27-30 April full-day birding

Ruppell's Warbler;Lesvos;Lesvosbirding;Lesvosbirdwatching

(with Jean-Paul from France)

During this series of four full days around Lesvos, we got the main target species to take photos from (Kruper’s Nuthatch, Olive-tree Warbler, Cinereous and Cretzschmar’s Buntings) and had a great time birding around all parts of the island.

Here are some of my record shots from our birding:

Kruper’s Nuthatch (Sitta krueperi)
Olivaceous Warbler (Iduna pallida)
Bee-eaters (Merops apiaster)
Spotted Crake (Porzana porzana)
Squacco heron (Ardeola ralloides)
Black-headed Bunting (Emberiza melanocephala)
Cretzschmar’s Bunting (Emberiza caesia), female
Cretzschmar’s Bunting (Emberiza caesia), male
Isabelline Wheatear (Oenanthe isabellina)
Cinereous Bunting (Emberiza cineracea)
Scops Owl (Otus scops)
Little Owl (Athene noctua)
Laughing Dove (Spilopelia senegalensis), at its 1st confirmed breeding site in Greece

26 April full-day birding

(with Fabrizio, Mario and Sandro from Italy)

I helped this group of friends photograph the Kruper’s Nuthatch, Cinereous Bunting and Cretzschmar’s Buntings, Masked Shrike, Black-eared Wheatear, Scops Owl, Stone Curlew and several more species.

Here are some of my record shots from our birding:

A pair of Eastern Black-eared Wheatears (Oenanthe melanoleuca)
Raven (Corvus corax)
Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus)
A flock of Greater Flamingos (Phoenicopterus roseus) out of nowhere!
Temminck Stints (Calidris temminckii)
Masked Shrike (Lanius nubicus), female
Black-headed Bunting (Emberiza melanocephala)
Starred Agama (Stellagama stellio)
Fields by the Kalloni gulf

16 April full-day guiding

(with Guinderno and Paola from Italy)

During this full day around the Kalloni Gulf and Western Lesvos, we got all lifer targets Guinderno had when coming to Lesvos: Kruper’s and Western Rock Nuthatch, Masked Shrike, Sombre Tit, Cinereous and Cretzschmar’s Buntings and I got a Common Rock Thrush!!

Here are some record shots from our birding:

Squacco Herons (Ardeola ralloides), Black-winged Stilt, Flamingos, Ruffs, Wood Sandpipers.
Black Stork (Ciconia nigra)
Common Rock Thrush (Monticola saxatilis)
Isabelline’s Wheatear (Oenanth isabellina)
Eastern Subalpine Warbler (Sylvia cantillans)
Kruper’s Nuthatch (Sitta krueperi)
Masked Shrike (Lanius nubicus)
Collared Flycatcher (Ficedula albicollis)
Cinereous Bunting (Emberiza cineracea)
False Apollo (Archon apollinus)
Starred Agama (Stellagama stellio)

12 & 14 April half-day guiding

(with Anne and Leo from Norway)

During 2 half-days around the Kalloni Gulf and having Skala Kallonis as a starting point, we had:

Ruddy and Common Shelduck, Garganey, Flamingo, Black Stork, Glossy Ibis, Wood and Marsh Sandpiper, Short-toed Eagle, Long-legged Buzzard, Scops Owl, Woodlark, Black-headed Wagtail, Black-eared Wheatear, Eastern Orphean Warbler, Sombre Tit, Kruper’s, Western Rock and Common Nuthatch, Cinereous, Cretzschmar’s and Cirl Bunting and many more (even a Fox!) and many more.

Here are some record shots:

Greater Flamingos (Phoenicopterus roseus)
Black-winged Stilts (Himantopus himantopus) and a Marsh Sandpiper (Tringa stagnatilis)
Glossy Ibisses (Plegadis falcinellus)
Garganeys (Anas querquedula)
Scops Owl (Otus scops)
Yelkouan Shearwaters (Puffinus yelkouan)
Short-toed Eagle (Circaetus gallicus)
Long-legged Buzzard (Buteo rufinus)

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


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)