Sunday 13 May 2018

Lesvos Day 2: 22nd April 2018

Day 2: 

My idea of staying local resulted in 11 hours in the field on a rewarding day that started by driving up the Tsiknias beginning with the customary look at the river mouth where a Great Crested Grebe loafed. The first Black Headed Bunting of the trip threw his head back and brightened the day in shades of yellow, chestnut and black. Olivaceous & Great Reed gave themselves up and a Redstart, Nightingale and Red-backed Shrike flashed red tails. A Turtle Dove watched us from the wires and the first Middle Spotted Woodpecker bounded across the river.

Upper Tsiknias River

The 1st, all important Black-headed Bunting

Eastern Olivaceous Warbler

Great Reed Warbler

Turtle Dove
Little Ringed Plover


Red-backed Shrike

Waxy Pomegranate flowers

Small Pincertail
Mesa Wetlands looking across the Kalloni Gulf towards the isthmus
On to Achladeri where the Kruper's Nuthatches were a doddle as they stuffed grubs into eager nesthole mouths in the same tree as last year which was handy.  I ventured here so soon in the trip as I felt that it would not be too long till they fledged.  

Kruper's Nuthatch
Short-toed Treecreepers were obliging and nesting close by and I heard Long-tailed tits and Spotted Flycatcher but there were no Wooodlarks to be heard. Hoopoes sang and a lone Woodpigeon was to become the only one of the entire trip.  Alpine Swifts and Buzzard were added and some grubbing produced some cool Termites and a wonderful male Odalisque.  





Masked Shrikes were in the roadside Turpentine bushes and two Cardinal, Scarce Swallowtail and a couple of Ilex Hairstreaks amongst other species were seen on the swathes of flowers where we were bathed in the lemon scent of Spanish Broom.

Ilex Hairstreak

Persian Meadow Brown - Maniola telmessia

Field Gladiolus - Gladiolus italicus

Trichodes sp

Philaeus chrysops - a jumping spider with a cranefly

Eristalis hoverfly sp


Violet Carpenter Bee on Spanish Broom


Broomrape sp

Lathyrus annuus

Canopid - Myopa sp

Masked Shrike

The drive down to Skala Vasilka was delightful but ornithologically quiet although the Serins obliged in the Cyprus stand as we turned off and two path scuttling Tawny Pipits were added. The olive groves were oddly silent apart from flouncing Masked Shrikes and purring Turtle Doves while the Kentish Plovers were the star of Alikoudi Pool  along with nesting Avocets and Stilts, inevitable Wood Sandpipers and a stalking Squacco before our return back along the coast adding four Shags, several Black-headed Buntings and a male Red-backed Shrike on the way.

Roman Nettle - do not mess with these bad boys...

You've got to love a Masked Shrike



Kentish Plover

Crested Lark

Corn Bunting
Tawny Pipit
No rest for the very wicked and up to the Kalloni Raptor Watchpoint where Eastern Orphean and Subalpine Warblers were heard along with Cuckoo and Raven while an obliging Hoopoe ‘poopooed’ from the tree by the car. Short-toed Eagle, Buzzard, Lesser kestrel and Black storks soared and the first Cretzschmar's Bunting sang Beethoven. A stunning male Stonechat stole the show. I know the Lesvos birds are often striking but this male was remarkable, looking more like a cross between a Pied Fly and a Woodchat....

Hoopoe all puffed up mid poop

That striking Stonechat...
Starred Agama

Back on the saltpans for the evening where all three marsh Terns (five Whiskered and singles of Black and White-winged Black) were seen very poorly from the north-east corner hide along with two more Gull-billed. Black Tern is still a tricky bird here so was a pleasing find.   

A bonus Ferruginous Duck in flight headed to the main road channel and a Stone Curlew bogged us with those big yellow eyes. Black Storks were always on view and one strode along the main channel and 230 Flamingos, 24 Shelduck and nine Ruddy Shelduck were counted on the pans. 

Stone Curlew

Black Stork

Black Stork
Wood Sandpiper
Down at the Alykes Pool four Pratincoles headed over - three Collareds and the Black-winged! We gave chase around to the sheepfields but to no avail although a superb Osprey was a welcome bonus.  Eighty Ibis glowed in the evening light and 16 Marsh Sandpipers and a Curlew Sandpiper dropped into the pool. 


The bump back through Lotzaria in the golden light saw Red-throated Pipits and flava Wagtails flitting ahead and an adult Night Heron and full view Nightingale rounded things up at the Tsiknias Ford...


  1. Nice comprehensive group of pictures Howard. Lawrence

  2. Brilliant Howard, hope the rest of your trip is as good.
    Regards Big pete