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.