lesbos6

BIRDING LESVOS

3rd to 17th May 2001

Having read reports about how good Lesvos is for spring migration we decided to give it a try. A visit to the Bird Fair at Rutland Water in 2000 saw us obtaining lots of information including ‘Birding on the Greek Island of Lesvos’ by Richard Brooks with the Spring-Summer 2000 update.

This book and update formed the main basis for our research and planning. The map sketches, accompanying descriptions and systemic list information were invaluable. The Update refreshed and corrected some data in the book, and gave details of a new site, Napi Valley, which turned out to be one of our favourite areas.

Once there, from discussions with people who had visited the island before, it appears that migration was slightly later this year and this was confirmed by quite a few of our sightings where the systemic list information in the book shows the species to be a passage migrant up to the end of April.

We decided to take a package holiday as the basis for flight and accommodation and found that JMC offered the best package for cost and flight times. We flew from Manchester Airport direct to Mytilini, the island’s capital.

We stayed at the Kalloni 11 Hotel at Skala Kalloni and had a ground floor room with terrace onto the garden in front, and a view of Skala Kalloni Pool. We were greeted with Whiskered Tern, White-winged Black Tern, Black-winged Stilt, Squacco Heron, Purple Heron and Garganey from our room as we unpacked.

We booked a hire car for the two-week stay with JMC, through a deal with Avis. The new Hyundai Accent coped well throughout. We would recommend all birders take the additional excess waiver on the insurance (payable locally).

This was our first visit to Greece or any Greek island and we were extremely impressed. The people were friendly and accommodating, the pace of life was ‘steady’ and there were no problems with language. Except in one or two isolated places people spoke English as their second language.

For evening meals we highly recommend a family-run taverna called ‘Ostria’ at Skala Kalloni only a 5-minute walk from the hotel (along the road past the pool); meet Peter and enjoy!

The hotel was three star and we found it clean and tidy. Most of the residents were British or Dutch birders and the camaraderie was superb with plenty of useful information circulating around the breakfast tables as people planned their day.

Having a fortnight we decided not to race about but to pace ourselves. The birding was good everywhere. All we had to do was to stop the car and look - there were birds everywhere. Also the island contains a mixture of habitats from scrub to rocks to forest/olive groves to mountains etc etc so the variety of bird life was tremendous.

Having said we were not intending to race about, we must confess to two twitches, firstly for a White-tailed Plover, which we had chased on numerous occasions in Israel and Dubai, and also for White-throated Robin. 

For identification reference material we took the new Collins Bird Guide (Svensson et al) and found this met our needs.

We kept daily records and at the end of a relaxing holiday we totalled up and found to our great surprise that we had reached 150 species. This surpassed our expectations and the bonus was all the birdsong, which you tend not to experience in Israel or so much in Cyprus.

Our holiday was due to finish on 17th May but due to a 24-hour general strike in Greece JMC arranged for us to have an extra day on them (including use of the room overnight and a meal) so five-stars to them.

Sightings

Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis
1 on 4th on salt pools beside Derbyshire
2 on 15th on Kalloni Inland Lake

Yelkouan Shearwater Puffinus yelkouan
2 on 10th off Faneromeni Beach
13 on 12th off Agios Fokas

Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo sinensis
2 on 4th in bay opposite Achladeri taverna
1 on 6th off Skala Sikimmia
1 on 8th off Apothikes
2 on 10th off Sigri

Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis desmarestii
3 on 12th off Agios Fokas
3 on 14th off Eftalou

Great Bittern Botaurus stellaris
1 on 15th on East River. Seen for 10 mins above lower horseshoe ford before being flushed by goat herd moving along bank side

Little Bittern Ixobrychus minutus
1 at Skala Kalloni Pool on 3rd, 4th, 5th, 7th and 10th 
2 at East River on 4th, 11th, 13th, 15th, 16th and 17th – 1 on 7th 
2 at Kalloni Inland Lake on 13th
1 at Vouvaris River on 7th

Black-crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax
1 on 12th at Vouvaris River

Squacco Heron Ardeola ralloides
Seen almost daily at Skala Kalloni Pool and on visits to the East River

Little Egret Egretta garzetta
Widespread and seen regularly at Kalloni Lake, East River and Kalloni Salt Pans. Highest count was 15 on 13th and 14th at Skala Kalloni Pool

Great White Egret Egretta alba 
1 on 4th on salt pools beside Derbyshire
1 on 7th at East River
1 on 12th at Skala Polichnitos Salt Pans

Grey Heron Ardea cinerea
Seen regularly at Kalloni Salt Pans. Highest count was 8 on 4th on Lower West River

Purple Heron Ardea purpurea
Seen regularly at Skala Kalloni Pool

Black Stork Ciconia nigra
1 on 8th in flight near Ipsilou Monastery
1 on 9th at West River
2 on 12th in flight near Derbyshire
2 on 13th in flight at Kalloni Salt Pans

White Stork Ciconia ciconia
Seen almost daily around Skala Kalloni. Nesting on top of one of the churches

Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus
20 on 3rd on East River just upstream from the road bridge
5 on 4th and 4 on 5th on Upper East River
3 on 14th and 1 on 15th on Lower East River
2 on 16th on Skala Kalloni Pool

Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia
1 on 7th and 2 on 16th at Kalloni Salt Pans

Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus ruber
100+ throughout at Kalloni Salt Pans

Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea
20 on 4th at Derbyshire
20 on 7th at Derbyshire
7 on 12th at Derbyshire

Shelduck Tadorna tadorna
2 on 7th at Kalloni Salt Pans
2 on 11th at Kalloni Salt Pans

Wigeon Anas penelope
1 on 7th at Kalloni Salt Pans

Garganey Anas quercedula
4 on 3rd at Skala Kalloni Pool
6 on 4th at Skala Kalloni Pool
6 on 5th at Skala Kalloni Pool
3 on 6th at Skala Kalloni Pool
1 on 7th at Skala Kalloni Pool

Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata
2 on 7th at Kalloni Salt Pans
2 on 8th and 9th at Skala Kalloni Pool

Short-toed Eagle Circaetus gallicus
Seen regularly in the hills

Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus
Seen most days hunting between Skala Kalloni and Kalloni Salt Pans

Common Buzzard Buteo buteo
1 on 5th over the Potamia Valley
1 on 7th over Kalloni Salt Pans
1 on 8th near Parakila

Long-legged Buzzard Buteo rufinus
4 on 6th at Napi Valley
1 on 9th near Kalloni Inland Lake
2 on 10th near Ipsilou Monastery
1 on 12th near Derbyshire

Osprey Pandion haliaetus
1 on 7th over Achladeri Plain

Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni
12 on 10th at Faneromeni

Kestrel Falco tinnunculus
1 on 6th at head of Napi Valley

Red-footed Falcon Falco vespertinus
2 on 6th on wires between Kalloni Salt Pans and Agia Paraskevi

Hobby Falco subbuteo
1 on 13th over Kalloni Inland Lake

Eleonora’s Falcon Falco eleonorae
1 on 14th at Napi Valley
1 on 15th at Kalloni Inland Lake

Peregrine Falco peregrinus
3 on 6th between Molivos and Petra
2 on 14th between Molivos and Petra

Spotted Crake Porzana porzana
1 on 7th on the Potamia River near the Kalloni/Parakila road crossing

Little Crake Porzana parva
1 male on 13th on Lower East River near the concrete ford
1 female on 13th at Kalloni Inland Lake

Moorhen Gallinula chloropus
Seen regularly on Skala Kalloni Pool, East River and Kalloni Inland Lake

Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus
2 on 7th on shoreline near Kalloni Salt Pans

Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus 
Seen daily on Skala Kalloni Pool and visits to Kalloni Salt Pans

Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta
Seen in good numbers (24+) at all visits to Kalloni Salt Pans

Stone Curlew Burhinus oedicnemus
2 on 7th at Kalloni Salt Pans
1 on 13th at Kalloni Salt Pans

Collared Pratincole Glareola pratincola
4 on 16th in sheep field at Kalloni Salt Pans

Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius
Seen regularly in ones & twos in the sheep field at Kalloni Salt Pans and the Lower East River

Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula
4 on 16th in channel next to road into Kalloni Salt Pans

Kentish Plover Charadrius alexandrinus
Seen on all visits to Kalloni Salt Pans in the sheep field. Highest count was 12 on 11th

Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola
5 on 11th at Kalloni Salt Pans
1 on 12th at Kalloni Salt Pans
2 on 13th in sheep field next to Kalloni Salt Pans

White-tailed Plover Vanellus leucurus
1 on 7th at Derbyshire Pool

Sanderling Calidris alba
1 on 14th on sand between Lower East River and the sea
2 on 15th on sand between Lower East River and the sea
9 on 17th at poolside between Lower East River and the sea

Little Stint Calidris minuta
Seen in all visits to Kalloni Salt Pans with 24 on 11th and 100+ on 16th

Temminck’s Stint Calidris temminckii
3 on 4th in channel next to road into Kalloni Salt Pans 
1 on 7th at Kalloni Salt Pans
1 on 15th at Lower East River

Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea
Seen in all visits to Kalloni Salt Pans with 36 on 11th, 36 on 12th and 300+ on 16th 

Ruff Philomachus pugnax
Seen in small numbers (up to 6) at Skala Kalloni Pool and East River between 3rd and 9th 
100+ on 16th at Kalloni Salt Pans

Snipe Gallinago gallinago
1 on 5th on Skala Kalloni Pool
1 on 9th on Skala Kalloni Pool

Great Snipe Gallinago media
1 on 4th on Skala Kalloni Pool
1 on 4th on Upper East River

Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus
1 on 15th, 16th and 17th on Lower East River near the sea sandbank

Marsh Sandpiper Tringa stagnatilis
3 on 4th on East River
4 on 5th on East River

Greenshank Tringa nebularia
1 on 12th on salt pools beside Derbyshire

Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola
Seen daily on Skala Kalloni Pool between 3rd and 12th. High count 6 on 4th
Seen daily on East River. High count 6 on 5th and 14th

Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos
1 on Skala Kalloni Pool on 3rd and 4th
1 on Lower East River on 13th, 14th, 15th and 17th

Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres
3 on 14th on sand between Lower East River and the sea
1 on 15th on sand between Lower East River and the sea
3 on 17th at poolside between Lower East River and the sea

Mediterranean Gull Larus melanocephalus
3 on 12th on salt pools beside Derbyshire
1 on 15th over sea off Skala Kalloni

Slender-billed Gull Larus genei
2 on 7th at Kalloni Salt Pans

Yellow-legged Gull Larus cachinnans michahellis
Good numbers throughout the Island

Gull-billed Tern Gelochelidon nilotica
4 on 3rd over the sea off Skala Kalloni
1 on 5th in flight over East River
1 on 10th over the sea off Sigri

Common Tern Sterna hirundo
Seen almost daily between Skala Kalloni harbour and Lower East River

Little Tern Sterna albifrons
Seen almost daily between Skala Kalloni harbour and Lower East River

Lesser Crested Tern Sterna bengalensis
A top quality, rare bird in Lesvos and Europe. One present at Kalloni Salt Pans on 6th and 7th, seen on the 7th

Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybridus
Seen almost daily over Skala Kalloni Pool. 12 birds on 3rd and 4th tailing off to 1 on 14th, 15th and 16th. None seen on 17th

Black Tern Chlidonias niger
6 on 7th over Kalloni Salt Pans

White-winged Black Tern Chlidonias leucopterus
12 on Skala Kalloni Pool from 3rd to 7th
8 on Skala Kalloni Pool from 10th to 13th
1 on 16th over Kalloni Salt Pans

Rock Dove Columba livia
3 on 9th over East River
4 on 10th near Ipsilou Monastery

(Feral Pigeon Columba livia (domest.))
6 on 13th at Skala Kalloni
8 on 15th near Parakila

Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto
Seen daily throughout the Island

Turtle Dove Streptopelia turtur
Seen in ones and twos throughout the Kalloni area from 5th to 16th

Great Spotted Cuckoo Clamator glandarius
1 on 14th at Napi Valley

Cuckoo Cuculus canorus
Heard regularly but 1 seen on 8th between Eressos and Ipsilou and 1 seen on 16th between Kalloni and Petra in the woods at the top of the climb out of Kalloni

Barn Owl Tyto alba
1 on 5th in flight at 9.40pm near Skala Kalloni Square

Scops Owl Otus scops
1 on 11th, 13th and 14th roosting in a Eucalyptus tree near to the Astroturf pitch just north of Kalloni on the Petra road. From the Kalloni direction take the second entrance on the right into the area so that the Astroturf pitch is immediately on your left. There will be a row of Eucalyptus trees on your right. The bird was roosting about 12 feet up in the third tree from the road. The tree stands out as having more cover than those around it.

Little Owl Athene noctua
1 on 7th between Skala Kalloni and West River
4 on 8th, 3 on the coast road between Skala Kalloni and Eressos, 1 at Ipsilou Monastery
1 on 10th between Sigri and Eressos
1 on 17th near East River

Long-eared Owl Asio otis
1 on 7th roosting in woodland at Achladeri

Common Swift Apus apus
Small numbers seen most days (1-4) however on 14th there was a good passage with 30 over East River at 9am and 100+ over Skala Kalloni Pool between 6pm and 7pm

Alpine Swift Apus melba
2 on 7th over Achladeri Plain
8 on 8th over near Ipsilou Monastery
4 on 14th, 1 over East River at 9am and 3 over Skala Kalloni Pool at 6.30pm

Kingfisher Alcedo atthis
1 on 7th at Kalloni Inland Lake

Bee-eater Merops apiaster
Up to 6 regularly seen in the fields around Kalloni Salt Pans
2 on 17th over Skala Kalloni Pool 

Roller Coracias garrulus
1 on 14th in Napi Valley (at one point in same bush as Great Spotted Cuckoo)

Hoopoe Upupa epops
1 on 14th in Napi Valley

Middle Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos medius
4 on 5th, 2 adults going to nest hole near Skala Kalloni school, 2 over East River
2 on 13th, 1 adult visiting nest hole and 1 young just leaving!

Short-toed Lark Calandrella brachydactyla
Seen in the fields around Kalloni Salt Pans, 2 on 4th, 8 on 11th, 1 on 13th and 2 on 16th

Crested Lark Galerida cristata
Abundant and widespread

Woodlark Lullula arborea
1 on 16th in the woods at the top of the climb out of Kalloni on the Kalloni to Petra road

Sand Martin Riparia riparia
Seen regularly around Skala Kalloni Pool and East River. High count was 40+ over Skala Kalloni Lake between 6pm and 7pm on 14th 

Crag Martin Ptyonoprogne rupestris
1 on 6th in Napi Valley

Swallow Hirundo rustica
Abundant in the Skala Kalloni area

Red-rumped Swallow Hirundo daurica
2 on 8th near East River
3 on 13th at Skala Kalloni
1 on 14th at Skala Kalloni Pool
2 on 16th near East River

House Martin Delichon urbica
Abundant in the Skala Kalloni area with numerous nests on the Kalloni 11 hotel.
Highest counts were on 14th with 50+ over East River at 9am and 200+ over Skala Kalloni Pool between 6pm and 7pm 

Red-throated Pipit Anthus cervinus
1 on 3rd at Skala Kalloni Pool

Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava flava (Blue-headed Wagtail)
1 on 5th at East River
2 on 10th at East River
1 on 12th at East River

Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava feldegg (Black-headed Wagtail)
2 on 3rd, 2 on 4th, 1 on 16th at Skala Kalloni Pool
1 on 14th and 15th at East River
2 on 17th at West River

White Wagtail Motacilla alba alba
1 on 4th, 2 on 11th, 1 on 13th, 1 on 14th and 1 on 17th on East River

Rufous Bush Robin Cercotrichas galactotes syriacus
1 on 4th in field between Kalloni Salt Pans and the sea
1 on 10th between Sigri and Eressos
1 on 13th at Upper East River towards the Dead Goat Pit
1 on 16th in field between Kalloni Salt Pans and the sea

Nightingale Luscinia megarhynchos
Heard regularly between Skala Kalloni and the East River.
1 seen singing on 13th beside East River

White-throated Robin Irania gutturalis
1 on 10th at Ipsilou

Whinchat Saxicola rubetra
2 on 5th in field beside Skala Kalloni Pool
3 on 6th at Napi Valley
1 on 7th at Achladeri
1 on 11th in field between Kalloni Salt Pans and the sea
1 on 12th at Vatera

Stonechat Saxicola torquata
1 on 6th at Napi Valley
1 on 7th near Kalloni Inland Lake
6 on 8th between Filia and Kalloni

Isabelline Wheatear Oenanthe isabellina
1 on 10th near Ipsilou Monastery
1 on 12th between Achladeri and Skala Vassilikon

Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe
1 on 10th between Sigri and Eressos
1 on 12th at Vatera

Black-eared Wheatear Oenanthe hispanicus melanoleuca
Widespread in rocky areas with 12 seen on 8th between Skala Kalloni and Ipsilou and 12 on 10th between Skala Kalloni and Sigri. Both dark and pale forms in equal numbers

Blue Rock Thrush Monticola solitarius 
1 on 8th on top of Ipsilou Monastery
2 on 13th at Upper East River towards the Dead Goat Pit

Blackbird Turdus merula
Seen almost daily in all habitats including the hotel grounds

Mistle Thrush Turdus viscivorus
2 on 16th in the woods at the top of the climb out of Kalloni on the Kalloni to Petra road

Cetti’s Warbler Cetti cetti
Seen and heard almost daily around Skala Kalloni Pool and East River

Fan-tailed Warbler Cisticola juncidis
Seen and heard almost daily around Skala Kalloni Pool
1 on 12th between Achladeri and Skala Polichnitos

Sedge Warbler Acrocephalus schoenobaemus
1 seen at East River on 8th, 13th and 15th 

Reed Warbler Acrocephalus scirpaceus
2 on 7th at East River
3 on 9th at East River
1 on 10th at Skala Kalloni Pool
2 on 11th at East River
1 on 13th at East River

Great Reed Warbler Acrocephalus arundinaceus
1 on 9th at East River
1 on 11th at East River
1 heard on 16th at East River

Olivaceous Warbler Hippolais pallida elaeica
Commonest warbler seen daily around Skala Kalloni Pool and the surrounding tracks

Olive-tree Warbler Hippolais olivetorum
1 on 5th at Potamia Valley

Icterine Warbler Hippolais icterina
3 on 10th near Ipsilou

Subalpine Warbler Sylvia cantillans 
2 on 6th at Napi Valley
1 on 8th near Ipsilou
1 on 9th at Kalloni Inland Lake
1 on 14th at Napi Valley
2 on 16th in the woods at the top of the climb out of Kalloni on the Kalloni to Petra road

Ruppell’s Warbler Sylvia rueppelli
2 on 14th between Molivos and Petra

Orphean Warbler Sylvia hortensis crassirostris
1 on 6th at Napi Valley
1 on 14th at Napi Valley

Common Whitethroat Sylvia communis
Seen regularly on tracks around Skala Kalloni

Wood Warbler Phylloscopus sibilatrix
1 on 8th between Eressos and Ipsilou

Willow Warbler Phylloscopus trochilus
2 on 7th at Kalloni Inland Lake
2 on 8th between Eressos and Ipsilou

Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata
Seen between 5th and 13th with high count of 6 on 10th in circuit Eressos, Ipsilou, Sigri and Eressos

Pied Flycatcher Ficedula hypoleuca
2 on 5th at upper Potamia Valley
1 on 10th between Sigri and Eressos

Sombre Tit Parus lugubris
1 on 6th at Napi Valley

Blue Tit Parus caeruleus
Widespread and abundant with young

Great Tit Parus major
Widespread and abundant with young

Kruper’s Nuthatch Sitta krueperi
3 on 4th at nest in woods at Achladeri (2 adult and 1 young)

Western Rock Nuthatch Sitta neumayer
4 on 8th near Parakila
1 on 9th at Kalloni Inland Lake
8 on 10th at Ipsilou and Sigri
4 on 13th at Kalloni Inland Lake
4 on 14th at Napi Valley
4 on 15th at Kalloni Inland Lake

Golden Oriole Oriolus oriolus
1 heard on 14th at Napi Valley

Red-backed Shrike Lanius collurio
Seen between 6th and 14th with high count of 6 on 10th in circuit Eressos, Ipsilou, Sigri and Eressos

Lesser Grey Shrike Lanius minor
1 on 4th at Derbyshire
1 on 6th at Napi Valley
1 on 7th at Kalloni Inland Lake
2 on 10th near Ipsilou

Woodchat Shrike Lanius senator
Seen between 5th and 14th with high count of 6 on 5th at Potamia Valley

Masked Shrike Lanius nubicus
1 on 9th and 1 on 13th at Kalloni Inland Lake

Jay Garrulus glandarius atricapillus
Seen regularly in woodland. 

Jackdaw Corvus monedula
18 on 10th at Sigri
4 on 14th at Napi Valley

Hooded Crow Corvus corone
Seen daily over Skala Kalloni and at Skala Kalloni Pool

Starling Sturnus vulgaris
1 on 12th on headland at Agios Fokas

House Sparrow Passer domesticus
Widespread and abundant. Nesting in used House Martin nests on Kalloni 11 hotel (outside our room)

Spanish Sparrow Passer hispaniolensis
Seen almost daily at Skala Kalloni Pool

Rock Sparrow Petronia petronia
1 on 8th and 1 on 10th between Eressos and Ipsilou

Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs
Widespread, especially in woodland. High count 6 on 16th in the woods at the top of the climb out of Kalloni on the Kalloni to Petra road

Serin Serinus serinus
3 on 10th near Parakila
1 on 13th at Kalloni Inland Lake
3 on 16th in the woods at the top of the climb out of Kalloni on the Kalloni to Petra road

Greenfinch Carduelis chloris
Widespread. Seen almost daily

Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis
Widespread and abundant. A number of pairs nesting around Skala Kalloni Pool including one pair nesting in a small conifer outside our room

Linnet Carduelis cannabina
1 on 5th at Potamia Valley
3 on 8th at Apothikes
1 on 13th at East River
3 on 14th at East River

Cirl Bunting Emberiza cirlus
2 on 6th at Napi Valley
1 on 9th at Kalloni Inland Lake
2 on 14th at Napi Valley
1 on 16th in the woods at the top of the climb out of Kalloni on the Kalloni to Petra road

Cinereous Bunting Emberiza cineracea
1 on 8th near Parakila
1 on 10th near Ipsilou
1 on 15th near Parakila

Cretzschmar’s Bunting Emberiza caesia
2 on 6th on descent into Kalloni from Petra
12 on 8th between Parakila and Agra

6 on 10th between Sigri and Eressos
1 on 14th at Napi Valley
2 on 15th near Parakila

Corn Bunting Miliaria calandra
Widespread at Skala Kalloni and the surrounding lanes

Alan and Anne Miller