Lesvos : Day 2: 12th September...
Despite the long day yesterday we managed a pre-dawn rise and not only witnessed a superb sunrise but had the Lotzaria fields to ourselves before the heat got going.
Fewer shrikes to be found but still plenty to see with all three species once again along with a good spread but likewise fewer of the other chats, wagtails, pipits and warblers. One magic field held a little of everything along with three cryptic Hoopoes and a jangly plipping flock of Corn Buntings while another freshly mowed field had flava Wagtails, Whinchats and Wheatears dotted around on every heap like little amber and golden fairy lights on a horizontal Christmas Tree. Two Rollers (including a new adult) were hunting from the wires and flopflopping like some sort of weird Lapwing after prey on the ground while a rusty Long-legged Buzzard was still in the process of waking up on top of a Walnut tree not far from where we usually see one in the spring. Spot Flys were all around and you could hear bill snaps in the still air.
|The Horizontal Christmas Tree Field|
|Hooded Crow gang - over 150 came out of roost|
|Lesser Grey Shrike|
After breakfast we headed out for a long mountainous route that I discovered in May that started of off the Lambou Mili bypass and the River Evergetoulas Kara where they may not have been any dragonflies but I did find my first ever Freshwater Crab and some great insects including Lang's Short-tailed Blues, a species of what I think is a Wool Carder Bee, a Millet Skipper and some huge Violet Carpenter Bees. Bee-eaters dotted the wires and Common Buzzards and Ravens tumbled.
|River Evergetoulas Kara|
|River Evergetoulas Kara|
|Meadow Brown sp|
|Lang's Short-tailed Blue|
|Millet Skipper and LSTB incoming!|
|American Pokeweed - warblers loved the berries|
|A ragged Small Copper|
|Violet Carpenter Bee|
|Not a great shot but behaved and felt like a type of Wool Carder bee - still researching|
Up we went through Agiossos and into the Chestnut forest now weighed down with prickly fruit with hundreds of Bee-eaters passing low overhead. It was fairly bird free but the odd stop did produce Robins, Sardinian Warblers, Wrens, Middle Spot Woodpeckers, Short-toed Treecreeper and various Tits. The viewpoint above the town had a host of Honey Bees coming down to the spring trough to drink and a superb Eristalinus taeniops hoverfly with the coolest eyes ever was trying to get in on the action while another hover extricated from the windscreen turned out to be a species of Callicera but I am not sure which and having its head on nearly upside down did not really aid id although it did eventually fly off!
|Honey Bee drinking|
|Honey Bee team at the bar|
|Callicera sp with ever so slightly ... uumm... wonky head|
|Middle Spotted Woodpecker damage at our lunch spot in the olives near Neochlori. We heard and saw the species almost everywhere we went all week. Much easier than in the spring.|
Down again through Megalochori and then up once again to Abiliko and back to the main road before heading through to Polichonitos and its salt pans where Flamingos and a Black Storks gave close views along with a nice flock of agitated Stilts, five Kentish Plovers and a few Stints. Four Slender-billed Gulls were dotted among the Black-heads and 36 Sandwich Terns were on posts.
|Black Winged Stilts|
|juvenile Black Winged Stilt & a Kentish Plover|
A Short-toed Eagle watched the world from a low level Turpentine tree and another keened up above before the sound of a potentially findable Cicada on a close olive allowed me the chance to locate this large and alien looking creature as it clung under a low branch. What a sound....
We followed the coast back via Skaminoudi but the pool at Alkoudi was completely dry and a a Shag, Mediterranean Gull and two Common Terns were the only species added before we hit the main road at Achladeri and so ended another memorable day...
|The beach road with Achladeri coming into view|
|Shag on the rocks...|