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A Report from birdtours.co.uk

Lesvos, Greece: 26 April to 2 May 2002,

Peter Alfrey and Lee Dingain

General information
Like most birders we based ourselves at the small fishing town of Skala Kalloni which is ideally situated for birding a variety of habitats (including wetlands, saltpans, fields, olive groves and mountain valleys) as well as making excursions to other parts of the island. We stayed at Arisvi Studios located between the beach and Kalloni Pool, which were very basic but clean and comfortable. Kalloni Pool is the main focal point of birding around the town and an excellent place to visit early morning. It is also a good place to meet up with other birders and exchange news.

To make the most of your stay we strongly recommend that you hire a car. Driving around the island was easy with mostly good road surfaces (watch out for the odd pothole though). The minor roads tended to be unsurfaced though still easily drivable. As a precaution we took out the additional excess waiver on the motor insurance (costing 42 for the week and payable when you collect the hire car). Although we travelled widely throughout the island the actual mileage involved was not that great so we only spent a total of 30 on fuel for the whole week.

The weather during our stay was mainly settled; being warm and sunny during the day but chilly early morning and in the evenings. The local people were very friendly and most we encountered spoke some English. The food quality was generally good and fairly cheap and the fresh fish was excellent. We recommend that you visit the less touristy tavernas for the best quality. Restaurants were open fairly late which was also useful when returning from a day out.

Travel arrangements
To keep costs to a minimum we booked our flights, accommodation and hire car (Holiday Autos/Hertz)as a package deal with First Choice Holidays (through AFS Travel, tel: 0870 888 0309), which worked out at 322 each for two people sharing. First Choice were one of the only operators we could find running chartered flights (Air 2002) direct from Gatwick to Mytilini before the tourist season started in May. Alternatively you could book a scheduled flight but then you will need to change at Athens, which significantly increases the journey time.

Literature
The birding sites that we visited are all described in great detail (including directions and maps) in Birding on the Greek Island of Lesvos (Brooks, R. 1998), which we found invaluable and strongly recommend that you buy a copy. This book has received a number of updates and because the sites are so well described we have decided not give details of sites or maps in this report. Before we left we also downloaded several birding trip reports from a number of websites to get an idea of what birds had been seen in recent years. The Collins Bird Guide (Svensson, L. et al. 1999) took care of most identification issues, although we also found the MacMillan field guides very useful for the more problematic birds such as female Fecidula flycatchers and ring-tail harriers. In hindsight The Raptors of Europe and the Middle East (Forsman, D. 1999) would also have been useful at times. Finally a good map of the island is a must. We used the Road Editions 212 1:70,000 Lesvos map which was generally more than adequate, although a little more detail would have useful for some areas.

   

Sightings

Birds
Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis 2 offshore from Skala Kalloni on 26th.
Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis Seen on Kalloni Pool.
Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus 1 offshore from Kalloni Salt Pans on 30th.
Cory's Shearwater Calonectris diomedea Several offshore from car park opposite Mytilini Airport on 2nd.
Yelkouan Shearwater Puffinus yelkouan 100+ close inshore from Molivos to Skala Sikaminias road (near Efthalou) on 28th.
White Pelican Pelecanus onocrotalus The resident bird seen at Skala Kalloni. On one evening even seen walking around a restaurant!
Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 2 high over Kalloni West River on 28th.
European Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis 1 in at Sigri Harbour on 29th.
Little Bittern Ixobrychus minutus Seen very well at Kalloni Pool with 6+ present there on 26th. 1+ in the Faneromeni Valley on 29th.
Black-crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax 1 near Kalloni Pool on 26th. 2 at Skala Kalloni on 28th. 1 at Faneromeni Valley on 1st.
Squacco Heron Ardeola ralloides Common.
Little Egret Egretta garzetta Common.
Great White Egret Egretta alba 1 on beach at Skala Kalloni on 26th. 2 at Kalloni Salt Pans and 2 at Derbyshire on 27th.
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea 3 at Kalloni East River on 26th. 1 at Kalloni Salt Pans on 30th.
Purple Heron Ardea purpurea 3 at Kalloni Pool on 26th. 1 at Kalloni Salt Pans on 30th.
White Stork Ciconia ciconia 1 near Kalloni East River on 26th. 1 at Skala Polichnitou Salt Pans on 27th. 2 at Kalloni Salt Pans on 30th.
Black Stork Ciconia nigra 2 near Kalloni East River on 26th. 2 at Achladeri on 27th. 1 over the Faneromeni Valley on 29th. 1 at Kalloni Salt Pans on 30th.
Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus 100+ present on Kalloni Pool on 26th was quite a spectacle but numbers quickly decreased throughout the week. 5-10 on Kalloni Pool on 27th. 2+ on Kalloni Pool on 28th. 5 over the Faneromeni Valley on 29th. 10 at Kalloni Salt Pans on 30th.
Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia 1 at Kalloni Slat Pans on 27th.
Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus ruber Seen at Kalloni Salt Pans where our highest count was 40+ on 27th.
Mute Swan Cygnus olor 5 offshore from Kalloni Salt Pans on 30th.
Common Shelduck Tadorna tadorna 2 at Kalloni East river on 26th.
Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea 1 at Derbyshire on 27th. 2 at Kalloni West River on 28th.
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos 2 at Kalloni Salt Pans on 30th.
Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata Kalloni Pool.
Common Teal Anas crecca 4 at Kalloni Pool on 30th.
Garganey Anas quercedula c10 at Kalloni Pool on 26th.
Short-toed Eagle Circaetus gallicus 1 at Potamia Valley on 26th. 1 at Kalloni Salt Pans and 1 at Achladeri on 27th. 1 at Skala Kalloni on 28th. 1 at Ipsilou Monastery on 29th. c4 in the Potamia Valley on 30th. 2+ along the Eressos to Sigri road on 1st.
Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus 1-2 at Kalloni East River on 26th. 1 at Achladeri on 27th. 1 in the Faneromeni Valley on 29th. 2 at Kalloni Salt Pans on 30th. 1 along the Eressos to Sigri road on 1st.
Montagu's Harrier Circus pygargus 1 male at Kalloni Salt Pans on 27th. 1 female at Kalloni West River on 28th. 2 female/imm in the Faneromeni Valley on 29th. 1 at Napi Valley on 30th. 2 at Faneromeni Valley on 1st.
Long-legged Buzzard Buteo rufinus 1 at Potamia Valley on 26th. 1 at Derbyshire on 27th. 1 along Molivos to Skala Sikaminias road (near Efthalou) on 28th. 1 along the Parakila to Eressos road on 29th. 1 at the Sigri/Eressos junction just west of Andissa on 29th. 1 along road from Ipsilou Monastery to Sigri on 29th. 1 in the Faneromeni Valley on 29th. 1 in the Potamia Valley on 30th.
Common Buzzard Buteo buteo 2 at Kalloni Salt Pans on 27th. 1 in the Potamia Valley on 30th. 2 at Napi Valley on 30th.
Honey Buzzard Pernis apivorus 1 over Achladeri on 27th. 1 at Napi Valley on 30th.
Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus 1 at Potamia Valley on 26th.
Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus 1 in the Faneromeni Valley on 29th.
Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni 1 1st summer male along the Eressos to Sigri road on 1st.
Red-footed Falcon Falco vespertinus 2 males north over Kalloni Pool and 1 male over Kalloni East River on 26th. A flock of 50+ seen circling on thermals over hils just north of Kalloni Salt Pans on 27th. 3 females at Molivos on 28th. Several including 2 in off the sea at Kalloni Salt Pans on 30th. 2 at Napi Valley on 30th. 1 male along the Parakila to Eressos Road on 1st. 2 at Faneromeni Valley on 1st.
Hobby Falco subbuteo 1 roosting in a fig tree in the Faneromeni Valley on 29th.
Eleonora's Falcon Falco eleonorae 1 probable at Sigri on 29th. 1 in the Faneromeni Valley on 29th.
Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus 1 probable at Kalloni East River on 26th. 1 near Petra on 28th. 2 hunting at Faneromeni Valley on 1st seen to take a Swallow as well as a wader, possibly a Wood Sandpiper.
Lanner Falcon Falco biarmicus 1 watched for about 20 minutes hunting over Kalloni Salt Pans on 27th.
Chukar Alectoris chukar 1 at Ipsilou Monastery on 29th. 1 along the Eressos to Sigri road on 1st.
Quail Coturnix coturnix Kalloni Salt Pans (heard only).
Little Crake Porzana parva 3+ seen very well on Kalloni Pool on 26th.
Moorhen Gallinula chloropus Kalloni Pool.
Coot Fulica atra Kalloni Inland Lake.
Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta c7 at Skala Polichnitou Salt Pans on 27th. 1 at Kalloni Salt Pans on 2nd.
Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus Seen at Kalloni Pool and Kalloni Salt Pans.
Stone-curlew Burhinus oedicnemus 2 at Kalloni Salt Pans on 27th. 3 at Kalloni West River on 28th.
Collared Pratincole Glareola pratincola c6 at Kalloni Salt Pans (on rough ground near the beach) on 27th. c3 at Kalloni Salt Pans on 30th.
Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius 3 at Kalloni East River on 26th. 1 at Kalloni Salt Pans on 27th.
Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula 2 over Skala Kalloni calling on 27th.
Kentish Plover Charadrius alexandrinus 1 at Kalloni Salt Pans on 27th.
Sanderling Calidris alba 1 at Skala Polichnitou Salt Pans on 27th.
Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea 70+ at Kalloni Salt Pans on 27th. 40+ at Kalloni West River on 28th.
Temminck's Stint Calidris temminckii 7+ at Kalloni Salt Pans and 5+ at Skala Polichnitou Salt Pans on 27th. 2 at Kalloni West River on 28th. 1 at Kalloni Salt Pans on 30th.
Little Stint Calidris minuta 20+ at Kalloni Salt Pans on 27th. c3 at Skala Polichnitou Salt Pans on 27th. An increase in numbers noted at Kalloni Salt Pans on 2nd.
Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola Common thoughout the island - Kalloni Pool and Kalloni Salt Pans were good sites.
Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos Present.
Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus 1 at Kalloni Salt Pans on 2nd.
Greenshank Tringa nebularia 2 at Kalloni Salt Pans on 27th. 3 at Kalloni Salt Pans on 2nd.
Marsh Sandpiper Tringa stagnatilis 1 seen very briefly on Kalloni Pool early morning on 28th.
Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata 1 over high west at Skala Kalloni on 26th.
Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago Kalloni Pool.
Ruff Philomachus pugnax 37 on Kalloni Pool and 150+ at Kalloni Salt Pans on 27th.
Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus 1 at Kalloni East River area on 26th.
Mediterranean Gull Larus melanocephalus 7 flew west at Skala Kalloni on 28th. Also 1 seen at the mouth of Kalloni East River.
Yellow-legged Gull Larus cachinnans michahellis Very common.
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 1 at Kalloni Salt Pans on 30th.
Little Gull Larus minutus 1 2nd year at Kalloni West River on 28th. 1 1st summer at Kalloni Salt Pans on 2nd.
Little Tern Sterna albifrons 3 at Skala Kalloni on 26th.
Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis 1 at Skala Kalloni on 26th.
Gull-billed Tern Gelochelidon nilotica 6 over fields at Kalloni East River on 26th.
Common Tern Sterna hirundo 1 at Skala Kalloni on 26th. 10-15 at Kalloni West River on 28th.
Caspian Tern Sterna caspia 2 along the coast from Kalloni Salt Pans on 30th.
Black Tern Chlidonias niger 1+ at Kalloni Salt Pans on 27th.
White-winged Black Tern Chlidonias leucopterus 5+ at Kalloni Pool on 26th. 6 at Kalloni Salt Pans on 27th. 2 at Kalloni Pool on 28th.
Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybridus 1 at Kalloni Pool on 26th. 3 at Kalloni Pool and 8 at Kalloni Salt Pans on 27th. 1 at Kalloni Pool on 28th.
Rock Dove Columba livia 3 near the Ipsilou Monastery on 29th. 2 in the Faneromeni Valley on 29th.
Wood Pigeon Columba palumbus 1 along the Kalloni to Molivos road on 28th.
Eurasian Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto Very common.
European Turtle Dove Streptopelia turtur 1 at Skala Kalloni on 26th. Numbers increased markedly towards the end of the week with good numbers in the Faneromeni Valley on 1st.
Common Cuckoo Cuculus canorus 2-3 at Devil's Bridge on 26th including 1 rufous phase bird. 1 along the Eressos to Sigri road on 1st.
Great Spotted Cuckoo Clamator glandarius 1 along the Eressos to Sigri road on 1st.
Barn Owl Tyto alba 1 seen briefly as it left it's nest site in Skala Kalloni Square on 29th.
Little Owl Athene noctua 1 seen outside our apartment in Skala Kalloni on 28th. 1 along the Eressos to Sigri road and 1 in Skala Kalloni on 1st.
Scops Owl Otus scops 2 heard and seen under street lights by school in Skala Kalloni on 28th. 1 seen very well roosting in daylight in a tree in the school grounds at Skala Kalloni on 2nd.
Common Swift Apus apus Seen at Kalloni Pool.
Pallid Swift Apus pallidus c3 at Ipsilou Monastery on 29th.
Alpine Swift Apus melba 2 over Kalloni East River on 26th. c100 at Ipsilou Monastery on 29th. c5 at Faneromeni Valley on 1st.
Hoopoe Upupa epops 1 at Kalloni East River on 26th. 1 heard at Ipsilou Monastery on 29th.
European Bee-eater Merops apiaster c8 at Kalloni East River on 26th. Also seen at Kalloni Salt Pans on 27th with c15 there on 30th. c20 at Ruppell's site near Petra on 28th. c50 at Faneromeni Valley on 1st.
European Roller Coracias garrulus Appeared to be small fall on 1st when the only birds of the trip were seen: 1 imm. on wires just south of Eressos, 2 (1 male and 1 imm.) on rocks along the Eressos to Sigri road.
Middle Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos medius A pair seen extremely well visiting a nest hole along the road outside the school in Skala Kalloni on 2nd.
Crested Lark Galerida cristata Common.
Woodlark Lullula arborea 1 along the Kalloni to Molivos road on 28th. 1 at Napi Valley on 30th.
Short-toed Lark Calandrella brachydactyla 1 at Kalloni Salt Pans on 27th and 1 in song flight there on 30th. c4 along the Eressos to Sigri road on 1st. 7 at Kalloni Salt Pans on 2nd.
Sand Martin Riparia riparia Faneromeni Valley.
Crag Martin Ptyonoprogne rupestris 1 at Potamia Valley on 26th.
House Martin Delichon urbica Faneromeni Valley.
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica Several parties seen moving north in the Faneromeni Valley on 29th. Large numbers moving on 1st with c500 moving NW along the Eressos to Sigri road and many moving north at Faneromeni Valley.
Red-rumped Swallow Hirundo daurica 1 at Potamia Valley on 26th. 1 at Ruppell's site near Petra on 28th. 1 in the Faneromeni Valley on 29th. 2 collecting mud at Kalloni Salt Pans on 30th.
Tawny Pipit Anthus campestris 1 at Kalloni Salt Pans on 27th. c5 along the Eressos to Sigri road on 1st. 1 at Kalloni Salt Pans on 2nd.
Tree Pipit Anthus trivialis 1 on wires at Skala Kalloni on 26th. 1 along the Eressos to Sigri road on 1st.
Red-throated Pipit Anthus cerinus Best numbers at Kalloni Salt Pans and Kalloni West River.
Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava flava Most birds were nominate M. f. Flava but several other races were seen.
Black-headed Wagtail Motacilla flava feldegg c3 at Skala Polichnitou Salt Pans on 27th including 1 M. f. superciliaris bird.
Common Nightingale Luscinia megarhynchos Common.
Rufous Bush Robin Cercotrichas galactotes syriacus 1 in song and display flight along the Eressos to Sigri road on 1st.
Common Redstart Phoenicurus phoenicurus 1 male in the Faneromeni Valley on 29th.
Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe c5 along the Eressos to Sigri road on 1st.
Isabelline Wheatear Oenanthe isabellina 2 at the Sigri/Eressos junction just west of Andissa on 29th.
Black-eared Wheatear Oenanthe hispanica melanoleuca Common with both black-throated and pale-throated forms seen.
Whinchat Saxicola rubetra 1 male at Kalloni East River on 26th. Many seen in the Faneromeni Valley on 29th. c4 at Kalloni Salt Pans on 30th. 29 along the Eressos to Sigri road on 1st. 1 at Faneromeni Valley on 1st.
Stonechat Saxicola torquata 2 along road from Ipsilou Monastery to Sigri on 29th.
Blue Rock Thrush Monticola solitarius 3 at Ipsilou Monastery on 29th.
Blackbird Turdus merula Common.
Garden Warbler Sylvia borin 1 near Petra on 28th.
Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla 4+ at Ipsilou Monastery on 29th. 1 in the Faneromeni Valley on 29th. c4 along the Eressos to Sigri road on 1st. 1 at Faneromeni Valley on 1st.
Orphean Warbler Sylvia hortensis crassirostris 1 male at Potamia Valley on 26th. 1 at Ruppell's site near Petra on 28th. 1 along Molivos to Skala Sikaminias road (near Efthalou) on 28th. 1 in the Faneromeni Valley on 29th. 1 at Napi Valley on 30th. 1 along the Eressos to Sigri road on 1st.
Lesser Whitethroat Sylvia curruca 1 at Ruppell's site near Petra on 28th. 1 at Ipsilou Monastery on 29th. 1 in the Faneromeni Valley on 29th. 1 along the Eressos to Sigri road on 1st. 1 at Faneromeni Valley on 1st.
Ruppell's Warbler Sylvia ruepelli 5+ male and 1 female at site near Petra on 28th. 1 female at Ipsilou Monastery on 29th.
Common Whitethroat Sylvia communis 1 near Kalloni East River on 26th. 1 along the Eressos to Sigri road on 1st.
Subalpine Warbler Sylvia cantillans 1 at Potamia Valley on 26th. 1 at Napi Valley on 30th.
Sedge Warbler Acrocephalus schoenobaemus 1 at Molivos on 28th. 1 in the Faneromeni Valley on 29th.
Zitting Cisticola Cisticola juncidis 1 at Kalloni West River on 28th.
Cetti's Warbler Cetti cetti Seen at Kalloni Pool and Faneromeni Valley.
European Reed Warbler Acrocephalus scirpaceus 1 at Kalloni East River on 26th. 1 in the Faneromeni Valley on 29th.
Great Reed Warbler Acrocephalus arundinaceus 3 at Kalloni East River on 26th. 1 in the Faneromeni Valley on 29th. 1 along the Eressos to Sigri road on 1st. 2 at Faneromeni Valley on 1st.
Icterine Warbler Hippolais icterina 1 at Ruppell's site near Petra on 28th. 1 in the Faneromeni Valley on 29th. 1 along the Eressos to Sigri road on 1st.
Olivaceous Warbler Hippolais pallida elaeica Common.
Willow Warbler Phylloscopus trochilus 1 at the Sigri/Eressos junction just west of Andissa on 29th. 1 in the Faneromeni Valley on 29th.
Wood Warbler Phylloscopus sibilatrix 1 at Molivos on 28th. 6+ at Ipsilou Monastery on 29th. 1 in the Faneromeni Valley on 29th.
Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata 1 at Potamia Valley on 26th. c4 at Molivos on 28th. 40+ in the Faneromeni Valley on 29th. c30 along the Eressos to Sigri road on 1st. 10+ at Faneromeni Valley on 1st.
Pied Flycatcher Ficedula hypoleuca 2 at Molivos on 28th. 1+ male and c10 females at Ipsilou Monastery on 29th. 60+ in the Faneromeni Valley on 29th. c9 along the Eressos to Sigri road on 1st. 1 at Faneromeni Valley on 1st.
Collared Flycatcher Ficedula albicollis 1 male at Achladeri on 27th. 1 male and 1 female at Molivos on 28th. 2-3 males and 2 females at Ipsilou Monastery on 29th. 1 male in the Faneromeni Valley on 29th. 2 males along the Eressos to Sigri road on 1st.
Great Tit Parus major Very common.
Blue Tit Parus caeruleus Common.
Sombre Tit Parus lugubris 1 at Potamia Valley on 26th. 2 at Napi Valley on 30th.
Penduline Tit Remiz pendulinus 1 male building a nest over the river at Faneromeni ford on 1st.
Kruper's Nuthatch Sitta krueperi 2-3 seen at Achladeri on 27th, including 1 male excavating holes in a dead tree very close to the main path.
Western Rock Nuthatch Sitta neumayer 1-2 at Devil's Bridge on 26th. 1 at Ruppell's site near Petra on 28th. 1 along the Parakila to Eressos road on 29th. c5 along the Eressos to Sigri road on 1st.
Short-toed Treecreeper Certhia brachydactyla 2 at Achladeri on 27th.
Red-backed Shrike Lanius collurio 2 males at Kalloni East River on 26th. 1 male at Ruppell's site near Petra on 28th. 1+ male and 1 female in the Faneromeni Valley on 29th. 1 male at Kalloni Salt Pans on 30th. 21 along the Eressos to Sigri road on 1st. 10+ at Faneromeni Valley on 1st.
Woodchat Shrike Lanius senator 1 near Kalloni Pool and 3 at Potamia Valley on 26th. 1 at Ruppell's site near Petra on 28th. 1 at the Sigri/Eressos junction just west of Andissa on 29th. 1 in the Faneromeni Valley on 29th. 4 along the Eressos to Sigri road on 1st. 1 at Faneromeni Valley on 1st.
Masked Shrike Lanius nubicus A pair near Kalloni East River and 1 male at Potamia Valley on 26th. 1 male at Skala Polichnitou Salt Pans on 27th. 1 male and 1 female in the Faneromeni Valley on 29th. 2 at Napi Valley on 30th. 1 female along the Eressos to Sigri road on 1st.
Lesser Grey Shrike Lanius minor 1 at Napi Valley on 30th. 2 along the Eressos to Sigri road on 1st. 1 at Faneromeni Valley on 1st.
Eurasian Jay Garrulus glandarius atricapillus Seen near Kalloni East River on 26th and at near Skala Kalloni school on 2nd.
Jackdaw Corvus monedula 10+ at Sigri on 29th.
Hooded Crow Corvus cornix Very common.
Common Raven Corvus corax 1 along Molivos to Skala Sikaminias road (near Efthalou) on 28th. 1 at Napi Valley on 30th.
Golden Oriole Oriolus oriolus 1 male at Skala Polichnitou Salt Pans on 27th. 1 male at Ipsilou Monastery on 29th. 1 male in the Faneromeni Valley on 29th. c10 at Napi Valley on 30th. 1 male along the Eressos to Sigri road and 1 at Faneromeni Valley on 1st.
House Sparrow Passer domesticus Very common.
Spanish Sparrow Passer hispaniolensis Common around buildings in Skala Kalloni.
Rock Sparrow Petronia petronia 1 along the Parakila to Eressos road on 29th.
Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs Very common.
Linnet Carduelis cannabina Seen along Eressos to Sigri coast road near east ford.
Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis Common.
Greenfinch Carduelis chloris Common.
Serin Serinus serinus 1 at Achladeri on 27th.
Cretzschmar's Bunting Emberiza caesia 1-2 at Devil's Bridge on 26th. Several along Molivos to Skala Sikaminias road (near Efthalou) on 28th. 2 at the Sigri/Eressos junction just west of Andissa on 29th. Common along the Eressos to Sigri road.
Cirl Bunting Emberiza cirlus 1+ at Potamia Valley on 26th. c6 along the Eressos to Sigri road on 1st.
Cinereous Bunting Emberiza cineracea 1-3 males seen very well singing at Devil's Bridge on 26th. 1 male at Ipsilou Monastery on 29th.
Black-headed Bunting Emberiza melanocephala 1 male at Kalloni East River on 26th. 1 in the Faneromeni Valley on 29th. 1 in the Potamia Valley on 30th. Numbers dramatically increased towards the end of the week. 2+ males along the Eressos to Sigri road on 1st.
Corn Bunting Miliaria calandra Very common.

Mammals
Persian Squirrel Sciunus anomalus Several seen at Ipsilou Monastery and in olive groves at Faneromeni Valley.

Reptiles
Spur-thighed Tortoise Testudo graeca 1 at Kalloni Salt Pans on 30th.
Stripe-necked Terrapin Mauremys caspica Very common in and around Kalloni Inland Lake.

   

Summary
This was our first trip to Lesvos and we were very impressed with the quality of the birding. The speciality birds were easy to see and there were good numbers of passage migrants moving through all week, with a noticable fall occurring on the 1st. In particular we found the Eressos to Sigri road and the Faneromeni Valley especially good for migrant passerines and the Kalloni Salt Pans were also very productive. At the later we found a useful vantage point from a mound located behind the petrol garage on the main road (by the junction of the entrance to the salt pans), which gave a good view of the pans in the mornings when the light is bad when viewing from the entrance road.

The number of birders present at some of the main sites on the island, although overwhelming at times (most of the passengers on the charter flight were birders), created a good atmosphere and there was always the feeling that something unusual could turn up at any time. The scenery is excellent and comprises a wide variety of landscapes and habitats. At the time of our visit there were also superb displays of wildflowers. We came away from Lesvos having very much enjoyed the trip and feeling certain that we will return there soon for some more excellent birding.

If you would like further details on any of our sightings please email:

lee.dingain@hotmail.co.uk

All photographs taken by and copyright Peter Alfrey

 

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