Monday 28 September 2020

Lesvos Day 2 - 11th September 2020

The eastern Kalloni saltpans was my first stop this morning but it was not an early start and the gorgeous green eyed but tenacious Deer Flies were ravenous and were not put off by the stiff breeze in any way. Just how they know that there is warm blood in the car I cannot fathom. 

Chrysops sp - the Deer Fly

Fortunately they had tailed off by the time I was opposite the Pelican flock. I counted 29 but they were hunkered down and it was very hazy but I think they were all Dalmatian. Seven Spoonbills, Black Stork and a platoon of Cormorants were seen but I did not linger long.

Dalmatian Pelicans in a snooze huddle

Greater Flamingos being similarly exciting

Onto Achladeri (passing a Black Stork at Mesa) for a solitary walk through the hot pines, moving between shady patches to avoid getting scorched. The smell of the woods was wondrous but the thick carpet of needles actually made the ground very slippery which felt odd in a bone dry forest. 

Black Stork

The regular species were in attendance although the tooting Kruper's Nuthatches were very mobile. Short-toed Treecreepers were vocal along with Cirl Buntings and a flock of seven grovelling Woodlarks. It was good to find Coal Tit amongst the Blues and Greats and Middle Spotted Woodpeckers chattered upslope along with the hoped for Sardinian Warblers that are here to winter while flocks of pruuking Bee-eaters moved high South. 

Short-toed Treecreeper

Freyer’s Graylings were seen basking on pine trunks and Small Coppers danced low to the ground where Red and Blue Winged Grasshoppers and the imposing Slant Faced Grasshopper were seen.   

Freyer’s Grayling

Freyer’s Grayling

Meadow Brown sp

Small Copper

Common Blue

Red Winged Grasshopper

Blue Winged Grasshopper

Slant Faced Grasshopper (Acrida ungarica)

Slant Faced Grasshopper (Acrida ungarica)

There were very few flowering plants and almost anything green had been grazed and scorched but I did find a few things to identify when I got home.


And a very stunted Verbascum sinuatum

Heliotropium europaeum

Heliotropium europaeum

Carlina involucrata

Lunch amongst the three Shrikes, chats and Tawny Pipits was taken overlooking the Bay from the coast track towards Alikoudi but I did not feel like it was worth pushing on in the intense heat. 

Panting Northern Wheatear

Another hazy Lesser Grey Shrike

Red-backed Shrike

Looking inland from the coast

And back towards Achladeri


I retraced along the corrugated track with an inordinate amount of jiggling and stopped at the shady bridge after Achladeri to let my insides refind some sort of equilibrium. The Terrapin frenzy started as soon as I reached the bridge but I did not see any of the American species like last time – just Stripe-necked. They appreciated some bits of bread while I listened to a party of Long-tailed Tits in the pines along with noisy Middle Spotted Woodpeckers. Woodlarks and Sardinian Warblers called and two Kingfishers zipped through before I could even raise my bins.

Stripe-necked Terrapin bread bundle!

... with a Bee-eater

I took the route back through the Pans where juvenile Flamingos and a few waders including the first Curlew Sandpiper and some obliging Little Stints were in the Channel and 27 Slender-billed Gulls were on the first pan with double that of Black-heads

Greater Flamingos and Black-headed Gull

Greater Flamingos

juv Little Stint

juv Little Stint

juv Little Stint - a very oddly long winged individual

juv Little Stint

juv Curlew Sandpiper

juv Curlew Sandpiper

juv Little Ringed Plover

juv Little Ringed Plover

juv Ringed Plover - a small plump, long winged bird - Tundra race?

juv Greenshank

juv Greenshank

adult Slender-billed Gull

adult Slender-billed Gull - my best ever views

Crested Larks were also feeding along the channel edge

Two more Lesser Grey Shrikes, a host of Bee-eaters and the haystack Long-legged Buzzard were watched on the bump back through Lotzaria while two more hulking Dalmatian Pelicans were at the river mouth and three young White Storks were guarding a tiny pool near the lower Tsiknias Ford.

juv Long-legged Buzzard

juv Long-legged Buzzard

juv Bee-eater

Northern Wheatear

Dalmatian Pelicans

White Stork

White Storks

Little Egret

A late afternoon walk around the Kallonis Pool triangle revealed just how dry things are. The Pool was a desert of grazed brown and now would be a great time for ‘someone’ to get in there and remove some of the juncus clumps especially at the east end, cut back the tamarisks and create some deeper channels to hold water longer. 

Kallonis Pool

Anthophora sp bee

Anthophora sp bee

Graphosoma lineatum

Not the best of shots but a tiny Adonis Ladybird

Red-veined Darters lined the fence

female Red-veined Darters

Trumpet Vine - Campsis radicans

The Kalloni garden was currently out of bounds and all locked up but the Pasiphae is still quite green and I found Redstart, Willow Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher and several Blackbirds feeding in the shady under the date palms.

Common Redstart

Tatty male Blackbird

I took a picture of what turned out to be a stone in a field and discovered that in a compound behind it was an African Grey Crowned Crane – possibly the weirdest photo bombing I have ever had!

African Grey Crowned Crane

The rest of the day was spent chilling on the balcony while watching Red-rumped Swallows hawk the Pasiphae pines before the bats awoke for the evening and the daily procession of Sparrows, Corn Buntings, Wagtails and Hoodies headed over to roost in their respective spots.

That evening after dinner I almost trod on a medium sized Praying Mantis on the pavement outside Nancy’s. It was my first ever fully winged adult although I am not sure of the species as yet. Nancy was intrigued by my interest and said that the big ones regularly come to hunt for moths around the lights on the house and that she would look out for one in the garden! A quick check only revealed a delightfully pink little Turkish Gecko on the prowl for dinner.

Praying Mantis - Iris oratoria

Turkish Gecko


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