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:
Also had singles of Sombre Tit and Rock Nuthatch.
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.
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.
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).
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).
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.
You can find out more (species and photos) at Austin’s blog:
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.
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!
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!
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.