Monday 20 September 2021

Lesvos - Day 4 - 5th September 2021

A day of exploration that started with a post breakfast trundle through Lotzaria where two Kingfishers, a Turtle Dove and some amazingly close Hummingbird Hawkmoth performances were the highlights.

Stroppy Kingfishers

Hummingbird Hawkmoth

Hummingbird Hawkmoth

Millet Skipper

Mallow Skipper

An Eristalinus hoverfly and although far stripier on the thorax than back home it would appear that E aenus is the most likely.

If any of my fly friends have any additional thoughts please let me know!

From here I headed up to Agia Paraskevi and then on a track meandering out east into the olive groves on the trail of the very early Christian Basililka of Halinados (or St George to us Brits) that Michael J had posted images of the other day. The aisles and well weathered lichen encrusted columns of this wonderful monument were worthy of the winding road and you could still see the crosses at the top of each capital. 

Inside the little Chapel

With its George and the Dragon iconography

A fine pine stood at the head of the ruins and shaded the visit and the surrounding groves were full of Chaffinches, Greenfinches, Cirl Buntings, Sombre Tits and Middle Spotted Woodpeckers. Eastern Black-eared Wheatears fed under the trees and two Ravens and two Black Storks circled overhead.

Sombre Tit peering into a dry thistle

They would extract a seed and then take it to a perch to process

Essence of Eastern Black-eared Wheatear

I stuck to the track east from here as it wandered its way through the increasing pine woods. I stopped frequently to listen for Kruper's Nuthatches but had no joy and the woods were largely silent bar a few Tits, Short-toed Treecreepers, Chaffinches and Spotted Flycatchers around the edges. Four Woodlarks moved along in front of the car like little brown automatons. They are still one of my favourites.


The bumpy track popped out onto a shining white forestry or quarry haul road that blazed its way through the trees and it was an ‘entertaining’ run back South to the main Mytilini road! I turned left at the end (the sign lies!) and dropped down to the Karini road for lunch at the bridge over the River Evergetoulas

The water level was very low but a poke around the river bed produced two each of Kingfisher and Grey Wagtail and a single White Wagtail. Violet Dropwings, Red-veined and Scarlet Darters and Keeled and Southern Skimmers zipped around and Levant Water Froglets abounded while a Giant Asian Mantid is was my prize find.

Scarlet Darter

Scarlet Darter

Violet Dropwing

Violet Dropwing

The Skimmers are a headache but I am pretty sure these are as labelled. Keeled Skimmer

 Keeled Skimmer

 Keeled Skimmer

Southern Skimmer

Not sure on this Grasshopper

Levant Water Frog

Freshwater Snails

Giant Asian Mantis - Hierodula membranacea

A party of at least six Hawfinches were in the Oriental Planes but proved very tricky to see other than occasional flight views and Black Stork and Bee-eaters were overhead. After lunch I continued alongside the river down to the next road passing quite a few Spot Flys, both Whitethroats, Blackcap and Willow Warblers on the way before swinging back west on the main road. 

Spotted Flycatcher

A brief stop at the Mesa archaeological site gave great views of a juvenile Masked Shrike before finding a smart Marsh Sandpiper at the Pump House Corner on the way back through the middle.

 Masked Shrike

 Masked Shrike

Keeled Skimmer again I think

Anthophora bimaculata or similar

Long-tailed Blue

Greater Flamingo

Greater Flamingo

juv Black-winged Stilt

Marsh Sandpiper

Marsh Sandpiper

Little Ringed Plover

A respite of ice cream and a nice cup of tea at the Pela was interrupted by 17 Bee-eaters, Black Stork and Marsh Harrier going over and the constant twittering of Red-rumped Swallows before heading back out onto Lotzaria where I had a good walk with Leo T. Three Hoopoes showed very well in a field edge and the juvenile Montagu's Harrier once again performed admirably while the slightly odd Buzzard was joined on his wires by another.

Crested Lark

Tawny Pipit



Corn Bunting - not as easy to get close to in the autumn

Red-backed Shrike

Red-backed Shrike

Montagu's Harrier - if only the Buzzard had not pounced on it!

Montagu's Harrier

The odd Common Buzzard

The odd Common Buzzard

The odd Common Buzzard - ACV

The odd Common Buzzard seeing off a rival

Four Blue Butterflies were on the Brambles with Long-tailed, Lang's Short-tailed, Common and Holly along with Millet and Mallow Skippers, Small Whites, a Meadow Brown sp and Red Admiral.

Lang's Short-tailed Blue

Common Blue

Long-tailed Blue

Holly Blue

Mallow Skipper

Two Short-toed Eagles passed south and a female Peregrine put the huge number of flava Wagtails into a proper tizz. The other usual suspects were around and both Masked and Lesser Grey Shrikes seen. A single Cretzschmar's Bunting was down by the river where four Little Ringed Plovers had gathered.

Two different Short-toed Eagles

Dinner at the Pela was made more interesting by Thekla finding some Alpine Swifts heading high South in the blue.

There was time for one last look at Lotzaria as the light faded and by stopping in the track with my lights on I began to attract moths and then Bats and then two female type Nightjars that careened around the car in the strengthening wind. It was amazing and probably ranks highly on my most amazing wildlife experiences. Stone Curlews wailed from the fields and Green Sandpipers were once again heard before retreating to Nancy's for an aperitif.

Full screen and volume up... enjoy

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