Wednesday 26 June 2019

Lesvos Day 15: 1st May 2019

There were no early morning distractions other than Thekla bring out a huge Scolopendra centipede on a dust pan during breakfast and asking me what it was and after explaining about the dangers of this venomous beast, we picked up some fresh rolls still hot from the bakery and headed west once again in the quest for something different. Even as we drove along the coast it was obvious that more Black-headed Buntings were in and I was hopeful of something different in the valleys.

Scolopendra cingulata

We were on the start of the Eresos a little after nine and shortly afterwards were watching birds in the chapel olive grove. There were none of the hoped for Olive Tree Warblers but a family of Cirl Buntings showed very well with the fully fledged young still trying to mump of off their parents. Two each of Spotted and Pied Fly flicked from lower boughs and Olivaceous Warblers and vociferous Orpheans sang. Sombre Tits showed delightfully in the asphodol on the first bend and the usual assortment of four 'C' Buntings were now joined by numerous musical Black-heads.

juv Cirl Bunting

Black-headed Bunting

Spotted Flycatcher
Meladia itself was fairly quiet with little yellow glowing bunting jewels dotted about but they were out shone by two male Golden Orioles loafing around in the Oleanders. The Woodlarks were still in a family party and the Ruddy Shelducks still had ducklings. 

Black-headed Bunting

Convolvulus oleifolius
A male Red-backed Shrike fly-catched and Whinchats, Spotted and Pied Flys were around but most birds present were breeders. As such we were pleased to find a lemony Icterine Warbler that fed under our noses and then pick up a singing Bushchat in its usual territory just up from the fig grove. It ranged about 300m up valley and gave fantastic views as it serenaded us with its plaintive song.

Red-backed Shrike

Icterine Warbler - Mike Dent

Bee-eaters were constantly moving over but almost impossible to see and 12 Crag Martins around the still 'schweep'ing Rock Sparrows home were showing much closer than before while Alpine Swifts and Common Buzzards were higher up and a female Marsh Harriers headed up valley. A Black Stork cruised by and a female Red-backed Shrike was seen as we moved on past the chapel. 

Bee-eaters - ACV

Black Stork

Starred Agama

After lunch by the river we headed up the valley and the Little Owl was on one of his usual posts and we stopped near here to watch 40 Pallid Swifts feeding around us. This is by far the most I have ever seen together on the island and at times they were at eye level as they harvested insects just above ground level up the hillside. A proper learning experience.
Richly coloured Stonechat dotted fences, Tawny Pipits came up off the road and a sooty dark phase Eleonora's Falcon circled the Sanitorium as I stopped to give some water to the brown horse still tethered there. She was equally grateful of the piece of stale olive bread I had brought with me.

Eleonora's Falcon


Down to Faneromeni with a male Golden Oriole heading into the Oak Grove in Sigri as we drove down but the beach was once again very quiet with only a Common Sandpiper on the pool being new. Bee-eaters were everywhere and I reckon that there were best part of a hundred in the area. We headed up to the top fields but there were no more migrants so I decided to head back over the top.


Red-rumped Swallow
Crested Lark
Orbed Underwing Skipper

faded Common Blue - I think
Turkish Meadow Brown Maniola megala
This would give us the chance of a Chukar on the Petrified Forest road once again and thankfully this time we scored with a fine bird rock-topping as they are so prone to do.

Starred Agama


Back to base and then down to the very quiet Salt Pans where the Alykes sheepfields were the only area we could find with any waders. Amongst the Little Stints and Wood Sandpipers we found the Broad-billed Sandpiper that had been seen earlier - a darker, more summer plumaged bird than the one earlier in the week. A White Winged Black Tern dipped amongst the Flamingos and 15 Ruddy Shelduck and 13 Glossy Ibis were on view while a Black Tern fed over the far corner of the pans. 

Glossy Ibis- Mike Dent
The temperature was dropping and a few spots of rain were in the air so we retreated in time with the steady approach of the inquisitive cattle and headed back for our last dinner in town.

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