Saturday 10 October 2020

Lesvos Day 14 - 23rd September 2020

I actually managed to get up before most of the birds this morning. In fact it was still very dark and the Stone Curlews, Scops and Barn Owls were still vocal and the bats were darting around the street lamps. The cockerels were crowing as the first glimmer of colour lightened the black in the eastern sky. Antony and I picked up Thekla and headed for the Eastern Pans to have Sol at our backs as we watched the Pelicans and other waterbirds wake up. It was windless with mirror reflections until the giant Dalmatians awoke and started going about their morning ablutions and this in turn set off the mass of Great White Egrets, Grey Herons, Cormorants and Spoonbills all of which had increased slightly in numbers (36, 24, 210 and 27). Counting the Pelicans was as challenging as ever but we consistently got to 34 this time. They did not do the mass feed on the roosting pan but headed off to check out a couple of the others with a snaky phalanx of Cormorants in tow. Flamingos glowed in the golden light wherever you looked.

The Black-necked Grebe showed better and six Teal and eight Mallard were noteworthy while a calling Whimbrel was new and only my second on the island along with Curlew, two Grey Plover, and several Shanks. Two Kingfisher played chase on the main channel and a Little Grebe was my first here too. 

Back round to the western side to check for waders before the light got too bad but it was quite tricky and the hide being locked did not help as most waders were close by the bank. However there were three Kentish Plovers, Curlew Sandpiper, 17 Little Stints and two Marsh Sandpipers amongst others seen. 


One noticeable increase was the number of finches with several good flocks ofGoldfinch and Greenfinches tackling the seriously spiky heads of the Milk Thistles. The big barn Little Owl became my third species of the morning.

The next couple of hours were spent walking the Loutzaria Triangle which gave me the chance to find them some nice perched Chats, Shrikes and Tree Pipits and Antony saw the Wryneck briefly perched up before it dropped down only to do a fly past ten minutes later! There was no sign of the Steppe Buzzard but several Commons and the juvenile Long-legged were seen along with two Kestrels and a juvenile Red-footed Falcon. There may have been some quality walnut and fig scrumping going on in the name of a healthy breakfast and Thekla added a new word to her vocabulary as a result.

Yep - a Red-backed Shrike

Morning Glory

Quince - Kydoni

A seriously lazy day then ensued broken only by a wander into the village for a disgustingly huge ice-cream from Pagotelli’s and a couple of butterfly forays into the garden for Millet and Mallow Skippers, Painted Lady, Swallowtails, Small White and three Blues including my first Lesvos Geranium Bronzes. Oh and a Hummingbird Hawkmoth or two whilst saying hello to Nancy's lovely dog Dias. 

Mallow Skipper

Mallow Skipper

Mallow Skipper

Millet Skipper

Millet Skipper

Painted Lady

Painted Lady

Common Blue

Anthophora bimaculata

Anthophora bimaculata

The mighty, muscley Dias

Lesvos Great Tits are quite pallid

Casual balcony scanning was productive too with Ravens, Short-toed Eagle, a Buzzard v Long-legged aerial battle, a female Peregrine and two Goshawks with a very distant adult and a closer view of the rusty immature male again. Hoodies and Feral Pigeons heading from the Tsiknias towards town guided me to his circling!

A very distant, very cropped Goshawk!

An evening drive out onto Loutzaria failed to provide more Wryneck views but there were some posing Shrikes and such like and an Ortolan popped up near the ploughed field once again. There seemed to be a few more Willow Warblers and Tree Pipits round but almost no flava Wagtails at all. 

Red-backed Shrike

Red-veined Darter

Red-veined Darter

A very large Hawkmoth caterpillar that I rescued from the road after it was left by a Shrike

Little Owl - I saw it twice during the trip but it was the only one

Hooded Crows

Short-toed Eagle back on his post

These sheep puzzled me and I have just worked it out that they were all cream (no dark ones) and looked all clean and fluffy like they had just been through a washing machine and then blow dried!

Down at the pans there was less visible mud and just a few Redshank to see but there were 25 Slender-billed Gulls amongst 132 Black-headed all scooting around picking flies from the surface like oversized Phalaropes.


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