Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Lesvos : Day 4: 14th September 2016

Lesvos Day 4: 14th September: 

Sam and I headed out pre-dawn to the eastern salt pans in the hope of getting better views of the Dalmatian Pelicans and we were not to be disappointed and in fact saw six of these truly enormous birds doing almost everything Pelicans are meant to do. Not too hot on aging but I think two were adults and four were grey immatures. 

Dalmatian Pelicans are immense

Dalmatian Pelicans

Dalmatian Pelican with Spoonbill buddies

Seeing one standing just out of the water and dwarfing the three Spoonbills just in front gave some idea of scale! Seven Black Storks, numerous Grey Herons and 13 Great Whites were feeding in the same productive pan and Shelduck and Marsh Sandpiper were added to the trip list along with several Short-toed Larks that chirrupped overhead.

Breakfast was broken by four juvenile and an adult Night Heron circling the hotels and the stallion came over for his morning carrot while down at our feet tiny little amber ants (but still bigger than Pharaoh I think) were commandeering mountain sized pieces of bread to take off to the nest.  The big jawed soldiers tried to help but kept pulling the in the opposite direction  to the miniscule workers and all I could think of was Woody Allen and Sylvester Stallone having an animated discussion in 'Antz'...

Night Herons

Night Herons

The Stallion with no name... perhaps Thekla will know?

I love carrots

Weaver and Z working against the system....

Egyptian Grasshopper

We soon headed north for the day, stopping at Kramasti Roman bridge on the way up to Skala Sykamenias where a huge ice cream was consumed at our regular haunt with Annie's Macaw for company. It was calm and very warm and Red Rumped Swallows hawked overhead while Spot Flys sallied out from the Fig trees. The north coast road was drivable but birdless but set us up for lunch in Molivos where there was a multitude of fish in the harbour and hungry Hornets were removing little balls of flesh from the curing Octopus tentacles...

Kramasti Roman bridge

I love the fact that you can quite literally walk in the footsteps of the Romans

My first Jean Cassidy Bee-eater the bridge... love it...

I have to take this picture at Skala Sykaminias every time...

Dad looking for stripy shrimps and sea urchins

Found one!
...followed by the traditional ice-cream

Annie's best friend... no bum pinching today...

The parched north coast view across to Turkey - there were no signs of any recent immigration, the camp was again deserted and the foreshore remained clean. The wrecked boat (top left) was still firmly on the rocks...


Looking back around the bay to the south

Oriental Hornet with Octopus lunch

Just to prove that it is Octopus!
Perasma Reservoir was the lowest I have ever seen it but there were birds and I counted 96 Coots, 27 Little Grebes, two Ruddy Shelduck, a juvenile Flamingo and a couple of Grey Herons. The star here were the Violet Dropwing Darters; surely one of the smartest European odenata.
A bit low

Bit good for Coots

Violet Dropwing - male

Violet Dropwing - male

Red-veined Darter - female

Molivos Castle from Persama

Remember this monster Wolf Spider from the spring?

Well I turned over the same rock and found this enormous almost Shepherd Purse like silk cocoon...  guessing who it belonged to I carefully tuned the rock back!

Back for a kip and a coffee and then into Lotzaria for a Shrike and chat fix which was duly acquired with the addition of another cracking Ortolan, a Hoopoe and a field simply covered in all the now expected species.


Tree Pipit


Not a great picture but a fine male Black-headed wagtail is always a sight to behold...

juvenile Woodchat
An interesting shrike head one with very clean underparts, pale bill and head but rusty underside to the tail feathers.  Had me puzzled until it turned round...

ta da - a perfectly normal looking Red-backed Shrike
 We finished up with a scan of the pans and a lovely sunset behind us as we watched the distant Pelicans, Storks and Egrets before a GnT beckoned...

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