It was a rainy day which means a rainy day with sunshine -as Spring usually is like on Lesvos! Alice K. asked to see some birds around agricultural land but also around wetlands with a specific wish to see Glossy Ibises.
The highlights of our day out together around Agia Paraskevi and the Kalloni Gulf were: Black Stork, Common, and Little Terns, Common Snipe, SPOTTED REDSHANK, MARSH SANDPIPER, Wood Sandpiper, Ruffs, Black-winged Stilts, BLACK-TAILED GODWITS, Little Owl, Marsh Harriers, SHORT-TOED EAGLE, MASKED SHRIKE, Sombre Tit etc.
I am posting some reports of the trips I had back in Spring. Special days with interesting birds or/and in different areas just to give you an impression of the wonderful birds of Lesvos for Spring 2019.
The meeting point with Beatrice C. and her friends was the Messa wetland and we saw different birds there when we started our day and again when we finished it!
We visited the nearby pine forest for the nesting KRUPER’S NUTHATCH where we had really beautiful views of the male visiting the nest to take care of his incubating partner.
Later on, we visited the coastal wetlands of the northern Kalloni Gulf and we had together a very interesting list of migrant and summer visitor species: Black Stork, DALMATIAN PELICANS, GLOSSY IBISES, Flamingos, Black-tailed Godwits and Ruffs, MARSH SANDPIPERS, Black-winged Stilts, OSPREY, Black-headed Yellow Wagtails, many passing Common Swifts etc
Greek birders, the minute they set foot on Lesvos, are dying to be able to see the Kruper’s Nuthatch. So on February 8th I was out birding with Aris. C. (a very experienced birder) mainly to find the nuthatch and also to birdwatch around the Kalloni Gulf north coast wetlands.
We found the Nuthatch on the second site we visited in a mixed flock of forest-dwelling birds (as expected this time of year!) : Great and Blue Tit, Short-toed Treecreeper, Long-tailed Tit. Later on we visited the Mesa wetland and Kalloni Salt Pans area and finished as far as the Skala Kalloni surrounding wetlands.
We enjoyed 80+ Ruddy Shelducks (Tadorna ferruginea) still in their overwintering gathering, Spoonbills (Platalea leucorodia), Greater Flamingos (Phoenicopterus roseus), Black Stork (Ciconia nigra), a single Spotted Redshank (Tringa erythropus), Mediterranean Gull (Croicocephalus melanocephalus), Sandwich Terns (Sterna sadvicensis) etc. Meadow Pipits (Anthus pratensis) and an unexpected Black Kite (Milvus migrans).
A very dull day gave very bad photos in general… and so is the record shot of the Kruper’s Nuthatch!
All summer visitor birds are gone by now from Lesvos. Spending half a day around the north coast of the Kalloni Gulf gave some very good birds, especially for Lisa H. that came from the USA. We went around the Kalloni Salt Pans and some of the estuaries of the area and also spend sometime in the nearby pine forest.
The highlights of the trip were: Red-footed Falcons (13!), Dalmatian Pelicans, Black Storks, Spoonbills, Slender-billed Gulls, Ruddy Shelducks, Short-toed Treecreeper, Long-tailed Tit etc.
Just had my last guided trip a few days ago for the Spring 2018- core season.
To share my most favourite photo: Little Owl , 16/5 near Agia Paraskevi- we had 5 different individuals during our birding that morning! The Owl was standing under a barn roof and then flew into a nearby tree. We were trying to re-spotted and Frank had to state: “It is in the middle parts of the tree, right next to the Donkey’s ears”!!!
Konstantine, an experienced birder from Germany, wanted to see the Kruper’s Nuthatch and some waders. The plan was to visit the pine forest around Mikri Limni and then as many wetlands as we could.
We started from the Kalloni Salt Pans south parts, then continued to the pine forest and followed the coastline from Skala Polichnitos to the north back in the wetlands of the west parts of Skala Kallonis. For the end a route within the pasture land and olive groves around Agia Paraskevi.
We managed to see 80 different bird species, having as highlights: KRUPER’S NUTHATCH (in two distinct breeding territories), Western Rock Nuthatch, MASKED and Woodchat Shrike, Purple Heron, Glosy Ibis, LITTLE CRAKES, a single BLACK-WINGED flying among 11 COLLARED PRANTICOLES, Curlew and Marsh Sandpiper, Temminck’s Stints, STONE CURLEWS, Whiskered Tern, PALLID HARRIER, Short-toed Eagles etc.
Hanna and Emil, South African birders, had a full-day trip around the island to enjoy the most of the birds of Europe.
We started from the Agia Paraskevi area and continued to Eressos and Sigri for some of the island west’s specialties. The afternoon found us back in the Kalloni Salt Pans for some wetland birds.
We managed to see 57 different bird species, having as highlights: Masked and Woodchat Shrike, Cinereous, Cirl and Cretzschmar’s Bunting, Orphean and Oriental Warblers, Purple Heron, Glosy Ibis, Curlew and Marsh Sandpiper, Long-legged Buzzard, Short-toed Eagle, Little Owl, etc.
K. Kong and his friend came to Greece all the way from Singapore and visited Lesvos for a few days for birdwatching. We arranged a half and a full day birding with them (13 & 14/10) around Western Lesvos, the wetlands of the North Kalloni Gulf and the central pine forest area.
Many passerine species of the late autumn migration were recorded (Red-backed Shrikes, Spotted Flycatchers, Willow Warblers, Redstarts, Spanish Sparrows etc.), a fanastic passing LESSER SPOTTED EAGLE, several DALMATIAN PELICANS and numerous herons and egrets together with winter visitiors such as Chifchafs, Black Redstarts, Sardinian Warblers and Robins. Some of the resident species we were happy to find for them were: Blue Rock Thrush, Western Rock Nuthatch, KRUPER’S NUTHATCH, Rock Sparrow etc, reaching a total of 73 bird species.
More details on the birds found in the Kalloni Salt Pans can be found on e-bird.
S. and A. had a half-day trip (15/9) at the central parts of the island starting with the Tsiknias River and Kalloni Salt Pans and surrounding areas and continuing north of Agia Paraskevi. September is a great month to observe Shrikes with Red-backed, Woodchat and Lesser Grey juveniles being very easy to find in suitable areas, also migrants such as WINCHATS, BEE-EATERS etc. The birds species our clients enjoyed the most were the day-roosting flock of 8 STONE CURLEWS (Burhinus oedicnemus) and a family of PEREGRINE FALCONS (Falco peregrinus) on their cliff.
Find out more about the birds seen specifically at the Kalloni Salt Pans on e-bird.