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 /

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.