Thursday 14 June 2018

Lesvos Day 10: 30th April 2018

Day 10: 30th April: 

It was meant to be a northerly sort of day but I ended up heading up past Dafia and by the time I had reached Lardia I had already picked up five Eastern Bonelli's Warbler and a heap of Nightingales from the car. Several more were heard along the gorge and Crag Martins and Rock Sparrows showed at the pinnacle while high above a pair of Long-legged Buzzards talon grappled in the blue. Cretzschmar's Buntings collected squished insects in the road and Cirls sung from the wires. 

Cretzschmar's Bunting

Cretzschmar's Bunting

Eastern Bonelli's Warbler
  Perivolis monastery was quiet and serene with another Bonelli's singing and three Black Storks arguing over a rocky escarpment. 

There were plenty of insects with Ilex Hairstreaks and Green Underside Blues along with Small Coppers, Meadow Browns and Levantine Skippers.  A full grown Bush Cricket - Ephippiger ephippiger was the first I had actually ever seen having been calling the typical Lesvos Bush Crickets this for years!

Ilex Hairstreak

Small White

Levantine Skipper - Thymelicus hyrax

Bush Cricket - Ephippiger ephippiger

From here I did the unthinkable and veered off the normal route and down to the seaside village of Gavvathus with its patchwork of fields and groves looking very similar to the nearby Sigri and Faneromeni but with the addition of a large dunes system to the east. 

The plains of Gavvathus

It is obviously a popular beach spot in the summer with a host of beach signs with do and don’ts and useful directions including the apparent outcome of sampling the local well waters...

Poorly parked boat

and frankly disturbing Christmas decoration on his summer escape - but at least he took a book

The usual assortment of three Shrikes, Black-headed Buntings, Olive Tree Warbler, and commoner species were seen while Alpine Swifts circled above. A sooty Eleonora's Falcon headed along the coast spooking hirundines and Jackdaws before the first of the day's Bee-eaters entertained us as they hawked from the tamarisks.


Sea Holly and Yellow-horned Poppies dotted the beach along with Sea Spurge and Sea Medick and a funny orthopteran had me stumped till I got home and identified it as a Mediterranean Slant-faced Grasshopper (Acrida ungarica mediterranea).

Yellow-legged Gulls - ACV

Yellow-legged Gulls - although the one on the right is a monster... ACV

Sea Holly

Sea Medick

Mediterranean Slant-faced Grasshopper (Acrida ungarica mediterranea).

A quick check around a small chapel near the Bee-eaters provided me with Mallow Skipper, Wall Brown and a smart Southern Comma.

Southern Comma

Wall Brown
Mallow Skipper - ACV

Mount Ordimnos was my lunch spot but the road was dug up and had men working on it so you could only get to the incinerator but the Isabelline Wheatears were superb with at last six males strutting and displaying and making sounds like a box of fireworks. For a subtly brown bird it sure does pack a aural punch. There were plenty of Broad Bodied Chasers round the pond but it was not the best place for lunch so I headed up Ipsilou to the summit where the cloud could be watched coming in off the sea below us. Pied, Collared and Spot Flys flicked in the oaks and the Orioles and Hoopoe were still giving it large in the lower escarpment trees along with two glowing Wood Warblers.

Isabelline Wheatear

Isabelline Wheatear - ACV

Isabelline Wheatear - ACV
Wood Warbler - Glen Moore
A misty view of Faneromeni from Ipsilou

Synema globosum on Cistus - a groovy Crab Spider

The lower ford at Faneromeni still had its Great Snipe and it gave superb views feeding alongside the river where it particularly liked probing underneath the water pipe on the right hand side. I was pleased with my views yesterday but these surpassed that by miles. 

Great Snipe

Great Snipe

Great Snipe
Black-tailed Skimmer - ACV
  Bee-eaters were all around and 80 spiralled up in one pruuking flock of colour with other small groups taking the site total to 120. An Eleonora's drifted over with a Short-toed Eagle before I started back on the coastal track and several Turtle Doves gave superb roadside views. 

Turtle Dove

Turtle Dove

The wind had got up and a dust cloud followed the car but there were still Bee-eaters to be seen and Pied Flys, two Wood Warblers, Lesser Grey Shrike and three Red-backs were in Meladia.

Little Owl - ACV


Wood Warbler

Lesser Grey Shrike

Woodchat Shrike

Woodchat Shrike
  I made it back in time for the supermarket but not the Dalmatian Pelican or Bittern that eluded me although 41 Whiskered Terns was a nice way to end the day as they hawked along the saltpan road.

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