Monday 9 May 2022

Lesvos - Day 3 - 22nd April 2022

The party grew by one overnight with the arrival of Clive and breakfast was enlivened by a Tree Pipit and some northbound Bee-eaters before we headed out for the day locally. Piping hot Koulouri from the Bakers tickled the olfactory senses despite the fact that breakfast had only just been consumed. A group of perched Bee-eaters got us off to a grand start even before we reached the Tsiknias and once there were quickly added an immature Black-headed Gull and a couple of skimming lines of Yelkouan Shearwaters shimmering into the mirror calm Bay.  this was the first tme I have seen them in the Bay in the Spring.


Eastern Olies and Nightingales were in good voice and a Cetti's Warbler did the decent thing and perched up long enough to get the scope onto. Getting good views of species like this is always tricky when the guests have never seen them before! A Spotted Crake had been reported but we did not expect it to be right out on the river edge feeding on the muddy margin. Not an annual species here for me and not too far from where I saw my last. After ten minutes it flew to our side of the river and was not seen again all day.

Spotted Crake

Down at the Ford the cacophony of Acro Warbler noise was astonishing and if anything there were even more clumsy, galumphing Great Reed Warblers crashing about. I think that at least 20 would be an underestimate. Blackcap, both Whitethroats and even a couple of showy Nightingales were seen and Alpine Swifts once again came down to drink. The Little Owl was in its usual spot.

Great Reed Warbler


The Ruff and Little Stint flock had increased and the female Garganey was still there along with a small mixed flock of flava Wagtails that included males of Black-headed, Grey-headed and Romanian Blue-headed.

Black-headed Wagtail

Lotzaria Triangle revealed that many more Eastern Olies had arrived and we had really good views of a couple of singing males.

Down to the KSP passing Spanish Sparrows and Whinchats on the way before a good session on the Sheepfields offered us excellent views of Short-toed Lark, Red-throated Pipits and Northern Wheatear (of the race we get in the UK) but the highlight was a pair of Pochard that flew low over our heads and out into the Bay!! I saw a female on my first visit in 2010 and never since. A Stone-Curlew slowly worked its way along the beach and the Red-rumped Swallows were nesting under the bridge.


Red-throated Pipit

Non native - Cotula coronopifolia from New Zealand

Dwarf Mallow - Malva neglecta

Chequered Scorpion

Chequered Scorpion


I followed the pans back to the main road adding Gull-billed Tern and another Zitting Cisticola to the tally before swinging through Kalloni, passing a perched Fat Headed Eagle (the new name from Lynne for Short toed Eagle) and a circling Hobby and male Red-footed Falcon on the way to Parakila for lunch which was taken in the shade of the olive groves with the sound of purring Turtle Doves and ChaffinchesSouthern Festoon and both Common and Scarce Swallowtails were seen.

Peter & Lynne do lunch

Lesvos Sheep Van Buff

The flowers do not feel quite the right shape on this and I reckon it may be blue Scarlet Pimpernel rather than a true Blue P.

Legousia pentagonia

Lupinus varius

The little harbour was birdless but still quaint and then we turned around and headed for the chapel of Agh. Ioannis just above that point. It was a little frustrating but there were some good birds to be had with invisible singing Cirl and Cinereous Buntings and several Cretzschmar's of which one did sit up for a view while Beethoven's 5th echoed across the rocky slope. Eastern Black-eared Wheatears danced above the rocky escarpment and a Tree Pipit did its best to remain unobserved. Clive found a Golden Oriole way up the slope and as it flew another ten bounded along close behind it in splashes of green, black and gold. Eastern Subalpine and Orphean Warblers were seen with the former perching up nicely and showing that vinous throat.

Retracing our steps brought me into the Potamia Valley from the roadside river end which allowed us to see the first of two Purple Herons and a Green Sandpiper. The old reservoir added Little Grebe and Coot to their lists and Little Bittern to all and another Purple Heron flopped off. Up valley both Masked and Woodchat Shrikes gave themselves up and Hoopoe, Crag Martin, Fat-headed Eagles and Eastern Orphean Warblers were all found along with numerous Spotted Flycatchers and Whinchats.


Little Bittern - to think we normally have daily frame fillers!


Red-rumped Swallows

male Masked Shrike


The route into Metochi yielded more of the same although we did see a Middle Spotted Woodpecker briefly before I re-found one of the male Collared Flycatchers in the same elm hedge as Wednesday with several Spotted and a female Pied for company. Down at the lake a drake Mallard was new and Squacco flew over. Up over the ridge a male Goshawk sparred with two Common Buzzards and an Eleonora's Falcon powered up the valley on elastic beats. I saw two Rock Nuthatches but they were not really playing ball. A quick visit to the Tsiknias as the light and temperature dropped added nothing new so we called it a night.

After dinner and the log I took us out for a drive around the block where several Scops Owls were heard along with Barn Owl, Nightingales, a trillion Eastern Tree and Levant Water Frogs, some bizarre probably illegal aquatic foraging activity by three shifty geezers with head torches methodically working their way down river from the ford and the frankly terrifying sight of Elon Musk's glittering train of satellites powering through the starry heavens like a shining arrow of alien craft tailgating each other to the next intergalactic gig.

Volume up...

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