February 2011 - bird news

Records from resident birders Eleni Galinou (EG) who covers the Kalloni area and Terry Robinson (TR) who is based at Skala Polichnitou (the more interesting records in CAPS).

Updated 28/02/11

Ruddy Shelduck - max. 123 Kalloni Saltpans 02/02: also seen at Mesa Wetlands and Tsiknias River
Wigeon - 216 Kalloni Saltpans 02/02
Shoveler - 33 Kalloni Saltpans 02/02
Red-breasted Merganser - up to 8 Gulf of Kalloni off Tsiknias River mouth and Milopotamos River mouth
Yelkouan Shearwater - 6 Gulf of Kalloni off Polichnitos Saltpans 06/02 and 240 off there 13/02
Great Crested Grebe - Gulf of Kalloni up to 296 off Polichnitos Saltpans 14/02
Black-necked Grebe - Gulf of Kalloni up to 7 off Tsiknias River mouth (02/02) and 1 off Polichntiso Saltpans 03/02.
Greater Flamingo - up to 1560 at Kalloni Saltpans (02/02) and 99 at Polichnitos Saltpans (05/02)
Black Stork - 1 Kalloni Saltpans 02/02
Great White Egret - Kalloni Saltpans max. 18 (02/02) and Polichnitos Saltpans max. 28 (01/02)
DALMATIAN PELICAN - 1 still present at Kalloni Saltpans to 02/02 (EG)
Long-legged Buzzard - 1-2 Polichnitos Saltpans area to 28/02, 1 Kantria 24/02
Marsh Harrier - 1 Kanrtria 24/02
Hen Harrier - 1 Polichnitos Saltpans and 1 Kalloni Saltpans
Peregrine - 1 Kalloni Saltpans 02/02
Water Rail - 1 Polichnitos Saltpans 08-19/02
Avocet - up to 390 Kalloni Saltpans (02/02) and up to 36 Polichnitos Saltpans (07/02)
Grey Plover - 6 Kalloni Saltpans 02/02 and 1 Polichnitos Saltpans 07/02
Little Stint - Mesa Wetlands max. 120 (02/02), Polichnitos Saltpans max. 76 (03/02) also seen at Kalloni Saltpans and Tsiknias River
Dunlin - up to 106 Polichnitos Saltpans (05/02) and also present at Kalloni Saltpans, Mesa Wetlands and Tsiknias River
SLENDER-BILLED GULL - 1-2 Tsiknias River 25/02
Mediterranean Gull - 1 Tsiknias River mouth to 25/02, 1 Polichnitos Saltpans 27/02
Sandwich Tern - up to 10 (15/02) present at Tsiknias River mouth and 1-3 Polichnitos Saltpans
HOUSE MARTIN - 7 Tsiknias River 25/02 (earliest 19 Mar last year)
Blackcap - up to 2 Skala Polichnitou
Sardinian Warbler - present at Polichnitos Saltpans
Black Redstart - present at Polichnitos Saltpans
NORTHERN WHEATEAR - 1 Polichnitos Saltpans 19/02 (earliest ever record - previous earliest 08/03/10)
HAWFINCH - 1 Polichnitos Saltpans 21/02

Kalloni Environmental Centre opens

Regular visitors may have noticed an unfinished building on the outskirts of Skala Kallonis with a sign outside advertising it as an 'environmental centre'. Well, the Kalloni Environmental Centre has recently been opened and will be fully open to visitors for the coming tourist season between 0900 – 1300h and 1800 – 2100h.

The centre is situated along the street that runs down the side of the bakers near the mini soccer pitch on the northern side of the village. Go down the side of the bakers, along the track with the channel on your left and houses on your right and the centre is the last building before you reach the Tsiknias River/Village track (its a pink building - you can't miss it!)

The centre will be staffed by three researchers including local birder and Lesvos Bird Records Committee member Eleni Galinou (plus a geographer and a a marine biologist. The centre provides a base for these three researchers to undertake their various environmental studies from (manning the centre is just part of their duties during the tourist season).

The centre will host environmental and natural history displays, a lecture room (as yet no specific lectures planned for the birding season - see the Lesvos Birding website for any news on this), offices for the research staff and visiting researchers, a library for visiting researchers. A shop (inc. bookshop) is planned but may not be operational by the spring. The centre will also host a Lesvos Birding bird log for you to share your sightings (for those unable to get to one of the hotel logs). It is hoped that staff will allow birders access to the the Lesvos Birding website for news from previous days (I'll keep you informed about this - if not just ask the centre staff when you're there).

It is hoped a website for the centre will be up and running by the spring. I’ll provide a link from the Lesvos Birding website when it is.

The centre staff will also hold the keys for the hides at the Kalloni Saltpans. They will ensure the hides are open, but if you find them locked, pop in to the centre and let them know.

New butterfly for Lesvos - Aegean Fritillary

Aegean Fritillary Melitaea telona, Kavaki, Lesvos, April 2002
© Steve Dudley

Lazaros Pamperis, author of The Butterflies of Greece, has informed me that on the basis of my photo above, Melitaea telona is confirmed for Lesvos and can be added to the Lesvos butterfly list (Russell & Pamperis in prep). This is also the first record for the eastern Aegean islands. Only one other eastern Aegean record so far, from Chios in June 2008.

Melitaea telona is a recent split from Melitaea phoebe (Knapweed Fritillary) (Russell et al 2005, Russell et al 2007). Lazaros has told me 'the main and sure distribution in Greece is the Peloponnesos (and some small Islands near the east coast), some localities in continental Greece, Chios and Lesvos; it is also found in Italy, Hungary and Israel. The situation in Turkey is not clear yet". Lazaros has also suggested that all previous records of M phoebe in the region should be re-checked in order to positively check whether they are M phoebe or M telona.

It is named in French as Melitee Egeenne (Melitaea of the Aegean Sea = Fritillary of the Aegean Sea) from which the English name is derived, Aegean Fritillary.

  • Russell, P., Tennent, W.J., Pateman, J., Varga, Z., Benyamini, D., Pe’er, G., Bálint, Z. & Gascoigne-Pees, M. (2007) Further investigations into Melitaea telona Frushstorfer, 1908 (=ogygia Frushstorfer, 1908 =emipunica Verity, 1919) (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae), with observations on biology and distribution. Entomologist's Gazette, 58, 137-166.
  • Russell, P., J., P., Gascoigne-Pees, M. & Tennent, W.J. (2005) Melitaea emipunia (Verity, 1919) stat. nov: a hitherto unrecognised butterfly species from Europe (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae). Entomologist's Gazette, 56, 67-70.