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.
|Adonis ladybird and amazing yellow Aphids on Stanglewort
|...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...