Just catching up on some of my ‘back catalogue’. Here are a few pictures from last years spring trip to the lovely Greek island of Lesvos. We booked a standard week’s package holiday , staying in the northern resort of Petra. Most birders try to stay in or around Skala Kalloni, to be close to the salt pans (and other birders!) but Petra, which is in the north and only forty minutes from Kalloni, is a very acceptable alternative. The weather in April is usually warm but there can be a cool north wind and the nights are very cold. In our experience few hotels make proper provision for their early season birding guests. We went with our ‘birding buddies’ Bob and Sue – this being their first trip ensured that there was plenty of action for all. We were lucky enough to coincide our trip with a huge fall of ‘black and white’ flycatchers – providing me with a chance to get a Western Palearctic ‘tick’ in the shape of Semi-collard – in fact we connected with three! As I’d broken my 400mm telephoto on a previous trip to Costa Rica, these images are taken on my ‘back up’ 70-200mm, and it shows. Anyway enjoy…..
The hotel, on the northern outskirts of Petra –
…close to the Ruppell’s site and some good early morning walks. We had Collard Flycatcher in the gardens!
Black-eared Wheatear, on the hill-side behind the hotel.
Subalpine Warbler of the eastern albistriata race.
A superb singing Ruppell’s Warbler, at the last accessible breeding site along the cliffs between Petra and Molivos
There was a very large roost of hirundine on the cliffs at the back of the hotel, including a few Red-rumped Swallow
View of Inland Lake, in the lower Potamia valley. The birding was excellent here with good numbers of Little Crake, Spotted Crake and Water Rail, Penduline Tit and Little Bittern.
Male and female Little Crake
Upper Napi valley – always good for raptor passage, although on this occasion we were a little early for the main movement.
Sombre Tit – a Levos speciality.
Meanwhile East River and the salt-pans had plenty of action, with Red-throated and Tawny Pipit, Glossy Ibis, Collard Pratincole, Red-footed Falcon, Pallid Harrier and much more.
….including this beauty…a Black Stork, which spent a couple of days on the river recuperating, before flying north,
..and this Little Bittern, only a few yards up stream.
There was plenty of wader interest, including Marsh Sandpiper and Temminck’s Stint.
The area around Sigri, in the far west, is always interesting and 2011 was no exception, with plenty of wagtails, including three Citrine, Golden Oriole, Cretzschmar’s and Ortolan Bunting, Wryneck and Spur-winged Lapwing.
‘Blue and Black headed races and a stunning male Citrine.
This Purple Heron was just stood in a field, being admired by the passing birders.
There were a handful of these gorgeous male Golden Oriole in fig trees on the track to the ford.
Spur-winged Lapwing…sort of speaks for itself really!
On the drive back from Sigri, via Eresos, we saw Chukar…
and this other recently returning Lesvos speciality – Cinereous Bunting.
And to finish with, a shot of poppies, just some of the stunning botanical interest on this lovely island.
For further information on birding in Lesvos go to local Peterborough birder Steve Dudley’s excellent website.