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A Report from


Rhion Pritchard

TRIP LIST    04/05/2000 - 11/05/2000

Thirteen members of the Cambrian Ornithological Society visited Lesvos from 4th to 11th May 2000. We were fortunate in the week we chose, in that rain during the previous week meant that there was quite a lot of water at sites such as the East River and Kalloni Pool early in the week, with impressive numbers of herons, egrets and waders present. By the end of the week these areas were drying out rapidly and the number of waterbirds was decreasing. However by this time late arrivals such as Olive-tree Warbler and Rufous Bushchat had come in, thus giving us the best of both worlds. The final Trip List was 151 (if the Skala Kalloni White Pelican is included)

We stayed at Skala Kalloni, which proved an ideal base, and had little difficulty in finding the three main target species, Cinereous Bunting, Kruper's Nuthatch and Olive-tree Warbler. Richard Brooks' book proved a great help in finding sites and birds.


Little Grebe  Tachybaptus ruficollis
Regularly seen at Skala Kalloni Salt Pans in small numbers.

Great Crested Grebe   Podiceps cristatus
Two on Kalloni Bay on 9/5/00 were a rather unexpected record for May.

Mediterranean Shearwater  Puffinus yelkouan
Two seen near Mytilini; otherwise elusive.

Cormorant  Phalacrocorax carb
Several birds seen, on the sea rather than on freshwater.

White Pelican  Pelecanus onocrotalus
The tame Skala Kalloni bird proved good value for money even if a doubtful tick, at one stage trying to feed a dog as it would a chick.

Great Bittern  Botaurus stellaris
One at Kalloni Pool for several days, sometimes giving reasonable views.

Little Bittern  Ixobrychus minutus
Fairly common along the East River.

Night Heron  Nycticorax nycticorax
A total of perhaps five different birds along the East River, much less common than Squacco.

Squacco Heron  Ardeola ralloides
Seen in large numbers, particularly on the East River.

Little Egret  Egretta garzetta
Large numbers seen, with flocks of 50 or more on the East River and smaller numbers at many other sites.  

Great White Egret  Egretta alba
A total of about four individuals seen, including one near the mouth of the West River.

Grey Heron Ardea cinerea
Less common than Purple Heron; one at the pool at "Derbyshire". 

Purple Heron  Ardea purpurea
Fairly common and seen at several sites, particularly Kalloni Pool. 

Black Stork Ciconia nigra
Proved more common than expected, with a max. of five in a thermal over Skala Kalloni on 5/5/00 and at least four feeding along the East River. 

White Stork  Ciconia ciconia
Seen regularly but less numerous than Black Stork. One very tame individual at Kalloni Pool.

Glossy Ibis  Plegadis falcinellus
Present in good numbers, with birds commuting between the East River and Kalloni Pool. Largest flock seen was 50+ on 7/5/00.  

Spoonbill  Platalea leucorodia
Not common, one near the mouth of the West River on 5/5/00.

Greater Flamingo  Phoenicopterus ruber
Up to 18 birds were on the Skala Kalloni salt pans, giving mainly distant views.

Ruddy Shelduck  Tadorna ferruginea
A flock of 18 dropped in for a day at the Derbyshire pool. One bird was seen at a garage and another (possibly the same eccentric individual) high up the East River valley on a mountainside.

Pintail Anas acuta
One was at the pool at "Derbyshire" in mid-week.

Short-toed Eagle  Circaetus gallicus
Birds were seen on most days, particularly over the East River and Kalloni Salt Pans. The most common of the eagles.

Marsh Harrier  Circus cyaneus
Present in good numbers, with birds frequent in the area between the East River and Kalloni Salt Pans; also seen at several other sites.

Montagu's Harrier  Circus pygargus
One was seen over fields near the East River.

Common Buzzard  Buteo buteo
Fairly common, particularly in the area around Skala Kalloni, although possibly less common than Long-legged Buzzard overall.

Long-legged Buzzard  Buteo rufinus
Reasonably common and seen at a number of sites all over the island, particularly around the Ipsilou monastery.

Lesser Spotted Eagle  Aquila pomarina
A total of about 4 birds were seen, including around the Upper East River and near the Ipsilou monastery.

Booted Eagle  Hieraaetus pennatus
A total of 4-5 birds were seen, some dark phase. Two gave particularly good views over the Upper East River valley.

Lesser Kestrel  Falco naumanni
Several parties of up to four birds were seen in the Ipsilou monastery and Sigri areas.

Common Kestrel  Falco tinnunculus
Less common than Lesser Kestrel, with two birds seen in the east of the island.

Red-footed Falcon  Falco vespertinus
Common during the first few days, with up to 9 on the wires at "Derbyshire" and several around the Salt Pans, but none were seen during the last three days, all apparently having moved on.

Hobby  Falco subbuteo
Only two birds seen all week, including one near the Ipsilou monastery.

Eleonora's Falcon  Falco eleonorae
A party of three seen near the Ipsilou monastery.

Lanner  Falco biarmicus
Two birds seen at the Ruppell's Warbler site between Petra and Molivos on 7/5/00, and three in the Napi valley on 9/5/00.

Peregrine  Falco peregrinus
A pair on the cliffs between Petra and Molivos provided one of the finest sights of the trip as they assaulted a passing Lanner. The Lanner however was evidently not deterred, as it was back the next day.

Chukar  Alectoris chukar
One seen below the Ipsilou monastery.

Little Crake  Porzana pusilla
Probably three birds were present along the East River all week, and though generally elusive did give some good views.

Moorhen  Gallinula chloropus
Fairly common along the East River.

Coot  Fulica atra
Fairly common along the East River, with a few birds elsewhere.

Black-winged Stilt  Himantopus ostralegus
Present in good numbers on almost all wetlands, particularly along the East River.

Avocet  Recurvirostrata avosetta
Only recorded at the Skala Kalloni Salt Pans, where a flock of about 8 birds was regular. Good views were obtained in the early morning when they fed in the outer channel close to the track.

Stone Curlew  Burhinus oedicnemus
A number of birds were seen around Skala Kalloni Salt Pans and in the area between these and the East River, some of them evidently nesting.

Collared Pratincole  Glareola pratincola
A few seen around the East River, but no more than 2-3 birds.

Little Ringed Plover  Charadrius dubius
Fairly common along the East River. Diligent searching failed to produce a Ringed Plover.

Kentish Plover  Charadrius alexandrinus
1-2 birds along the channels at Kalloni Salt Pans.

Sanderling  Calidris alba
A flock of 20+ birds at the "Derbyshire" pool on 5/5/00 was apparently a good number for the island.

Little Stint  Calidris minuta
Present in reasonable numbers along the East River and the Kalloni Salt Pan channels early in the week, with further arrivals late in the week making it one of the commonest waders by the end, with 80+ birds around the Salt Pan channels.

Temminck's Stint  Calidris temminckii
Several along the East River early in the week, but all had moved on by the end of the week.

Curlew Sandpiper  Calidris ferruginea
8 - 9 birds moulting into breeding plumage gave good views at the Kalloni Salt Pans.

Ruff  Philomachus pugnax
One of the commonest waders, with at least 60 birds present on the Kalloni Salt Pans.

Redshank  Tringa totanus
Only one seen all week, near the Kalloni Salt Pans.

Marsh Sandpiper  Tringa stagnatilis
A single on the East River late in the week was the only record.

Greenshank  Tringa nebularia
Several along the East River; not recorded elsewhere.

Green Sandpiper  Tringa ochropus
Common on small pools around the East River and Skala Kalloni area initially, but became hard to find later in the week.

Wood Sandpiper  Tringa glareola
Very common along the East River, though numbers dropped slightly towards the end of the week. A few were recorded on small pools elsewhere.

Common Sandpiper  Actitis hypoleucos
Less common than Wood and Green Sandpipers, but one or two were recorded along the East River.

Slender-billed Gull  Larus genei
One called briefly at Skala Kalloni harbour on 7/5/00; an unusual May record.

Audouin's Gull  Larus audouinii
One was seen passing the Ruppell's site between Petra and Molivos.

Yellow-legged Gull  Larus cachinnans
Common at a number of sites, particularly at Petra reservoir.

Common Tern  Sterna hirundo
A number of individuals along the East River; not seen elsewhere.

Arctic Tern  Sterna paradisea
Possibly the most unusual record of the trip, since records from Lesbos appear to be few. Seen well at Skala Kalloni Salt Pans and following a Common Tern up the East River on 10/5/00, both records presumably the same bird.

Little Tern  Sterna albifrons
Common at the mouth of the East River and in Kalloni Bay.

Whiskered Tern  Chlidonias hybridus
Present in good numbers, particularly at Kalloni Pool.

Black Tern  Chlidonias niger
This species proved hard to find, but sifting through the White-winged Tern flock at Kalloni Pool eventually produced one on 8/5/00.

White-winged Tern  Chlidonias leucopterus
The most common of the marsh terns, with large flocks seen at Kalloni Pool and along the East River.

Rock Dove/ Feral Pigeon  Columba livia
Birds were seen at several sites, with some of those along the cliffs possibly being the genuine aricle.

Collared Dove  Streptopelia decaocto
Very common, particularly near houses.

Turtle Dove  Streptopelia turtur
Several birds were seen at various sites, and frequently heard all over the island.

Cuckoo  Cuculus canorus
Heard at a number of sites, including the Ipsilou monastery.

Barn Owl  Tyto alba
A pair nesting in the centre of Skala Kalloni provided good views.

Scops Owl  Otus scops
The bird at the Water Tower near Kalloni was seen very briefly as it left in the evening. At least one other individual was heard in this area.

Little Owl  Athene noctua
Common and very tame, with several in the centre of Skala Kalloni. One night we ate dinner watched by at least three of them here.

Swift  Apus apus
Common overhead at many sites.

Pallid Swift  Apus pallidus
Less common than Swift, but several birds were seen, particularly over the East River area.

Alpine Swift  Apus melba
Not very common, but one seen over Skala Kalloni and several near Devil's Bridge, Parakila.

Bee-eater  Merops apiaster
Present in large and increasing numbers by the end of the week, particularly along the East River and in the fields between this site and the Salt Pans. Several nest burrows were seen along the East River.

Roller  Coracias garrulus
Only one sighting, in flight along the Potamia Valley.

Hoopoe  Upupa epops
Seen at several sites, including the Potamia Valley and the Upper East River.

Middle Spotted Woodpecker  Dendrocopos medius
Several were seen, with the Potamia valley being the best site.

Short-toed Lark  Calandrella brachydactyla
Good numbers were seen in the field behing the Kalloni Salt Pans, with at least 10 present.

Crested Lark  Galerida cristata
Very common and widespread; seen everywhere.

Woodlark  Lullula arborea
Seen and heard near the Petra reservoir and in the Kalloni Salt Pans area.

Sand Martin  Riparia riparia
Much less common than House Martin, but a few over the East River.

Crag Martin  Ptyonoprogne rupestris
Not common, with only two sightings all week.

Swallow  Hirundo rustica
Present in large numbers at several sites.

Red-rumped Swallow  Hirundo daurica
Good numbers seen along the East River and at Devil's Bridge near Parakila.

House Martin  Delichon urbica
Present in very large numbers, particularly around Skala Kalloni.

Tawny Pipit  Anthus campestris
Seen in the field behing the Kalloni Salt Pans.

Tree Pipit  Anthus trivialis
Only one bird recorded near Achladeri.

Red-throated Pipit  Anthus cervinus
Seen in the field behing the Kalloni Salt Pans, with at least 8 birds present on 9/5/00 and giving good views.

Yellow Wagtail  Motacilla flava
Blue-headed, Grey-headed and Black-headed forms were seen. A large flock in a field near Sigri on 9/5/00 contained all these races.

White Wagtail  Motacilla alba
Fairly common, particularly in the Sigri area.

Wren  Troglodytes troglodytes
Only one sighting, near the Ipsilou monastery.

Rufous Bushchat  Cercotrichos galactotes
Arrived late in the week. A bird gave very good views at the fork in the track along the Upper East River (heading towards the dead goat pit). Another was reported from the field behind the Kalloni Salt Pans. A first visit to look for it revealed two cars being driven backwards and forwards across the field, presumably in an attempt to flush it. The bird was of course absent. A later visit when everything was quiet gave good views of it singing in a bush. The shepherd showed remarkable patience, but if this sort of thing goes on regularly he will surely get fed up in the end and prevent access to what is evidently a very good area for birds.

Nightingale  Luscinia luscinia
Common. Heard, and sometimes seen, wherever there was suitable habitat, notably along the East River and in parts of the Potamia velley.

Redstart  Phoenicurus phoenicurus
One at the Ipsilou monastery was the only record.

Whinchat  Saxicola rubetra
Fairly widespread, with several birds around the Upper East River and singles at several other sites.

Isabelline Wheatear  Oenanthe isabellina
Seen around the Upper East River and near Kalloni Salt Pans, but not particularly common.

Northern Wheatear  Oenanthe oenanthe
Only one seen all week.

Black-eared Wheatear  Oenanthe hispanica
Much the commonest wheatear, seen everywhere there were rocky outcrops. A report of Finsch's Wheatear near Petra dam was checked, but revealed only a male of this species, albeit one showing an unusual amount of black, occupying the area described.

Rock Thrush  Monticola saxatilis
A male was seen by the road between the Ipsilou Monastery and the Eressos junction on 6/5/00.

Blue Rock Thrush  Monticola solitarius
Birds were seen at several sites, including the Ipsilou Monastery and the Ruppell's site between Petra and Molivos.

Blackbird  Turdus merula
Common in some upland areas, including the top of the Potamia valley.

Cetti's Warbler  Cettia cetti
Very common in bankside vegetation, with birds singing all along the East River and at several other sites.

Fan-tailed Warbler  Cisticola juncidis
At least two birds were displaying in the field behind the Kalloni Salt Pans on 9/5/00.

Sedge Warbler  Acrocephalus schoenobaenus
Reasonably common in bankside vegetation at several sites.

Reed Warbler  Acrocephalus scirpaeus
Much less common than Sedge, with only one record of a singing bird near the East River.

Great Reed Warbler Acrocephalus arundinaceus
Several birds were heard and sometimes seen, including near the East River and at Petra reservoir.

Olivaceous Warbler  Hippolais pallida
Very common at a number of sites, notably along the East River.

Olive-tree Warbler  Hippolais olivetorum
Arrived late in the week. The Potamia valley came up trumps, with at least three different birds seen well on 9/5/00.

Icterine Warbler  Hippolais icterina
A small fall at the Ipsilou monastery on 6/5/00, with a minimum of six birds present, but only two there the next day.

Subalpine Warbler  Sylvia cantillans
Not particularly common, but several birds around the Ruppell's site between Petra and Molivos and one showing well near the Petra Dam.

Sardinian Warbler  Sylvia melanocephala
This species proved hard to find, with only one being recorded all week - rather unexpectedly compared with other Mediterranean countries.

Ruppell's Warbler  Sylvia rueppelli
The site between Petra and Molivos (on the Molivos side of the large Disco) held several singing birds, giving good views. A few birds were also seen at other sites.

Orphean Warbler  Sylvia hortensis
One was seen at the Ruppell's site between Petra and Molivos.

Lesser Whitethroat  Sylvia curruca
Several birds were present at the Ipsilou monastery on 6/5/00 together with the Icterine Warblers.

Whitethroat  Sylvia communis
Not very common, with only 1-2 birds seen.

Blackcap  Sylvia atricapilla
2-3 birds were seen at the Ipsilou monastery.

Eastern Bonelli's Warbler  Phylloscopus orientalis
One was at the Ipsilou monastery on 7/5/00.

Wood Warbler  Phylloscopus sibilatrix
Another species seen only in the trees below the Ipsilou monastery, where several were present on 7/5/00.

Spotted Flycatcher  Musciapa striata
Fairly common, with at least 4 -5 at the Ipsilou monastery and birds recorded at several other sites.

Pied Flycatcher  Ficedula hypoleuca
Once again the Ipsilou monastery provided the only record, of a single on 6/5/00.

Sombre Tit  Parus lugubris
Birds were seen at several sites, including below the Cinereous Bunting site at Devil's Bridge, Parakila and around the Kruper's Nuthatch site at Achladeri.

Coal Tit  Parus ater
Seen in the woods near the Kruper's Nuthatch site at Achladeri.

Blue Tit  Parus caeruleus
Faily common in upland woodland.

Great Tit  Parus major
Again fairly common in wooded areas.

Kruper's Nuthatch  Sitta krueperi
The usual Achladeri site gave very good views, aided by the fact that there were already about 30 telescopes trained on the nest hole when we arrived.

Western Rock Nuthatch  Sitta neumayer
Good numbers were seen and good views obtained at a number of nest sites, including two nests near the Upper East River and one on the Ipsilou monastery.

Short-toed Treecreeper  Certhia brachydactyla
Several birds seen above the Kruper's Nuthatch site at Achladeri.

Golden Oriole  Oriolus oriolus
Birds were heard at a number of sites, with good views obtained at the Ipsilou monastery, where 3 - 4 birds were present on 6/5/00.

Red-backed Shrike  Lanius collurio
Very common in all suitable habitat: the commonest shrike.

Lesser Grey Shrike  Lanius minor
Common and widespread during the first few days, but numbers appeared to drop off  by the end of the week.

Woodchat Shrike  Lanius senator
Fairly common, with birds seen at several sites including the Potamia Valley and around the East River.

Masked Shrike  Lanius nubicus
Less common than the other shrikes, but seen near the East River and in the Potamia Valley, where one shared a clump of bushes with a Woodchat and a Red-backed Shrike, giving a rare opportunity to see all three side by side.

Jay  Garrulus glandarius
Birds were seen in several areas of upland woodland.

Jackdaw  Corvus monedula
Only one sighting during the week, but that was of a large flock in the Ipsilou monastery area.

Hooded Crow  Corvus corone
Common and widespread.

Raven  Corvus corax
One heard at the Ipsilou monastery on 6/5/00 was the only record of the week.

House Sparrow  Passer domesticus
Present in large numbers around towns and villages.

Spanish Sparrow  Passer hispaniolensis
Less common than House Sparrow, but still in good numbers, including a colony in the centre of Skala Kalloni.

Rock Sparrow  Petronia petronia
Seen at the Ipsilou monastery and on the inland road from Eressos to Sigri.

Chaffinch  Fringilla coelebs
Fairly common in upland woodland, for example above Achladeri and in the upper Potamia Valley.

Serin  Serinus serinus
Seen at a number of sites, including the Potamia valley and near the Kruper's Nuthatch site at Achladeri.

Greenfinch  Carduelis chloris
Fairly common at a number of sites.

Goldfinch  Carduelis carduelis
Common and widespread.

Linnet  Carduelis cannabina
Several present in the "Derbyshire" area, but not encountered elsewhere.

Cirl Bunting  Emberiza cirlus
Seen regularly, with several along the Potamia valley and records from several other sites.

Cinereous Bunting  Emberiza cineracea
Good views were obtained from the coastal road between Eressos and the river crossing, on the road to Sigri. Three pairs were seen, one pair watched carrying food to a nest site.

Ortolan Bunting  Emberiza hortulana
The least common of the buntings, with only one seen all week.

Cretzchmar's Bunting  Emberiza caesia
Proved unexpectedly common, particularly along the coast road from Eressos to Sigri, with good numbers present. Also recorded from many other sites, mainly in rocky upland areas.

Black-headed Bunting  Emberiza melanocephala
Present in large numbers. A fall in midweek saw a flock of 50+ birds in a field near the East River on 5/5/00, where good numbers were also holding territory. This species was recorded all over the island.

Corn Bunting  Miliaria calandra
Another very common species, recorded everywhere in good numbers.



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