Tuesday 22 November 2016

Lesvos : Day 9: 19th September 2016

Lesvos : Day 9: 19th September: 

Home day... An especially early rise to be greeted by an enormous just past full moon before unsurprisingly heading down to the pans to absorb one last moonset, sunrise and breakfast feeding frenzy. 

Numbers and species wise nothing had changed but more birds were congregating at the closest sluice mouth to sieve, stab, skewer and peck at anything unfortunate enough to get washed through from the higher pan above. Pure Lesvos magic. 

Black Stork, Great White and Little Egret, Black Headed Gulls and a cheeky Marsh Sandpiper

Setting the scene on a perfect last morning
and just like yesterday - please enjoy a little video of the action...
A Darvic ringed Flamingo T[FNH was found and I have submitted the sighting. This bird undoubtedly came from the same Turkish ringing scheme as T[FDA that I found here in spring 2015.  

T[FHN conveniently showing of its ring

The Spoonbills were especially entertaining with their manic head swinging while two Fan Tailed Warblers sat up for an early warm up and Lesser Whitethroat and Red-backed Shrike moved through. 

Spoonbills - awake and feeding!

Black-heads and two immature Slender-billed Gulls - oh and a Little Egret

Black Storks make Grey Herons look small...

...and Dalmatian Pelicans make everything look even smaller!

Fan-tailed Warbler - I just can't seem to call them Zitting Cisticolas


We even got to say Kalimera one last time to the shepherd and his flock

Breakfast beckoned and subsequent packing but there was no rush to leave and after a last look at the insect rich bramble clump of happiness, we headed towards airport via Lotzaria and the Pans, a fly by Montagu's Harrier at Kalami and even had time to divert up until the hills above the airport to show the others the stupendous views that I discovered whilst exploring back in May.  

Southern Darter

Adonis ladybird and amazing yellow Aphids on Stanglewort

Wasp sp

Holly Blue

Cicada exuvia

...and could not leave without one last Red-backed Shrike

Looking west towards Fetli

... and towards Charamida and then pirgi on the oter side of the Gulf of Geras

With still a little time to kill I sat on the rocky shoreline opposite the airport in the sunshine with my feet soaking in the warm clear sea looking out across a calm expanse towards Turkey and the subsequent journey may have seen me opening my front door at just after 1am but the journey went without a hitch a with a head full of fresh Lesvos memories I did not really mind...

Bari on the Italian east coast on the final leg onwards from Athens

It was actually quite wierd being somewhere you know so well but with such different birding conditions and expectations. It really was a case of hunt for the green wet bits or fruiting trees and you would find birds - otherwise it was very quiet - out west especially - but that was to be expected with all of the summer breeding stuff having moved on. A two week visit in the spring usually sees me with between 180 and 190 species but 136 for a september week seemed ok although I was surprised to leave without a single island tick... I actually saw a very large number of shrikes on the spring visit this year but they were always scattered across the landscape whereas the insect rich irrigated areas simply concentrated the birds into pockets of delight. Tree pipits and Willow Warblers were common in contrast to any spring visit and likewise Rollers were far more accomadating. Raptors are, as usual, hit and miss and I know that Jed Cleeter actually did quite well in the first week in October where as I did not fare so well... too much blue sky. The insects where likewise different and as challenging as ever but reptiles were very tricky to find at all as it was simply too hot (30c each day) to find them in the open. It gave us the opportunity to explore and find some new places and I would certainly try it again but perhaps a week earlier to try and catch some more autumn warbler action... as ever it was a magic time...


Monday 21 November 2016

Lesvos : Day 8 : 18th September 2016

Lesvos : Day 8 : 18th September:  

Our last full day and so we decided on a pre-dawn visit once again to the eastern Kalloni Pans. 

Pre-sunrise - the moon reflected in the channel

The increasing light illuminated the presence of now seven imposing Dalmatian Pelicans amongst a feeding throng of 16 Great White Egrets, 32 Grey Herons, six Black Storks and 11 Spoonbills on the penultimate pan. 

The light on the Flamingos was superb...

1cy Slender-billed Gull (right) with Black-headed Gulls

Same again... the SBG's stayed really low to the water
Two Grey Plover were calling and the first lagoon held a great mix of birds with 67 Redshank, four Greenshank, Spotted Redshank and four Marsh Sandpipers along with eight Dunlin, two Curlew and a Kentish Plover. The Mallard flock only totalled 72 with three Teal and two Fan Tailed Warblers were in the path side grasses.

Incoming Black Stork

... before wading around with the waders, egrets and gulls

The Tringa Test... four species to find

This selection was well worthy of a short video...  enjoy!
After breakfast we headed around to Parakila and the road down to the harbour. Martin had pointed us to some fruiting trees where he had seen some warblers the other day. 

Turpentine Tree

Turpentine Tree fruits

It was a little parched under the olives
A Spotted Flycatcher waiting for the next morsel...

These Turpentine trees and some overripe Fig trees were attracting hoards of birds with 12 Lesser Whitethroats, Whitethroat, five Willow Warblers, Icterine, Garden and Marsh all seen along with House Sparrows, Green finches, Cirl Buntings, at least 20 Spotted Flycatchers, two Redstarts and two Wheatear! Add to this surround sound Middle Spots, trilling Rock Nuthatches, a Short-toed Eagle and a superb pale Eleonora's Falcon that scythed overhead and it was a great spot to spend a couple of hours.

Short-toed Eagle and Hoodies

The idyllic shallow harbour at the end of the road in Parakila

I then drove right around the Bay to Achladeri where we hopped from tree shadow to tree shadow to avoid the heat but our efforts were rewarded with at least six Kruper's Nuthatches including four that kept returning to the same 'tool stop' to hammer away at newly extracted pine seeds, Short-toed Treecreepers, Woodlarks and other usual woodland stuff here. 

Kruper's Nuthatch

The male extricating a seed...

Spot Flys were bill snapping in the still air and I was pleased to find the immature male Collared Flycatcher found by Martin Bro several days previously.  I hope he does not mind me using one of his shots as I could not keep up with it!

Collared Flycatcher - Martin Bro

Spot Fly on the white blockhouse

It was now 2pm and too hot to be out so we escaped to the hotel till five before hitting Lotzaria for a final evening visit.

A nice Great White Egret at Mesa on the way back round...

Hot Red-backed Shrike in the hotel garden

It did not disappoint with 33 Red-backed and two Lesser Grey Shrikes but far fewer Whinchats, Wheatears and flavas. It was good to catch up with some Bee-eaters again with 14 juveniles on the wires that spooked in a noisy dread when a dark falcon hurtled through. Sam and I got great views of what would turn out to be our first juvenile a juvenile Eleonora’s. 

juvenile Bee-eater

juvenile Red-backed Shrike

juvenile Lesser Grey Shrike

Willow Warbler

Spotted Flycatcher

Spotted Flycatcher

juvenile Tawny Pipit

Sea Lavender - not sure which one (big leaves)

Stranglewort - Cynanchum acutum
Back in time to go out for dinner to be greeted by a superb little green Tree Frog just outside the door....

Tree Frog...

and our regular dinner dog - bit of a cutie