Breakfast was interrupted by a squadron of 31 silent
Gull-billed Terns heading steadily east and Bee-eaters were already on the move
before we left for the day. Agriosikos was to be the morning amble and we
passed our first Blue Rock Thrush and a bushy tailed Fox as we got beyond
Looking down on Filia
The first Eastern Bonelli's Warbler was in song within
minutes of starting out up the track and we encountered at least four
territorial males although seeing these little ghostly chipping warblers is
another matter. We got lucky though and the patch of one male included the
track and the telephone wires above it and with patience you could track him
into the adjacent oaks. Cirl Buntings similarly trilled and the first Wren of
the trip sang vociferously although I am not sure when I actually last saw one
on the island?
Eastern Bonelli's Warbler
Eastern Bonelli's Warbler - Clive Harris
Eastern Subalpine Warblers displayed all around and good
views of Sombre Tits were had at last along with more Long-taileds too.
Eastern Subalpine Warbler - Clive Harris
already told the crew that it was a good spot for raptors and that I often
listen for the agitated Ravens to find something good, when the Yellow-legged
Gulls did just the same. Amazingly they had found a Lesser Spotted Eagle and it
spent a good few minutes circling not too far above us where all the salient
features could be seen. I do not have much experience of these big eagles but I
think it was subadult.
Lesser Spotted Eagle
Retracing our steps added a female Sparrowhawk, dark
Eleonora's Falcon,Black Stork and a couple of Alpine Swifts and as usual up
here the flowers and selection of insect life was superb.
The tiniest Blue Rock Thrush - a true Essence Of...
Merodon sp - Hoverfly
Eristalis sp - Hoverfly
Eristalis sp - Hoverfly
Gonia sp - I think
Dragon Arum - Dracunculus vulgaris
Drooping Star-of-Bethlehem - Ornithogalum nutans
Linaria pelisseriana - a Toadflax
Poppies are very tricky but I think that this short one is Papaver nigrotinctum with Pale Flax - Linum bienne
Carmine Catchfly - Silene colorata
Silene colorata, Crepis rubra, Hypecoum procumbens and some small yellow Composites and a Chamomile species
Looking down to the Kalloni saltpans
Leaving the masts I descended through Filia and up into the
Lardia Gorge which is being changed beyond recognition by frankly unnecessary
road straightening that has already resulted in the corner being quite
literally cut off at the Pinnacle. I still stopped and there were ten Crag
Martins and a few Red Rumped Swallows flitting around and Long-legged Buzzard,
Short-toed Eagle and Black Stork were up on the ridge.
Perivolis Monastery was the designated lunch stop (and cat
feeding time too) and a short walk beforehand gave us a Middle Spotted
Woodpecker leaving its nest hole, Pied Flycatcher, Bee-eaters and Cirl Buntings
while a pale Eleonora's Falcon became the second of the day. Once again there was a wealth of flowers and Common and GreenUnderside Blues and a large Brown Argus.
Giant Fennel - Ferula communis
Pretty sure this is the blue form of Scarlet Pimpernel - Anagallis arvensis rather than true Blue Pimpernel Anagallis monellii
Scarlet Pimpernel - Anagallis arvensis
Hairless Catchfly - Silene behen
Tuberous comfrey - Symphytum tuberosum
Common Digging Grasshopper - Acrotylus insubricus - it has red wings but is not a Red Winged Grasshopper which does not occur on Lesvos
investigating an ancient Olive we had lunch in the shade and then on around
towards Ancient Antissa which produced the expected EasternBlack-eared Wheatears and
Stonechats on the coastal section, our first Mediterranean Shag and a really
smart adult Audouin's Gull as reward for checking the Yellow-legged Gulls at
the mouth of the Voulgaris River. Nine Ruddy Shelduck bobbing around offshore
looked a little incongruous.
Audouin's Gull - just about!
Looking back at Ancient Antissa
The beach flora was wonderful with Yellow-horned
Poppies and splashes of other colour.
Rayless Chamomile - Anthemis rigida
The very variable Field Poppy - Papaver rhoeas
Field Poppy - Papaver rhoeas
Hop Trefoil - Trifolium campestre
Virginia Stock - Malcolmia maritima
Virginia Stock - Malcolmia maritima
Yellow Horned-poppy - Glaucium flavum
I had no hope of the taverna at Kalo Limani being open but
the drive down did allow some excellent views of Blue Rock Thrush and Rock
Nuthatches before climbing back up to Skalachori and the descent back into
Kalloni with two brief stops on the way, one for a scarily pale adult
Long-legged Buzzard and then for a rather rotund Spur-thighed Tortoise that was
in the middle of one of the fast stretches.I moved him to safety and popped him behind a fence in the direction he
was going. The Scops Owl was showing nicely (thanks Helen and Jeff) and the
Wood Nuthatches were still in the Plane tree while a Hoopoe came across the
road and flared its crest upon landing.
A comfort and coffee stop saw us at the Pela with bonus
orange cake from Thekla before a bump back out into the middle and the Tsiknias which started well with a 1st-summer Caspian Gull that flew right past us and paraded around at the rivermouth for a few minutes showing off all the salient features. This was my second spring bird out here and it is still a very rare bird which I still find rather odd given our geographical location. The Lower Ford was alive with birds above the lower ford. We counted at least seven
Temminck's Stint and 22 Little Stints as well as Ruffs, Wood Sandpipers and
LRPs but the star bird was a female Citrine Wagtail that bobbed its way around
the reedy edges. Seeing one of these is always a special moment.
Citrine Wagtail - best I could do!
Temminck's Stints and Ruff
The rest of the crew got onto the Great Spotted Cuckoo
before we spent the last hour of the evening watching nearly 80 Common Terns
dipping down over the mirror flat western pans while bobbing PhalaRuffs
casually swam around picking flies from the surface while the sun set behind
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