Lesvos, Greece. 14-21 April 2011

This trip report is supported by Eden Quality binoculars

As the Easter holiday was late this year, Emma and I would finally get chance to visit the island of Lesvos. We flew out on the first Thomson charter flight from Gatwick. The date of out visit was possibly a bit early for some later migrants, but we still had a fantastic time on this beautiful island.

The weather during the week could be described as varying from OK to totally awful. Some days were so cold we were wearing all the clothes we took with us, and on one day it rained torrentially the whole day. The bad weather, however, certainly produced some stunning falls of birds, the highlight being the massive numbers of Ficedula flycatchers. During the week, Collared Flycatchers were literally everywhere. They were present at every location we visited, sometimes in large numbers.

There's little point describing any sites we visited, all are in Steve Dudleys excellent book, A Birdwatching Guide to Lesvos. Many thanks to Steve for his willingness to help with site information. Thanks also to Roger Musgrove for map loan and to David and Kim for some hilarious moments.

Systematic List and Photos

At least 2-3 along the road to Makara on 19th

Two accidentally flushed from the Sigri Old Sanatorium gully on 20th

Common Shelduck
Small numbers at Kalloni saltpans throughout.

Ruddy Shelduck
Frequent on most wetland areas. A brood of recently fledged young on the Faneromeni River on 20th.

Two at the Tsiknias River mouth on 17th

Little Grebe
Two or three at Metochi Lake throughout

Great Crested Grebe
One on the Gulf of Kalloni on 19th

Well, I like them. Immature Greater Flamingo at Christou River

Greater Flamingo
Common on Kalloni Saltpans, Tsiknias and Christou River mouths and Mesa

Black Stork on the Alykes wetlands

Black Stork
Small numbers, usually singles, at most wetlands throughout.

White Stork
Only one or two around the Kalloni area throughout.

Glossy Ibis at Alykes wetlands, feeding in the flood water. No problem with water this year!

Glossy Ibis
A huge flock gradually built up at Alykes wetlands and numbered c.250 by 21st. Others noted at Sigri fields on 20th.

Little Bittern
One female at Metochi Lake on 17th

Night Heron
Small numbers at several wetland areas

Squacco Heron in the rain. Sigri fields

Squacco Heron
Up to four at Tsiknias River throughout, three at Sigri Fields on 20th and one or two at several other wetland sites.

Cattle Egret Alykes wetlands

Cattle Egret
One at Alykes wetlands on 17th.

Grey Heron
Widespread but not abundant

Purple Heron
Singles at many wetland sites, at least 8 around the Sigri area on 20th.

Great White Egret, Alykes wetland

Great White Egret
Small numbers at many wetlands, particularly Alykes.

Little Egret

Small numbers along the coast

At least two off Sigri throughout

Black Kite
One seen very well along dirt road to Makara on 19th

Short-toed Eagle
Small numbers (less than 4) at many localities

Marsh Harrier
One or two around Kalloni throughout

Hen Harrier
Two ringtails at Meladia Valley on 20th

Montagu's Harrier
One at Faneromi on 20th and one at Kalloni saltpans on 21st

Pallid/Montagu's Harrier
Two ringtails circled up high over Kalloni on 20th

Common Buzzard
Singles widespread

Long-legged Buzzard, Makara

Long-legged Buzzard
Singles widespread

Lesser Kestrel
Flocks of up to 10-15 along the Petrified Forest Road on 16th, and along road to Makara on 19th

Common Kestrel
Singles widespread

Red-footed Falcon
A male with Lesser Kestrel flock along Petrified Forest road on 16th

Singles in two or three places

Peregrine Falcon
Singles in several localities

Little Crake, Faneromeni Lower Ford

Little Crake
Abundant at Metochi Lake and the Faneromeni fords throughout. Difficult to estimate numbers, but maybe 10+ observed at each site.

Spotted Crake, Metochi Lake

Spotted Crake
Single at Metochi Lake on 17-18th at least.

Frequent at many wetlands

Stone Curlew near Skala Kalloni

Stone Curlew
Heard at night from the Pasiphae Hotel and pair near the Kalloni Saltpans throughout.

Black-winged Stilt
Abundant at most wetlands

Abundant at Kalloni Saltpans

Single at Kalloni Saltpans on 15th

Spur-winged Plover, Faneromeni

Spur-winged Plover
One along road to beach at Faneromeni early morning on 20th

Little-ringed Plover, Makara

Little-ringed Plover
Small numbers along most rivers and wetlands. Several pairs appeared territorial at Makara beach on 19th

Kentish Plover
Small numbers (less than 5) at many wetland areas

Common Snipe
Singles on Kalloni Saltpans and Kalloni Pool

Black-tailed Godwit
About 10 on Kalloni Saltpans on 20th

Single on beach near Kalloni Saltpans on 20th

Marsh Sandpiper Kalloni Saltpans

Marsh Sandpiper
About five on small pool just north of Kalloni Saltpans throughout

Small numbers (less than 5) at Kalloni Saltpans and Christou River at least

Green Sandpiper
Singles over many wetlands

Wood Sandpiper. Not exactly a challenge!

Wood Sandpiper
Abundant at most wetlands areas

Common Sandpiper
Singles scattered over rivers. One in the road in the Meladia Valley on 20th

I'm sure we had one/some somewhere but I can't remember where it was and we didn't write it down!

Little Stint, Kalloni Saltpans

Little Stint
Only small numbers (less thand 15) around the Kalloni Saltpans

Temminck's Stint
Two on the small pool north side of Kalloni Saltpans throughout

Curlew Sandpiper, Kalloni Saltpans

Curlew Sandpiper
One Kalloni Saltpans on 15th

Ruff, Kalloni Saltpans. As difficult to photograph as Wood Sands!

Very common mainly Kalloni Saltpans

Collared Pratincole
Up to about 30 Kalloni beach throughout

Slender-billed Gull in the near dark at Skalla Kalloni

Slender-billed Gull
Single at Tsiknias River mouth on 17th and Scala Kalloni beach on 19th

Black-headed Gull
Small numbers at many wetlands

Mediterranean Gull
Single at Tsiknias River mouth on 17th

Yellow-legged Gull
Abundant and widespread

Gull-billed Tern, Christou River

Gull-billed Tern
Frequent at most wetland areas including a single flock of 45 at Kalloni Saltpans on 15th

Caspian Tern
One at Tsiknias River mouth on 17th

Sandwich Tern
Definately present somewhere!

Common Tern
Frequent at most wetlands

Whiskered Tern
The first, a single at Tsiknias River on 18th, then small numbers at wetlands

Turtle Dove
Seven at Scala Kalloni on 19th. Small numbers at Sigri on 20th

Collared Dove

Great Spotted Cuckoo
One just north of Apothika on 19th

Common Cuckoo
At least one Faneromeni on 20th

Scops Owl at the Mini Soccer Pitch.

Scops Owl
One or two at Mini Soccer Pitch throughout

Little Owl
One at Petrified Forest Park on 16th and another Napi Valley on 18th

Long-eared Owl at the Pasiphae Hotel

Long-eared Owl
Male at Pasiphae Hotel throughout

Common Swift

Alpine Swift
Lots (about 50?) at Kalloni Saltpans on 17th and about 50 at Makara on 19th

One at Kalloni Saltpans on 19th

European Bee-eater
Single over Achladeri on 15th and at least one heard over Kalloni Saltpans on 17th

Small numbers scattered, but highest numbers were along the Plantania track on 18th

One just Northwest of the Meladia valley chapel on 20th and one in the Faneromeni fields on the same date.

Middle-spotted Woodpecker
Very brief view of one at Napi on 17th but much better views of a pair along the Platania track on 18th

Woodchat Shrike
Singles scattered widely

Masked Shrike
Ones or twos at Achladeri and some other places (er, sorry, we didn't write them down!)

Golden Oriole
Two at Faneromeni fields on 20th

Common and widespread

About 20 Makara on 19th

Hooded Crow
Common and widespread

Fairly frequent

Sombre Tit, Plataria track.

Sombre Tit
Several at Napi and Platania track on 17th/18th

Great Tit

Blue Tit

Short-toed Lark
About 5-10 at the eastern end of Kalloni Saltpans throughout, smaller numbers widely spread

Crested Lark. Must have been taken during the 10 minutes the sun came out!

Crested Lark
Very adundant and widespread

Woodlark. This is how much it rained!

Fairly regular around Ipsilou and Napi valley, especially Platania track

Sand Martin
Fairly regular at most wetlands

Barn Swallow
Regular and fairly abundant

House Martin

Red-rumped Swallow
Regular but in small numbers

Cettis Warbler

Willow Warbler
Very small numbers

Very small numbers

Wood Warbler
Singles at Ipsilou on 16th and Meladia valley chapel on 20th

Great Reed Warbler, Metochi Lake

Great Reed Warbler
Common at reed fringed rivers and lakes, especially Lake Metochi

Sedge Warbler

Reed Warbler

Olivaceous Warbler, Dimitrios

Olivaceous Warbler
One signing at Napi on 17th and one nest building at Dimitrios on 21st

Icterine Warbler
One between the Medadia valley chapel and Sigri Sanatorium on 20th

Savi's Warbler
Single at Metochi Lake throughout and two at Kalloni Pool on 19th

Fan-tailed Warbler
One at Christou River on 19th

Widespread and fairly regular

Barred Warbler
One female at the Meladia valley chapel on 20th

Lesser Whitethroat

Eastern Orphean Warbler
Noted at many sites, particularly the Platania track on 18th and Aghios Ioannis on 19th

Loads at Sigri on 20th, smaller numbers scattered elsewhere

Subalpine Warbler
Singing males scattered, but notably one at the Meladia valley chapel on 20th. They don't breed on this side of the island apparently.

Sardinian Warbler
One male at Faneromeni fields on 16th, at least one other somewhere else where I can't remember!

Ruppells Warbler
1-3 at Kavaki on 18th in terrible weather

One at Meladia valley chapel on 20th

One singing near Argenos on 18th

Wood Nuthatch
One at Napi on 17th

Krupers Nuthatch
Pair at usual place in Achladeri were only visiting nest hole very occasionally on 15th and 21st. Another at Dimitrios on 21st

Rock Nuthatch near Metochi Lake

Rock Nuthatch
Frequently encountered

Short-toed treecreeper
One briefly at Achladeri on 15th

Common Starling
Just a couple, including one or two near Pasiphae hotel on 15th

Widespread in small numbers

Became much more abundant towards the end of the week. Many at Sigri on 20th

Black Redstart
One female type near Pasiphae hotel on 15th

Common Redstart
Male near Petrified Forest on 16th and a female at Faneromeni on 20th

Whinchat, Faneromi. Another damp bird!

Very common. Loads around Sigri area on 20th

Singles scattered locations

Isabelline Wheatear
Easily located near Ipsilou on 16th

Northern Wheatear
Fairly widespread in smallish numbers

Black-eared Wheatear at Kavaki

Black-eared Wheatear
Everywhere. Very common.

Blue Rock Thrush
Single at Kavaki on 18th

Spotted Flycatcher
Only very small numbers

The first Semi-collared Flycatcher we found at Ipsilou

Semi-collared Flycatcher
At Ipsilou on 15th there were certainly three different males, and there were almost certainly more here. There were so many Ficedula flycatchers here that we didn't really bother looking at females. A female was at Aghios Ioannis on 19th. This will be a vast underestimate of the number we really saw as there was so much else to look at once we'd seen a few we stopped looking.

Collared Flycatcher at Petrified Forest. Surely the species of the trip!

Collared Flycatcher
Really stupid numbers. Everywhere, even in places you wouldn't expect to find them

Pied Flycatcher
Very small numbers mainly in with the big fall at Ipsilou on 15th and Sigri area on 20th

House Sparrow

Spanish Sparrow
Very common, sometimes flocks of 100+

Rock Sparrow
Just one on a roadside fence on the way up to Ipsilou on 15th

Citrine Wagtail at Faneromeni Upper Ford

Citrine Wagtail
Probably two at Faneromeni Upper Ford on 20th. A female and a 1w male.

White Wagtail
Singles scattered

Tawny Pipit
A scattered group of about 15 near Sigri Sanatorium on 20th and a single near Kalloni Saltpans on 20th

Meadow Pipit
One near Pasiphae on 15th and one with Red-throated Pipits at Christou River on 19th

Tree Pipit
Widespread in low numbers

Red-throated Pipit at Christou River

Red-throated Pipit
Very small numbers but probably 4-5 Christou River on 19th




Can't have a foreign trip without a Corn Bunting photo!

Corn Bunting
Great to see so many and looking at the fantastic mix of rough farming they have, it's no wonder we've lost all ours back home.

Cinereous Bunting Ipsilou

Cinereous Bunting
Only at Ipsilou on 15th and at Aghios Ioannis on 19th.

Ortolan Bunting
Small numbers (up to 4-5) at a few locations, such as Platania track on 18th

These crackers deserve two images, female Cretzchmars Bunting top, male below.

Cretzschmars Bunting
Widespread and fairly common in rocky areas

Cirl Bunting
Widespread and regular


James Packer, April 2011







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