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A Report from

Rhodes, Greece ~ 4 to 18th May 2002,

Peter Edwards

Despite being a family holiday I managed to get excellent views and songs of several species I'm not familiar with.  We stayed at the Atrium Palace Hotel in Kalathos, just 3km north of Lindos.  This was a first class hotel situated 2km south of the river Gaidouras in a very quiet location and 100m from the beach.  From trips around the Island it was clear that this was virtually the only river with any flowing water, providing shallow pools and a small marsh with an open lagoon adjacent to the beach.  On arrival at the hotel we were greeted by crested lark singing overhead at midday while relaxing with my first ouzo.  We hired a car and despite trips all round the island, I did all my serious birdwatching from dawn to breakfast time (0800) within about 5km of our hotel so as not to interfer with other holiday activities.  Nearly all the 80 species were observed within this 5km radius from the Hotel and I would recommend this location to any birdwatcher planning a spring family holiday to Rhodes.  Had the holiday been 2 weeks earlier then I guess I would have seen significantly more passage migrants at the expense of my wife's sun-tan.

The habitats visited within 5km area north from the hotel and referenced below. 

1.   Agricultural fields (mixed age olive plantations with grassland) which represented most of the lowland either side of the river (A)
2.   River with shallow pools (R)
3.   Marsh with lagoon (M)
4.   Two valleys upstream with rocky sides and olives growing below (V)
5.   Sea (S)
6.   Hotel lawn (H)

Cory's Shearwater
Most evenings a few observed in bay from Hotel

Levantine Shearwater
2 birds in bay from Hotel

2 birds in bay from Hotel

Little Bittern
2 birds in Marsh

Squacco Heron
3 birds in river by Marsh and in the evening on irrigated lawn from Hotel

Great White Egret
1 bird over Marsh

Little Egret
1 bird over Marsh

Grey Heron
1 bird in river on 3 occasions

Marsh Harrier
1 bird over Marsh, another in off the sea from Hotel and a 3rd on leaving the Airport (all females)

Ring tailed Harrier spp (Montagues or Pallid)
3 sitings of ring tailed harriers over Agricultural fields and Dunes between Hotel and River and 1 at Katavia

Long legged Buzzard
Several sightings.  Common all over Island

Peregrine Falcon
1 over Marsh, 1 at Lindos

(Lanner Falcon)
1 possible from 2nd valley into Kopria

Eleonora's Falcon
1 over Marsh and 1 at Airport

Several sightings. Common all over Island

Red footed Falcon
Flock of 20 (mix adult males, females and immatures) perched on wires over Agricultural fields near road.  Concentrated early morning and evening in the same place. Stayed for first week then numbers declined to 1 bird by the 18th.

1 singing male between Lardos and Laerma

2 in Marsh

Purple Gallinule
1 in Marsh along the edge of the Lagoon in dense reed.  No evidence of breeding.

Stone Curlew
Common around Hotel, Agricultural fields and Dune between Hotel and Marsh

Little ringed Plover
Common on Dune between Hotel and Marsh and along River

Grey Plover
1 bird over Sea from Hotel

Curlew Sandpiper
3 birds in breeding plumage in River pools

Temminck's Stint
2 birds in River pools

Little Stint
About 20 in River pools

2 in River pools, 4 in Agricultural field/Dunes and 8 on irrigated lawn outside Hotel (all Reeves)

1 in River pools

Wood Sandpiper
About 20 in River pools

Common Sandpiper
1 over Marsh

Yellow legged Gull
Common all along coast

White winged black Tern
1 over Lagoon

Rock Dove
Common.  Small parties drinking from River pools in the early evening.

Several sightings inland

Turtle Dove
Common all over Island but shy (a game species). Small parties drinking from River pools in the early evening.

Collared Dove
Common near towns and villages

2 sightings in 2nd valley into Kopria

Large owl sp
Tawny owl size at dawn close to River by road bridge

2 sightings of 2 pairs before reaching the 2nd valley into Kopria

Common along coast

(Pallid Swift)
Possible birds from Lindos (uncertain).  Call shorter and deeper.

Alpine Swift
Sightings from Lindos and birds skim drinking from Lagoon in the morning

1 birds the 2nd valley into Kopria

Common throughout area around Hotel with several colonies.  Never seen such high densities.

1 bird over Marsh.  1 near airport.

3 singing males amongst olives where ground beneath had been cultivated 

Crested Lark
Very common everywhere.  The commonest bird on the Rhodes by a large margin.

Sand Martin
Up to 20 birds over the Lagoon and roosting in the Marsh

Crag Martin
3-4 birds around cliff in the 1st valley into Kopria.  Up to 10 birds in Rhodes town around Castle walls. 

House Martin
Several appeared at Hotel and Lagoon during second week

Red-rumped Swallow
Common everywhere, especially near water including the Hotel pool.  Never seen so many.

Common everywhere, including the Hotel pool

Grey Wagtail
1 road to Archangelos beach

Yellow Wagtail (black-headed)
6 irrigated lawn at Hotel (first day only)

1 singing near Archipoli

Several along rocky valley sides

3 on Agricultural fields and Dune between Hotel and Marsh

Black-eared Wheatear
Common anywhere rocky, from dry river valleys (1 pair feeding young) to rocky outcrops where they like to sing.  Mixture of black and white throated morphs.  Magnificent birds, never seen so many.

Blue Rock Thrush
Common on steep stony valleys.  Several singing males up both valleys to Kopria.

Common inland where wooded

Reed Warbler
About 20 singing males in Marsh

Sedge Warbler
1 bird in Marsh

Olivaceous Warbler
Common everywhere in tall vegetation, including olives and reed.  Not in machair.

Orphean Warbler
2 singing males and 1 pair feeding young amongst olives and other trees up the 2nd valley to Kopria.

Willow Warbler
1 singing bird moving through the 2nd valley to Kopria (passage?)

Spotted Flycatcher
1 bird on rocks above Lindos beach

Blue Tit
Common in woodland, especially olives and pines

Red backed Shrike
1 bird on bush by Marsh

Woodchat Shrike
Common everywhere especially in olives

Common in woodland and scrubby hillsides

Hooded Crow
Common all over

Common flying out from rocky coast (especially near Lindos) past Hotel to Agricultural land.

Golden Oriole
2 males up the 2nd valley to Kopria

Spanish Sparrow
1 male singing loudly by Marsh

House Sparrow
Common all over

Common in woodland, especially pines inland

Several small parties in various habitats

3 birds, inland agricultural areas

Common in woodland and agricultural areas

Corn Bunting
Common in agricultural areas

Black headed Bunting
Common in agricultural and lightly wooded areas.  Always sang from prominent bush or tree in as.

Cretzschmar's Bunting
Common on rocky valley sides and outcrops.  Especially 2nd valley to Kopria and when leaving Lardos to Laerma.  Usually sang from small bush.  Song reminiscent of yellowhammer, but more plain.

80 species

From a conservation perspective, the small marsh with lagoon is worthy of protection by the Greek Nature Conservancy (or its equivalent).  Fresh water from May through the summer is at a premium.  This area is under treat from low grade agriculture and I think protection would be a great asset.  I have no idea if the Purple Gallinule was breeding there or not, but note from BofWP there is no Greek breeding record and the distribution is very limited in the eastern Meditterranean.


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