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|A Report from birdtours.co.uk|
SAMOS, GREECE 3 10 MAY 2001,Introduction
This is the first week that British tour operators visit Samos. It is too late for peak migration and several species had already bred and fledged young were present.† The severe fires of 2000 may have affected the numbers of birds that were seen.
Flights and Accommodation.
We travelled from Manchester by JMC and booked the flights and apartments through Kosmar. We stayed in Zeus Apartments which were a few minutes walk from the town and very spacious.
We ate all our meals out at local bars and tavernas. The prices were reasonable around £4 for breakfast and £8 an evening meal including drinks.
We hired a car when we booked and got a Seat Ibiza for £189. We only used 3/4
Tank of petrol all week. We used a Samos road map we purchased via the Internet but it could have been bought in the resort. The roads are quite good, except the white ones on the map, which were just dirt tracks (although some were driveable).
Daylight is from 6 am to 7.30 PM at this time of year.† Temperatures were between 18 and 28 C.† We had one day of heavy intermittent rain, most days were sunny.
Map 1Lay-by† on road out of Samos to Kokkari for parking walk along road around corner and entrance to quarry is on the left.
†This map shows 1) the site for Rollers -†††††† 2) the site for Cretzchmars Buntings
There are several paths close to our accommodation worth following.† The banks of the river, leading from the Road Bridge at the edge of Ireon towards Pythagoria, could be followed. The whole Ireon area appeared to be much affected by the fires of last year.
This is reached by turning right at a small reservoir between Ireon and Pythagoria. The small marsh area on the left of the main road is worth a look but the reservoir opposite never held a bird. Follow the road towards Potokaki till the tarmac ends. The main marsh area was suffering from lack of water. Apparently Samos only received 2 days of rain in the winter period 2000/2001. The only water was in 2 channels across the marsh. However this area is worth several visits as different birds were seen each time we went. We could not gain access from the Ireon end but we think it may be possible. Maybe the locals know.
There are at least 3 Psili Amoss on Samos!!!.† The one we visited is in the southeast turn right from the main road from Pythagoria to Samos Town.† It is a good area of water and requires more than one visit as new birds kept arriving.
Choros ( Hora ) Plains.
We never got to grips with this area. Several roads across the plains were blocked due to repairs and the whole area appears under cultivation.
Mytilini (Valley of the Rollers)
We didnt see any Rollers here.!! A good area though worth exploration.
Another area suffering from lack of water. We didnt find it very productive.
Samos Town and beyond
Through the town is Gagou Beach. You can walk through a dilapidated disco building to the headland, which could be worth exploring. It was very windy the day we were there.
North Coast between Samos Town and Ambelos including Manolates (Valley of Nightingales)
This is the only road along the North coast so it was quite busy. There are many lay-bys in which to stop and explore. We found a good site between Kedros and Kokkari (see map 1)
The road to Manolates is hair-raising but the best woodland birding was lower down, at the first taverna. Only two Nightingales were heard. There is limited parking available higher up at the Panorama Taverna.In the village is a large car park but it was full of tourists.
The reservoir is visible from the road but we were unable to get closer. The area is becoming built-up and we didnt find it productive.
West side Votsalakia to Kalithea.
Very scenic area with olive groves and flower meadows backed by mountains. We didnt go past Kalithea as the road gets dodgy. Some German is useful in Kalithea as very little English is spoken. The whole area looks good for birds but unfortunately the day we chose to go there we had heavy rain.
Roads across the mountains.
The main roads are quite good with many laybys from where you can walk along the tracks birding.† We found a site for Rollers at the bridge at the t-junction of the road from Ireon to Mili.† Also close by was a site with breeding Cretzchmars Bunting.†† (See map 2)
Seen every day.
House Martin (nesting at apartments) Grey Heron
Little Bittern (river between bridge and sea)
Audouin's Gull(on sea off harbour)
(rough ground between Zeus appts and town)
Lesser Grey Shrike
Pirgos Village(park by the cemetery)
North Coast Road Site
Bee Eater x 100
Collared Flycatcher x 1
Ruppell's Warbler x 1
Wood Warbler x 1
Orphean Warbler x 1
Little Ringed Plover
Short -toed Lark
Greater Flamingo (65 2/5. 85 4/5)
Ruddy Shelduck x 8 (breeding)
Short-toed Eagle x 1
Red-footed Falcon x 1
Eleanoras Falcon x 1
Peregrine x 1
Black-winged Stilt (breeding)
Curlew x 2
Whiskered tern x 1
White-winged Black Tern x 3
Little Owl x 2
Red-backed Shrike (breeding)
Spoonbill x 1
Roller Site: A pair was constantly present at bridge over the river between Ireon and Mili - close to the orange groves
Blue Rock Thrush: Seen on Coastal road near Kalithea
Cretzchmars Bunting, Red-footed Falcon, Long-legged Buzzard: Seen on mountain road between Mili and Koumadarei
Total birds seen - 93 species
May is probably too late for the main migration but this
is the earliest available date with British Tour Operators Some birds - ie.
Warblers - were hard to see as they were not displaying. However some birds
were just arriving - ie -Flamingos, Bee Eaters. Shrikes were very scarce compared
to some reports as were raptors. We did not see any Jackdaws or Wheatears !
perhaps the fires have affected the habitat
This friendly island warrants further observation.
I used trip reports by Tim and Anne Cooke and Shaun Robinson.