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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Phillippe and Pascale had already been on Lesvos for a week and had seen nearly all of the island’s specialties. Our day’s targets were the MASKED SHRIKE and EASTERN ORPHEAN WARBLER. Also the Isabelline Wheather and some wild flower species. I chose a route including the birds’s prefered habitats, around Agia Paraskevi and later Agra and we got our targets within the first one hour having the rest of the trip to also enjoy some good birds (and plants!): Turtle Doves, 2 GREAT SPOTTED CUCKOOS, Purple Herons, Little Owl, Woodchat Shrikes, SOMBRE TIT, Woodlark, Subalpine Warblers, WESTERN ROCK NUTHATCH, CINEREOUS, ORTOLAN, CRETZSCHMAR’S and Cirl Buntings, etc.
Beatrice C. (a novice birder) had a tight program on the island so I had to create this taylor-made afternoon trip to some wetlands of the north coast of the Kalloni Gulf and pasture land near Agia Paraskevi. We had Ruddy Shelducks, GLOSSY IBISSES, Flamingos, PURPLE HERON, Spoonbills, Black Storks, SQUACCO HERONS, Ruffs, Wood and MARSH SANDPIPERS, WOODCHAT SHRIKES, SOMBRE TIT, SPANISH SPARROWSetc.