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Lesvos 2012/04/28 - Wingpspan

Lesvos 2012/04/28 - Wingpspan

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Published by Steve Dudley

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Published by: Steve Dudley on Aug 24, 2012
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08/24/2012

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 Leader Bob BucklerParticipants:Christine & John SutherlandGordon CawBarbara PriestMary-Rose FryJeanne PendrillSteve & Sylvia LeesSummary
Our group of 8 enjoyed a wonderful week in sunny Lesvos, in fact it was a little too sunny at times, the temperaturerose to nearly 30
D
C on a couple of days which made the birding very tiring! But we had a great time, leisurelydays and plenty of birds to see. Highlights included a
Pygmy Cormorant
at Dipi Larisos on day one, two
GreatSpotted Cuckoos, 2
beautiful male
Collared Flycatchers
at Meladia, a very showy
Long-eared Owl
with
Scop’sOwls
sitting in the next tree. Hundreds of terns, waders, egrets, ibis and herons on the Alykes wetlands. Even our last day produced excitement in the shape of a
Dalmatian Pelican
, a rare visitor to Lesvos; we saw one at theKalloni Salt Pans. We had great views of most of the Lesvos ‘specials’:
Kruper’s Nuthatch, Cretzschmar’s &Cinereous Buntings, Rufous Bush Robin, Masked Shrike, Western Rock Nuthatch
and many more.
DAY 1 - SATURDAY APRIL 28TH
GATWICK TO MYTILINE – SKALA KALLONI VIA DIPI LARISOS MARSHES. LATER WEVISITED: – SKALA KALLONI – TSIKNIAS RIVER AND KALLONI SALT PANS
 
BIRD OF THE DAY -
 PYGMY CORMORAN
 But also high on the list; Temminck’s Stint, Little Bittern and good numbers of Squacco Herons.
 The group met at Gatwick Airport in preparation for the direct flight to Mytiline, Lesvos. Everything wentsmoothly at both airports and by 2:30pm local time we were on our way to our hotel in Skala Kalloni which issituated in the centre of the island. The weather was superb, a clear sky a little breeze and a temperature of 21C.
 
 A VIEW UP THE TSIKNIAS RIVER A VERY CONFIDING LITTLE BITTERNWe saw
Hooded Crow, Barn Swallow
and
Yellow-legged Gull
as we worked our way through Mytiline town and before long we were on the highway heading out towards the Gulf of Gera. There was one short stop planned en-route and that was at Dipi Larisos Reed-beds which are found on the Gulf of Gera and where a pair of 
PygmyCormorants
had been reported.Sure enough one of the birds was present when we arrived, a super bird for our tour list and a lifer for me, it was alittle too distant to photograph. At the same place we found
Great Cormorant, Spanish Sparrow, YellowWagtail
and we heard a
Cetti’s Warbler.
We arrived at our hotel at 4pm and after a short settling in period we set off for our first birding excursion on thissuperb island. In Skala Kalloni we stopped to admire a beautiful
Squacco Heron
seen in a ditch, it was in full breeding plumage and the afternoon sun made it looked exquisite. Along the track to Tsiknias River we found 9more
Squaccos
, a lot of 
Wood Sandpipers
and more
Yellow Wagtails
. We also found several
Corn BuntingsHouse Martins
and
Sand Martins
. At the river we found an
Oystercatcher
which is a good species for theLesvos list. There was also
Common Terns, Little Terns, Wood Sandpipers
, but the star of the show was amagnificent adult
Black Stork 
.Upriver at the ford we spent some time watching a
Little Bittern
feeding, with its ridiculously long neck it wouldlean from its reedy perch and snatch food from the water. Also at the ford were many more
Wood Sandpipers
 (30+),
Little Ringed Plover
(2),
Temminck’s Stint
(2
), Reed Warbler, Whinchat
and another 
Black Stork 
. Lotsof 
Yellow Wagtails
were also feeding at the ford, we saw
Black-headed, Blue headed
and
Grey Headed
. A littlefurther upriver we came across a party of 8
Gull Billed Terns
, they were feeding in a small pool area.Lastly we paid a visit to the salt pans, it was brief stop to look for a reported
Baillon’s Crake
which failed to show,however we enjoyed great views of 
White-winged Terns, Gull-billed Terns, Kentish Plover, Greenshank,Common Sandpiper, Black-headed Wagtail
, 2 more
Black Storks
and we had distant views of 
Avocet
and
Greater Flamingo
. This finished off our day nicely so we drove back to the hotel in readiness for our 7:30pmdinner.What a great start to our first day, we only saw 40+ species of birds, but there was good feeling in the group aboutfuture sightings and a lovely atmosphere at dinner.
DAY 2 – SUNDAY APRIL 29TH
SKALA KALLONI - KALLONI SALT PANS - UPPER TSIKNIAS RIVER 
BIRD OF THE DAY - CITRINE WAGTAIL 
 
What a superb start to the holiday the weather was fantastic and the setting idyllic. We surfaced at 6:30am and wewere greeted by a clear blue sky, no breeze but with a little chill in the air.
 
We spent the day 'locally' visiting both rivers that form the east/west boundaries either side of Kalloni and we put alot of time in at the salt pans further to the east. Our pre-breakfast outing started at 6:30am and took in the ChristouRiver and surrounding salt marsh.
CIRTRINE WAGTAIL GARGANEY
We found
Stone Curlew
and several species of wader, a
Little Stint
was the only new one for our list.The rest of the morning was spent in and around the Salt Pans. We listed over 80 species and some of thehighlights were:
Garganey, Glossy Ibis, Great White Egret, Collared Pratincole, Whiskered Tern, Red-throated Pipit, Tawny Pipit, Lesser Grey Shrike, Black headed Bunting, Short-toed Lark, Gull-billed Tern,White-winged Tern
and tons of waders the best of which was
Temminck's Stint.
Not a bad list of goodies!!!We also visited the east side of the salt pans where we found two
Citrine Wagtails
, great birds but very flighty anddifficult to photographAnother site we visited was a track that follows the upper stretch of the Tsiknias River, along there we found
Hoopoe
,
Woodchat Shrike, Black-eared Wheatear
and several raptors drifted over which included
: Short-toedEagle (4), Long-legged Buzzard, Pergerine Falcon
and
Hobby
.Lastly we visited the lower Tsiknias River and near the ford we found
Temminck's Stint
(4),
Little Bittern
(2), plenty of 
Wood Sandpipers
,
Little ringed Plovers
,
Black Stork 
,
Common Nightingales, Olivaceous Warblers,Bee-eaters
and a host of other species. At the river mouth we saw 5
Mediterranean Gulls
. Before we finished for the day we visited a site in the middle of Papina, the next village to Skala Kalloni, where we had great views of  both
Scop's Owl
and
Long-eared Owl
. The LEO was positioned in the dark and so I was unable to obtain a digi-scope picture.

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