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2008 Gallery

 

LESVOS
1st 8th MAY 2008

Leaders: Dave Read & Andy Shooter.
Participants: Jane Spick, Stuart Emmerson, Brenda Morrison, Graham Foster, Joan Graham, Doreen Marsh & Arthur Read.


Day 1
The group met at Manchester airport, for our flight to Mytilini, where we picked up the minibus, and were soon on our way to Skala Kalloni. Once there we checked into our rooms at the Hotel Pasiphae before getting out for a little birding before our evening meal. The first stop was only c.50 metres from the hotel at the Kalloni Pool, here Squacco Heron, Little Bittern and Olivaceous Warbler was seen. Next we drove to the East River where Little Egret, Long-legged Buzzard, Whiskered Tern, Nightingale and Black-headed Bunting were added along with several others. However the highlight here must surely of been a cracking male Citrine Wagtail which showed well on the lower ford. We then returned to the hotel for our evening meal and log call.


Day 2
After breakfast we headed to Metochi Lake, where we saw our first Bee-eater s along with more Squacco Heron, Little Bittern and Whiskered Terns. Alpine Swift, two Short-toed Eagles and three Black Storks were all noted, with one of the latter coming down to feed and drink from the lake, where it showed exceptionally well at close range. Next we moved to the Kalloni Saltpans, but not before stopping off at a well-known site for Scops Owl, which after a little searching was found roosting in a tall Eucalyptus. Once at the saltpans the impressive birdlife became obvious, with many Wood Sandpiper, Little Stint, Ruff and Black-winged Stilt feeding in the channel by the roadside. Half way down the road we stopped for a flock of up to ten White-winged Black Terns, with at least one Black Tern amongst them. Other birds of note here included, Peregrine, Avocet, Stone Curlew and a count of c.600 Greater Flamingo. Movingfurther around the pans more quality birds were added including WhiteStork, Red-footed Falcon, Spur-winged Plover, CollaredPratincole, Short-toed Lark and Red-throated Pipit.

We then decided to move to the nearby Krüpers Nuthatch site near Achladeri for our picnic, where as well as being treated to excellent views of this striking Nuthatch, Masked Shrike also gave good views. Returning to Kalloni, we stopped off at an area known as The Derbyshire where Ruddy Shelduck and Black-eared Wheatear was added, and at a small pool opposite the entrance to the saltpans where up to three Temminck's Stint and four Spotted Redshank were amongst the many waders. The east river was our next destination slowly driving its length back to Skala Kalloni, with more sightings of Little Bittern, Wood Sandpiper, Whiskered Tern and Black-headed Bunting. A little time was then spent at the hotel before going out to the Dionysos restaurant in Skala Kalloni, which offered a good selection of very tasty local dishes. After which we returned to the hotel, but not before watching a nearby Barn Owl returning to its nest.


Day 3.
Today we headed west, with the first good bird not long out of Kalloni when a Honey Buzzard was spotted moving north. Our first stop was near Antissa at a site commonly known as the Isabelline Triangle, where our target bird Isabelline Wheatear was easily found. Next we moved to the Ipsilou Monastery, one of the most popular birding sites on the island, having a good selection of breeding species supplemented by regular falls of migrants. Here Cinereous & Cretzschmar's Bunting, Blue Rock Thrush and Rock Sparrow were added, with other highlights including Little Owl, Black-eared Wheatear, Wood Warbler and Pied Flycatcher.

Moving on to Sigri, we ate our packed lunches on the approach to Faneromeni Ford, here Red-backed, Woodchat and Lesser Grey Shrike, Red-footed Falcon, Bee-eater and Black-headed Bunting all showed well. Once at the ford there was little of note, so we returned to Sigri where the group enjoyed a cold drink by the harbour. Heading out over the cattle track, Masked, Woodchat, Lesser Grey and Red Backed Shrikes were all soon encountered, along with Hoopoe, Golden Oriole, Whinchat and Raven. Further on Redstart, Cretzschmar's Bunting and up to six Rock Nuthatch were all seen. However the highlight was a Collared Flycatcher, which despite being skulking showed well on occasions. We then returned home adding Rufous Bush Robin along the way.

Once back at Skala Kalloni, we again went out to the Town Square for our evening meal, afterwards some of the group enjoyed watching a pair of Long-eared Owls in the hotel grounds.


Day 4
We started the day with an optional pre-breakfast visit to Metochi Lake, where we were rewarded with a fine male Baillon's Crake and both male and female Little Crake. Six Squacco Herons, three Little Bittern and several Great Reed, Cetti's and Olivaceous Warblers were also present.  After breakfast we headed inland to the Napi Valley, where Long-legged Buzzard, Short-toed Eagle, Woodchat and Masked Shrike, Cirl Bunting and up to 18 Raven were all seen along with our target Olive-tree Warbler. Moving to Platania for lunch, we received much better views of Olive-tree Warbler along with Sombre Tit, Middle Spotted Woodpecker, Rock Nuthatch, Golden Oriole and Masked Shrike.

We then returned to Kalloni, where the pool opposite the Saltpans entrance held three of each Temminck's Stint and Spotted Redshank , and a female Kentish Plover appeared briefly. On the saltpan channel wader numbers had increased with 25+ Curlew Sandpiper, 40+ Little Stint, 50+ Black-winged Stilt and 450+ Ruff . Other birds here included Little Egret, Ruddy Shelduck, Marsh Harrier, Red-footed Falcon, Collared Pratincole, White-winged Black Tern and Red-throated Pipit. The highlight however was a ringtail Pallid Harrier, which showed well over the field west of the pans. We returned to Skala Kalloni via the East River, arriving back at the hotel a little earlier than usual, giving us time to relax, and for those who wanted it the chance to swim in the pool. Our evening meal was again taken at the Dionysos, where we dined each evening for the remainder of the tour. After our meal we returned to the hotel where the 2 Long-eared Owls again showed well, with the male seen wing-clapping on several occasions and mating taking place, and all only a few metres from our rooms.


Day 5
Today we headed north, to a site known as Rüppell's Hill, receiving good views of Cretzschmar's Bunting on the way. This is by far the most reliable site on the island for Rüppell's Warbler, although it was some time before good views of this beautiful bird were obtained due to the windy conditions. Others birds of note included Blue Rock Thrush, Orphean and Sub-alpine Warbler. Moving along the north coast road from Molivos to Skala Sikaminias, up to four Audouins Gulls was recorded and seven Mediterranean Shearwaters passed distantly to the east. Once at Skala Sikaminias, we turned inland to Sikaminias stopping at a nearby viewpoint for lunch. The highlight here was without a doubt a female Levant Sparrowhawk, which showed reasonably well as it circled overhead.  A Eurasian Sparrowhawk was also noted and was seen to chase off the passing Levant's. From here we drove back to Molivos via the mountain road where Alpine Swift, Crag Martin, Red-rumped Swallow, Wren and Red-backed Shrike were all seen.

Returning to Kalloni, we stopping off at a site south of Petra where a pair of Middle Spotted Woodpeckers was nesting in a large dead Popular. Before long one of the adults returned to the tree with food, the first of many visits by the adults, which were obviously feeding hungry young.  Again we arrived back at the hotel early to allow those who wanted some time to relax by the pool the opportunity to do so, while the rest of the group walked down to the Kalloni Pool adding Squacco Heron, Little Bittern, Little Egret, Ruff, Little Stint, Wood Sandpiper and Reed Warbler to the days list.


Day 6
Another day spent on the west of the island, with our first stop in the Lardia Valley, where an Eastern Bonelli's Warbler was holding territory, singing almost continuously from a small Oak close to the road. Other birds of note included Sub-alpine Warbler and Blue Rock Thrush.  Next we returned to the Ipsilou Monastery, where good views of Cinereous and Cretzschmar's Bunting were obtained on arrival.  Further up Northern Wheatear, Spotted Flycatcher, Wood Warbler and Cirl Bunting were added, while once at the top a Little Owl showed well, and many of the commoner migrants were recorded.

We then dropped down to the Sigri / Faneromeni area, where in addition to having lunch we searched for Roller, eventually managing to locate this very mobile individual.  Several Bee-eaters, Red-backed Shrikes and Black-headed Buntings were seen, with Little Egret, Short-toed Eagle, Long-legged Buzzard, White-winged Black Tern, Golden Oriole and Woodchat Shrike also noted.  After a quick stop in Sigri for coffee and cake, we continued to Eressos on the cattle track, where Eleanora's Falcon was soon added. Further on, a good selection of migrants was recorded including Blackcap, Eastern Orphean Warbler and many Spotted Flycatchers, however the highlight was a very confiding Red-breasted Flycatcher.  At the Meladia Ford Little Grebe, Purple Heron, Crag Martin and Eastern Olivaceous Warbler were all noted, along with a female Pied Flycatcher. We then continued to Eressos, before heading back towards Kalloni, concluding what had been another very rewarding days birding.


Day 7
Our last full day on the island was spent at a pleasant relaxing pace revisiting many of the sites in the Kalloni area. Our first stop was the saltpans where we enjoyed good views of Greater Flamingo, Red-footed Falcon, Collared Pratincole, Spur-winged Plover, and Short-toed Lark.  Other highlights here included female Kentish Plover with two newly hatched young, and an OspreyRedshank and Ringed Plover were also added to ever-increasing trip list.

With Krüpers Nuthatch unanimously voted as bird of the week, we retuned for another look and were again treated to excellent views of this striking bird.  Lunch was taken at the picnic site here before visiting a nearby site for Serin, where at least two birds were seen.  Masked, Woodchat, Red-backed and Lesser Grey Shrike were all recorded here and a total of three Short-toed Eagles showed well overhead.  Next we returned briefly to Skala Kalloni for a coffee before heading to the East River and walking down to the river mouth. Here Grey Plover and Cormorant was added, and up to 25 Common Terns roosted on the Shingle Spit. Further up river up to five Temminck's Stint were recorded alongside commoner waders such as Little Ringed Plover, Greenshank, Wood Sandpiper, Little Stint and Ruff. Other notable birds included Little Bittern, Long-legged Buzzard and Whiskered Tern.  We arrived back at the hotel with time to rest before going out for our evening meal, however once back at the hotel news broke that three Slender-billed Gulls had joined the Common Terns roosting at the mouth of the East River.  Despite now being dressed for the evening we couldn't resist a quick look at the gulls before we ate, again at the nearby Dionysos.


Day 8
Our last day began with another pre breakfast trip to Metochi Lake at 6.00am, or at least that was the plan, however the discovery of a flat tyre on the van slowed us down somewhat.  We did however manage to get out, and were not too late leaving the hotel. Once at the lake an immature Night Heron showed remarkably well as it roosted in Tamarisks. Both Squacco and Purple Heron also showed well, but there was no sign of any crakes. With the saltpans proving such an extremely productive site, a quick last minute look couldn't be resisted, and although no new birds were added we received probably our best views so far of Red-footed Falcon and Spur-winged Plover. Other highlights here were Little Egret, Black Stork, the very confiding wader flocks and the ever-present Greater Flamingos .

Sadly it was then time to return to the hotel for breakfast, after which we had some time to relax before it was time to head back to Mytilini for our return flight home.

This brought the trip total to a respectable 140 species recorded.

For more photo's from this tour visit our Gallery

Species   Number of days
Recorded out of 8
Max daily count
X = no counts made
A = abundant
H = heard only
Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis 5 2
Mediterranean Shearwater Puffinus yelkouan 1 7
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 1 2
Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis 2 4
Little Egret Egretta garzetta 7 4
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea 3 3
Purple Heron Ardea purpurea 4 2
Squacco Heron Ardeola ralloides 5 7
Black-crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax 1 1
Little Bittern Ixobrychus minutus 8 4
Black Stork Ciconia nigra 4 3
White Stork Ciconia ciconia 2 1
Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus ruber 4 c.600
Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea 3 8
Shelduck Tadorna tadorna 3 2
Honey Buzzard Pernis apivorus 1 1
Short-toed Eagle Circaetus gallicus 6 6
Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus 3 1
Pallid Harrier Circus macrourus 1 1
Levant Sparrowhawk Accipiter brevipes 1 1
Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus 1 1
Common Buzzard Buteo buteo 2 2
Long-legged Buzzard Buteo rufinus 7 5
Osprey Pandion haliaetus 1 1
Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni 3 3
Red-footed Falcon Falco vespertinus 5 9
Eleonora's Falcon Falco eleonorae 1 1
Peregrine Falco peregrinus 3 2
Little Crake Porzana parva 1 2
Baillon's Crake Porzana pusilla 1 1
Moorhen Gallinula chloropus 5 3
Coot Fulica atra 2 2
Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus 5 c.50
Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta 4 140
Stone Curlew Burhinus oedicnemus 1 1
Collared Pratincole Glareola pratincola 3 5
Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola 1 4
Spur-winged plover Vanellus spinosus 3 2
Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius 3 5
Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula 1 1
Kentish Plover Charadrius alexandrinus 2 12+2 young
Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus 2 4
Redshank Tringa totanus 1 2
Greenshank Tringa nebularia 3 1
Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola 8 A
Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos 1 2
Little Stint Calidris minuta 5 c.40
Temminck's Stint Calidris temminckii 3 5
Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea 4 c.25
Ruff Philomachus pugnax 6 c.450
Slender-billed Gull Larus genei 1 3
Audouins Gull Larus audouinii 1 4
Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis 8 A
Little Tern Sterna albifrons 3 5
Common Tern Sterna hirundo 4 25
Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybridus 4 10
Black Tern Chlidonias niger 1 1
White-winged Black Tern Chlidonias leucopterus 4 10
Rock Dove Columba livia 2 12
Turtle Dove Streptopelia turtur 7 8
Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto 8 A
Cuckoo Cuculus canorus 1 H
Barn Owl Tyto alba 1 1
Scops Owl Otus scops 1 1
Little Owl Athene noctua 3 3
Long-eared Owl Asio otus 3 2
Alpine Swift Tachymarptis melba 3 6
Swift Apus apus 8 A
Bee-eater Merops apiaster 7 c.100
Roller Coracias garrulus 1 1
Hoopoe Upupa epops 3 2
Middle Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos medius 2 2+2 young
Short-toed Lark Calandrella brachydactyla 2 2
Crested Lark Galerida cristata 8 A
Woodlark Lullula arborea 1 H
Sand Martin Riparia riparia 4 X
Crag Martin Hirundo rupestris 2 2
Swallow Hirundo rustica 8 A
Red-rumped Swallow Hirundo daurica 5 X
House Martin Delichon urbica 8 A
Red-throated Pipit Anthus cervinus 2 1
Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava 5 10 +
Citrine Wagtail Motacilla citreola 1 1
Wren Troglodytes troglodytes 1 1
Rufous-bush Robin Cercotrichas galactotes 1 1
Nightingale Luscinia megarhynchos 8 X
Redstart Phoenicurus phoenicurus 1 2
Whinchat Saxicola rubetra 4 6
Stonechat Saxicola torquata 2 3
Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe 2 1
Black-eared Wheatear Oenanthe melanoleuca 7 X
Isabelline Wheatear Oenanthe isabellina 2 4
Blue Rock-thrush Monticola solitarius 3 2
Blackbird Turdus merula 7 X
Cetti's Warbler Cettia cetti 7 X
Sedge Warbler Acrocephalus schoenobaenus 1 1
Reed Warbler Acrocephalus scirpaceus 3 1
Great Reed Warbler Acrocephalus arundinaceus 5 3
Eastern Olivaceous Warbler Hippolais elaeica 8 X
Olive-tree Warbler Hippolais olivetorum 1 6
Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla 3 4
Whitethroat Sylvia communis 1 1
Lesser Whitethroat Sylvia curruca 2 1
Eastern Orphean Warbler Sylvia crassirostris 2 3
Rüppell's Warbler Sylvia rueppelli 1 2
Subalpine Warbler Sylvia cantillans 4 5
Eastern Bonelli's Warbler Phylloscopus orientalis 1 1
Wood Warbler Phylloscopus sibilatrix 2 1
Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata 4 X
Red-breasted Flycatcher Ficedula parva 1 1
Pied Flycatcher Ficedula hypoleuca 2 2
Collared Flycatcher Ficedula albicollis 1 1
Sombre Tit Parus lugubris 1 1
Great Tit Parus major 7 X
Blue Tit Parus caeruleus 7 X
Nuthatch Sitta europaea 1 1
Krüper's Nuthatch Sitta krueperi canadensis 2 2
Western Rock Nuthatch Sitta neumayer 3 6
Golden Oriole Oriolus oriolus 3 2
Red-backed Shrike Lanius collurio cristatus 5 c.100
Lesser Grey Shrike Lanius minor 2 2
Woodchat Shrike Lanius senator 6 3
Masked Shrike Lanius nubicus 4 4
Jay Garrulus glandarius 8 5
Jackdaw Corvus monedula 2 c.50
Hooded Crow Corvus corone 8 X
Raven Corvus corax 3 18
House Sparrow Passer domesticus 8 A
Spanish Sparrow Passer hispaniolensis 6 X
Rock Sparrow Petronia petronia 1 1
Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs 6 X
Serin Serinus serinus 1 2
Greenfinch Carduelis chloris 5 X
Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis 7 X
Linnet Carduelis cannabina 3 2
Cirl Bunting Emberiza cirlus 4 5
Cinereous Bunting Emberiza cineracea 2 2
Cretzschmar's Bunting Emberiza caesia 4 2
Black-headed Bunting Emberiza melanocephala 8 X
Corn Bunting Miliaria calandra 8 A

 

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