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

April 6th, a half-day trip around Central Lesvos

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.

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Little Owl (Athene noctua) and Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus) under the rain!

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Flirting Common Terns (Sterna hirundo)

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Corn Buntings (Emberiza calandra) dominating the bird songs heard.

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Sombre Tit (Poecile lugubris)

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Ruffs, Marsh Sandpipers, Spotted Redshanks, Wood Sandpipers, Dunlins in a large mixed of around 120 birds

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Glossy Ibises (Plegadis falcinellus), only 6 around that day!

April 1st, a half-day trip around Central Lesvos

Dalmatian Pelican;Lesvos;birding

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

Here are some photos of the birds we found:

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Kruper’s Nuthatch (Sitta krueperi)

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Black-tailed Godwits (Limosa limosa)- on the right- and Ruffs (Calidris pugnax)

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Marsh Sandpipers (Tringa stagnatilis)

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Well-covered but really close Glossy Ibises (Plegadis falcinellus)

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Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) with prey avoiding a Yellow-Legged Gull (Larus michahellis) that went after the big fish!

Common Swifts (Apus apus) were clearly making a passage on that day. We were seeing flocks of 20-100 birds moving through all morning.

April 18, half-day around Central Lesvos

Curlew Sandpipers and Temminck's Stint; Lesvos

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.

Kruper's Nuthatch; Lesvos
Kruper’s Nuthatch

April 10, full-day around Central and Western Lesvos

Cinereous Bunting (Emberiza cineracea); Lesvos; Lesvos Birdwatching

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.

End of April, half-day trip around Western Lesvos

Here are the highlights of our trip with Pat and Ros A., around Antissa dn Sigri: CINEREOUS and CRETCSHZMAR’S BUNTINGS, ISABELINE, Black-eared Wheatear, EASTERN ORPHEAN, Sub-alpine and Olivaceous Warblers, Black-headed Buntings, ROCK SPARROWS, Crag Martins, LESSER KESTREL, Blue Rock Thrush, etc.

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