Monday 26 September 2022

Lesvos - Day 7: 14th September 2022

Red-rumped Swallows joined us for our Pela breakfast before we trundled west around the Bay to Parakila and my favourite Turpentine trees on the way to the little harbour.

As hoped they were pinging with birds with silvery Lesser Whitethroats, Willow Warblers, Chaffinches, House Sparrows and Great Tits. Spotted Flycatchers each had their preferred perches that they defended from all comers. You could hear the snap of their bills when they went after prey.

Turpentine tree

Lesser Whitethroats

Willow Warbler

Spotted Flycatcher and Great Tit

Middle Spotted Woodpeckers were vocal in the olives and both Eastern Black-eared and Northern Wheatears were in the dry field opposite with Cirl Buntings and grumpy Red-backed Shrikes around the margins. A couple of Persian Squirrels scampered along the way and noisy Black-capped Jays accompanied us as we walked down to the harbour where 12 Med Gulls, a Shag and a Great White Egret were on the breakwater. A Black Stork was feeding in the pool just inland.  

The hemp-like smell of the False Yellowhead strengthened as the oily plants heated up.

Persian Squirrel

Black Stork

Sea Holly

Great White Egret and Black-headed Gulls

Courting Freyer's Graylings

Courting Freyer's Graylings

 False Yellowhead (Dittrichia viscosa)

It was already very hot and with no shade we moved on passing a couple of roadside Rock Nuthatches and Rock Sparrows at my Agra stop en route to the reservoir and Monastery at Pithariou.

 Agra crags


All the above are Violet Dropwings - they change colour depending on the angle

There was a pleasant breeze at the dam where Crag Martins cruised past at head height and gangs of Ravens tumbled and kronked in the cloudless blue sky. A dark Eleonora's Falcon made two circuits before simply vanishing and Short-toed Eagle and Common Buzzard circled the craggy heights. 

Oak leaf mines just for Antony

Hogbite (Chondrilla juncea)

Rough cocklebur (Xanthium strumarium)

A shady lunch was taken at the bandstand by the Monastery and then we went down to check the green bridge at Skala Eresou for Moorhens, Mullets and Terrapins; all three of which were seen and fed! Some of the Mullets were monsters!

Stranglewort (Cynanchum acutum)

The road over the top to the Ipsilou junction was dry and almost birdless but Perivolis Monastery was once again a pleasant place to spend a while with a similar suite of Warblers, Redstarts and Spotted Flycatchers to the other day. A male Cirl Bunting posed after a bath and we had to check the car for stowaway kittens before tackling the roadwork strewn road back to base.

Ordimnos trurbines

Spotted Flycatcher

Cirl Bunting

One of the six - leaf bed

Always check your car before you leave

A swim and early dinner and then out onto Loutzaria for a Nightjar hunt. It was unsuccessful but Stone Curlews called and Bats fluttered by but it was the celestial heavens that left us gawping skywards with the Milky Way snaking its way overhead. Jupiter and Saturn attempted to stand out from the billions of shimmering pin pricks of light while satellites criss-crossed below them. The International Space Station shone like a beacon as it passed over 252 miles above us and a fiery meteorite blazed a trail for long enough to get the binoculars up!

The ISS if you try to just use your phone!

If this was not enough to stretch the mind, you could clearly see the elliptical disc of our nearest neighbour, the Andromeda Galaxy, a staggering 2.5 million light years away...

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