Tuesday 6 October 2020

Lesvos Day 10 - 19th September 2020

The wind got up during the night and by dawn was proper howling from the north-east. It was not cold but the tops of the hills were fleetingly covered in scudding clouds. As such I decided to try my luck at a bit of skywatching from the north coast as I thought that the wind direction might bring raptors across the strait from Turkey. I followed the road north to Molivos and then along the coast towards Sykaminia and pulled into the big lay by with a bandstand at Argenos which overlooks the sea and Turkey one way and the radio masts of part of the Leptymnos range.


Across the strait to Turkey although I can't find this Mosque on Google maps

It felt like a good spot and the bandstand gave me some shelter from the glare of the sporadic sun that kept poking through the grey blanket high behind me and within a couple of minutes a dainty Lesser Kestrel cruised by at eye level. The next ninety minutes were rewarding and it became very obvious that it was a falcon day and not a big BOP day but I was not complaining with three Eleonora's, Hobby, two Kestrel, two Peregrine and two groups of Red-footed Falcons totalling 22 to add my tally. Throw in two male Marsh Harriers, Sparrowhawk, four Buzzard, two Short-toed Eagles and a mass of moving Swallows and tumbling Corvids and it was a good session but all too soon the sun burnt through and blue skies returned. 

Marsh Harrier

Marsh Harrier battling his way in

Raven with breakfast

My peak Raven count was 47 and there were at least 130 Hooded Crows that at one stage headed determinedly out across the Strait to Turkey before returning to the coastal plain below while one was dropping walnuts in the road from a telegraph wire. 

Hooded Crow - walnut in foot

Windblown Hooded Crows behaving more like Choughs

Sardinian Warblers rattled and I heard Wren and Cirl Buntings and flava Wagtails and Tree Pipits and Chaffiches headed along the coast.

Views on the way back: Kavaki is over the ridge with thedry Perasma below

Molivos with zipping Swallows

West over Petra to Anaxos to the high points of Magalovouni (right peak) and the chapel of Prof. Ilias on the peak to its left.

I retraced my route with Swallows flicking through constantly and was surprised to see a flock of 120 Jackdaws in the fields just outside Petra.

A lazy lunch was delightfully interupted with a bonus large green Mantis photo shoot thanks to Nancy who had discovered one for me in her garden following my excitement with the medium sized species the other night.  I have always wented to see one of these full sized monsters and she watched and followed my every move as I attempted to take some pictures after release.

Giant Asian Mantis (Hierodula tenuidentata). or at least very similar. Paul says that the Lesvos mantis situation is rather fluid at the moment!

You can just seen the cream spot on the wing case in this shot

Look into my eyes...


It was then some food  shopping which of course led to a bump through Loutzaria. Nothing new as such but I did add Long-legged Buzzard to the day raptor list and the juvenile Marsh Harriers and Buzzards were still pestering the flava filled fields. One newly mown area was alive with every shade of yellow with Tree Pipits dotted amongst them. 

The Motacilla flava Wagtail variation is amazing


Tree Pipit

Tree Pipit

The wind was blowing dust everywhere so the retreat was sounded but not before I had seen a Dalmatian Pelican drifting towards Potamia and what I now know is called Kerami Reservoir so I dropped Andrea off at Nancy's and kept going.

I was hoping that a feeding flock would be present but as it was it was just the solitary immature I had seen heading that way. He seemed quite content so I did not disturb him and a quick scan revealed the juvenile Garganey surface picking, five Coot and an increase to 41 Little Grebes. 

Dalmatian Pelican

Red-veined Darter

A Woodchat and four Red-backed Shrikes were on the wires as I made my way to the Hidden Pool (Tsonia Pond – and remember Ts is Ch!) where the pair of Ferruginous Ducks had relocated along with three Coots, six Little Grebes and five Little Egrets but unfortunately no Night Herons. 

Ferruginous Duck - male

Ferruginous Duck - probably a juvenile

Ferruginous Duck - male

I finished up with a Metochi circuit and it is amazing how much the water has dropped since I first arrived. Six Black Storks and 12 Little Egret were actively fishing with the former tackling several Eels. Two juvenile Little Ringed Plovers were on the fresh mud and a female Mallard squibbled around the edges. 


Black Stork

LIttle Egrets

Time for a relaxing evening although sitting on the balcony was a little tricky with the still gusting wind, especially as it was sandblasting the village with the surface of the football pitch! However there were end of day rewards with 23 low flying Bee-eaters and six more Red-footed Falcons that drifted across in a flock that banked a veered more like storm blown petrels.

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