Sunday 28 May 2023

Lesvos - Day 6 - 25th April 2023

After almost a week we managed a pre breakfast jaunt out and by just after 6am we were at the Old Potamia Reservoir (whose real name currently escapes me) and waiting in the half-light for herony and crake-ish birdlife to materialise.  The earlier lightening was receding out over the saltpans and there were a few fine droplets in the air and it was a little chilly but with a little patience we saw both male and female Little Bittern briefly but of Little Crakes there was no sign.  With not much happening we headed back to the van and walked the short distance to where Graham E and Mark G had seen Olive Tree Warblers the previous evening and immediately I had to eat my words about these early sightings as Laura and John Poland had a singing male in view in the closest tree.  Over the next 30 minutes superb views were had as it energetically sang and moved around its circuit of Olives.  Amazingly it seemed to attract in a Great Reed Warbler and a full blown gurk off ensued in the Oak tree which soon also contained a singing Masked Shrike.  It very quickly became one of those very special Lesvos encounters.

Olive Tree Warbler

Olive Tree Warbler

Olive Tree Warbler - Steve Cullum

I rescued this huge worm from the track!

The Shrikes also had a nest in the oak  but it became apparent that the female was coming in and dismantling what we presumed was her mate’s first attempt at nest building.  Woodchats and Nightingales joined in with the early chorus and Eastern Olies added to the other mechanical cyclical sounds.

A glance up gave us our first rakish Purple Herons with eight circling in from way up on high and they looked to be dropping into the reservoir we had just been looking at. Pleased with our efforts and with a desire for coffee and breakfast we headed back. The Olies were showing very well at the Pela and then it was time to pack up again and head out for the day.

Purple Herons

Purple Herons


Woodchat - Steve Cullum

A post breakfast slug...

Agriosikos was out destination and our walk to the Mulberry grove was as pleasant as ever although it was a little cool at times when the sun hide behind the clouds. Our quarry up here was Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler and we found two pockets of singing and calling birds with at least four in each and with patience we got some great views of this little silvery sprite in the flowering Oaks.  A pair of Hawfinches were seen attending a nest that was just out of view from wherever we stood but it was good to see the species here once again along with several trilling Wrens, one of which even gave itself up and showed quite well.  Middle Spotted Woodpecker and Hoopoe were heard and Wood Nuthatches were seen at the end of the walk where Subalpine Warblers also put on a good show. 


Oddly the sky was very quiet with just a couple of Short-toed Eagles and Ravens seen but down at ground level there was a wealth of flora.  Insects were fairly restricted with the mostly cool conditions but there were many Anthophora type bees and just a few Butterflies but they did include Eastern Festoon, a Large Tortoiseshell and a late False Apollo that looked almost transparent.  A large Scolopendra was under a rock but I still have not found a Scorpion.

 under  & Yellow Flat Millipede

 Dor beetle sp

 Bloody Nosed Beetle sp

Trap entrance of the rather robust Lycosa tarantula

 Anthophora bee sp

Anthophora bee sp

Sarcophaga sp - a Dung Fly sp

Episyrphus balteatus

A Chrysotoxum sp that looks like C festivum but with slightly broader stripes

A very worn Painted Lady

Small Copper

Short-toed Eagle

Anemone pavonia

Anemone pavonia

Arabis verna - Spring Rockcress

Black Bryony

Centaurea calcitrapa

Centaurea calcitrapa

Clypeola jonthlaspi - tiny yellow flowers!


Crepsis ruber

Crepsis ruber

Dracunculus vulgaris

Fumitory sp

Lepidium spinosum

Ornithogalum nutans

Papaver nigrotinctum - variations

Papaver nigrotinctum - variations

Papaver nigrotinctum - variations

Parentucellia latifolia - Broad-leaved Eyebright


Saxifraga granulata - Meadow Saxifrage - happy to be corrected

Tordylium apulum - Med Hartwort

Tuberaria guttata - a stunning Rockrose

Vicia melanops

Lathyrus sphaericus

Vicia hybrida

We headed down for lunch, stopping to buy honey from the stall at the end of the Dafia road on the way but even lunch was rudely interrupted by news of a Roller near Mesa and with a unanimous show of hands we piled in the bus and headed off on what was to be a fruitless chase.  It was not wasted though with a Zitting Cisticola at Kalami Marsh and a wondrous barrage of Nightingale sound at the Vouvaris river bridge while Alpine Swifts cruised overhead.

Red-eared and Stripe-necked Terrapins at the Vouvaris bridge

Small Skimmer 

Back at the KSP there were two Spoonbills on the Avocet island where they stood like white eggs on sticks but very little else, so we bumped through on the track before the pump house corner and stopped a few times to watch Bee-eaters, a preening Hoopoe, very close Red-throated Pipits and leggy Stilts before popping back up on the east side of the Tsiknias.




Red-throated Pipit

Black-winged Stilt

Black-winged Stilt

Oeufs on sticks

There was no sign of the Spotted Crake but three Glossy Ibis were gleaming in the sunshine decked out in mahogany and petrol greens.  Probably some of the most colourful ones I have ever seen.  Black-headed Buntings were singing from both sides of the river as we moseyed on back to town for a visit to Diana’s and an ice-cream from Pagotelli’s before one last stop back out of town at the Potamia Old Reservoir once again.

Red-backed Shrike

Glossy Ibis

A non-glossy Eastern Olivaceous Warbler

Six Purple Herons of various ages and in various poses lined the back edge and two female Little Crakes gave themselves up in between them which was a relief.  How could I come to Lesvos and  not see one?!  A third female appeared below us initially floating around on a piece of polystyrene!

Purple Heron

Purple Heron

Purple Heron - Steve Cullum

Little Crake

Black-tailed Skimmer

I hoped for a relatively early dinner (but had no hope of an early night) and so we called it a day before heading into town for a final meal at the Dionysos.  My late evening note writing back at the Pela even added two more to the trip list with two calling Whimbrel and then a croaking Night Heron overhead before sleep called me to bed.

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