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LESVOS 21 sept. 2010 5 okt.

2010

by Huub Don birds & butterflies dec. 2010

Intro The small island of Lesvos, located in the Aegean sea not far from the Turkish coast is known for its birdlife, especially during spring migration. Not being able to visit it during this time of the year due to working obligations, we decided on a autumn-visit to see if the island could match its reputation then as well. Although the distances on the island are quite limited, we decided to stay at two different places, the well-known centrally located tourist resort Skala Kallonis at the Gulf of Kalloni and the western town of Sigri. Bookings Flight, car and accomodation were booked in advance on the Internet. Some surfing around easily saved us a few hundreds euros. The flight (Amsterdam-Mytilene vv.) was booked via Arke Fly and costed 667,- (2 pers.); carhire for 15 days at Sunny Cars GMBH costed us 372,- (unlimited mileage, insurance, total damage weaver, no own risk). Accomodation at Kalloni was booked via Straus Holidays Roermond (www.straus.nl). A 2 pers. appartment with breakfast for the first week costed us 224,50. The appartment at Sigri was also booked via Internet (http://www.sigri-lesvos.co.uk/locationevan.html) and costed 280 for seven nights (no breakfast). Completed with a travelinsurance and a parkingspace near Schiphol airport during our stay abroad, our total pre-holiday costs were less than 1700,- for two persons. The costs of living on the island are quite up to West-European standard (even a little higher, I would say) and cooking at home proved no great saving compared to eating out.

Climate and surroundings The climate in Septembre is still very nice with daytime temperatures around 25 degrees Celcius or higher and virtually no rain. Occassionally we had rather forceful winds from the north, but these by no means limited our activities. All roads were easy accessible and petrol stations were never far away. Cash machines arent always available (eg. Sigri) and creditcards are not in common use, but with most costs prepaid, this didnt deliver any problems for us either. Some birding spots are near army camps (eg. Krpers Nuthatch), which we avoided during army exercise. At midday we ceased birding activities and went for a cool dive in the swimming pool next to our appartment. Literature For preparation and use in the field we bought Steve Dudleys Birdwatching Guide to Lesvos (2009). Dudley is the administrative clerk of the British Ornithologists Union and in his spare time guides birdingtours across the island and maintains a website www.lesvosbirding.com . On the backcover we read that this guide sets new standards in where to watch birdguides. Regrettably the booklet (softcover) began to desintegrate within two days of use, but I am sure this wasnt the standard they referred to.... The maps are quit clear, but produce no more detail than the Freytag & Berndt map (1:75000) of Lesvos, so you still have to refer to the text. In a separate section, thirty-two pages are filled with colour photographs of the author, which is a little overdone and doesnt produce much additional info. Surely a bit humorous are the travel & what-to-take tips, such as dont forget your binoculars, bring your camera along (to photograph the stunning scenery), dont trample on flowers, dont block road entrances, etc.. Okay.... When it comes to birds and locations where to find them, qualifications as superb, stunning, excellent, etc. are scattered across the pages, but it is important to keep in mind that, for the major part , this refers to the situation in spring, when the rivers and pools on Lesbos are filled with fresh water and attract lots of migrants from Africa. Autumn migration, as we experienced it, is far more quiet and unobtrusive and probably as good as any Aegean island. In the absence of (exciting) birds we found butterflies to be a good alternative. There is a list of butterflies in Dudleys book, but compiled from only one general reference and this doesnt seem complete. For identification we used Tristan Lafranchis Papillons dEurope (Dutch translation, 2009) and back at home www.eurobutterflies.com by Matt Rowling. Itinerary We visited several birding spots more than once to get a good impression. The Kalloni saltpans are not to be missed and proved better than the pans at Polichnitos. The Tsiknias and Cristou River, here conveniently called East resp.West River (according to their location near Skala Kallonis) were also checked regularly. Achladeri forest is very quiet this time of year, so Krpers Nuthatch was not so easy to find....

21-9: arrival, Skala Kallonis, West river. 22-9: Skala Kallonis, East River, saltpans, Potamia reservoir & Potamia Valley 23-9: Skala Kallonis, East River, Achladeri, Polichnitos saltpans, Vasilika woods 24-9: West River, Metachi mountains, Metachi Lake, Kalloni saltpans 25-9: Kavaki headlands, Petra reservoir, Molivis Castle, Efthalou, Napi Valley 26-9: East River, Achladeri, Vouvaris River, Metochi chapel 27-9: Napi Valley, Kremastes Bridge, Mandamados, Kapi-Stipsi road, Kalloni saltpans 28-9: Skala Eresou, Pithariou Monastery, Sigri castle, Sigri 29-9: Ipsilou Monastery, Perivolis Monastery, Lardia Valley, Eresos, Sigri 30-9: Faneromeni Fields, Petrified Forest park, Ipsilou Monastery 1-10: Meladia Valley, Mesotopos River, Skala Kalloni fields & saltpans 2-10: Ipsilou Monastery, Gavathas, North Coast, Limonos Monastery, Skala Kallonis 3-10: Vouvaris River, Skala Vasilikon, Polichnitos saltpans, Almeropotamos River 4-10: Potamia Valley, East & West River, Kalloni saltpans 5-10: Skala Kallonis fields, departure. Summary In two weeks of birding we drove approximately 1100 kilometers and saw 105 birdspecies. Migrants as Red-backed Shrike, Yellow Wagtails, Spotted Flycatcher and Willow Warblers were very common throughout. Small numbers of waders (excl. Avocet, with 300+ ind.) were present at the saltpans at Kalloni and Polichnitos. No significant migration of large raptors or storks was witnessed. Masked Shrike, Lesser Grey Shrike, White Pelican, Little Gull and Red-necked Phalarope were among the scarcer species we saw (each 1 ind.). Middle Spotted Woodpeckers were common but often hard to see! Other common residents included Shorttoed Eagle, Rock Nuthatch, Blue Rock Thrush & Sombre Tit. Most summer birds have left Lesvos by the end of Septembre, so the only real Lesvos speciality we found was Krpers Nuthatch at Vouvaris River Bay. A good sample of post-summer butterflies was seen, especially skippers, browns and graylings, although not always easy to identify! We encountered few birders on the island, most of them around Kalloni saltpans. Daily accounts 21-9: arrival, Skala Kallonis, West river. Our arrival at Imerti appartments at Skala Kallonis was very welcoming. A nice appartment on the first floor with a good look on the surrounding landscape and a swimmingpool nearby. On the fields behind the appartment: 3 juv. Red-backed Shrike, 2 Whinchats, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, House Sparrow, 25 Collared Doves. In the afternoon we walk to the West River by the beach. The famous Skala Kallonis pool is dry and no birdlife here. Along the way we had several Swallowtails (Papilio machaon)and a Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii). At the West River (Cristou River) we have 3 circling Black Storks, 1 Great White Egret, several Little Egrets, a winterplumage Black Tern, Sparrowhawk and singing Crested Larks. Near the beach Cormorant. 22-9: Skala Kallonis, East River, saltpans, Potamia reservoir & Potamia Valley A nice sunny day but with a strong wind coming from the north.

After breakfast we leave for the East River and the Kalloni saltpans. Near the rivermouth we find two Black Storks, Little Egrets, Grey Heron, Cormorant, Shag, Kingfisher, Yellow-legged Gulls, Greenshank, Redshank, Eurasian Curlew, Grey Wagtail, Cettis Warbler. On the fields a group of 50 Linnets, Whinchat, Crested Larks, House Sparrows, etc.. Where the road crossed the river (ford) we have Whitethroat, Little Ringed Plover, Yellow Wagtail (flava), Spotted Flycatcher and an overflying Peregrine, which due to its small size and light-creamy underparts with black wingtips resembles Barbary Falcon (F. pelegrinoides), but most likely is a male brookei. We also see our first Hummingbird Hawkmoth (Macroglossum stellatarum). Near the coast we see a group of 43 Night Herons fly over southeast. In the fields we find 6 Northern Wheatears, 55 Hooded Crows, Yellow Wagtails, Grey Wagtail, juv. Red-backed Shrike. Kalloni saltpans: From the northern watchtower we see 870 Greater Flamingo, 338 Avocets, 6 Redshanks, 5 Little Ringed Plovers, 10 Little Egrets, 1 Great White Egret, Cormorant, 1 overflying Osprey and 1 hunting Eleonoras Falcon. On the south border, just past the factory entrance we find a first-winter Lesser Grey Shrike, 2 juv. Red-backed Shrike, 2 Northern Wheatears. Past the bridge we make a short walk towards the factory fences where we have 10 Black Storks, 6 Great White Egrets, 10 Redshanks and a Tawny Pipit flying over. Back at our appartment at Skala Kallonis we enjoy lunch on our balcony, when we see a Beech Marten (Martes fiona) come to drink at our swimming pool (see photo). When we manage to get close during a swimming break the following day we observe it is a young animal in a very weakened condition. It probably didnt survive the week.

drinking Beech Marten at the pool In the afternoon we visit Potamia reservoir, just a few kilometers west from Skala Kallonis. Violet Dropwings (Trithemis annulata) fly in numbers and show their beautiful purple abdomen. Also Persian Meadow Brown (Maniola telmessia) and Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas) are present here. On the reservoir rests a group of 53 Little Grebes. 5

We hear Raven across the mountains.

Violet Dropwing common at Potamia Reservoir At Potamia Valley 2 adult Short-toed Eagle come calling over and tens of juvenile Redbacked Shrikes are insect hunting along a freshly mown grasland, joined by juvenile Willow Warblers, Spotted Flycatchers, Yellow Wagtails and Yellowhammer. On a rocky outcrop Blue Rocktrush is singing. When we pass a bridge many terrapins (stripe-necked/european pond?) lie in the water beneath. We encounter a Grey Wagtail and our first Clouded Yellow (Colias croceus) along the path. When we drive back to the main road a Black Stork passes over and in an olive-tree plantation we discover a few first-year Orphean Warblers, along with the common Middle Spotted Woodpecker (quite noisy but hard to see!), Blackcap, Willow Warbler and Spotted Flycatcher. When we approach Skala Kallonis against dark 19 Night Herons hesitate to land in a olivetree plantation, but at the last moment seem to choose the hotel neighbourhood. Many Hooded Crows fly to their roost. 23-9: Skala Kallonis, East River, Achladeri, Skala Polichnitos, Vasilika woods Again a nice sunny day, but with a hard wind from the north. We leave for the Achladeri woods, but visit the East River mouth first. East River & surroundings: 3 Black Storks, 2 Little Egrets, Yellow-legged Gull, Greenshank, Whinchat, 3 Corn Bunting, 100+ Yellow Wagtails and a few Grey on a freshly mown grassland attract a 2 cj. male Peregrine, that rushes by. Alykes wetland: Grey Heron. Messa: possible Eleonoras Falcon above forest.

Achladeri: In the bay two Sandwich Tern are fishing and we find two Common Sandpiper along the coastline. Achladeri forest is occupied by an army exercise so we move on to Skala Polichnitos. At Skala Vassilikons harbour we count 16 Mediterrenean Gulls and observe a Short-toed Eagle inland. Further south we have our first Long-legged Buzzard (juv.), a Sparrowhawk and in an olivetree plantation Middle Spotted Woodpecker. At Skala Polichnitos saltpans a hard wind is blowing from the north and 23 Greater Flamingos undertake several attempts to fly north but the wind is too strong and they land on the sea. There is some migration of Barn Swallow and on the saltpans we see: 3 Spoonbills, 10 Little Egrets, 3 Great White Egrets, a Little Ringed Plover, 1 Greenshank, 3 Redshanks, 1 White-winged Tern, Crested Larks, Yellow-legged Gulls, a Dunlin, Grey Heron and Blackheaded Gulls.

On the road back to Kalloni we take a walk in the Pine Forest near Vasilika. In these dry woods Woodland Graylings (Hipparchia fagi) are common and we observe the strange courtship-ritual in which the male flaps his wings with his abdomen straight up. With a complete dark-grey no-contrast underwing we also suspect Eastern Rock Grayling (Hipparchia syriaca) in these woods but are by no means sure.... At a woodland edge we encounter several Southern Darters (Sympetrum meridionale). A Middle-spotted Woodpecker stays out-of-sight. In the afternoon it is quiet in Achladeri forest, but we manage to see a Short-toed Treecreeper, a Great Tit, Woodland Graylings (Hipparchia fagi) and Brown Argus (Aricia agestis). At Vouvaris River an Osprey has its perch in a dead tree. 24-9: West River, Metachi mountains, Metachi Lake, Kalloni saltpans We start our birding day with a stop at the Cristou (West) river with a Black Tern in winterplumage. At the roadjunction towards Potamia Valley, we follow the signs for Metochi chapel. Here we park our car and stroll for a short walk into the mountains. Metochi mountains: Common Buzzard, Kestrel, Short-toed Eagle, Middle-spotted Woodpecker, several singing Rock Nuthatch (an intermediate form between western and eastern subspecies, with extensive buff colouring on the flanks), Jay (black-crowned subspecies atricapillus), Blue Rock Trush, Little Owl, Stonechat, Blackbird, House Sparrow. A real identification puzzle forms a marbled skipper-spec. on a sunny rocky slope, which has characteristics of a False Marbled Skipper (Carcharodus stauderi). This species is very

local on some East Aegean islands, but not mentioned for Lesvos so far (Lafranchis, 2009). However we fail to exclude Oriental Marbled Skipper (C. orientalis) with certainty.

False Marbled Skipper (C. stauderi) or Oriental Marbled Skipper (C. orientalis) ? Langs Short Tailed Blue (Leptotes pirithous) were abundant at some flowering bushes near the chapel and we found one Pygmy Skipper (Gegenes pumilio) along the mountain path. Metochi Lake: Mallard, Coot, Moorhen, Kingfisher, 5 Little Grebes, Violet Dropwings (Trithemis annulata), Southern Darters (Sympetrum meridionale). Metochi fields: Willow Warblers, Middle-spotted Woodpecker, 1 Tawny Pipit, Red-backed Shrikes (all juveniles), a singing European Serin, Spotted Flycatcher, Great Tit, Painted Lady (Cynthia cardui). In the afternoon at the East River we have our first group of Spanish Sparrow (5 males) along with the usual species here, also seen yesterday. At the Kalloni saltpans we take the southern route and walk towards the Alykes wetlands (see Dudley, page 113). Kalloni saltpans; southern route: 125 Greater Flamingo (only 1 juv.), 16 Great White Egrets, 6 Spoonbills, 9 Black Storks, 26 Cormorants, 1 juv. White Pelican, 1 Shoveler, 4 Gadwall, 2 Spotted Redshank, 2 Redshank, 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Osprey, 2 Kestrels, 3 Red-backed Shrikes (juv.), 3 Northern Wheatears, 1 Tawny Pipit. Near the watchtower we count more than 200 Avocets, 2 Dunlins, 9 Little Stints, 1 Kentish Plover, 11 Redshanks, 2 Greenshanks, 2 Spotted Redshanks, 1 Ruff and 1 singing Skylark. 25-9: Kavaki headlands, Petra reservoir, Molivis Castle, Efthalou, Napi Valley Today we head to the northern coastline. Our first stop is the Kavaki headlands, famous breeding spot for Rueppels Warbler. Its quiet with birds here now and we only have a Kestrel. At 10.15u.we arrive at the Petra reservoir (Dudley, p.124). The reservoir surface is covered in canvas, which creates a rather artificial look.

On the water we count 88 Little Grebes and 24 Coots, 3 Black Storks, a Grey Wagtail and lots of Yellow-legged Gulls with some Hooded Crows rest on the banks. An Eleonoras Falcon gives good views when flying past. Violet Dropwings (Trithemis annulata) are abundant. At Molivos Castle we see a beautiful black-and-yellow Agame Lizard or Hardoen (Agama stellio), Little Owl, several Barn Swallows (on migration), a group of Goldfinches and several Swallowtails (Papilio machaon). We enjoy the views on top of the castle with the Turkish coast very nearby, but no storks or large raptors are passing..... We take the northern coastal route towards Efthalou. Shortly after some hairpin curves we make a stop and get out of the car for a little walk. We see some 20 Cardinals (Argynnis pandora), our first Scarce Swallowtail (Iphiclides podalirius) and several Painted Ladies (Vanessa cardiu). A distant Raven and Middle-spotted Woodpecker are heard. Lunch with seaview, but little birds.

Scarce Swallowtail - Efthalou In the afternoon we reach Napi Valley, which can be good for migrant raptors. Some of the hills look rather overgrazed by sheep and only large thistles on dry rocksurface are left. Here we have a female Goshawk, quarreling with two Ravens, Goldfinches chased by a Sparrowhawk, Crested Lark and Blue Rock Trush. Further south (direction Kalloni) we have 4 Short-toed Eagles, 1 Eleonoras Falcon, an alarming Sardinian Warbler and a passing Honey Buzzard. 26-9: East River, Achladeri, Vouvaris River, Metochi chapel This night we had rainfall and although the day begins sunny, around midday it is cloudy with (again) a hard wind from the north. We leave for Achladeri Forest to find Krpers Nuthatch. East River mouth: 2 Sandwich Terns, 1 Kingfisher, 1 Cettis Warbler, 2 Greenshank. River ford: 3 Black Storks, 2 Little Egrets 9

Kalloni fields: 12 Corn Buntings, 1 Hoopoe, 2 juv. Red-backed Shrike, Whinchat, 4 overflying Whimbrels Achladeri Forest: We park the car near a picnic site (Dudley, p. 167) and walk into the woods. Birdlife is quiet this time of year and were lucky to see two passing dark phase Honey Buzzards and a Raven overhead. With some difficulty we also discover Great Tit, a small group of Woodlarks, Short-toed Treecreeper, Blackbird, Chaffinch and Middle-spotted Woodpecker (only heard), but no Krpers Nuthatch. As for the butterflies Woodland Graylings (Hipparchia fagi) and Brown Argus (Aricia agestis) are present again and we doubt between Hipparchia mersina and Eastern Rock Grayling (Hipparchia syriaca), although the latter fits more in habitat. Back at the picnic site we get a very short and bad view (not much more than some undertail coverts) of a single Krpers Nuthatch.

Vouvaris River Mouth: (see Dudley, page 166) On this known autumn & wintersite we finally enjoy good views of 2 adult Krpers Nuthatch in the top of some old pines near the parking space. Theyre very mobile while foraging. Also Spotted Flycatcher, Chaffinch, 2 Raven, 2 Kingfishers at the riverside, 2 Grey Herons and a Shag near the coastline. After our middaybreak we head to Metochi Chapel again to search for butterflies. Again we have a few marbled skippers, we decide to be Oriental Marbled Skipper (C. orientalis), a Long Tailed Blue (Lampides boeticus), Langs Short Tailed Blue (Leptotes pirithous) and a probable Hipparchia mersina. On the way back to Skala Kallonis we have our first and only White Storks (2 ind.) of the trip and at the appartment a group of 16 overflying Bee-eaters. 27-9: Napi Valley, Kremastes Bridge, Mandamados, Kapi-Stipsi road, Kalloni saltpans Today we want to travel another route just south of the Lepetimnos Mountains in the north. Our first stop however lies in the Napi Valley near Kremastes Bridge (Dudley, p.120); turn left on the main road just one kilometre north of Agia Paraskevi. We make a short walk alongside the river and in the olive-tree plantation. Kremastes Bridge: Sombre Tits, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Short-toed Eagle, Goshawk, Raven, Middle-spotted Woodpecker, 1 Balkan Green Lizard (Lacerta trilineata), 1 Scarce Swallowtail (Iphiclides podalirius), Southern Darter (Sympetrum meridionale), several Southern Skimmers (Orthetrum brunneum). Along the roadside back to Napi we see Sombre Tits foraging on large thistle-seeds, our first few Cirl Buntings, Whinchat, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Red-backed Shrike, House Sparrow. On the road to Mandamados we see Raven, Rock Nuthatch, Blue Rock Trush, Crested Lark, Goldfinch and Whinchat. We enjoy the views along the Kapi-Stipsi road, but apart from two Short-toed Eagles we see little birdlife. Its shopping-time in the nice town of Petra, where we buy olive-oil, honey and luxury soap!

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We end our birding day at the Skala Kallonis fields and the Kalloni saltpans. Skala Kallonis fields: 40 Corn Buntings, 1 Common Buzzard, 1 Black Stork, Yellow Wagtails, Grey Wagtail, juv.Red-backed Shrike, 1 juv. Tawny Pipit. When we cross the southern road along the saltpans we see an adult male Red-backed Shrike, our first and only adult among the many juvenile birds we already saw! Kalloni saltpans southern road: 1 immature Little Gull, 1 winterplumage Red-necked Phalarope, 1 winterplumage Whitewinged Tern, 1 Black Tern, 40 Little Stints, 4 Kentish Plovers, 2 Dunlins, several Greenshanks, a large group of Avocets still present, 20+ Redshanks, Greater Flamingos. Behind us a group of 80 Corn Buntings fly over the fields. 28-9: Skala Eresou, Pithariou Monastery, Sigri castle, Sigri This day we leave for Sigri and say goodbye to our Imerti appartment at Skala Kallonis. Its sunny and warm again. At Skala Eresou we have our first Turtle Dove, Collared Dove, Cettis Warbler, Coot & Moorhen and hundreds of tortoises in the river. 2 Persian Squirrels (Sciurus anomalus) provide nice views along the road. We walk to the beach, but except for a surfing class there is nothing to see here. At Eresos we take the turn to the Pithariou Monastery (Dudley, p.160), a wide dirt track with nice views over the mountains. Regrettably only a few birds are present: Stonechat, Rock Nuthatch, Sombre Tit, Middle-spotted Woodpecker, 2 Raven, 1 Short-toed Eagle. At arrival in Sigri we unpack at our appartment and make a short walk through town. Just below are appartment on some yellow flowers we find Millet Skipper (Pelopidas thrax), a rare species for Greece.

Millet Skipper Sigri Around Sigri Castle we find some interesting butterflies also: At least 1 Mallow Skipper (Carcharodus alceae), Pygmy Skipper (Gegenes pumilio), Mediterranean Skipper (Gegenes nostradamus), Long Tailed Blue (Lampides boeticus),

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Langs Short Tailed Blue (Leptotes pirithous), Eastern Bath White (Pontia edusa), Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) and Swallowtail (Papilio machaon). 29-9: Ipsilou Monastery, Perivolis Monastery, Lardia Valley, Eresos, Sigri From our balcony at breakfast we have Blue Rock Trush, House Sparrow and Jackdaw. Ipsilou Monastery is just a few miles outside Sigri and a famous (raptor)migrationwatchpoint (Dudley, p.147). It has nice views to the north (Turkish coast) but also inland. We spent an hour here or so, but there is little movement in the air. Resident birds we see include: Rock Nuthatch, 3 Cirl Bunting, Raven, 1 Sombre Tit, Goldfinches and 2 adult Short-toed Eagle. Some migration-arrivals complement this: Stonechat, Willow Warblers, Spotted Flycatcher, a singing Wood Lark and a passing Hobby. 2 Wall Browns (Lasiommata megera) on the rocks give nice views. Our next stop is the Perivolis Monastery (Dudley, p. 137), just past Andissa on the road to Skalahori and Petra. Here begins the Lardia Valley, a deep gorge which runs along the Lardia River. The Voulgaris River runs next to the monastery and is not completely dry like most riverbeds on Lesbos this time of year. The pools attrack some birds, who come to drink: Common Redstart, Orphean Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Blackbird, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Blackcap, Goldfinch, Cirl Bunting, Rock Nuthatch, Middle Spotted Woodpecker, Kingfisher. Also several Southern Darters (Sympetrum meridionale) and Southern Skimmer (Orthetrum brunneum) skim the watersurface. Lardia Valley The gorge along the road gives nice scenery. We make a stop and hear/see: Middle Spotted Woodpecker, Blue Rock Trush, Cirl Bunting, Rock Nuthatch, Blackbird. A grey Hipparchia-butterfly we identify as a Freyers Grayling (Hipparchia fatua).

Freyers Grayling at Lardia Valley We drive back to Sigri via the Eresos-Sigri road (Dudley, p.157).

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The landscape is barren here and we see few birds: 1 overflying Black Stork, 1 Eleonoras Falcon, 1 aquila spec., lots of Crested Lark, a Stonechat and some possible Rock Sparrows flying in the distant. 30-9: Sigri & Faneromeni Fields, Petrified Forest park, Ipsilou Monastery North of Sigri lie the Sigri & Faneromeni Fields, which according to Dudley (p.151) are excellent for migrants. Sigri & Faneromeni Fields: Turtle Dove (1 ind.), Collared Dove, Jackdaw (50 ind.), Crag Martin (around the chapel), Barn Swallow, Spotted Flycatcher, Common Buzzard, Stonechat, Cettis Warbler, Corn Bunting, Wood Lark, Crested Lark, Goldfinch, House Sparrow, Red-backed Shrike. On ripe figs we have a foraging Woodland Grayling (Hipparchia fagi). Also a Mallow Skipper (Carcharodus alceae) and a Clouded Yellow (Colias crocea).

Woodland Grayling on ripe fig At the end of the morning we visit the Petrified Forest Park. We have a nice walk and good views on a large group of calling Chukars (20 ind.). In the park also Wood Lark, Crested Lark, Kestrel, Corn Bunting. Back on the road to Sigri we have an adult and juvenile Long-legged Buzzard flying above us. Ipsilou Monastery 15.30u-17.00u.: we hope for some afternoon migration.... 1 Osprey, 1 Common Buzzard, 4 Ravens, Wood Lark, falcon spec. 1-10: Meladia Valley, Mesotopos River, Skala Kalloni fields & saltpans South of Sigri a dirtroad through the mountains eventually leads to Eresos but crosses the Tsihliotas or Meladia River; the valley is called Meladia Valley (Dudley, p. 157). When the river hits the coastline a large area of low scrub can be good for birds.

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We stop here to walk for an hour or so. Meladia River: 2 Green Sandpiper, Cettis Warbler, Barn Swallow, White Wagtail, Wood Lark, Crested Lark, Red-backed Shrike. We drive a few kilometres inland to a farmers settlement, where we make another walk into the hills. We discover no new species, but hear Chukar. From Eresos we drive further east. Southwest of Mesotopos is another excellent autumn birding spot according to Dudley (p.145). Unfortunately we only see Middle Spotted Woodpecker and Moorhen. Just past Mesotopos we find our first Masked Shrike (juv.) in an olive-tree plantation. Getting a bit disappointed by so few birds we drive to Skala Kallonis and its saltpans. Skala Kallonis, East River: 1 Great White Egret, 3 Black Stork, 5 Little White Egret, first winter Little Gull. Skala Kallonis, fields: Long-legged Buzzard (juv.), Red-backed Shrike, Corn Bunting. Kalloni saltpans: 9 Spoonbills, 1 Osprey, Greater Flamingos, 150+ Avocet, 17 Redshank.

2-10: Ipsilou Monastery, Gavathas, North Coast, Limonos Monastery, Skala Kallonis This day we decide to return to our first base at Skala Kallonis. We stop for an hour at Ipsilou Monastery and watch 3 Sparrowhawks arrive and argue with the local Ravens, 4 Sombre Tit, 2 male Cirl Bunting singing, Middle Spotted Woodpecker, Rock Nuthatch, Goldfinches, Jay, Hooded Crow, etc.. Even the 2 Wall Browns (Lasiommata megera) are still present. At Andissa a female Marsh Harrier flies over. Here we take the turn to Gavathas and at a precipice we have Crag Martins, a couple Peregrine, Blue Rock Trush and from the trees below we hear the very familiar contact call of Middle Spotted Woodpecker. At the coastline we find a Mediterranean Skipper (Gegenes nostradamus). Before heading into Kalloni, we take a short tour at the Limonos Monastery. Here we hear a Chukar calling in the fields.

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Mediterranean Skipper Skala Kallonis East River: 9 Little Egrets, 2 Great White Egrets, Kingfisher Skala Kallonis fields: Marsh Harrier, Common Buzzard, 5 Corn Bunting Kalloni saltpans: 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 female Ruff, 2 Golden Plovers, 1 Tawny Pipit, 2 Curlews, 3 Little Ringed Plovers. 3-10: Vouvaris River, Skala Vasilikon, Polichnitos saltpans, Almeropotamos River This day we pay a second visit to the Polichnitos saltpans. We first stop at Vouvaris Bay, but the Krpers Nuthatches have gone. At Skala Vassilikons Harbour we count 13 Mediterranean Gulls. On route we have a Steppe Buzzard (vulpinus). At Skala Polichnitos saltpans we count 17 Redshank, 2 Greenshank, 7 Dunlin, 1 Little Stint, 3 Black Storks, 25 Kentish Plovers, 1 Kingfisher, 13 Shags, Cormorant. On route to Vrisa a dead Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes) lies beside the road. Just east of Vatera we visit Almeropotamos River (Dudley, p.174). Here we have a pair of Long-legged Buzzard flying high in the sky, but few birds otherwise. Some butterflies found here: Eastern Bath White (Pontia edusa), Persian Meadow Brown (Maniola telmessia), Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui), Swallowtail (Papilion machaon), Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta). On our route back to through the mountains (Kato Stavros, Ambeliko) we enjoy nice views.

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Persian Meadow Brown 4-10: Potamia Valley, East & West River, Kalloni saltpans This last full day of our holiday we cover some locations nearby Skala Kallonis. Cristou (West) River: 2 Great White Egret, 1 Little Egret, 1 Black Stork Potamia Valley: Little Grebe (reservoir), Common Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Cirl Bunting (2 males, 1 female), Middle Spotted Woodpecker, Red-backed Shrikes, Goldfinches. Violet Dropwings (Trithemis annulata) at the reservoir. Tsiknias (East) River: 2 Black Stork, 2 Little Egret, 1 Ruff, 2 Sandwich Tern Kalloni saltpans (southern watchtower): 100+ Avocets, 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Ruff, 10 Black Storks, Great White & Little Egrets, 1 Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes). At night at the appartment we have a hunting Pipistrellus spec. and two Little Owls calling. 5-10: Skala Kallonis fields, departure day. Before we take the highway to Mytilene airport we drive through the Skala Kallonis fields once more. On the electricity wire we count approx. 220 Corn Buntings! A nice perching juvenile Red-footed falcon is the last birdspecies we can add to our list. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Huub Don Oude Bogerd 17 4834 AR Breda The Netherlands email: h.jdon@tele2.nl xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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