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28th October 16th November 2011

Tasos Bounas & Dimitris Vavylis

We reached Amorgos island through the Katapola Port on October 28th. We stayed at Pension Panos (500m from the port) at Xilokeratidi settlement. The owner, Panagiotis Psihogios, is a friendly guy with good knowledge of the island avifauna and he can provide useful information and tips on your birwatching quest. We didnt rent a car cause we brought ours (72 Piraeus Katapola).

During our stay we covered 1250 km by car, 12 km on foot and we saw a total of 46 bird species (including 1 species we only listed as presence and not direct observation, see bird list) in all kinds of habitats.

Yellow-legged Gull at Katapola Port (Xilokeratidi area on the background)

As the season wasnt the best for birds and we didnt see new species every day, I wont list our observations by days. I think it would be more useful to divide Amorgos in smaller areas and list what birds we saw in each place.

Katapola area and surroundings

At Katapola Port we saw Yellow-legged Gulls and the occasional Audouins Gull and Shag. At Xilokeratidi, White Wagtail, Chiffchaff, House Sparrow, Robin, Chaffinch, Black Redstart and Collared Dove were the most common birds. We also saw a Kingfisher and 1 Grey Wagtail at the marina, a Kestrel flying above the settlement and flocks of Linnets at the olive groves.

Chiffchaff on Tamarisk at Xilokeratidi marina

After the Port you can see a clump of eucalyptus trees (suitable for Scops Owl in summer; we didnt hear anything). There you take a right turn towards Ancient Minoa. The road passes through some olive groves and cultivated fields where you can see the common birds mentioned above. After 1km you can see a dam on Varsamiti river on your left. Thats a promising spot although it was dry this period and we only saw Kestrel, White Wagtail and Sardinian Warbler but if it holds some water it would be a magnet for birds especially in spring migration. Then the road continues through some brushwood and after Minoa it becomes a dirt road (not a very good one) that leads to Agia Thekla. Although a scenic route, it wasnt productive regarding birds at least this time of year. We saw Black Redstart, Robin, lots of Chaffinch and Buzzard. From

Katapola you follow the main road to Chora. In this route its worth mentioning a juvenile Red-backed Shrike on October 29th.

White Wagtail at Xilokeratidi marina

SOUTH AMORGOS Chora Hozoviotisa Agia Anna

At Chora we saw House Sparrow, Black Redstarts all over the characteristic white houses of the Cyclades islands and flocks of Goldfinch flying over the area. Highlight was 2 Fieldfares on the top of a Cypress tree at Vlicha neighborhood on November 7th, feeding on grapes every once in a while at some vines in the nearby house balconies.

Fieldfares at Chora

Heading south from Chora you will see signs towards Hozoviotisa monastery and Agia Anna chapel. The area is infested with Blue Rock Thrush, Sardinian Warbler and Black Redstart. In the route up to the parking of Hozoviotisa we also observed Stonechat, Crested Lark, Chaffinch, Linnet, White Wagtail and Chiffchaff. When arriving in the parking you have a nice view in the steep cliffs above the monastery. There we saw 15-20 Rock Doves, Ravens, Yellow-legged Gull, Buzzard and a pair of Peregrine Falcons.

Peregrine Falcon at Hozoviotisa

Sardinian Warbler at Agia Anna Hozoviotisa Monastery

Raven at the cliffs above Hozoviotisa

Chora Mouros Arkesini

Leaving Chora and not taking the turn for Hozoviotisa you continue south, and after about 11km there is a left turn going to Mourou bay. In this route we observed Blackcap, Black Redstart, Robin, Crested Lark, Corn Bunting, Buzzard, Stonechat, Sardinian Warbler, Goldfinch, White Wagtail, Kestrel and a female Wheatear. Returning from Mourou to the main road and continue about 3km you reach the village of Arkesini.

Arkesini Kolofana Kalotaritisa Cape

This lowland area has many olive groves, cultivated and abandoned fields and was the best place to watch birds in the island this period. Not only many species but also in high densities. After 0,9 km on the road from Arkesini to Kolofana take a right turn towards Distrata. Thats an area with many fields, olive groves but also maquis

vegetation and some brushwood. We saw all the common birds mentioned above plus Sparrowhawk, lots of Song Thrush and Blackbird, Wren and Skylarks. When you reach Kolofana, there is a right turn just in the end of the village leading in Kato Kambos Bay. Its a narrow dirt road that after 1,5 km leads in a small bay. Lots of passerines in this route, its worth mentioning lots of Sardinian Warbler, a juvenile Red-backed Shrike on November 3rd and a Blackcap on November 11th. From Kolofana to Kalotaritissa village with a detour from Agia Paraskevi (large complex of auxiliary buildings that looks like a monastery, can be seen from the main road), we saw flocks of Corn Buntings (30), Starlings (25-30) and Skylarks (40 on November 15th and a Sparrowhawk chasing them), also Blue Rock Thrush and Sardinian Warbler. Highlights in the area, a Hawfinch and a Brambling outside Kolofana on November 9th and 7th respectively, a female 1st winter Yellowhammer at Agia Paraskevi on November 10th and a Meadow Pipit on November 11th again in Ag.Paraskevi.

Sparrowhawk on the hunt at Ag.Paraskevi

Sardinian Warbler at Kato Kambos

Crested Lark at Kolofana

The route from Kalotaritissa village to Kalotaritissa cape was the best to observe Bonellis Eagle, as we saw 3 times in this area. Also interesting observations in the area was Audouins Gull, Shags, Cormorant, Kingfisher, Common Sandpiper, Long-legged Buzzard on November 5th and a late Eleonoras Falcon on October 29th. Additionally a 1st-winter Wheatear, Mistle Thrush, lots of Sardinian Warbler and Blue Rock Thrush, Crested Lark, Sparrowhawk and Skylark.

Blue Rock Thrush at Kalotaritisa Bay

Sunset at South Amorgos (Kisiri islet)

Audouins Gull and Bonellis Eagle at Kalotaritissa

NORTH AMORGOS Chora Asfodilitis Ormos Eghialis

From Chora and heading north for about 4km on your right is the area of Profitis Ilias, a chapel on the top of a hill at 700m altitude. We didnt reach the chapel but we observed birds at the hillside. Amongst the common species we saw Sardinian Warbler, Blue Rock Thrush, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Wren and Meadow Pipit. Highlight a Bonellis Eagle on November 8th. As you

continue north youll meet signs for the historic site Richti Tower. There we saw anything Robins, Redstart, special, only the common Black and a

Chaffinch, White

Linnets, Wagtail

Sparrowhawk taking off at 3 meters in front of us. Cool! Continuing on the main road you ll see a sign to Asfondilitis, an abandoned settlement. There we saw nothing new on birds but we met a very friendly cat and donkey, saw a Snakeeyed Skink and lots of Autumn side




picture). Back on birding, after seeing more White Wagtail, Robin, Black Redstart and a Buzzard we reached Eghiali, the other port of the island.

Eghiali Langada Tholaria

At Eghiali Port we didnt see many birds except Yellow-legged Gull and the occasional Shag. From Passerines we saw Chiffchaff, White and Grey Wagtail, Robin, Black Redstart and House Sparrows. Near Eghiali there are two villages, Langada and Tholaria. Near Langada in the area of Agia Triada we found some pellets and prey remains, confirming the presence of Barn Owl in the island. Heading to Tholaria, just before the parking there is a cement road on your left. The road leads above the village up to a point and then you have to go on foot on the trails. There are some great view points in the area, like Vigla, where you can see the steep cliffs coming down to the sea. Nice spot for raptors. We saw lots of Buzzard, Kestrel and Raven, Sparrowhawk and 2 Eleonoras Falcon on November 8th. Also notable observations were Wren, lots of Song Thrush and Sardinian Warbler.

Ravens at Vigla area

View of Tholaria (in front) and Langada (background) villages

What we missed
One of the species we were confident to see was the Chukar (Alectoris chukar). Maybe its population has undergone a big decrease because of the hunting and its not very common now, however we didnt manage to see any although searching the proper habitats. Another species we expected to see was the Little Owl (Athene noctua) but we missed it too.


Common Name
Cormorant Shag Sparrowhawk Buzzard Long-legged Buzzard Bonelli's Eagle Kestrel Eleonora's Falcon Peregrine Falcon Common Sandpiper Audouin's Gull Yellow-legged Gull Rock Dove Collared Dove Barn Owl (presence) Kingfisher Crested Lark Skylark Meadow Pipit Grey Wagtail White Wagtail Wren Robin Black Redstart Stonechat Wheatear Blue Rock Thrush Blackbird Fieldfare Song Thrush Mistle Trush Sardinian Warbler Blackcap Chiffchaff Red-backed Shrike Hooded Crow Raven Starling House Sparrow Chaffinch Brambling Goldfinch Linnet Hawfinch Yellowhammer Corn Bunting

Scientific Name
Phalacrocorax carbo Phalacrocorax aristotelis Accipiter nisus Buteo buteo Buteo rufinus Hieraaetus fasciatus Falco tinnunculus Falco eleonorae Falco peregrinus Actitis hypoleucos Larus audouinii Larus michahellis Columba livia Streptopelia decaocto Tyto alba (presence) Alcedo atthis Galerida cristata Alauda arvensis Anthus pratensis Motacilla cinerea Motacilla alba Troglodytes troglodytes Erithacus rubecula Phoenicurus ochruros Saxicola torquata Oenanthe oenanthe Monticola solitarius Turdus merula Turdus pilaris Turdus philomelos Turdus viscivorus Sylvia melanocephala Sylvia atricapilla Phylloscopus collybita Lanius collurio Corvus cornix Corvus corax Sturnus vulgaris Passer domesticus Fringilla coelebs Fringilla montifringilla Carduelis carduelis Carduelis cannabina Coccothraustes coccothraustes Emberiza citrinella Emberiza calandra