3 May 2011 - Great Grey Shrike

Great Grey Shrike, nr Vouvaris River © Steve Dudley
I think most folk got wet again this morning when the overcast early morning sky turned dark and opened up late morning with a ferocious wind. Clearly some new birds found today - more Curlew Sandpipers, a few more Bee-eaters over, a few Montagu's Harriers on the move during the early morning, and the finding of a Great Grey Shrike near the Vouvaris River mouth was a real surpise.
Environment Centre - see here.

north of Vouvaris River mouth - GREAT GREY SHRIKE - one found late afternoon and watched by quite a few folk until at least 2000h. The shot of the bird landing below clearly shows more white in the wing than nominate excubitor, and the tail is as depicted in the Collins Bird Guide for homeyeri. Perched the white primary patch was small like excubitor, but it also displayed the fine white line from eye to eye above the bill of homeyeri. Integrades are apparently common, so maybe this is one which is heavily biased towards homeyeri?

I've long been suspicious of the Great Grey Shrike records of old, and since I've been coming to Lesvos there have been only two records of large grey shrikes, a pallidirostris Steppe Shrike in Sept 08 and this bird. I suspect not all of the previous records of large grey shrikes are simply excubitor. Birds of the race homeyeri, or inegrades with excubitor, have been recorded in Greece (Birds of Greece), but no previous records from Lesvos.

Great Grey Shrike, probably an integrade excubitor x homeyeri, nr Vouvaris River © Steve Dudley

Directions - just north of the Vouvaris River mouth, there is a small track towards the coastal just north of the the old shrimp farm beds (rectangular pools in marsh just north of river mouth). Park here. Just north of this track on the other side of the road is a track going inland in to the open scrubby hillside. Walk up this track and search the dead bushes at the base of the linear, sandy coloured rocky crag straight in front of you.

Metochi Lake - BAILLON'S CRAKE 1 in northern part of lake early morning but not seen since; Little Crake 3, Little Bittern 3.

Sigri/Faneromeni - SEMI-COLLARED FLYCATCHER fem, Roller 1, Eleonora's Falcon 1, Osprey 1, Red-footed Falcon 2, Lesser Kestrel 10+, Bee-eater 20+, Little Bittern 2, Golden Oriole 10+, Temminck's Stint 5, Alpine Swift 21, Icterine Warbler 5.

Kalloni Saltpans - Spoonbill 3 (straight through at 1200), Eleonora's Falcon 1, Whiskered Tern 7, Curlew Sandpiper 39, Montagu's Harrier 5+.

Meladia Valley - Purple Heron 6, Lesser Kestrel 15+.

Tsiknias River - Night-heron 6, Red-footed Falcon 2, Black Stork 1.

Kalami Marsh - Red-footed Falcon fem, Water Rail (calling), Black Stork 3.

Skala Kallonis Pool - Water Rail (unmated female calling!)

Christou River - fem Montagu's or Pallid again present.

Vouvaris River - Purple Heron 1 imm.

Achladeri - Kruper's Nuthatch - pr performed well just up from car park along the main track much of the morning.

Soumouria - Scops Owl still roosting in tree with green wheelie bin and blue plastic bag at base. Facing the taverna look up the right side for bird well hidden in vegetation c.7m off ground.

Btwn Efthalou and Skala Sikammias - Barred Warbler 1, Golden Oriole 2, Bee-eater 15+.