Thursday 7 June 2018

Lesvos Day 9: 29th April 2018

Day 9: 29th April: 

Another venture west saw us heading into the Eresos end of the track just after 9am where an Olive Tree Warbler in full song was a good start at the little chapel. It even showed quite well as it dipped down in looping flight between the small trees. Masked Shrikes sang too which was a good comparison as I had both birds on view at once.

The track down into Meladia was alive with the four magic Buntings and both Rock Sparrow and Nuthatch were encountered along with dapper Black-eared Wheatears and the sadly neglected Crested Larks. 

Cretzschmar's Bunting

Cirl Bunting

Black-headed Bunting

A very large Glass Lizard
Starred Agama and Balkan Green Lizards!

Starred Agama

Some quality time with the usual three trees before the ford was most productive with many Red-backed and the first of two Lesser Greys along with three Golden Orioles, four Collared, two Pied and four Spotted Flycatcher. There were no migrant warblers but Orphean and Olivaceous were in full song and a Rufous Bush Chat sang slightly up valley of the fig grove. A Little Bittern headed up valley and Bee-eaters invisibly did the same. 

Lesser Grey Shrike

Red-backed Shrike

Rufous Bushchat

Collared Flycatcher

Collared Flycatcher

Black-headed Bunting
Levant Marsh Frog tadpole - ACV
The butterflies were once again amazing with clouds of Meadow Browns on Greek Marjoram (which I think is Origanum heracleoticum) and crucifer and Balkan Marbled Whites on the artichoke-like Milk Thistles.

Balkan Marbled Whites

Balkan Marbled Whites

Silver Y Moth

As yet unidentified large bee

Essex Skipper - ACV

By the end of the track I had counted 27 Red-backed Shrikes and two Lesser Kestrels were a welcome addition. 


Down into Sigri past a fenceline of Whinchats and from there to the Lower Ford at Faneromeni passing a beach Greenshank on the way to where a Great Snipe had been seen earlier before the farmer headed up the river. Amazingly it flew back in just after I arrived but disappeared from view. I waited a while seeing a brief female type Red -breasted flycatcher in the Oriental Plane tree above while Cuckoo, Turtle Dove and several Black-headed Wagtails came down to drink. A Little Bittern fished for tadpoles and Wood Sandpipers tottered around. 

Little Bittern

Wood Sandpiper

After lunch I checked again but could not see the Great Snipe so I crossed the ford and turned right as I remembered finding a gap a short way up last week. I thought it would be too far up for the Snipe but a quick scan along revealed, not the bird, but its reflection and by getting down low I could see most of this portly gallinago sat on the edge of the bank. My best views ever of one of these beauties. 

Great Snipe by reflection

and slightly better!
Returning to the ford a Purple Heron was busy catching huge frogs and a young Grass Snake was engulfing a Green Toadlet which I have to admit I thought was dead until I politely prodded it. 

Purple Heron having just swallowed  huge frog
Long-tailed Blue

A search of the surrounding groves produced four Collared Flycatchers and three Golden Orioles before we left for the road home via Ipsilou where a host of Orioles sang from the oaks along with Cinerous Buntings, Orpheans and four Pied Flycatchers

Spotted Flycatcher

Northern Wheatear
Two Hoopoes dueted from the rocky ridge and Isabelline Wheatears buzzed and fizzled by the car. 

Isabelline Wheatear

Spot the Hoopoe...

Andrena albopunctata - a quite stunning bee!
A dropped apple core not being wasted
The journey back was swift and a tour of Lotzaria was curtailed by the rescue of a male Little Bittern that was sitting in the middle of the road. I easily caught it and carried it back to the ford for release in a more conducive environment for which it appeared grateful...


  1. Fabulous memories, the butterflies have been exceptional this year.

  2. That sounded like a very good day Howard. Lawrence