No early rise but the Koulouri was even hotter from the oven this morning but I did have to step over this rather cute Eastern Tree Frog in the garden on the way back!
|Eastern Tree Frog
The way out for the day took us through Lotzaria where the birds were all roughly in the same place as yesterday evening but the light was even better on the freshly mown meadow with the Wagtails and several hundred glowed like little yellow buttercups. Some smart males were present along with grey and white buzzy juveniles that you would want to see the hind claw of if they turned up in the late autumn in the UK. An adult male and two chocolatey juvenile Marsh Harriers and three Buzzards sat around the same field and the Long-legged Buzzard was on his favourite hay bale. The male Red-footed Falcon reappeared but like last night kept going.
|male Red-footed Falcon
Peter had not seen the Buntings so we checked the ploughed field and quickly found both the Black-headed and Ortolan although the latter had now become two. After a good view we left Peter to his day and headed north with thankfully no salt lorries to follow up the hill.
|One of each
Petra was deserted as we drove through and there was no one at Kavaki. I was not expecting much but the view has to be taken regardless of the season as it never disappoints. It seems like a large swathe of scrub has been cleared on the inland side of the road opposite the layby but hopefully this will not affect the spring time Sylvias. Sardinian Warblers rattled and eight Chukars exploded from cover and whirred across the road past the Oxy while out to sea a flutter of 12 Yelkouan Shearwaters lazily circled. The coastguard boat was patrolling and two odd looking light aircraft that we had seen at the airport were similarly hugging the cliffline and we saw them several times during the day. Their purpose would become clear in future days.
|Chukars with Petra backdrop
|The two curious slow flying, little planes. The name Dromader and camel image should have given me a clue
|The second almost identical plane just a few metres behind
Perasma was almost bone dry with just a forlorn puddle in the bottom with two happy Cormorants and a Grey Heron so the stop was brief before exploring a way to drive almost to the gates of Molivos castle which will require a further visit. The headland had Eastern Black-eared Wheatears and 35 unexpected Jackdaws were giving an incoming male Marsh Harrier grief.
It was time to tackle the obviously recently graded north coast road above Eftalou. It was a pleasant drive but almost birdless. Police and Border Patrol were scanning the strait and a very small tented camp has reappeared at one of the bends but there was no one ambling the road and no sign of refugee 'debris' on the tideline like in 2016.
|Lunch by the ocean
Time for lunch in the shade of the Tamarisks and then onto Skala Sykaminias for an Ice cream at Kavos with Dias the Macaw for company and two Audouin's Gulls on a rock offshore. The village was deserted with just one table occupied at lunchtime across the whole harbour front and the Niki in the one open craft shop said she would close at the end of the week. Everyone is suffering.
|Dias - the Greek for Zeus
After the climb back up to the main road it was not too far to turn off again and head back down to Tsonia for another swim. It was great despite the fact that there were now proper waves and some seaweed to get through before clear water - bob, float, frappe and back to base via a quick Bunting fix on Lotzaria on the way through where a third Ortolan had joined the party.
| Red-backed Shrike
|Romanian Blue Headed Wagtail - probably
My evening balcony session saw the usual
procession of Corn Buntings, flava Wagtails, House and Spanish Sparrows head
off to roost and even a calling Black-headed Bunting but the star was my very first Lesvos Meadow Pipit!