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 1st, a half-day trip around Central Lesvos

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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.