Tuesday 23 May 2017

Lesvos: Day 9: 3rd May 2017

Day 9: 3rd May: 

An early rise on our last day to catch the sunrise saw us down on the beach looking out over a mirror calm gulf. Five Great Crested and three Black-necked Grebes were easily added to the tally and four Grey Plover dropped into the beach and were our first seen after hearing one two days ago. Bee-eaters ‘pruucked’ overhead and Red-rumped Swallows displayed near the little bridge and played catch with a feather while a posse of 17 Little Terns plunged in to catch tiddlers just a few feet from the car window in a circle of co-ordinated activity. 

Little Tern

Little Terns

A fine sooty Spotted Redshank was feeding on the rapidly diminishing Alykes Wetlands with the usual array of wadery friends and a Whiskered Tern loafed with two Littles.

From top right: Ringed Plover, Little Stint, Wood Sand, Spot red, Ruff, Ringed Plover

Little and Whiskered Terns

Common Sandpiper

Little Stint

Black-winged Stilt

Seven glowing Squaccos were at the Lower Ford and the Black Stork, three Ibis, a Grey and two Purple Herons lurked on the now very well vegetated Kalloni Pool on the way back and a Great Reed Warbler gurked away merrily.


Grey Heron

Purple Heron

Purple Heron

A last repast with Thekla before heading back out for a walk along the Tsiknias upstream from the Lower ford where a Whiskered Tern dipped down delicately. It was already incredibly hot and but we persevered and the Nightingales suddenly decided to become showy and we had some fabulous encounters. 

A Pela Swallow

Nightingale - ACV
Four Little Bitterns were seen and ten Squacco probably included those seen south of the ford earlier. A Greenshank became our 173rd bird for the trip as it ran amongst the Wood Sands. Black and White Storks drifted over along with a few more Bee-eaters

Squacco - ACV



The Upper Tsiknias Ford
The Yellow-legged Gulls would periodically descend en masse to have drink and quick bath and Little Egrets and an immature Night Heron joined the Squaccos and both Black-headed Wagtails and Buntings dotted the river banks as a colourful send off. 

Yellow-legged Gulls

Black-headed Bunting

Scabious sp

Globe Thistle

Stripe-necked Terrapin
1st summer Night Heron

Small Skipper - they are huge!
Honey Bee & Thistle - ACV

We saved the best for last as just a few seconds after I had suggested that a male Citrine Wagtail would be the proverbial icing when a buzzy wagtail called, et voila a yellow headed beauty landed just in front and proceeded to pose for us...

Citrine Wagtail

Citrine Wagtail

Citrine Wagtail
 Sums up this magical island doesn't it?

Back to the Pela for lazy lunch and a last dangle of my legs in the pool and then off we went after bidding our fond farewells to Thekla and her Dad and of course Kratos and his two new tiny playmates. 

So inviting...

And here are the two pups that we rescued about ten days later - the little boy

and his sister - Both are being rehomed together in the Netherlands -Thanks to Leo Tukker for the pics!

I safely negotiated Mytilini and within a short time we were boarding our short flight to Athens.  A ringtail Montagu’s Harrier almost got diced by the turbo prop as we landed and the next couple of hours were spent upstairs in an air conditioned lounge awaiting our connecting flight, watching a female Marsh and male Monty quartering the runways with House Martins and a single Kestrel zipping around taking my mainland Greece list to ... four. 

Every visit to Lesvos is different but the one constant is the superb warmth and hospitality from those we now firmly call friends. Till the next time...


Little Grebe Little Ringed Plover Crag Martin Short-Toed Treecreeper
Great Crested Grebe Ringed Plover Swallow Golden Oriole
Black-necked Grebe Kentish Plover Red-Rumped Swallow Masked Shrike
Scopoli's Shearwater Grey Plover Tawny Pipit Red-Backed Shrike
Yelkouan Shearwater Spur-Winged Plover Tree Pipit Woodchat Shrike
Cormorant Little Stint Red-Throated Pipit Lesser Grey Shrike
Shag Temminck's Stint Black Headed Wagtail Jay
Little Bittern Curlew Sandpiper Blue Headed Wagtail Jackdaw
Night Heron Dunlin Citrine Wagtail Hooded Crow
Squacco Heron Ruff White Wagtail Raven
Little Egret Common Snipe Wren House Sparrow
Great White Egret Curlew Nightingale Spanish Sparrow
Grey Heron Spotted Redshank Redstart Rock Sparrow
Purple Heron  Greenshank Whinchat Chaffinch
Black Stork Marsh Sandpiper Stonechat Serin
White Stork Green Sandpiper Black-Eared Wheatear Greenfinch
Greater Flamingo Wood Sandpiper Isabelline Wheatear Goldfinch
Glossy Ibis Common Sandpiper Northern Wheatear Linnet
Spoonbill Turnstone Blue Rock Thrush Cirl Bunting
Ruddy Shelduck Mediterranean Gull Blackbird Cretzshcmar's Bunting
Shelduck Slender Billed Gull Cetti's Warbler Cinereous Bunting
Mallard Black-Headed Gull Sedge Warbler Black-Headed Bunting
Wigeon Yellow-Legged Gull  Reed Warbler Corn Bunting
Garganey Audouin's Gull Marsh Warbler Total: 173
Shoveler Gull-Billed Tern Great Reed Warbler
Osprey Sandwich Tern Icterine Warbler
Short-Toed Eagle Common Tern Eastern Olivaceous Warbler
Marsh Harrier Little Tern Olive Tree Warbler
Hen Harrier Whiskered Tern Eastern Subalpine Warbler
Montagu's Harrier White-Winged Black Tern Sardinian Warbler
Pallid Harrier Rock Dove Ruppell's Warbler
Goshawk Wood Pigeon Eastern Orphean Warbler
Sparrowhawk Collared Dove Lesser Whitethroat
Levant Sparrowhawk Turtle Dove Common Whitethroat
Common Buzzard Cuckoo Garden Warbler
Long-Legged Buzzard Great-Spotted Cuckoo Blackcap
Honey Buzzard Barn Owl Eastern Bonelli's Warbler
Kestrel Scops Owl Wood Warbler
Lesser Kestrel Little Owl Willow Warbler
Red-Footed Falcon Common Swift Pied Flycatcher
Hobby Pallid Swift Collared Flycatcher
Eleonora's Falcon Alpine Swift Spotted Flycatcher
Chukar Bee-Eater Long-Tailed Tit
Little Crake Hoopoe Coal Tit
Moorhen Middle Spotted Woodpecker Somber Tit
Coot  Short-Toed Lark Blue Tit
Black-Winged Stilt Crested Lark Great Tit
Avocet Wood Lark Kruper's Nuthatch
Stone Curlew Sand Martin Wood Nuthatch
Collared Pratincole House Martin Rock Nuthatch

Friday 19 May 2017

Lesvos: Day 8: 2nd May 2017

Day 8: 2nd May: 

A decidedly civilised day that started along the coast at Skala Vasilikon in the hope that at long last we might catch up with Olive Tree Warbler on one of these trips. Staying longer than the party usually means that I do, but this is Sam’s 5th visit so we put in the effort and got our reward and although the views were not great we did have three birds singing at close quarters and with a bit of patience were able to work out which trees he favoured and eventually get a view down that bright orange gullet!

These particular groves were full of birds with at least four pair of Masked Shrikes, Woodchat, Cirl and Black-headed Buntings, Middle Spot Woody, Subalpine, Olivaceous and Orphean Warblers, Blackbirds, Tits and Turtle Doves.  It was magical and the chorus was only occasionally broken by a passing car and the sounds of the family pruning the olives in the adjacent grove.

This male Black-headed Bunting was sitting too close to my head for a better shot!
The Alikoudi beach pool was still a little high with no small waders but a fine Glossy Ibis preened in the sun and a Curlew called. the flowers around the edges were superb...

Glossy Ibis

Glossy Ibis

We searched all the wires for a Roller but found nothing but more Buntings and a smart male Red-backed Shrike. The Poly Pans were almost devoid of birds so we retraced our steps and only stopped to rescue two abandoned small puppies that we first saw three days ago but failed to catch. This time a concerted effort saw both safely ensconced in a crate in the back of the van for the journey back to the Pela where Thekla is helping to re-home them in the Netherlands. I think this takes her total to 20 since October. Anyway they are in good hands now. 

Red-backed Shrike

Red-backed Shrike
This wonderfully marked Cormorant eluded my every attempt at a photo!
Grumpy and a bit car sick but safe

After depositing the puppies and having lunch we headed back out again and north to Skala Sykamenias so that my party could see this pretty little seaside village and of course evade the Parrot in Kavos cafe and have an ice cream before trundling along the scenic if a little rougher north coast track

Skala Sykamenias

Icecream at Kavos Cafe

Kate lounging - un-lizard like

There was no molesting of guests this year...

It may have been quiet but the views across to Turkey are superb. The only signs of that the great influx of people took place here now is the boat wreck still on the point and the empty UN welcome camp. Three Yelkouan Shearwaters flapped east but it was otherwise nothing but a pleasant drive.

Euphorbia scrub, the shipwreck and Turkey beyond
There was even time at 5pm for the first and last swim of the holiday and whilst rescuing Grasshoppers I heard the Yellow-legged Gulls kicking off and immediately thought big raptor and sure enough an Osprey drifted into view with said Gulls on its tail. Not too bad a bird from the pool!

Off for a last dinner at the Dionysos but there will still be time for a few hours birding tomorrow before heading off to the airport.