A DVD Guide to Birdwatching in Europe

Filmed & Narrated by Paul Doherty
Bird Images

Available from Bird Images - click here

Running time 3 hrs 15 mins
Bird species covered: 255 plus numerous landscapes, insects, etc.

The Netherlands – February
Eilat, Israel – March
Extramadura, Spain - April 
Pyrenees, Spain - April
Lesvos, Greece – April
Central Finland – June
North Norway – June
Eastern Poland - May
Falsterbo, Sweden – October
Northern Israel - October

This is the latest in Paul Doherty's 'Birdwatching Guides'. His promotional blurb states 'Rather than put out a succession of DVDs (Birdwatching in Poland, Lesvos etc) we felt that people would appreciate the much lower cost of having footage from some of the very best European sites condensed onto one DVD.'

Lesvos, quite rightly, features on this DVD as one of Europe's premier birding destinations and it receives 33 minutes (10% of the running time). In this time you get to see footage for a total of 68 species (and some species you see more than once) filmed at seven (although I would break this down to 12 individual sites) of the main sites across the centre and west of the island. There is also footage of other wildlife.

As you would expect, the footage of birds is variable. There is nothing of poor quality with quality ranging from good to excellent. Some of my personal faves being a singing and displaying rufous Bush-robin, Glossy Ibis and marsh terns - these epitomise Lesvos in spring for me - and the footage of a singing Olive-tree Warbler is fantastic. But its really being picky since so much of the footage is simply brilliant in terms of clarity or showing behaviour (the displaying Goshawk is not crystal clear but is great to see). Some footage is brief, but some sections provide lengthy studies of the bird and some of the simple narration includes very good identification pointers (e.g. female Collared Flycatcher) and is provided over the 'natural' soundtrack of birdsong and other surrounding noises (some natural, some not). You can even watch the whole thing without narration and simply sit back and enjoy the sights and sounds of Lesvos in spring.

Overall this presents a very good feel for a spring week on Lesvos. It introduces not only some of the more typical, likely-to-be-seen species (I'd say only several species are difficult to see) but also some of the many differing landscapes. It also shows you that its not all blue skies and wall to wall sun - just look at the Squacco Heron and Flamingo footage to see the reality of a Lesvos spring squal! All should help you plan for the trip not only in terms knowledge, but also giving you an indication of terrain and weather to help you pack the right clothing! What guides (be they DVDs, books, or internet sites) can't accurately provide is the 'buzz' of migration, the rush of a fall of migrants with birds in every bush, but this DVD should whet the would-be-visitors appetite very nicely.

Species included (in order of appearance) - the few species in ( ) are 'background' to other species: Common Nightingale, Black-headed Bunting, Cetti's Warbler, Olivaceous Warbler, Black Stork, Purple Heron, Red-backed Shrike, Red-footed Falcon, Corn Bunting, Black-headed (Yellow) Wagtail, Red-throated Pipit, Rufous Bush-robin, Avocet, Black-winged Stilt, Wood Sandpiper, Ruff, (Grey Heron), Ruddy Shelduck, Garganey, Great White Egret, Little Egret, Spoonbill, Marsh Harrier, Glossy Ibis, Whiskered Tern, White-winged (Black) Tern, Common Tern, Squacco Heron, Greater Flamingo, (Moorhen), Little Bittern, Little Crake, Baillon's Crake, Scops Owl, Subalpine Warbler, Woodchat Shrike, Cirl Bunting, Ruppell's Warbler, Kruper's Nuthatch, Masked Shrike, Short-toed Treecreeper, Spotted Flycatcher, Short-toed Eagle, Goshawk, Honey-buzzard, Hen Harrier, Citrine Wagtail, Roller, Golden Oriole, Pied Flycatcher, Collared Flycatcher, Lesser Kestrel, Long-legged Buzzard, Little Stint, Scopoli's (Cory's) Shearwater, Yelkouan Shearwater, Stonechat, Isabelline Wheatear, Cretzschmar's Bunting, Cinereous Bunting, Black-eared Wheatear, Lesser Grey Shrike, Little Owl, Olive-tree Warbler, Jay, Orphean Warbler, Sombre Tit, Western Rock Nuthatch.

Sites covered: Skala Kallonis, Tskinias River, Alykes Wetlands, Kalloni Saltpans, Metochi Lake, Soumouria ('Scops Copse'), Kavaki, Achladeri, Faneromeni, Meladia (river ford, fig grove and chapel), Ipsilou and Platania.

Other wildlife includes Starred Agama (Lizard), Levant Marsh Frog, butterflies inc. Persian Meadow Brown and Eastern Festoon, Owl-fly, Thread (-winged) Lacewing, Southern Emerald Damselfly.

And don't be put off by the other areas covered! There's more stunning birds, wildlife and scenery on the other 90% of the DVD which will soon have you wanting to go to all these places too! Just go once you've been to Lesvos.