Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Lesvos : Day Eleven : 3rd May 2016

Day 11 : 3rd May

I decided to head out west today and followed Steve the whole way to Eresos and the start of the Meladia track. The regular buntings, wheatears, Crested Larks, Stonechats, Corn Buntings and Rock Nuthatches were seen on the way up to the crest of the hill with more bunting and butterfly activity on the way down. 

A large Orb weaver species

Mr Cretzschmar's Bunting

immature male Black-eared Wheatear
A few singing Black-headed Buntings were added to the mix and a flock of six males hinted at incoming migrants. Two female Golden Orioles flew from the rocks to a single tree where they joined a Red-backed Shrike, Orphean Warbler, Wood Warbler and a family of Great Tits. More Stonechats and Red-backs were dotted about and a check of the very windy Fig Grove produced only a couple of Spots Flys and a very obliging Somber Tit.

The Fig Grove
Somber Tit - very showy!

Somber Tit - it came even closer!
Two Crag Martins dipped down to drink and the butterflies had transferred their attention to white flowered plant and swarmed over it in sheltered spots. Several Lesser Kestrels hovered over the ridge and around the Sanatorium where over 20 male Black-headed Buntings hunkered down alongside the road. Such a wonderful clash of colours. 

Persian Meadow Brown Maniola telmessia

Persian Meadow Brown Maniola telmessia

To compare with Turkish Meadow Brown Maniola megala
A huge battered Spur Thighed Tortoise that I rescued from the road

Scolymus maculatus - like a thistle with yellow cornflowers!

Looking back to Meladia
Black-headed Bunting - fresh in

They are such dapper birds

As we drove into Sigri a male Golden Oriole whizzed through the gardens and by the end of our visit we had heard another two. The wind was keeping the small birds low but Jason had seen a couple of Rollers so I set about checking the usual spots and within a couple of minutes an explosion of turquoise and ultra marine blue erupted from the nearest fig and flew up onto the wires. Success! The light was pants and I hoped that it would be in better light when we returned. 


Bee-eaters drifted around and a Red-throated Pipit called but the only other migrants were a few Red-backed Shrikes and a single female Collared Fly. Well, apart from the barley field and hedge that was quite literally full of Black-headed Buntings and I suspect that best part of a hundred were present like little yellow Christmas decorations. .. I ambled down to the upper ford to find a Marsh Warbler in the mega-reeds before moving off singing as it went.
Lunch on the beach was enlivened by a Lesser Grey Shrike, mud collecting Red-rumped Swallows and a small number of offshore Yelkouan Shearwaters. 

With the threat of thunderstorms I decided to head back over to our side of the island but a last look for the Roller resulted in two stunning individuals vying for position on the wires. My best views ever by a long way and the highlight of any day.

A swift return journey and an early evening session down the Kalloni saltpans resulted in good views of the winter plumaged Red-necked Phalarope amongst over 200 Little Stints and a very showy odd duo of Great White Egret and Temminck's Stint. Eight White Winged Black Terns were seen between the pans and the river and the huge downpour and thunderstorm resulted in some epic skies and some very damp Crested Larks trying to dry out on the track....


'mmm... lets get out... it's pouring with rain... oh and let's leave the boot & windows open'

Pitter patter Stilt
Oh and a Bee-eater

Blue sky Little Tern moments later
Black Stork moving ahead of the weather
Obliging Temminck's Stint

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