Monday, 15 August 2016

Lesvos Day Thirteen : 5th May 2016

Day 13 : 5th May : 

A day spent up at the north end of the island was a little challenging with the increasing wind but it had its rewarding moments. I deviated on the way up to the ancient Roman bridge at Kremastis. Red-rumped Swallows were flying around and Turtle Doves were purring but some gentle nudging was required to leave through a flock of sheep making their own way down the road towards their farm. A pink fronted Lesser Grey Shrike watched from the wires and the usual trio of Corn and Black-headed Buntings and Crested Larks adorned other wires as we re-reached the main road up to Napi. 

Kremastis Roman Bridge

Kremastis Roman Bridge

Typical taffic jam...
Once on the coast I headed west before dropping down into Skala Sykaminias where ice-cream was consumed. Unfortunately the normally bustling harbourside cafes were deserted and there were no tourists around at all. 

A chat with another birder about Audouin's Gulls resulted in a near adult bird appearing as if by magic just offshore affording my best views ever of this species on the island. 

Audouin's Gull

The congested, refugee detritus strewn beach... oh... hang on a minute
From here we made our way along the rough coast track to Eftalou, initially passing a makeshift camp of refugee helpers and two subsequent official arrival processing sites but there was no sign of anybody at all and although the relief effort is still there there seems to be no one to actually help. The tide line had been cleared of migrant debris with piles of life jackets and shredded inflatables awaiting collection. There were a couple of beached boats but the coastguard / military were patrolling the strait and there was not a single small vessel in sight. I fear that the damage to the economy of the island may have already be done by the biased media coverage...

Bird wise it was actually very quiet although a strutting Chukar on the road was making enough noise to ensure that everything knew we were coming! 

Immature Mediterranean Shag

Mad Chukar

Wild Hollyhock

Corn Marigold and friend

Trifolium angustifolium

A view from the North track looking northeast
Lunch was taken with Alison Matea at their lovely Omega cafe in Anaxos before heading on the Filia route back to base with one short stop to watch a nice Black Kite glide along the ridge line in the wind.

Cannot find a name for the village but know we were looking east towards Ampelia
The pans were visited once again in the early evening but it was so windy that keeping an eye on anything was tricky. The Red-necked Phalarope was still in the south west corner and Little Stints tottered almost at touching distance. The Bushchat sang for me but stayed mobile but it was the monumental cloudscapes that stole the afternoon... ever changing shapes and colours.

A final drive down the west side of the Tsiknias to look for a Great Snipe reported earlier drew a blank but two Squacco and a pair of superb Little Bitterns entertained in the vivid green grass and two adult Night Herons came out of the willows and filled in that missing spot on my trip list. With the temperature dropping and fairly blue legs by that stage I called it a night and we headed back for dinner...

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