Tuesday 16 August 2016

Lesvos : Day Fifteen : 7th May 2016 - Time to come home...

Day 15: 7th May : 

I set the alarm for 0550 and managed to stumble out once again for a final perambulation along the Tsiknias and through the pans. For the first time this week it was warm, still and cloudless with Sol rising speedily from behind the hills as if to say ‘Kaliméra kai kalí antío!’ to send us off in style. 

I spent a quiet hour walking the east side of the river above the ford and although I did not see that elusive Great Snipe, I was treated to a superb dawn chorus of Nightingales, guttural Great Reed, Cetti’s and Eastern Olivaceous Warblers, Corn and Black-headed Buntings with Hoopoe and Bee-eaters as a backdrop. No less than six Little Bitterns dotted the riverbanks like orange beacons and a white-winged Squacco drifted off after being disturbed by the tethered goats. There was a scattering of Wood sandpipers and a Purple Heron double backed behind me while a lumbering hippo delighted me by becoming a lovely dagger billed Olive Tree Warbler at just a few feet range in an pathside olive. 

male Little Bittern... just would not turn round and stalked off!
There was still a trip tick to be had in the shape of a fine drake Shoveler that was dabbling with a drake Mallard. It has been around for a few days but I had not caught up with it until now. Not a Lesvos tick for me but a great Island bird none the less.

drake Shoveler
The pans looked fairly quiet so after taking some arty ‘Flamingo in the sun’ shots I came back through Lotzaria passing two Temminck’s Stints with four Littles on the Pumping Station Corner and at long last managed to get some nice shots of the ubiquitous Corn Buntings and even an Olly.

Hoodie heading off to work

Corn Bunting

Corn Bunting

Eastern Olivaceous Warbler

Black-headed Bunting

Marsh Harrier
Breakfast beckoned and there were jobs to do so I headed back and by just after nine we were ready to go so we wished those staying for longer, a bird filled trip and said our farewells to the lovely Thekla Koukourouvli and Stella and Thekla’s always smiling Dad. With time to spare, Lotzaria called once again and the ford was traversed for definitely the last time this trip with a male Little Bittern patiently stalking tadpoles in the grass. A final look at the ‘mingos and then off to Kalami where some Black-winged Stilts and Little Egrets still fed in the lush wet pools and up above five Black Storks circled and an ‘interesting’ Buzzard seemed to have a lot going for it in the Steppe Buzzard department which would be a very nice way to end another magical two weeks on this most beautiful of islands.

Looking very good for Steppe Buzzard

Black-winged Stilts

Lesvos and its people are going to find it a difficult year on an island with almost no incoming tourists to generate income and work but as I suspected before I came out, there was very little to suggest that there had been a huge influx of displaced people and absolutely no change in the relaxed, safe and welcoming atmosphere that the Lesvos people are able to offer to those willing to come and stay on their enchanting island. Good birds, good food, great people... what more could you ask for?

The End....  well until mid September...

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