Wednesday 4 July 2018

Lesvos Day 14: 4th May 2018

Day 14: 4th May

You would not have thought it could get any hotter but today the temperature was at 30c by 10am and rose to 35c during today and was still at about 30c at 6.30pm... Would this put a dent in the birding? Well, slightly... A post breakfast bounce through the pans gave superb views of yesterday's Rose Coloured Starling as he serenaded his audience of two from the Mulberry tree by the Tsiknias lower ford. Much better views of this shaggy crested rosy beast and I suspect he will hold court until the fruit ripen and some of his friends with better time keeping arrive from the south. 

Rose Coloured Starling

The regular Long-legged Buzzard cruised slowly across Lotzaria and the Spur-winged Plover and a flock of 14 Squacco dotted the mouth of the river. Four Bee-eaters fed from the wires just outside the car windows..



Two Broad-billed Sandpipers had been discovered on the north east pan but were proving mobile but a quick look from the hide soon produced these stripy kink billed calidrids probing around like little sewing machines with a scattered host of Little Stints and Curlew Sandpipers.
With the temperature soaring I drove past Kalami Marsh and turned up the road to Mesa Sanctuary and stopped a short way down where a bridge crossed a clear stream which was teaming with small fish and wriggling adult Eels that were prevented from getting any further up river by a wooden dam but I suspect they will attempt to go overland to get by. Dragons zoomed around and included my first Violet Dropwings and Scarce Chaser

Scarce Chaser

Southern Skimmer

Broad Scarlet

Violet Dropwing

Blue-tailed Damselfly

Common Eel

A very funky Jumping Spider - ACV
The Sanctuary was unexpectedly fabulous and at two Euros a head is well worth a visit for little bit of seriously ancient culture. Some of the pieces on show are 1600 years old... Serins jangled and a Hoopoe was a pleasant experience with the scent of Juniper following you around.

A quick stop on the way back out at Kalami Marsh added a female Citrine Wagtail but no Great Snipe but I was just as pleased with three Dice Snakes and the first Green-eyed Hawker of the trip. 
Dice Snake

Air was needed and driving was the only way to find it so a coastal run to Vasilka and the sultry olive groves gave views of a beach Stone Curlew, Common Sandpiper and six Olive Tree Warblers singing lustily from the groves.

Stone Curlew with its feet wet!
Common Sandpiper

Yellow-legged Gull
A stop at the bridge before Achladeri saw the local Stripe-necked Terrapins begging for titbits and among them were two released pet terrapin species in the shape of American Red-necked and Yellow-necked Sliders ... 

Yellow-necked Slider

Red-necked Slider

Scarce Chasers darted around and I found my first ever Winter Damselfies - all my previous sightings have been in error!
Scarce Chaser

Winter Damselflies
Back at Kalami a shockingly short stop added good views of the Great Snipe at the back of the pool before hastily retreating to the car again to avoid the heat and Deerflies!

Great Snipe - Michael Sveikutis

Pool time and eventually a run out late afternoon to Aghia Ioannis provided nothing but a lovely view before heading back down to the pans for a circuit. 

The Rosy Starling was still drawing a crowd so we did not join the throng and picked up a male Red Foot just beyond the ford and Black Stork feeding in it. The four Bee-eaters were still floating around and had muddy bills from feeding in the irrigated fields while the Little Owl watched from the wires.

Red=-footed Falcon

And a short video of this lovely pair...

The Spur Winged Plover was showing exceptionally well on the ever dwindling Alykes wetlands and a couple of White Winged Black Terns dipped in and 34 Whiskered Terns appeared in a noisy chattering mass but soon moved on. Fifteen hawking Collared Pratincoles over the Tsiknias on the return journey were a fitting end to a hot and trying final full day...

Spur Winged Plover

Spur Winged Plover

Crested Lark

Crested Lark

female Black-headed Wagtail
White Stork

Sunset towards Potamia

Ruff, Little Stints and Curlew Sandpipers - Leo Tucker
Kentish Plover - ACV

That evening, an Eastern Tree Frog at last gave itself up and posed, stuck to the white wall of the hotel while a random glance up into a light fitting revealed the first little pink Turkish Gecko and despite me worrying about it being trapped, it soon left its captive fluttering dinner table and retuned to a crevis to digest.

Turkish Gecko
Eastern Tree Frog

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