White-throated Robin, Ipsilou, 13 May 2011

Female White-throated Robin, Ipsilou, 13 May 2011
© Wulf & Eva Kappes

Another missed by the many! This bird was seen twice feeding on the road at Ipsilou but was disturbed by passing cars and was not seen again.

Local school visits environmental centre

On 17 May, 5th and 6th graders from Daphia School (near Skala Kallonis) were taken on a field trip birdwatching with local birder and environmentalist Eleni Galinou along the Christou/Kamares River, followed by a visit to the new Kalloni Environmental Centre in Skala Kallonis. The children also took part in a beach cleanup (applauded by several birders who witnessed it!) along the Skala Kallonis beach which was followed by a free lunch at the Kalloni Bay Hotel.

The organisers hope that this will attract visits to the centre from other schools on the island and that these projects will increase the appreciation of the local people of their local natural environment and will increase the willingness of local people to support local environmental issues such as the restoration of the Skala Kallonis Pool.

Photos © Georgios Sakalis

Rose-coloured Starlings

Rose-coloured Starling, Polichnitos Saltpans, 19 May 2011 © Terry Robinson

Rosy Starlings have been reported in small numbers since 17 May. Small flocks in the Kalloni area were hard to pin down as the usual mulberry trees were not ripe enough for the birds to feed on, so they moved on and sought food elsewhere.

Bird news update - to 21 May

Here's a batch of records from mid-April up to 21 May which I've received info on by email whilst I have been away.

Black-throated Diver – 1 offshore at Alykes Wetlands 6 May.

Cattle Egret * – 1 still Kalloni area still to at least 7 May (only five recently accepted records).

Cattle Egret (with Little Egrets), flooded fields by Kalloni Saltpans works entrance, 6 May 2011 © Mike Sveikutis

Dalmatian Pelican –singles Kalloni Saltpans on 5 & 10 May, with four there on 8 May; 1 Mesa 10 May (same as saltpans?).

Griffon Vulture * – 1 Pithariou Reservoir 9 May, 1 Upper Napi Valley 13 May.

Griffon Vulture, Upper Napi Valley, 13 May 2011 © Mike Sveikutis

Booted Eagle – 1 dark phase Tsiknias River 7 May.

Bonelli’s Eagle – 1 Madaros 10 May.

Lesser Spotted Eagle – 1 Napi Valley 6 May.

Black Kite – 1 still Ipsilou area 7 May.

Pallid Harrier – 1 Meladia Valley 8 May.

Baillon’s Crake – 1 Metochi Lake 7-8 May.

Spur-winged Plover - 1 Polichnitos Saltpans 19 May.

Broad-billed Sandpiper – 1 Faneromeni 11 May.

Great Snipe – 1 Kalloni Saltpans 8 May.

Black-winged Pratincole * – 1 reported Kalloni Saltpans 14 May (only several documented records)

Arctic Tern * – 1 Tsiknias River mouth 26 April (only one previous record).

Caspian Gull * – 1 reported Tsiknias River 23 April (no previous records).

Mediterranean Gull – 150 Petra 5-6 May.

Isabelline Wheatear – a migrant bird Kavaki 30 April.

Rufous Bush-robin – 1 Madaros 11 May.

Thrush Nightingale – 1 Kavaki 30 April.

White-throated Robin - fem Ipsilou 13 May.

White-throated Robin, Ipsilou, 13 May 2011 © Wulf & Eva Kappes

Icterine Warbler – 12 Ipsilou 8 May.

River Warbler – 1 Kavaki 11 May.

Marsh Warbler - 1 Polichntos Saltpans 21 May.

Paddyfield Warbler * – the third claim of the spring of one Potamia Valley 6 May (no previous records).

Rose-coloured Starling - reported from 17 May - 40 at Kavaki and up to 20 Tsiknias River 17 May; 30 near Kalloni Saltpans and 20 Napi Valley 20 May; 1 Polichnitos Saltpans 19 May.

Lesser Grey Shrike – 1 Skala Kallonis 5 May (first record of the spring – very late coming in this year)

Also, a Monk Seal seen at Molivos on 3 May and a certain Sperm Whale in Gulf of Kalloni on 8 May.

* = full description required by LBRC or HRC.

Records recently 'withdrawn' - Bar-tailed Godwit, Oriental Pratincoles, Pied Wheatear, Italian Sparrow, Yellowhammer.

5 May 2011 - Lesvos Birding has left the island

I left for Dadia Mountains and Lake Kerkini today - arrived to more rain than Lesvos has seen the last month!

Again, many thanks to all those who have shared their sightings with me or in the Lesvos Birding Log at the Hotel Pasiphae. Keep the records coming - all are needed for the 2011 annual report.

Cheers, Steve.

4 May 2011 - Bimac and Bee-eaters!

Bee-eater, Faneromeni Fields - a large arrival of birds today pleased many birders on their last day on the island, myself included
© Steve Dudley

A mixed day with grey skies and showers in the central areas, but those who headed west faired better with an overcast morning and a brilliantly sunny afternoon. Wind swung round to the NW by the end of the day.

Bird-wise, the west was was hoochin' with warblers and Spotted Flycatchers with a few other nicities thrown in for good measure. But two Bimaculated Larks seen flying on off the sea were the show stealers - alas seen by only the finder - and constitute the first record for Lesvos.

My last day, off to Dadia Mountains and Kerkini tomorrow. Many, many thanks to all those who have shared their sightings with me or in the Lesvos Birding Log at the Hotel Pasiphae. Keep the records cominh - all are needed for the 2011 annual report. Cheers, Steve.

Environment Centre - see here.

No sign of yesterday's Great Great Shrike near Vouvaris River.

Alykes Wetlands - BIMACULATED LARK 2 seen coming on off sea around 0900h at the eastern end of the wetlands by the Milopotamos River mouth. They were seen to come down east of the river but not seen subsequently. Slender-billed Gull 5 (offshore), Montagu's Harrier 2, Common Ringed Plover 3.

Metochi Lake - BAILLON'S CRAKE 1.

Sigri & Faneromeni Fields - SEMI-COLLARED FLYCATCHER 1 fem, Collared Flycatcher 5+, Pied Flycatcher 10+, Spotted Flycatcher 250++, Icterine Warbler 20+, Wood Warbler 110+, Willow Warbler 20+, Chiffchaff 2, Common Whitethroat 10+, Garden Warbler 15+, Blackcap 1, Lesser Whitethroat 1, Orphean Warbler 1, Black-headed Bunting 185+ (inc. flock of 65), Bee-eater 320++ (plus many, many more herd going over throughout the day), Woodchat Shrike 15+, Honey-buzzard 2, Eleonora's Falcon 1 dark, Levant Sparrowhawk 1 male, Red-footed Falcon 1 fem, Alpine Swift 30+.

Kalloni Saltpans - CATTLE EGRET 1, Black Tern 1.

Apothika - BLACK KITE 1, Bee-eater 20+.

Vigla (nr Ipsilou) - BLACK KITE 2.

Lardia Valley - Eastern Bonelli's Warbler 2.

Sigri - Roller 1 (on wires just west of town).

Faneromeni Fords - Squacco Heron 3, Little Bittern 2, Little Crake 1.

Skala Kallonis - Little Bittern 1 opp Environmental Centre.

Faneromeni Beach - Yelkouan Shearwaters 000s, Scopoli's Shearwater 60 per hour mid afternoon (all close in shore)

Wood Warbler, Upper Faneromeni Fields - large numbers of migrants in the area, particularly in the under-watched upper fields, included c.110 of these gems, many feeding, as here, in giant fennel
© Steve Dudley

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+.

2 May 2011 - more Semi-collared Flys

Alpine Swift, Moni Ipsilou. Still only small numbers being reported © Steve Dudley

Another mixed day with low cloud clearing to bright sunshine and scattered showers. A relatively quiet day. More migrants evident in the west and two unidentified eagles over Napi early afternoon. Three Black Kites now between Ipsilou and Andissa.

Environment Centre - see here.

Sigri/Faneromeni - SEMI-COLLARED FLYCATCHER 2 fems, Collared Flycatcher 1, Ped Flycatcher 20, Lesser Grey Shrike 1, Red-backed Shrike 1, Spotted Flycatcher 80+, Whinchat 40+, Bee-eater 30, Barred Warbler 2, Icterine Warbler 9+, Tree Pipit 15+, Wood Warbler 30+, Golden Oriole 10, Black-headed Bunting, Lesser Kestrel 10, Montagu's Harrier 2, Long-legged Buzzard, Short-toed Eagle, Purple Heron 1.

Btwn Ipsilou & Andissa - BLACK KITE 3 together.

Lardia Valley - Eastern Bonelli's Warbler 5+ around the layby with little wooden gate nearest to Vatousa.

Tsiknias River - Osprey 1, Citrine Wagtail 1 male.

Napi Valley - Aquila eagle sp. 2 (1445), Golden Oriole 8, Barred Warbler 1, Quail 1.

Ipsilou - Eastern Bonelli's Warbler 1, Icterine Warbler 1.

Perasma - Ortolan 1, Red-footed Falcon 3.

Kalloni Saltpans - Marsh Sandpiper 1, Curlew Sandpiper 1, Temminck's Stint 2 (also on Alykes Wetlands), Purple Heron 7.

Kavaki - Ruppell's Warbler, Tree Pipit, Yelkouan Shearwater 200+.

Christou River - both Pallid and Montagu's Harrier reported again today (only one bird!).

1 May 2011 - Black Kites but otherwise quiet

Citrine Wagtail, 2CY male, Polichnitos Saltpans © Steve Dudley

I spoke too soon! A cooler day with overcast skies, scattered showers and fresh south-easterly breeze (gale force on Ipsilou!).

If we thought there were more birds around yesterday, there sure wasn't today. A few new bits and bobs, but nothing too startling.

Late news - yesterday a female Ferruginous Duck on pool at the far eastern end of Alykes Wetlands (also Gargeney).

Environment Centre - see here.

Tsiknias River - SEMI-COLLARED FLYCATCHER 1 fem, Black-throated Diver 2 offshore. Citrine Wagtail ad male at ford, Little Bittern 8, Black Stork 1.

Vigla (nr Ipsilou) - BLACK KITE 2.

Soumouria (scops Copse) - Great Spotted Cuckoo 1.

Christou River - Fan-tailed Warbler 1, Eagle sp (poss. Booted), harrier sp (reported as Montagu's and Pallid), Tawny Pipit 2, Short-toed Lark 1, Black Stork 1.

Faneromeni Fields - Wryneck 1.

Ipsilou Monastery - Ruppell's Warbler 1 fem, Eleonora's Falcon 1 (dark phase), Peregrine 1, Blackcap 20+, Pied Flycatchers. Blowing an absolute gale so only the west side was workable with species like Cinereous Bunting, Rock Sparrow and Isabelline Wheatear all difficult.

Vergias River - Wryneck 1, Marsh Warbler 1, Bee-eater 10+, Masked Shrike 1.

Kalloni Saltpans area - Beach Eurasian Curlew 1, Common Ringed Plover 1, Turnstone 2. Moat Marsh Sandpiper 1. Lotzaria Marsh Harrier 6.

Potamia Valley - Goshawk 1, Orphean Warbler, Black-headed Buntings, Long-legged Buzzard.

Meladia Valley - Barred Warbler 1, Wood Warbler 1.

Napi Valley - Red-footed Falcon 5.

North of Tsiknias River/Saltpans - Red-footed Falcon 6.