Day 5: 29th April:
We were down at the Alykes Wetlands before 630 to be greeted by a good spread of birds in magical early morning Lesvos light. Nine Temminck’s Stints fed together while three new Spotted Redshanks were new in and scything through the shallow water. Black Winged Stilts and Wood Sandpipers performed double action feeding with perfect reflections resulting in curious super long legs. Orange, lemon-shaped Squaccos lurked in the closest sedge clumps and a Red-throated Pipit called as it zoomed overhead. Nine Wigeon and three Garganey loafed at the back and a Curlew called but could not be found.
|The most spherical Temminck's Stint ever...|
However it was the Greater Flamingo fly past that stole the show... Some were already feeding on the pool and this circling, honking flock contemplating whether to join them or not was certainly the best I have ever seen on the island.
|Greater Flamingos with Yellow-legged Gulls|
|Alykes Wetlands... looking mmm... wet|
The bump back produced nothing new and breakfast beckoned.
No Great Spotted Cuckoo this morning and so we headed north towards Kavaki. We were the only people there and over the next hour we found four different male Ruppell’s Warblers in the scrub below and behind us with one showing incredibly well in the same oak tree as last year.
|The Kavaki view|
|Chrysanthemum coronarium, Poppies and Reseda alba|
|Reseda alba - ACV|
|Ruppell's Warbler - Sam Shippey|
Sam and I had to wait for a wonderfully tame Cirl Bunting to move out of the way so that we could get up to the boulder! To be honest he was better looking that the warbler!
|Sam creeping up on the Ruppell's|
|after the Cirl Bunting had vacated his spot|
Eastern Subalpine Warblers were similarly showy and a male Sardinian was briefly seen. Oddly there were no Crag Martins or Ravens but Turtle Doves were purring and a Julie saw a Blue Rock Thrush.
Perasma Reservoir was disappointing with no small birds and very few insects at all but thanks to a passing couple we did see two adult Audouin’s Gulls amongst the multitude of Yellow-legs just before leaving.
|Muscari comosum - Tassel Hyacinth|
|Like a tiny yellow marigold|
|Broad Bodied Chaser|
|Spanish Broom - Spartium junceum if only you could do scratch and sniff pc screens|
|The amazing seedpods of Tordylium apulum - flowering plant just behind|
|Anaxos Olive Groves|
We took lunch with Alison and Costas in Anaxos (after a quiet buyt hot olive grove walk) which was lovely, before tackling the interesting concrete road up to Klapados... not quite sure that I should have attempted it in the bus but we made it and had the area to ourselves with nothing but the breeze, bees, surround sound Nightingales and other woodland edge birds to disturb the silence. The hoped for Eastern Bonelli’s Warblers chipped and trilled around us and the first Wrens were heard.
This sheer wall of wood is about 12 foot around giving the tree an original girth of about 30 I reckon. Only this perforated side survives and I am on the inside looking up and the fresh green leaves are from branches coming out from the other side of the giant so she still lives on.
She sits amongst the upland ruins of Klapados and must have shaded the village long before the Greeks defeated the Turks in these hills on 8th December 1912 leaving the village and seemingly the trees in ruins. Trees are wondrously resilient things...
|Younger Planes adding to the canopy|
|Views from the remains of the village looking south east|
The track down to the waterfall was taken, with Long-tailed Tits and Coal Tits heard along with Short-toed Treecreepers and more chipping Bonelli’s.
The waterfall was a dribble and there were only some Blue Featherlegs and Beautiful Demoiselle amongst the odenata but it was the ancient water scarred Entish Oriental Planes and reflective pools that I took my crew down there to see. It was beautiful and I heartily recommend that everybody go there at least once in their Lesvos lifetime...
|Not the regular Star of Bethlehem we see... Ornithogalum collinum|
|female Beautiful Demoiselle|
|male Beautiful Demoiselle|
Somehow we made it back down to the main road via the southern road and then wiggled on smooth tarmac back to the Kalloni saltpans and wetlands where more superb Stint action was had. Both species showed together at just a few yards range as they fed with a party of Ruff.
|Temminck's Stint & Little Stint|
|Temminck's Stint & Little Stints|
A Black-headed Wagtail showed very well at the Sheepfields and the grey mare was looking as gorgeous as usual and was obviously expecting once again.
The Short-toed Lark that we saw in the morning in the way back to breakfast was still in the corner field and showed far better that than the elusive little blighters out on the Sheepfields.
The Kalloni Pool finished things off nicely with a Black Stork, Purple Heron and Glossy Ibises which is nice way to end any day - other than the G'n'T was missing.