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Lesvos 2009/09/17 - Lesvos Birding

Lesvos 2009/09/17 - Lesvos Birding

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Published by Steve Dudley

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Published by: Steve Dudley on Aug 24, 2012
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Lesvos | 17 – 24 September 2009
A Speyside Wildlife Holiday
led by Lesvos Birding’s
Steve Dudley
| www.lesvosbirding.com
 
Day 1, Thursday, 17 September
WemeetupatGatwickearlyinthemorningandaftertheusualairportprocedures,wearejettingoffLesvos!WearriveanhourlateatMytilinibutaresoononourwayandsomeofusgettingourfirstviewsofLesvosandimmediatelyseejusthowcloseTurkeyis!OnroutetothehotelwecutbytheKalloniSaltpanswhicharecoveredinFlamingoswhichlookstunninginthebrightsunlight.WesooncheckintothehotelandwalkintoSkalaKallonisandhaveadelightfullatelightlunchtotideusovertotheevening.WalkingbacktothehotelweseeaRed‐backedShrikeand11Bee‐eaters‘prüp’overhead.WecollectourthingsandheadofftoMetochiLake.WespyacouplemoreRed‐backedShrikesalongthefieldedges,andaWhinchat,beforearrivingatthelakeitself.Anditsfulltothebrim,nottheusualautumnpuddleSteveexpectedtofind.Striped‐neckedTerrapinsslideoffthebanksintothewaterbeforeresurfacingwithjusttheirsnoutsstickingoutofthewater.SeveralSpottedFlycatchersmakesortiesfromvarioustreesandreedswhenDavidspotsabirdflittingaroundthebottomofsometamarisksonasmallislandjustinfrontofus.It’saCetti’sWarblerandwegetgreatviewasithopsaroundonthegroundbeforeflyingoff.AEuropeanPondTerrapinishauleduponalogonthefarshore.ThereareseveralMoorhensinthetamarisksonthefarside,andacoupleofLittleGrebesstickclosetothefaredgecover.JuneandStevespotaLittleBitternasitlandsinthetamarisksbutcompletelydisappears.Wecheckthefarendofthelateandfindmoreterrapins,someMarshFrogsandamaleLesserEmperordragonflyhawkingalongthestagnantchannel.DaphnethanspotsaSnipewhichcrouchesdowntoavoiddetectionbythemaraudingdogwhichisfollowingus!Agentlestarttotheholidayendswithdinnerbackinthevillageandagracefulretreattoourbeds.It’sbeenalongdayandtheholidaywillbegininearnestinthemorning!
Day 2, Friday, 18 September
Wewaketoabright,cloudlessskyandmeetupfora0730breakfast.Itsalreadywarmingupquick,andafterbreakfastwearekeentomakeourwayovertotheTsikniasRiverMouthandgetstuckintosomebirds.WepullupandaregreetedbyalreadyfamiliarcallofCrestedLarks.ApartyofLinnetsflyoveraswebegintoscantherivermouth.Yellow‐leggedGullsoccupythebestroostingspots
 
whilstaGreyHeronpreenssatonasubmergedbranchandaCormorantperchesonapost.StevespotsaCurlewonthemudspit.WebegintoheadupriverwhenafieldfullofLinnetsandGoldfinchesstopsus.Wegrillthefieldbutcanfindnothingelse.AswedriveslowlyalongtheriveraBlackStorkfliespastandlandsbrieflyinfrontofus.WetakeaquicklookaroundthefordwherethereareseveralLittleRingedPlovers,WhiteandYellowWagtails,HouseSparrowsandCornBuntingsaroundthepuddlesintheriverbed.Weparktheminibusandwalkouttowardstherivermouth.AjuvenileRed‐backedShrikepopsuponthefenceaheadofusandthereareNorthernWheatearsonthetrackandintheadjacentfields.TheLesserGreyShrikefromearlierisseenagain,thistimemuchclosergivingbetterview.AnIsabellineWheatearisseenbrieflyonthetrackandswallowsandmartinsbuzzoverheadastheyeagerlypushsouthwards.Wedropofftheriverbankintoanopenareawithscatteredtamerisks.NorthernWheatearsandCrestedLarksareeverywhere.StevepicksupthreeHoopoesfeedingatthebackofthesheepfieldandwegetreasonableviewsthroughthescopes.JustaroundthecornerwehavebriefviewsofayoungmaleLesserKestrelbeforetheskyaboveusfillswithhirundinesandthefirstofabout80AlpineSwifts,includingsomeincrediblylowbirds–lowenoughtoseethewhitethroat!Wemoveontotheeasternsideofthesaltpans.OverthehillbehindusDaphnespiestowbirdscirclingwhichturnouttobeaRavenbeingmobbedbyaSparrowhawk.AcrossthepansthereisadenseflockoffeedingAvocetsandgroupofCommonShelduck.Theflamingosaredistantfromhere,buttheirstrikingpinkisstillvisibleevenatadistance.WewanderdownthetrackandfindmoreCrestedLarks,CornBuntings,aRed‐backedShrikeandaWhinchat.ViewingthepansagainwecannowseeatleastthreeGreenshank,fourCurlewandbothLittleandGreatWhiteEgrets.It/sgettingwarmnowsomoveoffintotheshadeofAchladeriForest.NosoonerareweinthetreeswhenStevespotsourfirstKrüper’sNuthatch.Thereareplentyofbirdsflittingaroundandmaybeuptofournuthatchesfeedinglowdownontreetrunks,flittingfromtrunktotrunktreecreeper‐style.Woodlarkputsinabriefappearance,asdoesaShort‐toedTreecreeperandaCirlBuntingsingsitsrattlesongfromthepinetops.Wehavelunchatthesea‐sideAncientPyrrataverna.Itslovelyhereintheshadewiththecoolbreezecomingoffthesea.Solovelyinfactemakesurewehaveanice,slowlunchbeforeheadingbackintotheheatoftheday!Wemakebackintotheforest,thistimewalkingslowlyalongaforesttrack.It’sdeathlyquiet.RockandWoodlandGraylingsflitaroundus,buttheplaceislargelybirdfree.Wespendsometimeenjoyingapowder‐blueSmallSkimmerrestingonthetrackbeforeheadingbacktoheminibuswhenStevespotsacoupleofKrüper’sNuthatchesinthetreerightaboveus.Wegetwonderfulviews
 
ofthisdiminutivenuthatch,themaleisparticularlyshowymakingupforthepoorviewsearlier.Arrivingbackattheminibustwobirdsappearinthecloudlessblueskyabovethetree‐coveredhillsidetoourleft.ARavenisbeingmobbedbyanotherbird–Eleonora’sFalconexclaimsStevepointingoutthesalientfeatures.Butthesightingistoobriefasthefalcondisappearsovertheridgeofthehill.WemoveonaroundthecornertotheVouvarisRiverMouth.AcoupleofGreyHeronsaredisturbedfromthepinesbythebridgeandacoupleofKingfisherschaseeachotherbeforeafemaleSparrowhawkfliesover.AttherivermouththereareseveralCormorantsanduptofourGreyHerons.,butlittleelse.WemakeourwayaroundtoKalloniSaltpans.Alltheflamingosareinthenorthwestcornerandthelateafternoonlightisfabulouslightingupthewholescene.Aquickcountestimatesthereareover800flamingos!Thereisconstantchangingwithintheflamingos.Somearefeedingwiththeirup‐side‐downheadbusyinthewater.Otherswalkaroundserenely.Occasionallyoneflashesitsunderwingsshowingitsvividredarmpits.FourBlackStorksflaplazilybehindtheflamingosbeforealightingonadistancepan.DaphnespiesdistantShort‐toedEaglebeforeStevepointsanotherfalconcomingoverthepanswhichturnsouttobeoursecondEleonora’softheafternoon!Itsbeenahotyetthoroughlyrewardingdayasweheadoffbackacrossthefields,fundingoursecondLesserGreyShrikeoftheday,onourwaybacktothehotel.Afterarestandfreshenupwewalkintothevillageforanotherenjoyableevening.
Lesser Grey Shrike, nr Kalloni Saltpans
 

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