Sunday, 7 May 2017

Lesvos: Day 2: 26th April 2017

Day 2: 26th April:

After the never ending day that was yesterday I decided to stay local today. We poodled around to the Kalloni Pool before breakfast which is looking superb at the moment. A Black Stork waded around with those bright red legs and monster bill and four Squaccos were lurking like slightly grumpy streaky lemons in the sedges only to reveal those shocking white wings occasionally. A female Shoveler was added to the list and a female Little Bittern chattered from the closest reeds. Four hirundines hawked around us and 42 Red Rumped Swallows lined themselves up on the wires for us. A Spotted Flycatcher hawked from the tamarisk and and Eastern Olivaceous sang mechanically against the backdrop of a mirror calm Kalloni Bay.

Spotted Flycatcher

Red-rumped Swallows

Four Martins...

Sand Martin
Hooded Crow
Morning Rush Hour

After breakfast we headed out to Parakila where we spent an enjoyable hour wandering up and down the olive grove tracks. They were fairly quiet with Great Tits, Blackbirds and Chaffinch dominating but we did find a singing Masked Shrike, Garden Warbler and the hypnotic purring of several invisible Turtle Doves.

Shade hugging - (Priscilla Macpherson)

Turpentine Tree - Pistacia terebinthus - if you ever visit in September search out thees berry laden trees for warblers and such like (ACV)
Lupin - Lupinus varius

Lupin - Lupinus varius
The harbour at the end of the track

A short drive to the chapel at Agh. Ionanis eventually added Cirl and Cretzschmar's Bunting along with a fine Long Legged Buzzard, Eastern Orphan Warbler and wing flapping Black-eared Wheatears while Red-rumped Swallows were nesting under the bridge.
A pair of Buzzards were on a nest on the distant crag and approraitely Crag Martins flew around them... Black-veined White and Large Wall Brown were seen along with many
Saddle-backed Bushcrickets -  Epiphigger epiphigger.

Saddle-backed Bushcrickets -  Epiphigger epiphigger.

A bug... possibly Rhopalidae

Cirl Bunting
Oxalis pes-caprea
Lunch at Potamia was quiet birdwise but several Turtle Doves fed under the olives and Nightingales were in full song. The river took a battering in the winter and I was wondering if this was the reason for so few dragonflies with just Broad-bodied Chaser, Common and Lesser Emperors seen. 

A slightly lost cloud...

Pat at the ford where a Green Sandpiper was feeding
A Little Ringed Plover fed quietly at the weir

And this young Balkan Green Lizard (with his Balkan Green Frog buddy) was still over a foot long and is sunbathing having just swam snake-like across the river!

There were a few butterflies and other insects around including both Swallowtails, Spotted Fritillaries, Small Coppers, Eastern Dappled Whites, Orbed Underwing Skippers and Orange Tips.

Scarce Swallowtail

Spotted Fritillary

Spotted Fritillary

Spotted Fritillary
Orbed Underwing Skipper
There were the usual wonderful mix of Chafers munching away at stems or flouncing around in flowers along with a Lomatia sp which is part of the Bee-fly family and a huge Signal Wing Fly which Phil has kindly suggested belongs to Ulidiidae... so much to learn!

Pied Chafer

Green Headed Chafer

Medium Brown Chafer

Black & Red Shieldbugs...Graphosoma lineatum

Lomatia sp

Certainly Ulidiidae and possibly a species of Seioptera
A Buprestid - possibly Capnodis tenebricosa - quite small about 20mm
Violet Carpenter Bee on Lupinus varius
There were some good plants too with sticky Catchfly and a curious large umbilfer that I have identified as Thapsia garganica

Thapsia garganica

Thapsia garganica - the leaves

Forked catchfly - Silene dichotoma
One of the Dead Nettles but can't find it at the moment

The Olive trees up here are some of the most spectacular I have seen anywhere on the island with whizened trunks that have been eaten away almost entirely in places to leace a semi circle of buttress with living growth sproutign from it. I seem to remember being told that some may be over 800 years old and still in commercial use...

An afternoon stop back at the Pela added the first Eastern Tree Frog to the trip as this bright Kermit green beast was caught out around the swimming pool before I got to him and moved him somewhere safe!

Eastern Tree Frog
Eastern Tree Frog
And also this very clingy Longhorn Beetle which I think is Dorcadion holosericeum
Carpobrotus acinaciformis - an amazing spread in the gardens

The evening was spent down on the Kalloni Salt Pans with Snipe, three Little Bitterns and amazing Bee-eaters entertaining us around the Tsiknias ford area on the way down. Three of the Pratincoles were still in the Lotzaria fields along with Whinchats, Red-throated Pipits and a female Northern Wheatear.



Crested Lark

Black-headed Wagtail

Common Snipe

Corn Bunting
The Alykes Sheepfields were bone dry but awash with flowers and small birds with about 30 Red-throated Pipits with peachy fronts dotted among the yellow blooms while 11 rusty capped Short-toed Larks fed among the sandy ridges with two creamy Tawny Pipits and a nice mix of flava Wagtails among the slightly whiffy sheep.  Two pair of Kentish Plovers tottered around and a party of 35 Bee-eaters headed high and north in the blue and were only picked up on call.

Red-throated Pipit

Tawny Pipit


The Ram with an itch to scratch
Reversed Clover Trifolium resupinatum
Spanish Sparrows were performing nicely alongside the racetrack where they were foraging for grass seed.
male Spanish Sparrow (ACV)

female Spanish Sparrow (ACV)

The light was appalling on the wetland pools but it just made all the birds sparkle and a quick scan produced most of yesterday’s waders along with the Wigeon and Garganey. The Squaccos were nice and close and two Purple Herons headed back towards the Tsiknias to round up another fine Lesvos day...


Tomorrow will see us heading out West in the hope of interesting flycatchers and other such treasures...


  1. Nice to see some insects Howard. All photos, flowers and birds were nice to see.