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1st half of April scouting birding

I was out with my son on this extremely windy day (April 10) to check some areas for newly established bird territories and, at the same time, take part in the Greek Bird Race that was held this weekend. The race is formally organised for Athens and Thessaloniki areas but other parts of Greece may take part without competing. This year’s 4th race was dedicated to the Turtle Doves (#YearOfTheDove).

We first visited some garrigue areas with scattered trees between Parakila and Agra. Several singing Cinereous and Cretzschmar’s Buntings gave good opportunities for “welcomes” and some photos. The area was full of Black-eared Wheatears and singing well-hidden Eastern Orphean Warblers. Here are some photos:

Cinereous Bunting (Emberiza cineracea) foraging by the track side.
Another Cinereous Bunting at its singing post.
Eastern Black-eared Wheatear (Oenanthe melanoleuca)

Also had singles of Sombre Tit and Rock Nuthatch.

Woodchat Shrike (Lanius senator)

Our list was 66 bird species long with 2 hour, early morning, birding, a car passage from the main Mitilini-Kalloni-Parakila “wetland-road” and an hour spent in the pine forest on the way back to Mitilini.

We also had 2 species of Scorpions.

The endemic scorpion Euscorpion lesbiacus
Scops Owl (Otus scops) at Skala Kalloni area

2nd half of October birding

Cirl Bunting;Lesvos

I had 5 half days out with Fiona a very experienced “globe-birder”. We were around the most representative habitats of the island with lovely weather and good birds, even with zero summer visitor species.

The highlights were the Kruper’s and Western Rock Nuthatches, Dalmatian Pelicans, Black Stork, Ruddy Shelduck, Slender-billed Gulls, Marsh Sandpiper, Sombre Tit, Cirl Bunting, Blue Rock Thrush and late Red-backed Shrikes and Northern Wheatears, Ring Ouzel, Long-legged Buzzard etc.

Here are some photos of our birding:

Dalmatian Pelican; Lesvos
Dalmatian Pelican among Cormorants

Black Stork and Shags;Lesvos
Black Stork and Shags

Ruddy Shelduck Lesvos
Ruddy Shelduck

Middle-spotted Woodpecker; Lesvos
Middle-spotted Woodpecker

Robin Lesvos
European Robin

Osprey;Lesvos
Osprey

Cuckoo;Lesvos
Common Cuckoo

June 4th, half-day around Central Lesvos

Short-toed Eagle (Circaetus gallicus): Lesvos birds

Our morning with Annick and her friends did not start well as we had to stay in the car for the first half-hour because of sudden rain! As I explain to visiting birders, rain is never a problem on the island as it usually lasts for short and you get to see even more birds afterward! Our birding area was the Kalloni Pans and the Agia Paraskevi village and we found an interesting variety of wetland (Flamingos, Black-winged Stilts, Avocets, White Stork, etc) and pasture land bird species (Masked and Woodchat Shrikes, Sombre Tit, Rock Nuthatch etc).

Squacco Heron (Ardeola ralloides); Lesvos Birds
Squacco Heron (Ardeola ralloides)

Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus)
Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus)

Little Owl (Athene noctua); Lesvos Birds
Little Owl (Athene noctua)

 

May 18th, full-day around Western Lesvos

Chukar (Alectoris chukar); Lesvos Birds

Petra and her friend wanted to get some good photos of several target species during her week on Lesvos and used my help for one day. We had a very pleasant day out spotting and photographing the usual breeders around Sigri (Cinereous and Cretzschmar’s Buntings, Sub-alpine Warbler, Rock Nuthatch, Rufous Bush Robin, Eastern Orphean Warbler etc) and discovering so many more migrants (shrikes, Rose-coloured Starlings etc).

Rufous Bush Robin; Lesvos Birds
Rufous Bush Robin (Cercotrichas galactotes)

Black-eared Wheatear (Oenanthe hispanica); Lesvos birds
Black-eared Wheatear (Oenanthe hispanica)

Eastern Orphean Warbler (Sylvia crassirostris); Lesvos birds
Eastern Orphean Warbler (Sylvia crassirostris)

May 12th, full-day all over the island!

Cinereous Bunting (Emberiza cineracea): Lesvos birds

Gary E. and Austin M. were excellent birders and good friends for years and the day was really enjoyable! We started very early from the central parts of the island for the Kruper’s Nuthatch and then headed West for the other island’s specialties.

Black-eared Wheathear (Oenanthe hispanica): Lesvos birds
Black-eared Wheatear (Oenanthe hispanica)

You can find out more (species and photos) at Austin’s blog:

http://austinmorley.blogspot.com/p/lesvos-greese-2019.html

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May 8th, half-day around Central Lesvos

Ruppell's Warbler (Sylvia rueppelli); Lesvos birds

Mark B. has been on the island for a few days already and had a few more species that he needed on his Lesvos list. So we were out early in the morning to find Rock Nuthatch, Cretzschmar’s Bunting and the Ruppell’s Warbler and had successfully found them by 11:00.

May 4th, half-day around Eressos

Orphean Warbler

Our meeting point was Eressos village and DonM. and I had only a few morning hours available for our birding. Nevertheless, we had a great birding morning!

Cretzschmar's Bunting; Lesvos birds
Cretzschmar’s Bunting (Emberiza caesia)

The great views of nest providing and singing Cinereous and Cretzschmar’s Bunting and Rock Nuthatch would be just enough for us but we got even more: a female Orphean Warbler providing its 3 recently fledged chicks, Black-headed Bunting, Bee-eaters, Eleonora’s Falcon, Crag Martin, Ruddy Shelduck, Long-legged Buzzard!

May 2nd, half-day around Western Lesvos

Cinereous Bunting; Lesvos birds

A lovely day in the West with Yon and Chara H. from Holland. A slow but very productive birding mostly by walking around Sigri and Eressos villages. Interesting birds we had together were: Cinereous, Cretzschmar’s and Black-headed Bunting, Isabelline and Black-eared Wheatears, Rock Sparrow, Bee-eaters at a nesting site, Golden Orioles (more than 25!), Masked and Woodchat Shrikes, Lesser Kestrel, etc.

 

Spotted Flycatcher; Lesvos Birds

Black-headed Bunting; Lesvos Birds