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A Report from

Birdwatching Report from Vatera - Lesvos, 29.04.02 - 13.05.02,


By Dirk Demey & Karen Op de Beek of Belgium

Dirk and Karen stayed in Lesvos courtesy of (Madonna Studios), an excellent place to discover the rich nature at Vatera - Lesvos

We visited Vatera - Lesvos for the first time with our young family and a friend and stayed at comfortable and homely apartments . We were pleasantly surprised of what we found and are happy to provide our observations and experiences in Vatera and the surrounding area.

We have sectioned our observations in this report, hoping that they will contribute to the better appreciation of Vatera by potential seekers of eco-tourism and at the same time give the local people the facts and arguments necessary for its conservation as a nature sanctuary.

  1. General description of the "Key points" of the area (Polychnitos, Vrissa, Vatera and surroundings.
  2. Comprehensive bird list and to the extend of possibility also on mammals, butterflies and flowers

General description of the "Key points" of the area (Polychnitos, Vrissa, Vatera and surroundings).


The southern tip of Vatera on the island of Lesvos benefits from some unique advantages, which favour an interesting nature life:

  1. It is ideally situated for bird migration coming in from Africa and Turkey due to its southern location on the island.
  2. Having a protruding point into the sea, the cape of Agios Focas, which naturally attracts a lot of migratory birds.
  3. Having a gentle bay with calm water and a long fairly unspoiled beach.
  4. The presence of a river with reed swamps and a little marsh at its mouth.
  5. Attractive and wild hillside at the back, inland side
  6. Fairly limited construction along the beach
  7. Great diversity of landscapes due to still maintained " extensive farming" practises
  8. Large areas of "extensively maintained" olive groves.
  9. Good walking trails through the hills and olive groves.


The strongest points of Polychnitos are:

  1. The presence of The Polychnitos Salt Pans, attracting a lot of shore birds during migration period.
  2. The unspoiled south point of the peninsula at the mouth of the Kalloni Bay
  3. The presence of an inhabited stork's nest at the centre of town, and this at the top of the chimney of the old olive press

Comprehensive bird list (also mammals, butterflies and flowers)

This list mentions all the bird species observed during our stay at Vatera. It can be stated without any exaggeration, that this list is very impressive and underlines the inherent potential of Vatera and surrounding area as a site for eco-tourism.

During our 14 days stay, we have recorded over 80 different species of birds in Vatera. Add to this list the birds seen at Polychnitos Salt Pans and the complete list gets close to 100 different bird species.

This unambiguously demonstrates that the so far prevailing assumptions on the rather poor wildlife of the area are manifestly wrong. The list indicated birds observed at Vatera and Polychnitos and the indication that some of them may be breeding species. Rare birds are recorded in italics with date of sight.

Cory's Sherwater *
Mediterenean Sherwater *
Shag *
Little Bittern *
Squacco Heron *
Little Egret *
Grey Heron *
Purple Heron *
White Stork   *
Glossy Ibis 04.05.02 *
Gargeney *
Marsh Harrier *
Common Buzzard *
Steppe Buzzard *
Long Legged Buzzard *
Lesser Spotted Eagle 29.04.02 *
Red Footed Falcon   *
Common Kestrel *
Eleonora's Falcon 09.04 / 12.05.02 *
Peregrine Falcon 05.05.02 *
Saker Falcon 08.05.02 *
Little Crake *
Moorhen *
Stone Curlew   *
Stork-winged Stilt   *
Avocet   *
Common Shelduck *
Collared Pratincole 02.05 / 04.05.02 *
Great Ringed Plover   *
Little Ringed Plover *
Grey Plover   *
Turnstone   *
Curlew Sandpiper   *
Little Stint * *
Temminck's Stint *
Ruff *
Common Greenshank * *
Wood Sandpiper * *
Common Sandpiper * *
Yellow-legged Gull * *
Gull-billed Tern 09.05.02 *
Sandwich Tern *
Common Tern * *
Little Tern *
Whiskered Tern *
Collared Dove * *
Turtle Dove *
Common Cuckoo *
Little Owl *
Alpine Swift * *
Common Swift *
Eus Bee-eater *
Roller 02.05 / 07.05.02 *
Hoopoe *
Middle spotted Woodpecker *
Sky Lark * *
Wood Lark *
Crested Lark * *
Sand Martin *
Red-rumped Swallow *
Barn Swallow *
House Martin *
Meadow Pipit *
Pied Wagtail *
Yellow Wagtail * *
Rufus Nightingale *
Black Redstart *
Whinchat *
Northern Wheatear *
Isabelline Wheatear 29.04.02 *
Black -eared Wheatear * *
Blue Rock Thrush *
Blackbird *
Cetti's Warbler *
Great Reed Warbler *
Sedge Warbler *
Reed Warbler *
Olivaceous Warbler *
Subalpine Warbler *
Sardinian Warbler *
Common Whitethroat *
Spotted Flycatcher *
Blue Tit *
Great Tit *
Red-backed Shrike * *
Lesser Grey Shrike 29.04/ 04.05.02 *
Woodchat Shrike * *
Masked Shrike * *
Jay *
Carrion Crow * *
House Sparrow *
Spanish Sparrow *
Chaffinch *
Greenfinch *
Goldfinch *
Linnet *
Corn Bunting * *
Cirl Bunting * *
Black-headed Bunting * *
Cretzschmar's Bunting 12.05.02 * *
Cinereous Bunting 11.05.02 * *
Night Heron *
Short-toed Eagle *
River Warbler (singing) *

Painteded Lady: Butterfly, common along the coast
Persian Squirrel : Common in olive groves
Fox: Fairly common in hillsides
Marsh Turtles: very common in Vatera river ( Almyropotamos)
Snakes: a) Large Green snake b) Smaller brown-red snake
Dolphins: Two mammals observed twice in front of Agios Fokas and Vatera Bay
Orchids: A mid sized purple-red specimen found in small numbers
along road towards Agios Focas and in the hills behind Vatera


Dirk and Karen stayed in Lesvos courtesy of (Madonna Studios), an excellent place to discover the rich nature at Vatera - Lesvos



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