Thursday 16 May 2019

Lesvos: Day 1: 17th April 2019

Lesvos called me back once again and after the usual Athens Red Eye I found myself amongst a familiar landscape; verdant and lush after the recent epic rain storms.

The field at the top of the salt pans by the main road was a riot purple Narrow-leaved Bugloss - Echium angustifolium
After breakfast with Thekla at the Pela, the day was spent around the Kalloni Salt Pans (KSP from now on) and weaving in and out of Lotzaria albeit without crossing the Tsiknias Ford which was still dangerously high and covered in silt. 

I could probably have given the Lower Ford a go in the X-trail but I sank almost to my knee in silt when I checked it out on foot

The rains have swept clear the river, denuded banks and removed many willows and tamarisks but there were still a few tringas to be found with Green, Wood and Common Sand and Greenshank but no herons at all. However, things got off to a great start with a striking male Barred Warbler that flicked across the river and into the dead tree that was, as usual occupied by a showy Nightingale. Only my second for the island and my first super scary looking male complete with glaring yellow eyes. Two Kingfishers fished from the reeds.
  The Lotzaria track gave wonderful views of a buoyant male Montagu's Harrier and a very low hovering Short-toed Eagle along with a male Red-footed Falcon and a cloud of House and Sand Martins that swarmed in off the sea with a steady movement of Painted Lady butterflies heading purposefully in the same direction. Black and Blue Headed Wagtails, Crested Larks, Eastern Olivaceous Warblers, Corn Buntings and dapper Whinchats moved ahead of the car as we sloshed our way through. Eight Bee-eaters were a pleasant surprise as they hawked in the late evening light from a Mulberry tree and a female Collared Flycatcher was on the pumping station fence.

Whinchat - ACV
  Down by the sea a trio of Grebe species were thankfully found with a Great Crested, two glossy Black-necks and the first Slavonian Grebe for the island that was found by Killian two days earlier. It is always nice to see a news island species. Tawny Pipits and Short-toed Larks scurried around the Racetrack and the usual Spanish Sparrows were scrapping on the fenceline which they shared with more Whinchats. 

Narrow-leaved Bugloss - Echium angustifolium

Yellow-horned Poppy

  The KSP were quiet and I missed the pelicans but did see both Storks, three Marsh Sandpipers, six Med and two 1st winter Black-headed Gulls. Kingfishers zipped up and down the channel and Common and Wood Sandpipers bobbed.

White STork & Tellow-legged Gulls - ACV

Wood Sandpiper - ACV

Common Sandpiper - ACV

Black-headed Wagtail - ACV

Greater Flamingos - ACV

I searched for the Scops Owls at Papiana but to no avail until Andrea found one from inside the car which then became two and both showed very well in the huge Eucalyptus.  At some point after this I had a major memory card failure and lost all of my bird pictures for the day but thankfully Andrea had taken some very nice ones that I could use to augment my phone shots.

Back at the Pela a female Sparrowhawk was an unexpected fly through and my end of evening walk around the Kallonis Pool was just magic with three Purple Herons, five Squacco, two Great Bitterns, two Little Bitterns, Glossy Ibis, Great White Egret and two squealing Water Rails while Little Egrets drifted over to roost and a blizzard of Sand Martins careened to and fro looking for a safe roost spot. 

The first bats were out, the Eastern Tree Frogs, Green Toads and Nightingales sang, Greenshanks and Stilts could be heard from out on the Christou, Scops Owls 'pooped' and the Barn Owl even flew through the hotel garden.

Purple Heron

Great White Egret

A little piece of me came home that day...

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed the first original read Howard but I did miss the pictures. Looking forward to the next one. Lawrence