Wednesday, 29 April 2015

A Week in Lesvos - Part 2

We spent the next two days exploring the island, North, West, East and South East, visiting some great places, although on day 1 we bit off more than we could chew and tried to cover to much ground, spending to much time in the car, but we still managed to fit in a nice Taverna lunch.

Birding wise we didn't do too much, we saw a pair of Cretzchmar's Bunting mating, but I didn't have my camera handy, then later a lovely view of a Blue Rock Thrush, again wasn't ready with the camera and again two Masked Shrike 'courting' but I had left the camera in the car again, you would think I would have learnt my lesson! However having missed photographing the Shrike, this Whinchat turned up!
Followed by our first, Black-eared Wheatear, 
 At Petri Reservoir, I took this of a Yellow-legged Gull for the record, (don't do Gulls very often!)
 and couldn't resist another Crested Lark.

We started day 2 of our exploration heading east, so we had to drive past the Salt Pans, so it would have been rude not to stop!
This gave us a couple of new species, a Spur-winged Plover;
 Some beautiful Garganey:
 Another Black-wing Stilt photo opportunity:
 and a Kentish Plover
We also saw some Spotted Redshank, the photo of those is to bad even to put up on my blog! From here we travelled around Kalloni bay and head up to one of the mountain villages, arriving into a down pour, so we parked and ran into a cafe, we were the only non-Greeks in there, the highlight in here was watching a Greek Orthodox Priest fleecing the locals at cards. The coffee wasn't great though. This time of year is definitely still out of season and the village was very quiet, the only tourists on the island being all the British and Dutch Birders (plus some Belgians and Swedes that we came across as well) who are mostly not interested in anything other than birds. Anyway I digress!

We made a coffee stop  on the coast not far from the capital, Mytalini, yes we took a flask with us! Of course we took the chance to see if any birds were about, a White Wagtail or two, plus this nice Lesser Whitethroat:
After exploring the east coast and visiting a rather stunning monastery, we wended our way back and did a bit more birding around Kalloni:
Great Egret
A pair of Red-footed Falcon showed well, unfortunately I was photographing straight into the sun, so I have had to edit this one quite a bit, to get it presentable:
 We went back to see the Penduline Tits, while we were there this Black-headed Yellow Wagtail showed well,
as well as another Little Bittern,
The river also provided with some great Glossy Ibis views

So now on to our next day out with Mr Dudley and the west of the island.
Our first port of call was in the mountain valleys as we headed west, looking for Crag Martin, Rock Sparrow, Red-rumped Swallow and Blue Rock Thrush. We saw all of them, but photo opportunities were not good and the Thrush was only a quick fly past.
A very distant Rock Sparrow
 The aptly named Crag Martin
From the valley we carried on to Epsilou Monastery perched high on a mountain top, we parked at the bottom of the track to the monastery and went for a wander....
For us a great find was this Cinerous Bunting again a distant view, but through the scope it was fantastic,
 Digressing for a moment being spring the flowers around and about were stunning, the Poppies especially,
 Sorry another distant view, this time of a Woodchat Shrike,
 A great view of a Black-eared Wheatear, did you know that Wheatear is a corruption of the birds original English name given to it by farmers; White Arse! We did see plenty of Northern White Arse too!
Also up here we saw our first Rock Nuthatch, I had just focused the camera on it, when a Hobby came screaming through and all the little uns' disappeared for a while, sadly the Nuthatch didn't come back.
From the monastery we descended down towards Sigri stopping by the Petrified Forest, a Stone Curlew surprised us here, sorry again no photo, but i did manage a decent pic of a Cretzschmar's Bunting,
also up here we encountered the Chukar Partridge,
and surprisingly a 'Rock' Ruddy Shelduck,

We arrived in Sigri for lunch and what a fine lunch it was too! Seafood galore! After lunch and a beer we searched the local fields for migrants;
You can just make out this Collared Fly-catcher
 The meadows were magnificent,
 another Wood Sandpiper popped up,
 I will add the full list for the day at the end of this post, but on the way back we picked up a Little Owl,
 and an Isabelline Wheatear,
We tried again for the Blue Rock Thrush on the way back but no luck, still a very satisfying day as you can see:
Black-eared Wheatear
Blue Rock Thrush
Blue Tit
Chukar Partridge
Cinereous Bunting
Cirl Bunting
Collared Flycatcher
Corn Bunting
Crag Martin
Crested Lark
Cretzschmar's Bunting
Eastern Bonelli's Warbler
Fan-tailed Warbler
Golden Oriole
Great Tit
Gull-billed Tern
Hooded Crow
House Martin
House Sparrow
Isabelline Wheatear
Lesser Kestrel
Little Owl
Little Ringed Plover
Little Stint
Long-legged Buzzard
Red-backed Shrike
Red-rumped Swallow
Rock Dove / Feral Pigeon
Rock Sparrow
Ruddy Shelduck
Short-toed Eagle
Spanish Sparrow
Western Rock Nuthatch
Wood Sandpiper
Woodchat Shrike
Yellow-legged Gull

The last post will cover the marsh area next to our hotel on the last day and very special it was too!

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