Tuesday 8 March 2022

Lesvos Day 4 - 1st March 2022

Breakfast down by the Tsiknias Lower Ford added Swallow to the trip list with a few House Martins. Two Ruff, Snipe and the Green Sandpiper were in the shallows and the Reed Buntings were still around with flicky white tail sides. Back through town, passing two Spoonbills, both Egrets and an adult Slender Billed Gull along the beach while offshore I could see thousands of Shearwaters which made my mind up as to which direction to go.  The Christou just held Flamingos and a few Meadow Pipits but it was great to hear a Zitting Cisticola ping away in the distance.


Hooded Crows looking for breakfast

Little and Large

Synchronised Spoonbills

I continued around towards Parakilia where great rafts of Yelkouans were plunge feeding with many Gulls in attendance,  swirling in circles before settling into a frenzy of spray as they attacked a shoal.

Yelkouan Shearwaters

Watch in HD

The marsh just up the road was wet for once and held a few Flamingos and Egrets and closer scrutiny revealed two Kingfishers and at least four more calling Siberian Chiffchaffs with 11 normal ones.  I got a very good look at a couple of these Siberians and although there were features that pointed to the form such as the green sheen on the secondaries, pale underparts and even a hint of warm on the ear coverts, none were what would traditionally be called acceptable back home as a classic frosty coffee and white. They were warmer and more olive above and the supercilium was not as bold as I am used to. In fact if I had not watched them calling I would have just said ‘Common Chiffchaff’ and moved on. Strangely, back in the UK they rarely seem to call and even ‘classic’ bird may be passed up for lack of a ‘peep’  These were all incredibly vocal.

Parakilia Marsh


Little Egret

Greater Flamingos

All above - A Siberian Chiffchaff

The road out west was very quiet but the landscape alone is always worth the drive and was far greener than we usually see it.


The honey scent of this particular Almond was intoxicating

A couple of regular roadside stops produced yet another peeping Sibe Chiff along with many singing Robins, Song Thrushes and Blackcaps and some hardy little Snake Eyed Lacertids.

Snake Eyed Lacertid - ACV

Pithariou Reservoir was fully topped up and the slipway was in use but there were only Yellow-legged Gulls to be seen on the water but up above there were 14 Crag Martins cruising with 12 House Martins. Grey and White Wagtails were on the babbling river.

Pithariou Reservoir  - it was cold!

Pale Figwort - Scrophularia lucida

I followed it down to Skala Eresou to look for Moustached Warblers but the breeze was a bit stiff. The area was alive with Chiffchaffs again and now, unsurprisingly, a single Siberian. Six normal Buzzards and 14 Ravens tumbled overhead and there were several Coots and Moorhens.  Huge Mullet cruised below the bridge.

The Eresos Golden Frog

From here it was up to Ipsilou as I did not fancy the track to Sigri after the deluge on Sunday. I did not stop but followed the still unfinished road down to Faneromeni for lunch at the sheltered upper ford. To be honest it was barely wetter than in April and was almost birdless but I did find a two White Wagtails, Small Whites, a Large White, Episyrphus balteatus and two mining Bees in the sunshine.

The Sigri Oak Grove looks a little different at this time of year

Skeletal Fig Trees

Faneromeni upper ford

An Andrena mining bee

An Andrena mining bee (I think)

A small Large White

Episyrphus balteatus

The beach pool

Back up again to Ipsilou (via two roadside Chukars at the Petrified Forest) as I have always harboured thoughts of a winter Wallcreeper or Alpine Accentor. The views were as spectacular as ever but from a leafless viewpoint and my circuit using the old path produced just one Buzzard and not a single passerine but there were Small Coppers flicking around and an immaculate False Apollo cruising like a mini Swallowtail. Snake-eyed Lacertids scampered around but it was cold enough to see your breath.

False Apollo

Small Copper

Long-horn Beetle sp

Chunky Beetle 

Ornithogalum pedicellare

Ornithogalum pedicellare

I just liked the composition of the Field Marigold, rock and Lichen

Acorn cups - will have to dig out the species again

I suspect a Verbascum sp

Time to head back with a brief stop at Perivolis where the Firecrest and Siskins were had again before a late afternoon visit to the Kalloni Saltpans and beyond. Mesa was quiet with a Black Stork and a few Flamingos so I came back to the Eastern Pan track until dusk and dinner.


Wood Nuthatch


A similar collection to yesterday's but a few extra waders with 43 Dunlin eight Grey Plover, nine Golden Plover, two Kentish Plovers and 21 Curlew. Two hunting Marsh Harriers spooked some Shoveler and there were three pair of Garganey with them while the female Pintail had been joined by a drake.

Great White Egret

I am not sure of the race but all Lesvos Curlews have astonishing bills

Teal, Wigeon and Shelduck

The immature Pallid Harrier appeared right next to the car and even perched up for me before trying to upset a Great White Egret. My best views ever of any age. A little further back a full adult male Hen Harrier ghosted over the back of the Sheepfields where he was actively hunting Larks and Pipits. This was my first Grey Ghost for many years and a joy to watch.

Pallid Harrier

male Hen Harrier

Pallid Harrier - watch in HD

Marsh Harrier

Reed Buntings fed with Meadow Pipits in the margins and I tried not to be distracted by another male Stonechat.

Reed Bunting

Stonechat and Corn Bunting

An adult Spoonbill showed at close range in the saltpan channel on the bump back through. Possibly the closest I have even been to one.


Dinner at the Dionysis once again and then some quality Owling between Papiana and Kerami with two each of counter singing Long-eared and Scops Owls to finish off the day.

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