Monday 27 September 2021

Lesvos - Day 11 - 12th September 2021

After a late return from Anaxos last night, the plan to get to the Eastern Salt Pans went a bit squiffy. Breakfast was somewhat more relaxed and interrupted by two immature type Marsh Harriers high and south and a swirl of mainly young House Martins suddenly around the hotel that even came in to check out old nests.

House Martin

I decided to visit the Turpentine trees at Parakila again and had a pleasant couple of hours pottering up and down the lane to the harbour. It was a little quieter but one of the Eastern Subalpine Warblers was still gorging on ripe figs with a couple of Lesser Whitethroats and once again there were both Wheatears, Spotted Flycatchers and several Whitethroats.

Eastern Subalpine Warbler

Eastern Subalpine Warbler - a different bird to the 1w male imaged before

All Eastern Black-eared Wheatears

Three Common Redstarts were new arrivals though and each was defending a patch in one of the Turpentine trees. Middle Spotted Woodpeckers bounded around and Cirl Buntings were coming down to the pond to drink and a scaly Masked Shrike sat under an olive tree. There were no Bee-eaters around the hives but I could hear invisible flocks very high up.

Common Redstarts

Huge Oak Apple Galls 

Valonia Oak - Quercus macrolepis

Turpentine Tree

Masked Shrike

Spotted Flycatcher - also Berryeater

Eyes to the skies did reveal a Short-toed Eagle and Common Buzzard over the ridge and another large raptor circling slowly South. My first thoughts were Black Kite as it looked very square tailed and I could see paler carpal bars on the upperwing but as it came closer I could a white belly and underwing contrasting with dark remiges. It was a pale Booted Eagle... I watched it out of sight. A French group on the island had a dark phase bird at about the same time high through Metochi so birds were obviously on the move and just difficult to pick up in the unblemished blue sky.

Back for a coffee via five sleepy-eyed Stone Curlews on the Christou by the two Tamerisks and then I went out and had a good look up and down the Tsiknias during the middle of the day. 

Stone Curlew

The Pela Pool was inviting but...

but I got distracted by a close Cicada which I eventually found

The Spur-winged Plover was still at the Ford and up river I had a male Cretzschmar's and the first winter Black-headed Bunting again come up from the river bed. It feels like there should be more Crakes lurking in the still lush central channel but I only found a Little Egrets and some Terrapins. 

Spur-winged Plover

At the junction where you come off the Tsiknias river track and into the Lotzaria Triangle there is a burnt stump. Even now I still think it is the back end of a black and white cow as I approach and thus it is now known as 'Cow Corner'...

Two Short-toed Eagles and a Raven circled high and South along with a flock of 31 Bee-eaters and I spent some time watching Long-tailed and Lang's Short-tailed Blues and a couple of Millet and Mallow Skippers nectaring on the Brambles and Chaste Trees before the heat got too much and I headed down to the Salt Pans where a quick scan revealed dropping water levels but still very few waders with just a Green Sandpiper, five Redshank, Greenshank, Kentish Plover, four Little Stints and a lone long billed Dunlin

Knackered Small Copper

Meadow Brown sp

Millet Skipper

Long-tailed Blue - they seem to like feeding upside down

Red-veined Darter

Essence of Lesser Emperor

Common Digging Grasshopper  -Acrotylus insubricus - it has red wings when it flies

The Mottled Bee Fly - what a beast - Thyridanthrax fenestratus

Lesser Caltrop - Tribulus terrestris


The Lesser Grey Shrike was still on the wires as I bumped my way back. A proper chill out afternoon before a final Saltpan circuit which added a solitary juvenile Curlew Sandpiper to the list and an ever increasing flotilla of Dalmatian Pelicans which reached at least 26 but I was viewing from the Sheepfields and there could have been more. 

Salt Pan Channel Mouth

Distant Big Birds...

I counted 19 Spoonbills and five Black Storks and along the beach there were four Curlews and a few Gulls and ‘Mingos. The day had one last bonus with a croaking adult Night Heron circling the hotel at 7.50pm.

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