Tuesday 28 September 2021

Lesvos - Day 12- 13th September 2021

A genuinely early start saw myself, Peter and John down at the Eastern Pans in the dark for a quiet walk down to get level with the looming shapes of the Dalmatian Pelicans and although the sunset never materialised (getting swallowed by the low cloud) it was still a productive couple of hours with 30 slowly waking grey white icebergs, stretching and somehow preening with those outsized bills and a good selection of other stuff including, 19 Spoonbills, Great White Egrets, Flamingos, four Teal and a better array of waders than in previous days. There were four delicate Marsh Sandpipers feeding with Redshanks and a Spotted Redshank and a couple of Ringed Plovers were heard. We found four Grey Plovers, nine Little Stints and eight clockwork Kentish Plovers and four Dunlin and hopefully more will arrive in the next few days. A female Marsh Harrier was perched on one of the bunds and a Fox was hunting the same area causing consternation amongst the Red and Greenshanks.

Dalmatian Pelicans and friends

The not quite sunrise

Corn Buntings, flava Wagtails and Crested Larks left their roost and one almost fell foul of a lightening attack from a juvenile male Goshawk that was so preoccupied that it only jinked away from us at the last moment. A proper close encounter.

A late breakfast (with a bonus Short-toed Lark flying over) and then up through Agia Paraskevi passing a female Sparrowhawk and Osprey in quick succession before dropping down to Skala Sykaminias for a drive along the North Track. Retrospectively I should have stayed up top and gone to the raptor viewpoint but hey ho. However, there were lots of small birds along the coast with Spotted Flycatchers, Lesser Whitethroats and Willow Warblers in good numbers and the odd Middle Spotted Woodpecker, Blackcap and Red-backed Shrike and I saw two incoming Honey Buzzards with one right in over my head. The sea was once again devoid of any birds whatsoever.

Incoming Honey Buzzard

Middle Spotted Woodpecker

Yellow-legged Gull

Turkish fishing boats and the Mosque I still can't identify

The boast first seen in 2016 is slowly being consumed

Lunch was taken in Molyvos at Octopus and it was good to see the harbour front tavernas busier than it was this time last year. The cloud and pleasant conditions had now been replaced by some serious heat so it was time to head back home over the top.  We bought some herbs from the same shop as last year and then had a nice chat with Louise and Gabriel in their local craft shop where some impromptu bird photo id occurred before moving on.  It was now exceptionally hot. 

Oriental Hornet - ACV

Having missed out on some good raptor passage earlier I decided to drop in on the Kalloni Raptor Watchpoint on the way back in the hope of picking up a few birds that had come over the island but it was just too hot to stay long but I was happy with a calling Chukar, three Short-toed Eagles, Ravens, a huge female Goshawk and a spiralling flock of about 50 stratospheric Bee-eaters.

Siesta time and then out onto Lotzaria under heavy grey skies. The light was poor but it was just nice that someone to have tuned the temperature back down again! Two Snipe and the Black Stork were in the Tsiknias but the Little Crake requires more than a few minutes of my time so I quickly moved on. 

A 1st winter Blackbird at the Pela

Black Stork

Common Snipe

Mixed hirundines on the wires

The fields were still fairly quiet but I had a great encounter with a Weasel hunting along the track. I still find these Mustilids a little odd here. They are apparently the same species that I get at home but each time I see one I think 'Stoat' as they appear bigger and more rubust and with an obvious tail that is in between the two species in length. There is even a hint of darkness at the tip which Least Weasel never has. It feels like some specification work may be in order? 

Least Weasel

Anyway, it was being followed by two Whitethroats and an equally vocal Red-backed Shrike but seemed un-phased by the attention. Two Hoopoes fed in the adjacent stubble field with 30 Crested Lark and a few Wheatears and 70 Hooded Crows came up to perch on the wires in a vaguely sinister fashion. 

Spotted Flycatcher

Common Buzzard


Hooded Crows

I took the track back through to Kerami passing a big flock of low hunting Bee-eaters on the way and three Common Kestrels headed purposefully South along with the Black Stork from the Tsiknias that came my way.

Hummingbird Hawkmoth



Black Stork

Time for dinner with quite possibly the most glorious sunset I have ever seen here and a few spots of rain to give me hope of some overnight fresh arrivals...

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