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

I am posting some reports of the trips I had back in Spring. Special days with interesting birds or/and in different areas just to give you an impression of the wonderful birds of Lesvos for Spring 2019.

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

Late winter half-day trip

Greek birders, the minute they set foot on Lesvos, are dying to be able to see the Kruper’s Nuthatch. So on February 8th I was out birding with Aris. C. (a very experienced birder) mainly to find the nuthatch and also to birdwatch around the Kalloni Gulf north coast wetlands.

We  found the Nuthatch on the second site we visited in a mixed flock of forest-dwelling birds (as expected this time of year!) : Great and Blue Tit, Short-toed Treecreeper, Long-tailed Tit. Later on we visited the Mesa wetland and Kalloni Salt Pans area and finished as far as the Skala Kalloni surrounding wetlands.

We enjoyed 80+ Ruddy Shelducks (Tadorna ferruginea) still in their overwintering gathering, Spoonbills (Platalea leucorodia), Greater Flamingos (Phoenicopterus roseus), Black Stork (Ciconia nigra), a single Spotted Redshank (Tringa erythropus), Mediterranean Gull (Croicocephalus melanocephalus), Sandwich Terns (Sterna sadvicensis) etc. Meadow Pipits (Anthus pratensis) and an unexpected Black Kite (Milvus migrans).

A very dull day gave very bad photos in general… and so is the record shot of the Kruper’s Nuthatch!

Autumn half-day around the Kalloni Gulf

Dalmatian Pelican; Lesvos Birdwatching

All summer visitor birds are gone by now from Lesvos. Spending half a day around the north coast of the Kalloni Gulf gave some very good birds, especially for Lisa H. that came from the USA. We went around the Kalloni Salt Pans and some of the estuaries of the area and also spend sometime in the nearby pine forest.

The highlights of the trip were: Red-footed Falcons (13!), Dalmatian Pelicans, Black Storks, Spoonbills, Slender-billed Gulls, Ruddy Shelducks, Short-toed Treecreeper, Long-tailed Tit etc.

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

Mid-September, half-day trip around Central Lesvos

Willow Warbler; Lesvos
Willow Warbler, a common migrant by now (photo: L. Kakalis)

S. and A. had a half-day trip (15/9) at the central parts of the island starting with the Tsiknias River and Kalloni Salt Pans and surrounding areas and continuing north of Agia Paraskevi. September is a great month to observe Shrikes with Red-backed, Woodchat and Lesser Grey juveniles being very easy to find in suitable areas, also migrants such as WINCHATS, BEE-EATERS etc. The birds species our clients enjoyed the most were the day-roosting flock of 8 STONE CURLEWS (Burhinus oedicnemus) and a family of PEREGRINE FALCONS (Falco peregrinus) on their cliff.

Find out more about the birds seen specifically at the Kalloni Salt Pans on e-bird.

End of June, 2 full-day trips around Central and Western Lesvos

Motacilla citreola; Lesvos birds; Lesvos birding; Lesvos birdwatching

The highlights of these 2 full-day trips around the wetlands of the Kalloni Gulf and Molivos area (day 1) and Schalochori and Eresos areas (day 2) with Svante and Elizabeth were: DALMATIAN PELICANS, Ruddy Shelducks, Cory’s and Manx Shearwaters, AUDUIN’S GULL, KRUPER’S and Western Rock NUTHATCHES, Sombre Tit, Middle Spotted Woodpecker, ISABELLINE WHEATHEAR, RUFOUS BUSH ROBIN, EASTERN ORPHEAN WARBLER, EASTERN BONELLI’S WARBLERS, OLIVE-TREE WARBLERS, Black-headed Buntings, Woodchat  and MASKED SHRIKES, CRETZSCHMAR’S and CINEREOUS BUNTINGS, Short-toed Eagle, Long-legged Buzzard etc and a bonus of a CITRINE WAGTAIL!

A total of 99 different bird species were recorded.

(photo by Lefteris Kakalis)

Beginning of June, half-day trip around Central Lesvos

lesvos birds; lesvos birding; lesvos birdwatching; Scops Owl

The highlights of this morning trip around the Kalloni Gulf wetlands with Nicola, Hilary and Margaret were: DALMATIAN PELICANS, Black and White Storks, Black-winged Stilts, Spoonbills, Ruddy Shelducks, Bee-eaters, ALPINE SWIFTS, Black-headead Buntings, SCOPS OWL etc.

White Stork nest; Lesvos birds; Lesvos birding
White Stork and Spanish Sparrow nest(s)!

Beginning of May, half-day trip around Central Lesvos

A fine half-day trip around Agia Paraskevi, with Rex and Hanneke, walking among pasture land and olive-groves. Here are the high-lights: a pair of ROCK NUTHATCHES providing to their nest, MASKED SHRIKES, Red-backed and Woodchat Shrikes, Turtle Doves, SOMBRE TITS, Little Owl, Peregrine Falcon, LONG-LEGGED BUZZARDS, a SHORT-TOED EAGLE resting on a small tree (!), Bee-eaters, several HOOPOES, Middle Spotted Woodpecker etc. Oh, and Persian Scuirrels!

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Poecilimon mytilenensis: a basic food for most passerine nest providers!

Mid-April, half-day trip around Southern Lesvos

Together with Wouter and Luise, we visited the East side of the Kalloni Gulf : coastal wetlands, pine forest and olive-groves and agricultural land by Polichnitos. A day full of passing hirundines and swifts with 1st sightings of some bird species for this Spring! We had: KRUPER’S NUTHATCH, Turtle Doves, 2 PALLID HARRIERS, Ruddy Shelducks, Ruffs, Wood Sandpipers, Kentish Plovers, Black Stork, Glossy Ibisses, WHISKERED and BLACK TERNS, MASKED and WOODCHAT SHRIKES, lots of SPANISH SPARROWS etc.

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Whinchats (Saxicola rubetra) on the move!