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).
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.
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.
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
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.