Sunday 17 June 2018

Lesvos Day 11: 1st May 2018

Day 11: 1st May: 

I arose at the heady time of just before eight but news of the Dalmatian Pelican on the salt pans saw a rushed breakfast and hasty departure. I had the hide to myself and there was clearly no enormous floating object to be seen so I suspected an early departure in the warm air. 

The next few people arrived and immediately picked up this fine adult on the very pan I had just checked... I trotted out the usual lame excuses of 'It was not there a minute ago' and 'it must have been hiding'. It cruised up and down in a most sedate manner with occasional feeding sweeps with that hug orange pouched bill. Thirteen Gull-billed Terns headed inland and there was a fine scattering of waders to search through. Most were Ruff but I counted 12 Curlew Sandpipers, 21 Marsh Sandpipers, 30 Little Stint, 12 Ringed Plovers and a surprising 41 Grey Plovers in a variety of plumages but including many immaculate full summer birds. I have only seen a handful of these here before and I wonder what the record count is. Four drake Mallard were seen swimming amongst the Flamingos.

Dalmatian Pelican

Gull-billed Terns

Grey Plovers
On to the end of the Tsiknias were on cue the Rufous Bushchats have returned and I quickly found a male singing on a circuit in the tamerisks. Such a sweet plaintive song. Great Reed Warblers and Oli's sung and a Shag and what I am sure was a Ferruginous Duck were offshore but I did not have my scope.
Rufous Bushchat


Carpenter Bees

Ants scavenging grain husks

Back to the hotel to pick up lunch and then off up the Potamia (via finding a singing Marsh Warbler but no Bittern at the Kalloni bridge) where I spent a couple of happy insect hours amongst a host of dragonflies, bees, bugs and butterflies with the Broad Scarlets stealing the show. The Meadow Browns of the west were replaced on the crucifer and marjoram with Ilex Hairstreaks and Small Coppers and Grass Snakes hunted frogs in the shallows. 


Small Copper

Small Copper

Clouded Yellow

Scarce Swallowtail

Scarce Swallowtail

Ilex Hairstreak

Egyptian Grasshopper

Marbled Bush Cricket - Eupholidoptera smyrnensis

Western Confier Seedbug

Thread Lacewing

Thomisus onustus crab spider with bee

Blue face - brown upper eye -  Small Skimmer - I think

Blue face - brown upper eye -  Small Skimmer - I think

Blue face - blue eyes - Southern Skimmer
Small Pincertail

Small Pincertail


Lesser Emperor
Scarlet darter

Flower Beetles

Pied Shieldbug

Related to Beeflies but mind has gone blank
Bombylella atra

Grass Snake

Stripe-necked Terrapin

Levant Water Frog

Levant Water Frog

There were birds too with a very low Long-legged Buzzard, Middle spotted Woodpecker on a telegraph pole and a family of Sombre Tit moved across the river. It was far too hot and so after lunch it was decided that the pool, a g'n't and an ice cream were in order.

And little Ringed Plovers nesting on the stone island

Suitably relaxed it was time for another saltpan circuit which started well with a very obliging singing Black-headed Bunting and an even tamer Wood Sandpiper and dinky Temminck's Stint at the Tskinias Ford. Lesser Grey Shrike and seven Bee-eaters were encountered in Lotzaria along with seven gorgeous Collared Pratincoles that expertly hawked for insects above my head. 

Black-headed Bunting

Temminck's Stint

Temminck's Stint
Temminck's Stint - ACV
Wood Sandpiper

Wood Sandpiper

Lesser Grey Shrike

Lesser Grey Shrike

Collared Pratincole

A pair of Stone Curlews were nesting in one of the vegetated groves

A female Citrine Wagtail was seen briefly on Alykes but the light was terrible as usual in the evening and four Great Crested Grebes were sleeping in the bay. The bridge Red-rumped Swallows just perched on the wire along side the car for ages.

Citrine Wagtail - Berry Bekkering
Red-rumped Swallow
Red-rumped Swallow
We headed along the pan road and then back in on the western side of the Tsiknias passing Common Snipe, Squacco, Little Bittern and another drake Mallard on the way down to the spot where we missed the Spotted Crake the other night. 

Little Bittern

Common Snipe & wood Sandpiper


Black-winged Stilt - ACV

This time I was luckier and had superb views as it furtively crept along the adjacent bank. Certainly one of the smartest individuals I have ever seen. 

Spotted Crake

Spotted Crake

A quick beckon and we were soon watching a Sand Boa snuggled on the path but unlike a couple of years ago this one was only six inches long but still a beautifully marked reptile. After some snaps I moved it safely out of the tyre print in the sand to a safer spot nearby.

Sand Boa
And so a day spent no more than two miles from the hotel had proved most rewarding...

Hooded Crow

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