odd scarce European tucked up amongst his Stripe-necked companions. An Eleonora's entertained at the Raptor Watchpoint and Peregrine, Lesser Kestrel and Short-toed Eagle were also seen and an Eastern Orphean Warbler gave a good show from a tree top. 

European Pond on top of Stripe-necked Terrapins
With cloud closing again it was back to the Pans were things were fairly quiet but a chance decision to go to the north east hide in the vain hope that a Caspian Tern may have dropped in proved the right decision as seven of these huge carrot billed beauties were roosting on the island with two diminutive White-painted Black Terns and a single Gull-billed Tern for company. 

This species was high on my most wanted island birds. A flock of 67 Curlew Sandpipers, 53 Little Stints and 14 Ringed Plover fed actively around them... still got to find that Broad-billed Sandpiper. 

Great White Egret

Facing away from me but still superb - seven Caspian Terns
The final drive through Lotzaria for the day gave great views of Black-headed Wags and a Red-throated Pipit in the usual spot along with a female Marsh Harrier with a full crop and the Lesser Grey Shrike near the ford. 

Marsh Harrier

Red-throated Pipit

Black-headed Wagtail
male Lesser Grey Shrike
The Sheep Field Horses

Some flapping in a puddle House and Spanish Sparrows, an ovoid male Little Bittern at the Lower Ford and three silvery Sanderlings and a very long billed pale Curlew rounded the day off nicely...

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