Steppe Grey Shrike

First winter Steppe Grey Shrike © Glyn Sellors, Sept 08

This shrike was photographed near Vatera between 17-24 Sept. The 'Great' Grey Shrikes are many and some have been split, including Southern Grey Shrike Lanius meridonalis which those who visit Iberia and southern France will be familiar with, and some have also split Steppe Grey Shrike L. pallidirostris which occurs throughout the Middle East and eastern Asia.

In correspondence with Glynn Sellors (the photographer) and Killian Mullarney, KM commented 'I think your bird looks an excellent candidate for pallidirostris and its appearance certainly corresponds very closely with that of many individuals recorded in western Europe that have been identified as pallidirostris.'

Birds of Greece (1997) states that only two subspecies have been confirmed from Greece - excubitor (inc. one ringing recovery of a Finnish ringed bird) and homeyeri. So if this record is confirmed as pallidirostris it could be a first for Greece! But how many others have been overlooked? This is the only record of one of the 'great' grey shrikes I have come across from the island since I've been visiting (2000) and there is a dearth of details of any previous records, and assigning previous records to race is probably now very unlikely and all must be treated simply as Great Grey Shrikes.

Greece follow the AERC who treat Steppe Grey Shrike as a subspecies of Southern Grey Shrike L. meridionalis - Steppe Grey Shrike L. m. pallidirostris.

Pectoral Sandpiper - first record for Lesvos

Juvenile Pectoral Sandpiper, Polichnitos Saltpans, 20 Sept 08. © Steve Dudley
This first record for Lesvos and only the fourth record for Greece was found by Terry Robinson and was present for just one day.

See here for further migrant news from last week.

18 - 24 September

Juvenile Pectoral Sandpiper, Polichnitos Saltpans, 20 Sept 08. © Steve Dudley
This first record for Lesvos and only the fourth record for Greece was found by Terry Robinson and was present for just one day.

Records from Steve Dudley (www.lesvosbirding.com) and Mark Newell based at the Pasiphae Hotel.


Thurs, 18 Sept 08
Red-backed Shrike and Willow Warblers along roadside by airport.

Between Kalloni Saltpans and Tsiknias River
Red-backed Shrikes (lots), Woodchat Shrike (juv), Lesser Grey Shrike 3, Tawny Pipit 3, Lesser Kestrel (m), Short-toed Eagle 1, Long-legged Buzzard 4, Common Buzzard, Alpine Swift 6+, Northern Wheatear, Whinchat, Spotted Flycatcher, Chiffchaff, flava wagtails.

Tsiknias River mouth
Black Stork, Sandwich Tern 10+, Grey Polver 3, Dunlin 4, Curlew, Little Egret. Kalloni SaltpansGreat White Egret 12 (inc. 9 over to south).

Fri, 19 Sept 08

Christou River
Black Stork 1, Grey Heron 3, Great White Egret 1, Little Egret 2, Stone-curlew 4, Kentish Plover 4, Greenshank 1.

Metochi Lake
Lesser Kestrel (m), Tree Pipit 2, Ringed Plover 4, Little Ringed Plover 1, Common Sandpiper 3, Red-backed Shrike, Woodchat Shrike 1, Whinchat, flava wagtails, Red-rumped Swallow, Sand Martin, Alpine Swift, Cetti’s Warbler.

Nr Lafionas
Levant Sparrowhawk 1.

Molivos
Black-eared Wheatear 1.

Perasma (Old Petra Reservoir – now drained)
Black-eared Wheatear 3, Red-backed Shrike (lots), Common Kestrel 2, Peregrine (m), Cirl Bunting (lots), Spotted Flyactcher, Chiffchaff, Whinchat, White Wagtail, flava wagtails, Bee-eater (heard overhead).

Sat, 20 Sept 08

Korakas nr Klio
Lesser Spotted Eagle 1, Osprey (with fish), Marsh Harrier 2, Common Whitethroat 3+, Lesser Whitethroat 1, Common Redstart 2, Blackcap 1, Wood Nuthatch (3+), Rock Nuthatch (2), Middle Spotted Woodpecker (lots calling and sev seen), Red-backed Shrike 2+, Willow Warblers (lots), Chiffchaff, Red-rumped Swallow, Crag Martin, Alpine Swift.

Napi valley
Eurasian Sparrowhawk 2, Short-toed Eagle 1.

Polichnitos Saltpans
PECTORAL SANDPIPER (juv) – first record for Lesvos. Found at 0800 by Terry Robinson and present all day. Little Stint 13, Spoonbill 5, Black Stork 1, Pintail 2, Teal 1, Garganey 10, Mediterranean Gull 22, Sandwich Tern 20+, Marsh Harrier 1, Woodchat Shrike (juv), Turtle Dove 1, Lesser Grey Shrike 2, Tawny Pipit 3.

Sun, 21 Sept 08

Tavari/Chrousos
Red-footed Falcon (fem), Long-legged Buzzard 6 (flock) to south, Common Kestrel 2, Isabelline Wheatear 1, Red-backed Shrike (lots), Common Whitethroat 3, Lesser Whitethroat 2, Spotted Flycatcher, Northern Wheatear, Turtle Dove 1, Sedge Warbler 1, Alpine Swift 2, Common Swift 1, Crag Martin, Red-rumped Swallow.

Skala Eresou
Golden Oriole 1, Great Reed Warbler 1, Sedge Warbler 2.

Pithariou Reservoir
Bee-eatear 12+, Common Buzzard 4, Short-toed Eagle 1, Common Kestrel, Crag Martin (lots), Red-rumped Swallow 4, Cirl Bunting 6+.

Ipsilou
Sombre Tit 5+, Blackcap 3+, Wood Nuthatch 1.

Mon, 22 Sept 08
Pygmy Cormorant, Vouvari River mouth, 22 Sept 08. © Steve Dudley

Mesa
Eleonarora’s Falcon 1.

Vouvari River mouth
PYGMY CORMORANT adult – apparently present for c.1 week but no one mentioned in and no one bothered to write anything in the hotel bird log book! Lucky we heard about it on the off chance the previous evening.

Pygmy Cormorant, Vouvari River mouth, 22 Sept 08. © Steve Dudley

Lesser Black-backed Gull 1 ad fuscus, Kingfisher 1, Grey Wagtail 2, Woodlark 1, Stonechat 1, Short-toed Eagle 1, Eleonora’s Falcon 1.

Polichnitos Saltpans (and surrounds)
Black Stork 2, White Stork 1, Greater Flamingo, Marsh Sandpiper 4, Curlew Sandpiper 5, Wood Sandpiper 4, Little Stint 40+, Dunlin 4, Ruff 4, Redshank c.80, Greenshank 10+, Kentish Plover, Ringed Plover, Little Plover, Avocet 9, Teal 12, Mediterranean Gull 25, Sandwich Tern 39, Marsh Harrier 1, Short-toed Eagle 1, Hoopoe 1, Lesser Grey Shrike 2, Tawny Pipit 2.

Between Kalloni Saltpans and Tsiknias River
Red-footed Falcon (fem), Long-legged Buzzard 1, Common Buzzard 2, Great White Egret 1, Woodchat Shrike (juv).

Panaghia Chapel
Collared Flycatcher 1 (per SPD).

Tues, 23 Sept 08

Tsiknias River mouth
Grey Plover 2, Long-legged Buzzard 1, Woodchat Shrike 1.

Ipsilou
Eleonora’s Falcon 11 (inc. flock of 7 birds) all to north, Short-toed Eagle 1, Peregrine, Wryneck 1, Common Redstart 2, Red-backed Shrike 3, Spotted Flycatcher 6+, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Rock and Wood Nuthatch, Cirl Bunting, Middle Spotted Woodpecker, Blue Rock Thrush.

Wryneck, Ipsilou, 23 Sept 08. © Steve Dudley

Meladia Valley (between Sigri and Eresos)
Chukar 11 (inc. flock of 10), Black Stork 1, Hoopoe 1, Common Whitethroat 15+, Lesser Whitethroat 8+, Sombre Tit 2, Red-backed Shrike 10+, Black-eared Wheatear 4+, Northern Wheatear 3+, Cetti’s Warbler 1, Marsh Harrier 1, Blue Rock Thrush 4+, Spotted Flycatcher, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff.

Nr Eresos
Short-toed Eagle 1, Eleonora’s Falcon 1, Red-rumped Swallow 6+.

Palia Vigla, Vatera
Honey-Buzzard 3 (Terry Robinson)

Weds, 24 Sept 08

Achladeri (between Vouvari River and Achladeri)
Krüper’s Nuthatch 2

Polichnitos Saltpans
Curlew Sandpiper 4, Ruff 4, Marsh Sandpiper 1, Dunlin 10, Greenshank 3, Redshank c.50, White Stork 3, Great White Egret 1, Short-toed Eagle 1.

Almiropotomas River, Vatera
Purple Heron 1, Short-toed Eagle 1, Alpine Swift 2

Panaghia Chapel
Krüper’s Nuthatch 2 (one coming to dripping pipe by chapel), Spotted Flycatcher 4, Common Redstart 1, Blackcap 1, Common Whitethroat 1.

Vouvari River Mouth
Osprey roosting on rocks on south side of mouth.

Mesa
Great White Egret 1.

Tsiknias River Mouth
Grey Plover 4, Curlew 1, Kingfisher 1.

Thurs, 25 Sept 08

Metochi Lake
Common Snipe 1, Green Sandpiper 1.

Haramida Marsh
Sardinian Warbler 3+, Red-backed Shrike 4+, Lesser Whitethroat 2, Woodlark 1, Whinchat.

Cape Lena
Scopoli's Shearwater 3.

Wind of change

Resident Lesvos birder Terry Robinson reports that the wind turned to the SW today and with it a near stop in raptor movement.

Palia Vigla (prof ilios), Vatera
Booted Eagle 1
Honey-buzzard 1
Marsh Harrier 2

Polichnitos Saltpans
Broad-billed Sandpiper 1
Marsh Sandpiper 1
Tawny Pipit 3

Autumn raptors

Resident Lesvos birder Terry Robinson has had the place to himself in recent weeks, and the last few days he's been enjoying a raptor bonanza.

Tues, 16 Sept
Palia Vigla (prof ilios) Vatera
Booted Eagle 1
Lesser Spotted Eagle 6
Short-toed Eagle 4
Marsh Harrier 22
Common Buzzard 4
Honey-buzzard 92
Hobby 3
Kestrel 1
Peregrine 1
Eleonora’s Falcon 6

Polichnitos Saltpans
Garganey 14

Mon, 15 Sept
Palia Vigla (prof ilios) Vatera
Booted Eagle 7
Lesser Spotted Eagle 1
Short-toed Eagle 1
Honey-buzzard 99
Hobby 1
Kestrel 1
Eleonora’s Falcon 1

Sun, 14 Sept
Palia Vigla (prof ilios) Vatera

Marsh Harrier 23
Bonelli’s Eagle 1
Common Buzzard 4
Honey-buzzard 6
Eleonora’s Falcon 1
Bee-eater 106
Pallid Swift 1
Common Swift 1

Polichnitos
Honey-buzzard 60+
Hoopoe 1
Eleonora’s Falcon 1

Sat, 13 Sept
Polichnitos Saltpans
Garganey 7
Spotted Redshank 1
Wood Sandpiper 1

Thu, 11 Sept
Polichnitos Saltpans

Spoonbill 5 plus lots of migrants inc. Spotted Flys everywhere, Common Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Black-eared wheatears, dozens of Whinchats and lots of shrikes.

also at Polichnitos Saltpans in August
Spoonbill 1 28th, Montagu's Harrier 1 on 27th, Garganey 1 24th.

Summer news

Metochi Lake, 07 Aug 08 © Phillip Wells
Amazingly with water in it during the mid-summer period (see below)

I've heard relatatively little of note from the island during the summer. Phillip Wells was there earlier this month and noted the following around the Metochi Lake - Black Stork (10 soaring over), Little Bittern 1, Temminck's Stint 2, Green Sandpiper 5, Bee-eater 20+, Alpine Swift 15, Masked Shrike, Great Reed Warbler. The main thing of note here is the fact that Metochi Lake has water in it! It is usually bone-dry throughout the summer, but the locals can pump water from underground sources into the lake. This clearly benefits local wildlife when they do during the dry summer months and concentrates the birds as it will be only one of a few standing freshwater areas on the island during the summer. Compare the photo above with one from August 2007 for the contrast.

Metochi Lake, Aug 07 © Terry Robinson
The more usual state of the lake in mid-summer!

New sun shade and info board at the mouth of the River Tsiknias, Aug 08 © Phillip Wells

Those of us on the island in spring will have noted the new hides, sun shades and information boards popping up all over the place. The mouth of the River Tsiknias was being landscaoed as I left in early May and above you can see the new sun shade and board now in situ.

Other bird news

Terry Robinson reports a single Whiskered Tern and a juvenile Slender-billed Gull at the Skala Polichnitou saltpans on 13 August.

Slender-billed Gull, Skala Polichnitou saltpans, 13 Aug 08 © Terry Robinson

Namaqua Dove

Namaqua Dove, nr Skala Kallonis, Lesvos, 20 June 2008
© Søren Kristoffersen / http://www.pbase.com/nature_pix/lesvos_2008

During the summer news of a Namaqua Dove on the island trickled through. We eventually found out that the bird had been photographed feeding with House Sparrows at Skala Kallonis (we're awaiting for permission to use the photos).

A potential first record for Greece, Namaqua Dove is a native of Africa and the Middle East. It is a fairly sedentary species but has recently colonised Israel. Vagrant records, even from countried neighbouring the specie's native range, are rare. It is at best classed as an unlikely vagrant to Europe. It is known in the captive bird trade.

Imperial Eagle


Imperial Eagle, prob. 2nd cal. year bird, Lesvos 14 May 08 © Duncan Walbridge

This spring there were a series of records of Imperial Eagle which are all believed to relate to the same 2nd cal. year bird wandering around the island. Duncan Walbridge first saw it over the Kalloni Raptor Watchpoint (the Kalloni 'bandstand') north of Kalloni on 30 April. It was then seen over over Ipsilou on 3 and 5 May, and over Andissa on 5 May also. The next day (6th) it was again seen over the Kalloni Raptor Watchpoint and on the 9th it was seen over Agia Paraskevi. On 14 May it showed well at the top end of Napi Valley where Duncan managed to get these two photos - the first anyone managed during its tw0-week stay!

This is thought to be the ninth record for the island.

27 May 08 - Citrine Wagtail

Polichnitos Saltpans - Citrine Wagtail 1 (Terry Robinson).

nr Skala Vasilikon - Olive Tree Warbler 1, Fan-tailed Warbler 1 (Tony Hardware).

Reporting your sightings
Please send me your records, direct to -
Email steve at toadsnatcher dot com
Text 00447767787287

Reporting nationally rare birds seen on Lesvos
Like BBRC in Britain, Greece has the Hellenic Rarities Committee. Records of all nationally rare species need to be submitted to the HRC. From this years bag full of goodies, this includes all records of Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters, Great Snipe, Cattle Egret, Steppe Eagle, Scarlet (Common) Rosefinch, etc. See here for further information.

Your Lesvos bird records for 2008

Nikos Probonas (Hellenic Rarities Committee) and I would like to encourage all those who visited Lesvos this year to report their more important bird records, including –

Greek national rarities
Scarce passage and breeding migrants
Out of range (for the island) breeding/territory records
Any confirmed breeding records (all species)

Greek national rarities
The Hellenic Rarities Committee have asked me to request on their behalf, descriptions of Greek national rarities reported from Lesvos this spring. All sightings of the following species (known to be reported this spring) -

Cattle Egret
Imperial Eagle
Black-winged Pratincole
Blue-cheeked Bee-eater (lots of them!)
Scarlet (Common) Rosefinch

Plus any other species listed by HRC in their previous reports (see here).

Please report your records to HRC here.

Scarce passage and breeding migrants
In addition, I am collating records of scarcer migrants. Please supply details of the following species in particular (also any species down as scarce passage migrant (sPM) or scarce migrant breeder (sMB) on the list here) –

Great Bittern
Little Bittern
Night-heron
Purple Heron
Glossy Ibis
Black Kite
All vultures
All eagles apart from Short-toed Eagle (Imperial Eagle records to HRC as above)
Pallid Harrier
Montagu's Harrier
Hen Harrier
Levant Sparrowhawk
Honey-buzzard
Lanner
Eleanora's Falcon
All crakes
Collared Pratincole
Spur-winged Plover
Great Snipe
Great Spotted Cuckoo
Roller
Wryneck
Citrine Wagtail
Rufous Bush Chat
Thrush Nightingale
(Rufous-tailed) Rock Thrush
River Warbler
Savi’s Warbler
Marsh Warbler
Olive Tree Warbler (away from known breeding sites)
Barred Warbler
Sardinian Warbler
Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler (away from known breeding sites)
Red-breasted Flycatcher
Semi-collared Flycatcher
Collared Flycatcher
Penduline Tit
Lesser Grey Shrike

Please submit these records (species, number, date, location, observer, notes) either direct to me at (steve at toadsnatcher dot com) or via OrnithoTopos.

Out of range breeding/territory records (e.g. Cinereous Bunting) or confirmed breeding records (e.g. feeding young, fledged young, etc) of any species, can be submitted via OrnithoTopos or sent to me direct at (steve at toadsnatcher dot com) .

Many thanks in advance.

24 May 08 - Rose-coloured Starlings

Anaxos - Rose-coloured Starling 600+.

Thanks to Duncan Walbridge.

Reporting your sightings
Please send me your records, direct to -
Email steve at toadsnatcher dot com
Text 00447767787287

Reporting nationally rare birds seen on Lesvos
Like BBRC in Britain, Greece has the Hellenic Rarities Committee. Records of all nationally rare species need to be submitted to the HRC. From this years bag full of goodies, this includes all records of Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters, Great Snipe, Cattle Egret, Steppe Eagle, Scarlet (Common) Rosefinch, etc. See here for further information.

22 May 08 - Blue-cheeked Bee-eater

Anaxos - BLUE-CHEEKED BEE-EATER 1 (same as the Petri bird on 20th ?).

Thanks to Duncan Walbridge.

Reporting your sightings
I left the island last week and it would be great to keep the records coming in and keep these daily summaries as complete and as interesting as possible. Please send me your records direct to -
Email steve at toadsnatcher dot com
Text 00447767787287

Reporting nationally rare birds seen on Lesvos

Like BBRC in Britain, Greece has the Hellenic Rarities Committee. Records of all nationally rare species need to be submitted to the HRC. From this years bag full of goodies, this includes all records of Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters, Great Snipe, Cattle Egret, Steppe Eagle, Scarlet (Common) Rosefinch, etc. See here for further information.

Mediterranean Monk Seal

Whilst leading a group on Lesvos back in April we saw a seal off Makara. In nine years visiting the island I had never heard of any seasl being seen, and asking around neither had anyone I spoke to.

Having just recalled it, I've now identified it as a Mediterranean Monk Seal. Now this is a rare beast, with only around 400 animals in total, half of which are known to reside in the Aegean Sea.

If you've seen a Med Monk Seal off Lesvos I'd love to hear from you.

Email - steve at toadsnatcher dot com.

20 May 08 - another Blue-cheeked Bee-eater!

Petri - BLUE-CHEEKED BEE-EATER 1.

Kalloni 'bandstand' raptor watchpoint - LESSER SPOTTED EAGLE 1, Eleanora's Falcon 12.

Parakila Marsh - CITRINE WAGTAIL 1 male, Rose-coloured Starling 30+

Tsiknias River - Rose-coloured Starling 100+.

Kalloni Saltpans - White Stork 10, Whiskered Tern 1.

Thanks to Duncan Walbridge.

Reporting your sightings
I left the island last week and it would be great to keep the records coming in and keep these daily summaries as complete and as interesting as possible. Please send me your records direct to -
Email steve at toadsnatcher dot com
Text 00447767787287



Reporting nationally rare birds seen on Lesvos

Like BBRC in Britain, Greece has the Hellenic Rarities Committee. Records of all nationally rare species need to be submitted to the HRC. From this years bag full of goodies, this includes all records of Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters, Great Snipe, Cattle Egret, Steppe Eagle, Scarlet (Common) Rosefinch, etc. See here for further information.

18 May 08 - Griffon Vulture & Lesser Spotted Eagle

Anaxos - GRIFFON VULTURE 1.

Kalloni 'bandstand' raptor watchpoint - LESSER SPOTTED EAGLE 1, White Stork 7.

Skala Eresou - Purple Heron 1, Eleanora's Falcon 1.

Sigri - Rose-coloured Starling 200+

Thanks to Duncan Walbridge and Hotel Pasiphae for sending me copies of their bird log.

Reporting your sightings
I left the island last week and it would be great to keep the records coming in and keep these daily summaries as complete and as interesting as possible. Please send me your records direct to -
Email steve at toadsnatcher dot com
Text 00447767787287

Reporting nationally rare birds seen on Lesvos

Like BBRC in Britain, Greece has the Hellenic Rarities Committee. Records of all nationally rare species need to be submitted to the HRC. From this years bag full of goodies, this includes all records of Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters, Great Snipe, Cattle Egret, Steppe Eagle, Scarlet (Common) Rosefinch, etc. See here for further information.

17 May 08 - Black-winged Pratincoles

Tsiknias River - BLACK-WINGED PRATINCOLE 5.

Sigri/Eresson road junction - ROLLER 1.

Faneromeni area- Rose-coloured Starling 100+.

Thanks to Duncan Walbridge.

Reporting your sightings
I left the island last week and it would be great to keep the records coming in and keep these daily summaries as complete and as interesting as possible. Please send me your records direct to -
Email steve at toadsnatcher dot com
Text 00447767787287

Reporting nationally rare birds seen on Lesvos

Like BBRC in Britain, Greece has the Hellenic Rarities Committee. Records of all nationally rare species need to be submitted to the HRC. From this years bag full of goodies, this includes all records of Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters, Great Snipe, Cattle Egret, Steppe Eagle, Scarlet (Common) Rosefinch, etc. See here for further information.

16 May 08 - bird news update

Skala Sikaminias- Black Kite 1.

Thanks to Duncan Walbridge.

Reporting your sightings

I left the island last week and it would be great to keep the records coming in and keep these daily summaries as complete and as interesting as possible. Please send me your records direct to -
Email steve at toadsnatcher dot com
Text 00447767787287

Reporting nationally rare birds seen on Lesvos

Like BBRC in Britain, Greece has the Hellenic Rarities Committee. Records of all nationally rare species need to be submitted to the HRC. From this years bag full of goodies, this includes all records of Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters, Great Snipe, Cattle Egret, Steppe Eagle, Scarlet (Common) Rosefinch, etc. See here for further information.

15 May 08 - more Roses

Skala Eresou - BONELLI'S EAGLE 1.

Kalloni Saltpans - BROAD-BILLED SANDPIPER 1, Glossy Ibis 5, Red-footed Falcon 11, Gull-billed Tern 2, Mediterranen Gull 1, Grey Plover 4, Curlew 1, Turnstone 1.

Metochi Lake - Rose-coloured Starling 12.

Thanks to Duncan Walbridge and Hotel Pasiphae for sending me copies of their bird log.

Reporting your sightings
I left the island last week and it would be great to keep the records coming in and keep these daily summaries as complete and as interesting as possible. Please send me your records direct to -
Email steve at toadsnatcher dot com
Text 00447767787287

Reporting nationally rare birds seen on Lesvos

Like BBRC in Britain, Greece has the Hellenic Rarities Committee. Records of all nationally rare species need to be submitted to the HRC. From this years bag full of goodies, this includes all records of Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters, Great Snipe, Cattle Egret, Steppe Eagle, Scarlet (Common) Rosefinch, etc. See here for further information.

14 May 08 - Imperial Eagle and Roses

Napi Valley - IMPERIAL EAGLE 1 showed well.

Kalloni Saltpans - Rose-coloured Starling 12, Spoonbill 1.

Thanks to Duncan Walbridge and those entering their records in the Hotel Pasiphae bird log, and to Hotel Pasiphae for forwarding me the records each evening.

Reporting your sightings

I left the island last week and it would be great to keep the records coming in and keep these daily summaries as complete and as interesting as possible. Please send me your records direct to -
Email steve at toadsnatcher dot com
Text 00447767787287

Reporting nationally rare birds seen on Lesvos

Like BBRC in Britain, Greece has the Hellenic Rarities Committee. Records of all nationally rare species need to be submitted to the HRC. From this years bag full of goodies, this includes all records of Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters, Great Snipe, Cattle Egret, Steppe Eagle, Scarlet (Common) Rosefinch, etc. See here for further information.

13 May 08 - bird news

Kalloni Saltpans - Gull-billed Tern 7.

Thanks to Duncan Walbridge and those entering their records in the Hotel Pasiphae bird log, and to Hotel Pasiphae for forwarding me the records each evening.

Reporting your sightings

I left the island last week and it would be great to keep the records coming in and keep these daily summaries as complete and as interesting as possible. Please send me your records direct to -
Email steve at toadsnatcher dot com
Text 00447767787287

Reporting nationally rare birds seen on Lesvos

Like BBRC in Britain, Greece has the Hellenic Rarities Committee. Records of all nationally rare species need to be submitted to the HRC. From this years bag full of goodies, this includes all records of Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters, Great Snipe, Cattle Egret, Steppe Eagle, Scarlet (Common) Rosefinch, etc. See the HRC website if you think you have seen a nationally rare species requiring a description. A rarity description form can also be download from the site.

12 May 08 - another Blue-cheeked Bee-eater!

Duncan Walbridge has texted to say there is a BLUE-CHEEKED BEE-EATER, for its second day, between the Tsiknias River and the Kalloni Saltpans.

Tsiknias River - River Warbler 1 (lower), Rufous Bush Chat 1 (upper).

Kalloni Saltpans - Gull-billed Tern 7.

Meladia River Ford - Little Bittern 1, Ruddy Shelduck pr with 5 young.

Platania - Eleanora's Falcon 2.

Thanks to Duncan Walbridge and those entering their records in the Hotel Pasiphae bird log, and to Hotel Pasiphae for forwarding me the records each evening.

Reporting your sightings

I left the island last week and it would be great to keep the records coming in and keep these daily summaries as complete and as interesting as possible. Please send me your records direct to -
Email steve at toadsnatcher dot com
Text 00447767787287

Reporting nationally rare birds seen on Lesvos

Like BBRC in Britain, Greece has the Hellenic Rarities Committee. Records of all nationally rare species need to be submitted to the HRC. From this years bag full of goodies, this includes all records of Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters, Great Snipe, Cattle Egret, Steppe Eagle, Scarlet (Common) Rosefinch, etc. See the HRC website if you think you have seen a nationally rare species requiring a description. A rarity description form can also be download from the site.

11 May 08 - bird news

Meladia River Ford - PALLID SWIFT 10+, Red-breasted Flycatcher 1.

Madaros - ROLLER 1 c.200 yrds south of dead goat bit by 'small lake'.

Kalloni Bay - 25+ Black Storks reported at 8.30pm.

Sigri - River Warbler 1, Night-heron 1.

Achladeri - Kruper's Nuthatch still actively feeding young, Long-eared Owl 2 juvs.

Thanks to Duncan Walbridge and those entering records in Hotel Pasiphae bird log.

Reporting your sightings

I left the island last week and it would be great to keep the records coming in and keep these daily summaries as complete and as interesting as possible. Please send me your records direct to -
Email steve at toadsnatcher dot com
Text 00447767787287

Reporting nationally rare birds seen on Lesvos

Like BBRC in Britain, Greece has the Hellenic Rarities Committee. Records of all nationally rare species need to be submitted to the HRC. From this years bag full of goodies, this includes all records of Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters, Great Snipe, Cattle Egret, Steppe Eagle, Scarlet (Common) Rosefinch, etc. See the HRC website if you think you have seen a nationally rare species requiring a description. A rarity description form can also be download from the site.

10 May 08 - bird news

Vafios Reservoir - River Warbler 1, Great Spotted Cuckoo 3.

Check 8th and 9th for further records added this evening.

Reporting your sightings
I left the island today and it would be great to keep the records coming in and keep these daily summaries as complete and as interesting as possible. Please send me your records direct to - Email steve at toadsnatcher dot com
Text 00447767787287

Reporting nationally rare birds seen on Lesvos
Like BBRC in Britain, Greece has the Hellenic Rarities Committee. Records of all nationally rare species need to be submitted to the HRC. From this years bag full of goodies, this includes all records of Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters, Great Snipe, Cattle Egret, Steppe Eagle, Scarlet (Common) Rosefinch, etc. See the HRC website if you think you have seen a nationally rare species requiring a description. A rarity description form can also be download from the site.

9 May 08 - Magpie!

Duncan Walbridge has texted me the following news -

Mandamodos - MAGPIE (fourth Lesvos record).

Nr Kalloni - GRIFFON VULTURE 3 over.

Skalla Kallonis Pool - CATTLE EGRET (since yesterday)

Other reports today (from Hotel Pasiphae bird log) -

Agia Paraskevi - IMPERIAL EAGLE 'juv' (presumably means non-adult) over.

Platania - OLIVE TREE WARBLER 6+ at cattle grid site.

Faneromeni - Red-breasted Flycatcher 2.

Reporting your sightings
Please keep the records coming in and help keep these daily summaries as complete and as interesting as possible. Send your records direct to me by -
Email steve at toadsnatcher dot com
Text 00447767787287

8 May 08 - update

Weather
Fine and sunny.

Today's highlights -

Sadly, very little reported for today.

Kalloni Saltpans - SPUR-WINGED PLOVER 2, Osprey 1, Black Tern 10, Red-footed Falcon 11, Collared Pratincole 5, Lesser Grey Shrike 1.

Skala Kallonis - River Warbler 2 (one by west end of pool, other by Pasiphae Hotel).

Tsiknias River - Grey Plover 4, Whiskered Tern 1.

Metochi - Little Bittern, Night-heron.

Reporting your sightings
I left the island today and it would be great to keep the records coming in and keep these daily summaries as complete and as interesting as possible. Please send me your records direct to -
steve at toadsnatcher dot com
00447767787287

Again, thanks to everyone who has supplied reocrds over the last three weeks. I know from feedback from birders coming out here the updates have been greatly appreciated by many. I'd like pay particular thanks to Bob Buckler, Wingspan Bird Tours, for his help and enthusiasm over the last few weeks.

7 May 08 - Egyptian Vultures!

Weather
heavy rain overnight continued until mid morning and the overcast sky eventually cleared to give a sunny laste afternoon and evening.

Today's highlights -

Nr Ipsilou - EGYPTIAN VULTURE 2 together to north c. noon.

Kalloni Saltpans - PALLID HARRIER 1 (1st sum fem), SPUR-WINGED PLOVER 2, Osprey 1, Gull-billed Tern 1, White-winged Black Tern 22, Black Tern 2, Red-footed Falcon 12, Little Stint 210+, Ruff 230+, Curlew Sandpiper 60+.

Nr Eressos - BLACK KITE 1.

Ipsilou - Rock Sparrow 5.

Faneromeni - Lesser Grey Shrike 1, Bee-eater 40.

Old Sigri Sanatorium - Rufous Bush Chat 2, Lesser Grey Shrike 1.

Alykes Wetlands - Citrine Wagtail 1, Collared Pratincole 7, Ringed Plover 15, Spotted Redshank 1.

Skamnioudi Pool - Temminck's Stint 1, Little Stint 24, Ruff 36, Wood Sandpiper 70+, Goshawk imm male.

Polichnitos Saltpans - Eleanora's Falcon 1, Little Stint 160+, Curlew Sandpiper 52, Grey Plover 1, Black Stork 1.

Almiropodamos River - Little Bittern 1, Ortolan Bunting 1, Serin 1.

Tsiknias River - Slender-billed Gull 3, Temminck's Stint 5, Black Stork 2, Grey Plover 4.

Nr Polichnitos Saltpans - Roller 2.

Meladia River Ford - Roller 1, Marsh Warbler 2, Icterine Warbler 2, Rufous Bush Chat 2.

Metochi - Little Bittern 6+, Hobby 1.

Reporting your sightings
I leave the island tomorrow and it would be great to keep the records coming in and keep these daily summaries as complete and as interesting as possible. Please send me your records direct to -
steve at toadsnatcher dot com
00447767787287

Thanks to everyone who has supplied reocrds over the last three weeks. I know from feedback from birders coming out here the updates have been greatly appreciated by many.

I've been told of some of the funny bird names that have crept in over the weeks. Its sometimes hard typing anf holding three converdations at once!

6 May 08 - Broad-billed Sandpiper

LOST - one Tilley hat. Could be anywhere between Skala Eresou and Achladeri! Contact Steve at steve at toadsnatcher dot com.

Finsch's and Pied Wheatears
There are reports of both Finsch's and Pied Wheatears each year and those followed up invariably turn out to be black-and-white Black-eared Wheatears. This year seems to be particuarly noteworthy for such reports and all have so far turned out to be BEWs. If anyone has any photographs to support claims of either of these two species please come forward. Email steve at toadsnatcher dot com.

Weather: fine and settled withvirtually no wind. Max temp. c. 28 C.

A fresh influx of waders brought in a Broad-billed Sandpiper this evening. Today's Imperial Eagle sighting, seen by the same observer as last week (at the same location), is now thought to be just one bird accounting for all records (confirmed/probables) over the last week (inc. yesterdays two sightings).

Todays highlights -

Kalloni Bandstand - IMPERIAL EAGLE 1 over mid-morning. It is now thought that one bird accounts for all the sightings on the island this spring.

Kalloni Saltpans - BROAD-BILLED SANDPIPER 1 in evening, SPUR-WINGED PLOVER 2 (turn right at south-west corner bend, birds in little sheep enclosure and field on left), Marsh Sandpiper 1, Collared Pratincole 5, Red-footed Falcon 9, White-winged Black Tern 11, Whiskered Tern 3, Black Tern 2, Black Stork 2, Curlew 2, Temminck's Stint 2, Little Stint 400+, Ruff 220+, Curlew Sandpiper 85+, Montagu's Harrier 1.

Tsiknias River - BONELLI'S EAGLE 1 to west, LEVANT SPARROWHAWK 2 (m&f) to north, Ruppell's Warbler 2 singing males along upper section. River Warbler 1 singing along upper section.

Sigri - European Nightjar 3, Scops Owl 2.

Skala Kallonis Pool - Little Bittern 1, Squacco Heron 2 (feeding 3 small young).

Achladeri - Kruper's Nuthatch young now hatched (prob. this morning). Just beyond the white building in the car park, look to left for tall pointed tree stump with electric cables coming off either side. Nest in bottom of the gash at the top of the stump. No sign of Long-eared Owls in recent days. Masked Shrike nesting nearby.

Platania - Olive Tree Warbler 6+ now around the 'cattle grid' site.

Lardia Valley – Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler 1, holding territory at eastern end. West of Vatousa park at eastern end of valley in ‘chalky’ coloured pull-in on right with small wooden gate. Walk west for three telegraph poles to small pool. Bird is in this area but can get to opposite side of valley. Rock Sparrow nesting in Rock Nuthatch nest on rocky outcrop on right from the pull-in.

Kalloni Mini Soccer – Scops Owl 1 - bird still in the fifth roadside tree from the mini soccer pitch entrance but can only be seen from along the road or safer(!) from the track opposite the soccer pitch entrance. It is c.7m up the tree and quote difficult to see.

Mylopotamos River (East East River) - Goshawk imm male chasing Turtle Doves through olive groves.

Thanks to everyone for their records and for those who enter their records in the Hotel Pasiphae bird log.

Printed copies of the daily Lesvosbirding.com summaries are also on reception at the Hotel Pasiphae by the bird log. Please do not remove them. Thanks. Anyone wanting a printed copy of any daily summary should ask at the hotel reception.

5 May 08 - Another big bird day

Overnight rain and an overcast morning had most of the birders scampering west this morning. And we weren't disappointed!

Weather: overnight rain gave way to a short-lived overcast morning but fine and sunny by mid-morning with scattered cloud. Moderate north-westerly wind. Max temp. c. 25 C.

Ipsilou - GRIFFON VULTURE 1 mid-morning (8th island record and first since 2002), IMPERIAL EAGLE over mid-afternoon (see Andissa below), Collared Flycatcher 4, Red-breasted Flycatcher 2, Thrush Nightingale 3, Icterine Warbler 2, Honey-buzzard 1, Marsh Warbler 6+, plus loads of common migrants inc. Red-backed Shrikes, Blackcap, Lesser Whitethroas, etc.

Polichnitos Saltpans - BLUE-CHEEKED BEE-EATER 1.

Nr Andissa - IMPERIAL EAGLE being mobbed by 3 Long-legged Buzzards mid-morning.

Meladia River Ford area - PALLID SWIFT 110+, Collared Flycatcher 1, Red-breasted Flycatcher 2, Olive Tree Warbler 1, Thrush Nightingale 1, Citrine Wagtail 2, Tawny Pipit 2, Ortolan Bunting 1, Little Bittern 1, Red-backed Shrike 30+, Lesser Grey Shrike 3.

Faneromeni area - CITRINE WAGTAIL 1, ROLLER 2, Eleanora's Falcon 1.

Skala Eresou - CITRINE WAGTAIL 1, Eleanora's Falcon 1 pale bird, Garganey 5 on sea, Squacco Heron 2.

Between Efthalou & Skala Sikaminias - LANNER1, Audouin's Gull 4.

Nr Sikaminia - LEVANT SPARROWHAWK 1 (fem).

Sigri Old Sanitorium - Rufous Bush Chat 2.

Lardia Valley – Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler 1, holding territory at eastern end. West of Vatousa park at eastern end of valley in ‘chalky’ coloured pull-in on right with small wooden gate. Walk west for three telegraph poles to small pool. Bird is in this area but can get to opposite side of valley. Rock Sparrow nesting in Rock Nuthatch nest on rocky outcrop on right from the pull-in.

Kalloni Mini Soccer – Scops Owl 1 - bird still in the fifth roadside tree from the mini soccer pitch entrance but can only be seen from along the road or safer(!) from the track opposite the soccer pitch entrance. It is c.7m up the tree and quote difficult to see.

Achladeri - Kruper's Nuthatch still showing well.

Mesotopos - no sign of yesterday's two Olive Tree Warblers just south of the Eko garage.

Thanks to everyone for their records and for those who enter their records in the Hotel Pasiphae bird log.

Printed copies of the daily Lesvosbirding.com summaries are also on reception at the Hotel Pasiphae by the bird log. Please do not remove them. Thanks.

4 May 08 - Olive Tree Warblers back in

Despite fine weather and northerly winds migrants still keep creeping in and the odd long-staying bird is still with us. After yesterday's couple of birds out west, today continued the main arrival of Olive Tree Warblers.

The seasonal pool by the Kalloni Saltworks entrance is now dry and other small pools disappearing fast (not been to or heard about the Alykes Wetlands). River levels still OK.

The Spur-winged Plover was unfortunately flushed by a photographer who entered an enclosed field. A reminder, if an area is fenced DO NOT ENTER. Enter only areas with open gates, keep to field edges and keep out of crops and groves.

Weather: fine and sunny with light northerly wind strengthening during afternoon. Max. temp c. 25 C.

Some additional news for yesterday, a singing Barred Warbler and Thrush Nightingale near Andissa.

Today’s highlights -

Kalloni Saltpans – PALLID HARRIER 1 (fem north c. 4.30 pm), SPUR-WINGED PLOVER 1 (seen to be flushed by a photographer in morning and not seen since), Osprey 1, Red-footed Falcon 6, White-winged Black Tern 11, Whiskered Tern 1, Temminck’s Stint 4, Spotted Redshank 2, Curlew Sandpiper 50+, Little Stint 50+, Ruff 465+.

Napi Valley - OLIVE TREE WARBLER 3 at roadside barrier site below masts at north end of valley.

Platania – OLIVE TREE WARBLER now 5+ at the cattle grid site, Golden Oriole 2. Between Napi Road and cattle grid 09.00 – 11.30 am - Thrush Nightingale 1, Honey-buzzard 1, Black Stork 5, Red-footed Falcon 8, Ortolan Bunting 4, Red-backed Shrike 6+ plus stacks of commons stuff such as Hoopoe, Masked Shrike, Orphean Warbler, Woodlark, etc.

Tsiknias River – RUPPELL’S WARBLER male singing (Upper Valley), Lesser Grey Shrike 1, Black Stork 1 (caught and ate a snake), Mediterranean Gull 2 (ads), White-winged Black Tern 2, Stone-curlew 1.

Meladia River Ford area - PALLID SWIFT 3, RUFOUS BUSH ROBIN 1, ROLLER 1, Little Bittern 1, Yelkuoun Shearwater c. 3000+ per hour at one point, still lots of migrants inc. Spotted Flycacther, Black-headed Bunting, Pied Flycatcher, Whinchat, Bee-eater, Turtle Dove.

Faneromeni - Red-breasted Flycatcher (along track up from ford).

Parikoila Marsh – Purple Heron 1, Black Stork 1.

Skala Eresou – Lesser Grey Shrike 1.

Lardia Valley – Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler 1, holding territory at eastern end. West of Vatousa park at eastern end of valley in ‘chalky’ coloured pull-in on right with small wooden gate. Walk west for three telegraph poles to small pool. Bird is in this area but can get to opposite side of valley. Rock Sparrow nesting in Rock Nuthatch nest on rocky outcrop on right from the pull-in.

Kalloni Mini Soccer – Scops Owl 1 - bird still in the fifth roadside tree from the mini soccer pitch entrance but can only be seen from along the road or safer(!) from the track opposite the soccer pitch entrance. It is c.7m up the tree and quote difficult to see.

Thanks to everyone for their records and for those who enter theirs in the Hotel Pasiphae bird log.

3 May 08 - More Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters!

Ruddy Shelduck with 9 (of 10) young on Voulgaris River

An amazing continuation of Blue-cheeked Bee-eater records and the second Imperial Eagle of the spring.

Weather: fine and sunny with strengthening northerly wind during afternoon. Max. temp c.28 C.
Today’s highlights -

Ipsilou – IMPERIAL EAGLE 1 sub-adult over to north in morning.

Kalloni Bandstand – BLUE-CHEEKED BEE-EATER 1 to west at 10.20am, Goshawk 1.

Meladia River Ford – BLUE-CHEEKED BEE-EATER 7 – single flock north at 6.45 pm. Large movement of hirundines through and European Bee-eaters 60+ all to north. Rufous Bush Chat 1 (m), Collared Flycatcher 1 (f at chapel), Icterine Warbler 1, Marsh Warbler 1, Great Reed Warbler 2, Red-backed Shrike 25+, Lesser Grey Shrike 2, Masked Shrike 1, Hoopoe 1, Golden Oriole 1, Red-footed Falcon 2 (m&f), Lesser Kestrel 1, Black-headed Bunting 40+, Spotted Flycatcher 80+, Little Bittern 1.

Acient Antissa – LEVANT SPARROWHAWK 1 (m).

Nr Ipsilou – LEVANT SPARROWHAWK 1 (f), Red-footed Falcon 1 (f).

Tsiknias River – CITRINE WAGTAIL 1.

Nr Mesotopos – OLIVE TREE WARBLER 2, Golden Oriole.
Lardia Valley – Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler 1 singing at eastern end. West of Vatousa park in eastern end of valley in ‘chalky’ coloured pull-in on right with small wooden gate. Walk west for three telegraph poles to small pool. Bird in this area but can get to opposite side of valley. Rock Sparrow nesting in Rock Nuthatch nest on rocky outcrop on right from the pull-in. Eleanora’s Falcon 1 pale bird.

Faneromeni River – Little Bittern 1.

Sigri – Eleanora’s Falcon 1, Lesser Kestrel 25+, 1 Stone-curlew.

Kalloni Mini Soccer – Scops Owl 1 - bird still in the fifth roadside tree from the mini soccer pitch entrance but can only be seen from along the road or safer(!) from the track opposite the soccer pitch entrance. It is c.7m up the tree and quote difficult to see. Honey-buzzard 1.

Nr Sigri/Eresos junction – Great Spotted Cuckoo.

Kalloni Saltpans – White-winged Black Tern 67, Whiskered Tern 15, Little Stint 50+, Ruff 80+.

Polichnitos Saltpans - Temminck's Stint 1, Turnstone 3, Tawny Pipit 2, Red-footed Falcon 2, Black Stork 2.

Panagia – Little Bittern 1.

Skala Kallonis Pool – Little Bittern 1, White Stork 1, Squacco Heron 3.

Voulgaris River – Ruddy Shelduck pr with 10 young.

Pasiphae Hotel grounds – Long-eared Owl 2.

Thanks to everyone for their records and for those who enter theirs in the Hotel Pasiphae bird log.

2 May 08 - A right bonny day

Continued fine weather had all the hallmarks of bird going straight through, but today saw a reasonable fresh arrival of migrants across the island. Very little surface water remaining in the seasonal pools of the Alykes Wetlands and Saltpans area (opp. the Saltworks entrance).

Weather: fine and sunny with virtually no wind. Max. temp c. 28 C.

Yesterday, unconfirmed report of the fifth BLUE-CHEEKED BEE-EATER of the spring at Sigri.

Today’s highlights -

Platania – BONELLI’S EAGLE 1 (sub-ad), OLIVE TREE WARBLER 1 still.

Kalloni Bandstand – LEVANT SPARROWHAWK 1 (f), Honey-buzzard 1, Goshawk 1 (m), Black Stork 1.

Metochi Lake – BAILLON’S CRAKE 1, Little Crake 4, Little Bittern 4, Squacco Heron 7, Purple Heron 1, Whiskered Tern 3. No sign of the Spotted Crake.

Kalloni Saltpans area - SPUR-WINGED PLOVER 1, Gull-billed Tern 1, Red-footed Falcon 3, Collared Pratincole 5, Red-throated Pipit 3, Short-toed Lark 4, Ruddy Shelduck 16, Black Stork 1, Whiskered Tern 2, White-winged Black Tern 7.

Lardia Valley – Eastern Bonelli's Warbler 1 singing at eastern end below the Crag Martin outcrop.

Faneromeni area – Red-breasted Flycatcher 1, Collared Flycatcher 1.

Meladia River Ford – River Warbler 1, Collared Flycatcher 1.

Napi Valley – Thrush Nightingale 1.

Skala Kallonis – Honey-buzzard 1 over Hotel Pasiphae c.8.45 am.

Achladeri – Kruper’s Nuthatch showing well.

Kalloni Mini Soccer – Scops Owl 1 - bird still in the fifth roadside tree from the mini soccer pitch entrance but can only be seen from along the road or safer(!) from the track opposite the soccer pitch entrance. It is c.7m up the tree and quote difficult to see.

Petra Reservoir area – reservoir now drained with only a puddle of a pool remaining. River Warbler 1 (nr main road), Temminck’s Stint 4, Red-backed Shrike 6+, Bee-eater 40+.

Molivos – River Warbler 1.

Tsiknias River – Temminck’s Stint 3.

Skala Kallonis - Long-eared Owl 2 at Hotel Pasiphae.

Thanks to everyone for their records and for those who enter their records in the Hotel Pasiphae bird log.

1 May 08 - A slow day!

Spotted Crake at Metochi

Thursday is one of the main change over days here, so fewer folk are in the field so far fewer birds reported than normal. Hopefully normal service will resume tomorrow! Also check past days for any additions.

Weather: fine and sunny, no cloud, light southerly wind. Max. temp. c.28 C.

Today's highlights -

Kalloni Saltpans - LEVANT SPARROWHAWK 1.

Skala Kallonis Pool - CITRINE WAGTAIL 1 male (early morning, presumed same on Tsiknias River in afternoon), Squacco Heron 2.

Tsiknias River - CITRINE WAGTAIL 1 male (afternoon, presumed same on Skala Kallonis Pool in morning), Sandwich Tern 3 (at mouth), Gull-billed Tern 1, Bar-tailed Godwit 1, Night-heron 1, Lesser Grey Shrike 1.

Metochi Lake area - BAILLON'S CRAKE 1, Eleanora's Falcon 2, Spotted Crake 1, Little Bittern 3, Night-heron 2, Little Crake 2+, Whiskered Tern 5.

Kalloni Saltworks entrance - Tawny Pipit 2. Collared Pratoncole 15, Red-footed Falcon 5. No sign of Spur-winged Plover.

Skala Kallonis - Gull-billed Tern 12 offshore.

River Christou - Red-footed Falcon 2, Purple Heron 1, Temminck's Stint 25, Red-throated Pipit 1, Stone-curlew 2, Peregrine 1.

Makara - Yelkouan Shearwater 100+.

Thanks to everyone for their records and for those who enter theirs in the Hotel Pasiphae bird log.

30 April 08 - Eagles and Blue-cheeked Bees

Spur-winged Plover, nr Kalloni Saltworks entrance.

Despite fine weather and clear skies, the southerly winds keep bring stuff in. Two Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters today make it four this year (only four records before this year!) following ones at Tsiknias River and Meladia River Ford last week.

Apart from one report the other day, still no sign of Rufous Scrub Robin on any of the usual territories which are being checked daily.

Weather: fine and sunny with scattered high cloud and light southerly winds. Max. temp c.27 C.

Today’s highlights -

Skala Kalloni Pool – BLUE-CHEEKED BEE-EATER 1 07.30-07.45 am, FERRUGINOUS DUCK 1 (f).

Vatera - BLUE-CHEEKED BEE-EATER 1 east of town near ‘large hotel’. Large movement of Alpine and Common Swifts in Vatera area during the afternoon.

Kalloni Bandstand – IMPERIAL EAGLE 1 over c. 12 noon (ninth record). Raptor watching from c.09.30 – 10.00 am – Montagu’s Harrier 1 (m), Goshawk 1 (f), Short-toed Eagle 6+, Long-legged Buzzard 4+, Common Buzzard 2, Peregrine 1, Common Sparrowhawk 1.

Anciant Antissa – GOLDEN EAGLE 1, LESSER SPOTTED EAGLE 1.

Kalloni Saltworks entrance (pool and fields opp) - SPUR-WINGED PLOVER 1, Red-footed Falcon 4, Collared Pratincole 14, Red-throated Pipit 4, Short-toed Lark 3, Ruddy Shelduck 3, Black Stork 1.

Platania – LEVANT SPARROWHAWK 1 (m), OLIVE TREE WARBLER 1 still, Bee-eaters lots moving over, many heard and not seen but flocks of 4, 11, 13 and 18 seen’ large movement of Alpine and Common Swifts.

Kalloni Saltpans – CASPIAN TERN 1, PALLID HARRIER 1 first-year, White-winged Black Tern 21, Whiskered Tern 2, Mediterranean Gull 4, Curlew Sandpiper 70+, Grey Plover 24, Squacco Heron 1, Stone-curlew 2, Grey Heron 11, Little Stone 230+, Ruff 80+.

Metochi Lake – BAILLON’S CRAKE 2, Spotted Crake 1, Little Crake 7.

Achladeri – Kruper’s Nuthatch and Long-eared Owls showing well.

Faneromeni area – Marsh Warbler 1, Little Bittern 1, Squacco Heron 1.

Meladia River Ford – Marsh Warbler 1, Collared Flycatcher 2 (m&f), Little Bittern 2, Barred Warbler 1.

Tsiknias River – Eleanora’s Falcon 1, Gull-billed Tern 27+, White-winged Black Tern 2, Whiskered Tern 1, Bar-tailed Godwit 1 (this is a very long-billed female and almost certainly accounts for all recent reports of Black-tailed Godwit), Curlew 1, Great Crested Grebe.

Kalloni Mini Soccer – Scops Owl 1. Bird still in the fifth roadside tree from the mini soccer pitch entrance but can only be seen from along the road or safer(!) from the track opposite the soccer pitch entrance. It is c.7m up the tree and quote difficult to see.

Napi Valley – (just north of Napi 12.15 – 13.15 pm) Red-footed Falcon 1 (m), Goshawk 1 (m).

Vourkou River Mouth – Little Bittern 1.

Skamnioudi Coast Pool – Temminck’s Stint 2.

Thanks to everyone for their records and for those who enter theirs in the Hotel Pasiphae bird log.

29 April 08 - still trickling through

Baillon's Crake, Metochi Lake © Bob Buckler Wingspan Bird Tours

Kalloni Saltpans – SPUR-WINGED PLOVER 1 along east channel c.1 km from road. Red-footed Falcon 5, Gull-billed Tern 2, Red-throated Pipit 3, Short-toied Lark 4.

Faneromeni area – PENDULINE TIT 4 (200 m up track from the ford in willows), GREAT SNIPE 1, LEVANT SPARROWHAWK 1 (m), Little Bittern 3, Squacco Heron 2, Purple Heron 1.
Great Snipe, Faneromeni Upper Ford © Bob Buckler Wingspan Bird Tours

Meladia River Ford – SEMI-COLLARED FLYCATCHER 1 (f), OLIVE TREE WARBLER 1, Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler 1, Collared Flycatcher 1, Icterine Warbler 6, Barred Warbler 2, Little Bittern 3, Purple Heron 1, Temminck’s Stont 1, Tawny Pipit 1, Golden Oriole 2, Common Redstart 2, Red-footed Falcon 1, 1000+ Yelkouan Shearwater. Very few common migrants – handful of flycatchers, loads of Black-headed Buntings, Bee-eaters.

Ipsilou - SCARLET ROSEFINCH 1 (6th record for island). Very few migrants. Handful of flycatchers and a Wood Warbler.

Metochi Lake – BAILLON’S CRAKE 1, Hobby 1, Purple Heron 1, Little Bittern 3.
Baillon's Crake, Metochi Lake © Bob Buckler Wingspan Bird Tours

Skala Kallonis Pools – CITRINE WAGTAIL 1 (m).

Tsiknias River – CITRINE WAGTAIL 1 (f).

Sigri/Eresos road junction – ROLLER 1.

Sigri Fields – Collared Flycatcher 1 (m), White-winged Black Tern 1 and Whiskered Tern 1 feeding over fields.

Alykes Wetlands – Collared Pratincole 16.

Kalloni Mini Soccer – Scops Owl 1.

Skala Sikaminias – Audouin’s Gull 4.

Petrified Forest Road – Red-footed Falcon 2.

Thanks to everyone for their records and for those who enter theirs in the Hotel Pasiphae bird log.

28 April 08 - calm after the storm

After yesterday's bonanza, a more steady day with lost to see wherever folk went on the island. The west proved worthwhile again with plenty of yesterday’s fall still present plus some new finds.

Weather: largely sunny with some scattered cloud. Light to moderate north-westerly winds. Max. temp c. 23 C.

Ipsilou – still plenty of common migrants such as Blackcap, Lesser Whitethroat and Wood Warblers. SEMI-COLLARED FLYCATCHER 1, THRUSH NIGHTINGALE 1, Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler 1.

Sigri Fields – LEVANT SPARROWHAWK 1 (f), ROLLER 1, Red-footed Falcon 6 (5f, 1m), Bee-eater 8.

Faneromeni Ford – PENDULINE TIT 2 (by track-side pool), GREAT SNIPE 1, Purple Heron 1, Squacco Heron 1, Little Bittern 2, Spotted Redshank 1.

Meladia River Mouth – unconfirmed reports of GREAT SNIPE 4, CITRINE WAGTAIL 3, RUFOUS BUSH CHAT 1, Eatern Bonelli’s Warbler 1, Corncrake 1, Temminck’s Stint 1. Lots of Lesser and Red-backed Shrikes, Black-headed Buntings, etc.

Skala Kallonis Pool – FERRUGINOUS DUCK 1, Mediterranean Gull 3.

Kalloni Saltpans – CITRINE WAGTAIL fem (opp. Saltworks entrance), Gull-billed Tern 4, Whiskered Tern 2, White-winged Black Tern 1, Red-throated Pipit 5 (opp. Saltworks entrance), Black Stork 2, Grey Plover 2 Stone-curlew 1.


Metochi Lake – BAILLON’S CRAKE 2, Little Crake 7, Little Bittern 2 (m&f), Whiskered Tern 11.

Between Mandamados and Napi Valley – GOLDEN EAGLE 1 sub-adult, Mistle Thrush 2.

Tsiknias Ri ver – Savi’s Warbler 1, Red-footed Falcon 1 (fem), Little Bittern 1, Collared Pratincole 3 (same as Alykes Wetlands?), Black-tailed Godwit 1, Sanderling 3, Dunlin 2.

Alykes Wetlands – Collared Pratincole 3, Tawny Pipit 1, Red-throated Pipit 10, Short-toed Lark 8, Montagu's Harrier 1 (m), Spotted Redshank 1, Common Snipe 2, Green Sandpiper.

Polichinitos Saltpans – Whiskered Tern 1, Temmick’s Stint 4, Purple Heron 2, Black Stork 1.

Petra – Ruppell’s Warbler 4 showing well, Orphean Warbler.

North Coast Track – Audouin’s Gull 4, Scopoli’s (Cory’s) Shearwater 5+, Yelkouan Shearwater 20+.

Skala Kallonis – Eleanora’s Falcon 1 over Hotel Pasiphae.

Thanks to everyone who passed on info or entered their records in the Hotel Pasiphae bird log.

27 April 08 - Migrants galore!

At last! Passerine migrants have been like hen's teeth this last week. yesterday provided some promise, and those who went west today were well rewarded for their efforts with the biggest spring fall I have ever witnessed on the island.

Weather: overcast with occasional sunny periods (overcast in the mountains all day). Moderate north-westerly wind. Max. temp c.20 C.

Tsiknias River - BONELLI'S EAGLE one north at c.6pm, Eleanora's Falcon 1, Whiskered Tern 2, Little Bittern 1, Night-heron 4, Savi's Warbler 1, Roller 3, Mediterranean Gull 3, Turnstone 2, Temminck's Stint 2.

Ipsilou - a huge fall of migrants included hundreds of Blackaps (500+) and Lesser Whitethroats and numerous Wood Warblers and Golden Orioles, and absolutely hoochin with warblers, flycatchers etc. Main highlights - SEMI-COLLARED FLYCATCHER 1, Collared Flycatcher 4 (3m, 1f), Red-breasted Flycatcher 4 (ad m, 1st yr m 2, f), Eastern Bonelli's Warbler 2, Barred Warbler 4 (3m, 1f), Icterine Warbler 1, Great Spotted Cuckoo 1, Thrush Nightingale 2.

Faneromeni - GREAT SNIPE 1, LAVENT SPARROWHAWK 1, Nightjar 1.

Sigri Fields - PALLID HARRIER 1 (f), Red-footed Falcon 15+, Lesser Kestrel 15+, Eleanora's Falcon 1.

Metochi Lake - BAILLON'S CRAKE 2, ROLLER 2, Little Crake 2, Whiskered Tern 11, Bee-eater 20.

Kalloni Saltpans - CITRINE WAGTAIL 1 (f), White-winged Black Tern 100+, Whiskered Tern 5, Marsh Sandpiper 3+.

Aghias Ioannis - ROLLER 1.

Parakila - ROLLER 1.

Petra - ROLLER 3.

Petra Reservoir - Ortolan Bunting 1.

Meladia River Ford - again, hoochin with migrants. Red-backed Shrike 40+, Lesser Grey Shrike 10+, Black-headed Bunting 40+, Little Bittern 2 (m&f), Collared Flycatcher 1, Thrush Nightingale 1, Great Reed Warbler 3, Barred Warbler 1, Red-throated Pipit 1, Redstart 1, Hen Harrier 1 (r/t), flava wagtail 100+, Marsh Warbler 1, Bee-eater 2. Petra Reservoir - Roller 3, Great Reed Warbler 5, Ortolan Bunting 6.

Alykes Wetlands - Collared Pratincoles 7, Short-eared Owl 1.

Kalloni Mini Soccer Pitch - Scops Owl 1.

Also Rollers at Aghia Ioannis and nr Parakila.

26 April 08 - where eagles dare

A major improvement today, with four migrant eagle species, other raptors and a large increase in migrant passerines.

Weather: overcast all day with occasional sunny period. Moderate northerly wind. Max. temp 20 C.

Today's main highlights -

Petra - STEPPE EAGLE (sub-adult, 6th island record) low to the south at 09.25 followed within a minute by a BLACK KITE. Black-headed Bunting 2, good Ruppell's Warbler activity.

North coast track (Eftalou to Skala Sikaminias) - GOLDEN EAGLE (adult) north at 13.55 mobbed by Long-legged Buzzard. Audouin's Gull 1.

Parakoila Marsh - LESSER SPOTTED EAGLE 1 over in morning. Little Crake 1.

Platania - BOOTED EAGLE 1 over in morning. Olive Tree Warbler showing on and off, Golden Oriole 15+.

Anaxos - LESSER SPOTTED EAGLE 1.

Napi Valley - RUFOUS-TAILED ROCK THRUSH 1 just north of Napi, Red-footed Falcon fem.

Tsiknias River - ROLLER 1, CITRINE WAGTAIL Wagtail 1, Little Crake 1, Temminck's Stint 1.

Petra Reservoir - Marsh Warbler 1, Great Spotted Cuckoo 2.

Maladia River Ford - Red-breasted Flycatcher 1, Roller 1, Lesser Grey Shrike 3 (plus Red-backed, Masked and Woodchat), Barred Warbler 4, Ortolan Bunting 5+, Savi's Warbler 1, Thrush Nightingale 1, Red-footed Falcon 1, Montagu's Harrier 1, Wood Warbler.

Aghias Ioannis - Ortolan Bunting 5+, Sardinian Warbler 1, Cinereous Bunting.

Kalloni Saltpans - Broad-billed Sandpiper 13, Dunlin 2, Marsh Sandpiper 1, Temminck's Stint.

Alykes Wetlands - Collared Praticoles 17, Red-throated Pipits 4, Short-toed Lark 5.

Metochi Lake - Little Crake 2.

Christou River - Whimbrel 1.

Kalloni Soccer Pitch (Scops Copse) - Scops Owl 2 (easiest bird still the roadside tree marked with plastic chocholate choice bottle).

Achladeri - both Kruper's Nuthatch and Long-eared Owl showing well.

More Rollers reported from elsewhere (but no details) on the island, plus many more Red-backed Shrikes, Golden Orioles and commoner migrants such as flava wagtails and warblers. Still very few flycatchers.

25 April - Cattle Egret and more Rollers

Cattle Egret between Kalloni Saltpans and Tsiknias River © Steve Dudley

Weather: cloudy with sunny periods with strong north-westerly wind. Max. temp 23 C.

Nr Tsiknias River Mouth - CATTLE EGRET, only the seventh in recent years, was the above summer plumaged adult found this evening.

Platania - BOOTED EAGLE 1, LANNER 1, OLIVE TREE WARBLER 1 still showing on and off.

Tsiknias River - ROLLER 1, Slender-billed Gull 2, Little Bittern 1.



Alykodi Pool - GREAT SNIPE 1.

Metochi Lake - Little Crake 4, Spotted Crake 1, Purple Heron 1, Bee-eater 20+.

Kalloni Saltpans - Gull-billed Tern, Spotted Crake 1 (on pool opp. Saltworksentrance), Sanderling 3, Curlew Sandpiper 30+, Marsh Sandpiper 1, Spotted Redshank 1, Ruff 60+, Red-throated Pipit 5 (around pool opp. saltworks entrance).

Polichnitos Saltpans - Little Stint 60+, Temminck's Stint 1, Curlew Sandpiper 12, Black Stork 1.

Achladeri - Kruper's Nuthatch very active around nest stump, Roller 1, Lesser Grey Shrike 1.

Skala Vasilikon - Bee-eater 22.

Alykes Wetlands - Tawny Pipit 1, Short-toed Lark 2.

Mesa - Garganey 3, Shoveler 7.

A number of Black Storks reported moving north throughout the day.

Great Snipe at Alykoudi Pool © Mark Powell

24 April 08 - Rollers, Olive Trees and wee bonny warblers

Weather: sunny with thin cloud, light north-westerly winds. Max temp. 23 C.

More signs of movement today with Rollers, Olive Tree and Eastern Bonelli's Warblers.

Platania - OLIVE TREE WARBLER (male on territory since 22nd), ROLLER 1, Red-footed Falcon 1, Golden Oriole 10+, Hoopoe 6+.

Messa - ROLLER 3 west of the road junction.

Achladeri - Kruper's Nuthatch (female now incubating), Long-eared Owl (female with 3 chicks at nest).

Kalloni Saltpans - White-winged Black Terns 36, Red-footed Falcon 10+, Eleanora's Falcon 1, Lesser Kestrel 2, Collared Pratincole 1, Spotted Redshank 1.

Skala Kallonis Pool - Squacco Heron 6, Garganey 1.

River Christou - Temminck's Stint 1, Little Stint 4, Stone-curlew 1, Ruff 1.

Ipsilou - Eastern Bonelli's Warbler 2 singing, Isabelline Wheatear 8+, Cinereous Bunting 5, Pied Flycatcher 1, Rock Sparrow 4.

Lardia Valley - Eastern Bonelli's Warbler 1 singing.

Sigri/Faneromeni - Lesser Kestrel 7+, Bee-eater 8+.

Between Filia & Skalochori - Eastern Bonelli's Warbler 1 singing.

Black-headed Buntings around, more Whinchat and yellow wagtails. Raptors still thin in the air.

23 April 08 - another Blue-cheeked Bee-eater!

Little Bittern by Tsiknias River Ford

Weather: sunney with thin cloud and light southerly breeze. Max temp. 23 C.

More signs of things improving with Black-headed Buntings reported widely from around the Kalloni area, more Whinchat, etc.

Please check previous days for late additions.

Today's highlights -

Meladia River Ford - BLUE-CHEEKED BEE-EATER 1.

Sigri - CITRINE WAGTAIL 1 (fem).

Kalloni Saltpans - Slender-billed Gull 3, Collared Praticole 14, Black Tern 1, Marsh Sandpiper 2, Spotted Redshank 2, Curlew Sandpiper 5+, Greenshank 12, Ruff 390+, Curlew 2, Black Stork 3, Ruddy Shelduck 6, GreaterFlamingo 223, Great White Egret 1.

Alykes Wetlands (Saltpan Sheepfields) - Red-throated Pipit 3, Short-toed Lark 12, Common Snipe 1.

Metochi Lake - Little Crake 2, Black Stork 1, Bee-eater 2, Short-toed Eagle 2, Long-legged Buzzard 2.

Tsiknias River - Little Bittern 1, Black-headed Bunting 5+, Mediterranean Gull 19, Ortolan Bunting 1, Temmick's Stint 2, Marsh Sandpiper 1, Masked Shrike 1, Long-legged Buzzard 1 (hunting all day from same telegraph pole as same week last year), Stone-curlew 3.

North Coast - Eleanora's Falcon 2, Audouin's Gull 3.
Christou River - Red-throated Pipit 1, Great White Egret 1.

22 April 08 - Getting better!

Weather: thin cloud with occasional sunny periods and very strong south to south-easterly wind in gave way to overcast, cooler and little wind from around mid-afternoon. Max. 20 C.

A distinct improvement on the migrant front today, but still no great numbers of migrant passerines. More Short-toed Eagles, Long-legged and Common Buzzards around today.

Today's highlights:

Sigri Fields - 1st sum male PALLID HARRIER, Lesser Kestrels 15+, Spotted Flycatcher 1.

Ipsilou - in extremely strong wind, MERLIN 1 (c. 7th record for island), Eleanora's Falcon 1, Wood Warbler 1, Pied Flycatcher 1.

Faneromeni area - lots of Alpine Swifts over, Pied Flycatcher 1, Spotted Flycatcher 2.

Maladia River Ford - Ortolan Bunting 1, Icterine Warbler 1, Pallid Swift 1, Wood Warbler 1, fem Sardinian Warbler, Great Reed Warbler 1, Long-legged Buzzard 2, Short-toed Eagle 3.

Skala Eresou river ford - Squacco Heron.

Makara - Chukar, lots of Alpine Swifts over, Black-headed Bunting 1, Northern Wheatear 3, flava Yellow Wagtail 11, thunbergi Yellow Wagtail 4, Chiffchaff 1.

Kalloni Saltpans season pool opposite entrance - Marsh Sandpiper 1, Spotted Redshank 2.

Kalloni Mini Soccer Pitch (Scops Copse) - Scops Owl 3. Directions forone bird: when in the copse, the fifth roadside eucalyptus tree from the entrance by the soccer pitch (tree marked by a chocolate choice plastic drink bottle at its base). The bird is by the trunk on the soccer pitch side c.10 up, and best looked for from the other entrance side of the tree.

Napi Valley - Ortolan Bunting 5.

21 April 08 - Still very slow

Today was another scorcher, with clear skies, max. 29 C and very light breeze from the south to south-west.

There was sign of some movement, but migrant passerines in particular are few and far between - no leaf warblers, no flycatchers, and only a few Whinchat, 'yellow' wagtails and Bee-eaters. More Masked Shrikes and Orphean Warblers now on territory and more Hoopoes in evidence.

We heard belatedly about a Spur-winged Plover east of the Tsiknias River mouth, but no sign this morning.

Today's highlights -

Kalloni Saltpans - imm male PALLID HARRIER, Spotted Crake (pool opposite Saltpans entrance - since 15th), White Stork, 14 Night-heron, 2 Spotted Redshank, 39 Greenshank, fem Mantagu's Harrier, male Shoveler, Black Storks, Great White Egret, Ruddy Shelduck, Mallard (male).

Tsiknias River - Black-headed Bunting (first confirmed sighting), Squacco Heron, Bee-eater (small numbers), Lesser Kestrel, Stone-curlew.

Saltpan Sheepfields - Tawny Pipit, 19 Red-throated Pipit, Short-toed Lark, Stone-curlew, Ruddy Shelduck.

Platania - 6+ Golden Oriole, Goshawk, Long-legged Buzzard.

Skala Kallonis Pool - Squacce Heron 4, Little Bittern 1.

20 April 08 - No migrants!

Weather: very sunny and hot (max. 27 C) with moderate to strong southerly and south-westerly wind.

We checked the area where the Blue-cheeked Bee-eater was seen last night from 06.30h, but nothing.

After breakfast we went west and found both Ipsilou and the Meladia Ford areas devoid of all passerine migrants. Even the sheltered northern side of Ipsilou held not a single warbler or flycatcher. We di get great Cinereous Bunting and Rock Sparrow action, and great views of Isabelline Wheatear between the Eresos/Sigri road junction and the Ipsilou.

We drove the cattle track from Eresos to Sigri. The Meladia Ford was also migrant free. The stop was saved only by finding an active Sombre Tit nest at the fig orchard.

After a great lunch at Taverna Australia in Sigri, we headed back to Eresos to Pithariou Reservoir - another wasted effort with absolutely nothing of note.

We decided to cut our losses and head back to the Kalloni area. Along the Tsiknias River we stumbled across 13 Bee-eaters. The river itself held little more than a few Wood Sands and LRP and one Green Sand, and no sign of yesterday's Citrine Wagtail. At the Saltpans we found a lone Marsh Sandpiper in the moat. The pools by the saltpans entrance were pretty much bird-free, but we fared better in the Sheepfields - 1 Collared Pratincole, 1 Temminck's Stint, ring-tail Montagu's Harrier, 21 Short-toed Lark, 12 Red-throated Pipit.

With the weather turning so settled and hot so early, the outlook for the seasonal pools and some of the smaller rivers is not good. The surface water on the Sheepfields and elsewhere near the Saltpans is already quite low. We need some cloud cover to slow down evaporation and we need some birds!

19 April 08 - Blue-cheeked Bee-eater

Weather: thick, black clouds over the higher areas gave way to a sunny, hot day by late morning.
The big news today was the fifth Lesvos record of BLUE-CHEEKED BEE-EATER found at dusk between Skala Kallonis and the Tsiknias River at dusk by Sunbird group led by Ian Lewington and Killian Mullarney.

I started with my Athene/Hotel Pasiphae group at Metochi Lake, but things very slow with only a single Little Crake and flu-over Ruddy Shelduck (2) and Black Stork.

We decided to grill the 'Scops Copse' north of Kalloni by the mini soccer pitch. We weren't alone, but it took an inquisitive local to find us a Scops Owl! He said he didn't know it was there and it was luck. Yes, lucky for us, cos this bird so well hidden, and the tree it is in makes it nine trees I've seen birds using in this copse over the years.

Scops Owl at the Kalloni Mini Soccer Pitch

We then spent an hour at the Kalloni Bandstand waiting for the clouds to lift from the hills. It wasn't a wasted hour with several Short-toed Eagles (inc a displaying pair), Lesser Kestrel, Red-footed Falcon, Goshawk and several flocks of migrating Spanish Sparrows plus plenty of more expected stuff like Orphean Warbler, buntings, Rock Nuthatch, etc.

We headed north to the Ruppell's Warbler site near Petra where we found 3-4 Ruppell's Warblers singing and chasing one another around the scrubby slopes. Plenty of local breeders and masses of small flocks (totalling several hundred) of Spanish Sparrows moving through.

The north coast track to Skala Sikaminias was very, very quiet apart from a flock of eight fly-over Bee-eaters and plenty of Turtle Doves.
Singing male Subalpine Warbler, north coast track

With time pressing we heading south to the Kalloni Saltpans and headed for the works entrance area. The seasonal pool opposite the entrance is not that high (no where near as much water here than as in 2005). The pools was disappointing with no unusual waders or terns. A ring-tail Montagu's Harrier was quartering the fields, a Quail was calling and up to five Red-throated Pipits fed in the shorter grassyareas.

One the Saltpans held some waders including a Sanderling, 3 Curlew Sands, Little Stints and a couple of Stone-curlew.

The only other bird of noted reported to me today is a Citrine Wagtail at the ford on River Tsiknias.

18 April 08 - A real red heron day

Part of the incredible 32 Night-herons (top birds) and 53 Purple Herons seen together over Kalloni Saltpans this evening

Having arriced yesterday, our first day in the field was first rate!

Morning overcast and warm, afternoon mixed sunshine and cloud with rising temps, max. c.22 C.

We arrived last night and were keen to get out this morning! Good numbers of swifts and hirundines moving through, reasonable numbers of acros, some Whinchat, a few shrikes, plus . . .

Skala Kallonis Pool
The water levels were lower than I expected and there was actually very little here - no waders, no wagtails, few warblers. Wed did see 1 Purple Heron, 4 Squacco Heron, male Garganey and a male Red-footed Falcon.

Metochi Lake
Water level here was high and good numbers of warblers including Great Reed Warbler. Woodchat Shrike, 1 Night-heron, 2 Little Crake, 2 Short-toed Eagle, 2 Ruddy Shelduck, 1 Grasshopper Warbler (reeling).

Back at the Hotel Pasiphae we had a Black Stork fly over and a flock of 35 (!) Night-herons to the north. Now that was more like it!

Achladeri
Great Kruper's Nuthatch action with at least three feeding birds. Birds very vocal but no indication of nest site. Short-toed Treecreeper, Masked Shrike, Short-toed Eagle, Black Stork, loads of Common and Alpine Swifts.

Drive to Polichnitos Saltpans
Masked Shrike, 3 Red-backed Shrike, Woodchat, Middle Spotted Woodpecker, Black Stork.

Polichnitos Saltpans
Green Sandpiper, Northern Wheatear.

Vatera
5 Bee-eater

Near Kato Stavros
1 Golden Oriole, 2 Orphean Warbler, 3+ Sardinian Warbler, Short-toed Eagle, Long-legged Buzzard.

Mesa
6 Ruddy Shelduck, Great White Egret.

Kalloni Saltpans
We'd already had a great day, but arriving at the Saltpans at 6.30 pm, the next hour was fantastic! The first pan by the main road was holding 143 Black-winged Stilt and 337 Avocet. Thanks to Eleni's reports from the last week I knew instantly these numbers were way up - more good signs of movement. We picked out the usual Ruff, Little Stint, Greenshank and a lone Stone-curlew.

We then had a flock of 32 Night-herons come over and start circling to gain height. Within a few minutes, 53 (!) Purple Herons came out of a nearby field. They too started circling, and within about ten minutes we had both the Purple Rons and Night-herons circling together. What they were up to, who knows. They spent the next 30 mins circling around looking what to do! We continued to watch the pans and picked up 23 Gull-billed Terns and 6 Whiskered Terns. Looking back up to the heron flock, they had now been joined by two Curlew and 4 Whimbrel! We ended up leaving this flock flapping around high up wondering what they were going to do for the night.

In all a fanatastic day! Day totals of 68 Nigh-herons, 55 Purple Herons and 8 Black Storks. Water levels in some places do seem lower than I had expected, but still plenty of surface water, but temperatures beginning to climb steadily.

11-17 April 08 - bird news

Blue-cheeked Bee-eater, 14 April 2008, near the River Tsiknias © Bill Baston/http://www.billbaston.com/

We arrived on the island yesterday and Shena & John Maskell were already at our hotel and birding here since the 11th. Here are some of there highlights.

17 April
2 Masked Shrike - Sigri to Eressos track

16 April
1 Whiskered Tern, Ruff, 8 Marsh Sandpiper, 4 Red-throated Pipit - Kalloni Saltpans
Kruper's Nuthatch, Scops Owl calling - Achladeri

15 April
39 Purple Herons - Skala Kallonis Pool
2 Ruppell's Warbler - nr Petra

14 April
Blue-cheeked Bee-eater - nr mouth of Tsiknias River (photo above)
Little Crake, Turtle Dove - Parakila Marsh
Cinereous Bunting, Ortolan Bunting, Orphean Warbler - Agios Ioannis
2 Lesser Kestrel, 1 Long-legged Buzzard - Apothika to Makara

13 April
1 Green Sandpiper - River Christou
Purple Heron, Crag Martin, Long-legged Buzzard - Potamia

12 April
3 Squacco Heron , 2 Glossy Ibis - Skala Kallonis Pool
Hoopoe, Collared Fly - Upper River Tsiknias
9 Garganey, 30 Ruddy Shelduck, 130 Avocet, 16 Black-winged Stilt - Kalloni Saltpans

11 April
Little Bittern - Tsiknias River

News from the island

The weather is cloudy, warm and humid. Water levels remain high, much higher than last year, and Eleni Galinou says she expects good surface water to remain for the next couple of weeks. Check the weather using the link on the right.

More hides!
A hide is currently being erected on the west side of Christou River (the west river – turn down the track on west side of the road bridge), a shade has been erected over part of the old road bridge here also. At Parakila Marsh there is a new hide being finished (take the track nearest the village). Eleni also says there are new wildlife information boards being erected in several places too.

Above - the new sun shade at the old road bridge over Christou River

The new screen being erected at the western side of Christou River. This will prove popular and looks over a rather neglected area

But what of the birds I hear you cry!

Here is a run down of birds seen by Eleni on 4 April –

Kalloni saltpans – 25 Greenshank, 4 Marsh Sandpiper, 3 Black Stork, 15 Black-winged stilts, 10 Avocets (around nesting islands), 2 Stone-curlew, 3 Great White Egret, 26 Little Egret, 1 (fem) Marsh Harrier.

Between Mesotopos and Agra – 5 male Cinereous Buntings, 2 Short-toed Eagles, 1 Long-legged Buzzard, a male Lesser Kestrel and a probable Eleonora's Falcon.

Skala Eresou (from the new bridge by the old river ford) – a male Citrine Wagtail (early), yellow wagtails including Black-headed and Squacco Heron.

Mute Swan at Parakila Marsh. A few winter around the island with the odd bird lingering in to spring

Photos © Eleni Galinou

Kalloni Saltpans and surrounds

News from Lesvos birder Eleni Galinou is that the rain keeps falling and surface water levels continue to improve. The rivers are flowing and seasonal pools such as those above, opposite the entrance to Kalloni Saltpans, are holding plenty of water which should, barring an early heatwave, stay into May. Its whetting my lips for when I get out their on the 17th!.

Here is the second hide to be erected overlooking the Kalloni Saltpans. As you can see by the salt mound in the left of the image, this is near the saltpans entrance looking north. The Google Earth image below shows you the position of both hides.

Eleni has also heard that there might be a hide being erected at Parakila Marsh. Question is, why? This latter site has been in decline over the years and very few birders now bother to watch it. Perhaps a hide might encourage more to stop and perhaps more might be seen. We'll see.

Here's something that UK birders aren't familiar with. A flock of migrating Grey Herons! This flock of 28 birds went straight over the saltpans to the north on 5 April along with a flock of 12 Glossy Ibis. So things certainly on the move.

Eleni also reported the following from the Kalloni Saltpans on 5 April - 10 Ruddy shelduck, 7 Black-tailed Godwit , 5-6 Wood Sandpiper, 2 Green Sandpiper, 4 Little Ringed Plover, 13 Kentish Plover, 6 Black-winged Stilt, 8 Little Egret, 3 Great White Egret and 210 Avocet.

Photos © Eleni Galinou