Lesvos, Greece ~ 27th Apr - 4th May - 2013

Friday 10 May 2013

Me & Richard booked flights and hotel with Travel Republic and flew out of Gatwick on the 27th Apr, mid afternoon we collected our prearranged car from Tsalis, mention Lesvos Birding and you get 15% off .. nice .. Our car was a Hyundai Colt and once out of the airport headed straight for the saltpans ...

Once at the Kalloni Saltpans we abandoned the car and went off on foot... Now it seems this is not the norm as most if not all especially photographers just drive about with there Lenses out the window pointing downwards at the birds, each to there own !! .. I bet you have some nice angled POV images ..

Birds of note .. Little Bittern, Squacco Heron, Greater Flamingo, Glossy Ibis & Red-throated Pipit.

Wood Sandpiper

Black Stork

Little Tern

Temminck's Stint

After sunset and a few wrong turns we found our hotel 

A great hotel, lovely food and friendly family run place highly recommended !!

Day 2

05:30 and off for our first target near Petra at Kavaki, Ruppell's Warbler which was so showy but only on a wire and I flatly refuse to photograph on wire !!
Crag Martin, Alpine Swift, Red-rumped Swallow & Raven here ..
Checked a few other sites as per Dudley Guide and then headed for Napi Valley via Kapi and Mantamados.
C.1.5km before Napi we found a confiding wheatear at the roadside ..

Black-eared Wheatear

We did a recce at the Kruper's site .. Finishing off back at the saltpans and trying our luck with some of the tracks and ending up at the River Ford.
Male Little Crake here which I tried for a few evenings but no images gained ..

Black headed Wagtail

Day 3

05:30 and were heading for our next main target Kruper's Nuthatch, a really nice peaceful morning, heard Cuckoo & Golden Oriole, Short-toed Eagle over and Middle Spotted Woodpecker here ..

Kruper's Nuthatch

From here to Polichnitos Saltpans and our sites as per the guide ...

Curlew Sandpiper

Black-winged Stilt

Little Ringed Plover

We had Marsh Sandpiper & Stone Curlew here before heading back to Kalloni saltpans till dusk at the Ford ..

Yellow Wagtail ~ (dombrowskii)

Black headed Bunting

Day 4

05:30 and were heading west first stop Ipsilou Monastery and Cinereous and Cretzschmar's without to much trouble gaining images of was more difficult ..

Cretzschmar's Bunting

Next was the Petrified Forest, we must of spent all of 5 minutes looking for the robin and moved on ... Lesser Kestrel and Female Montagu's here ..

Crested Lark

Little Owl

Lesser Grey Shrike

On to Sigri, really didn't give it enough time here and after an hour of trying headed back to Kalloni !!!!!!!!!!!
Although there were plenty of Flycatcher's here just not close enough ....

A quick stop at the secret owl site, hush-hush-wink-wink

Long-eared Owl

And in the next tree ...

Scop's Owl

If only that branch wasn't there !!!!

And finished off till dusk back at the saltpans ...

Kentish Plover

Day 5

06:00 start today and armed with more info we headed again for Kavaki, this time to the first lay-by ...
There were already two cars waiting one on wheatear, the other on the warbler...
We were patient and waited our turn, once the bloke in front had 3 good go's at the warbler from his car, it was our turn so we got out the car and set-up, he drove off ...

Ruppell's Warbler

Eastern Orphean Warbler

Black capped Jay

All on the same bush along with Subalpine Warbler and out of the car !!

We did the same route towards Napi Valley adding some off roading up to the two radio masts..
And looking for suitable Rock Nuthatch sites on down towards Napi ..
Seven Bee-eaters and a few Shrikes ..

Sombre Tit

Back to Kalloni saltpans and out to the beach Tamirisk for the robin which turned into two birds and were on the move and difficult to approach ..
But looked nice against the sunset .

Rufous Bush Robin

Day 6

A first light try for the Robin, which constantly sang from Tamirisk ..
But we had a bonus warbler ...

Eastern Olivaceous Warbler

Off next for our Nuthatch site,
a few images from distance then a slow move in every time the bird flew off I moved in, took about 30/40 minutes until I was in position ....
Great .. errr No, the birds behaviour had changed, now coming in as if its body was stuck to the rock !!
Once it had entered and gone off I retreated and left them ... Scrim net next time !!!

Rock Nuthatch

Now the plan was to go to Ag. Fokas from Napi about 1hr 40 drive in 31 degrees but here's a tip ..
Don't have the car heater on max it makes you really sleepy !!
An hour in and was struggling to stay awake not realising I still had the heater on from first thing this morning..
So stopped off at Polichnitos Saltpans to rest but 34 Little Stints soon livened me up ...

Once I knew where they liked to feed, just had to wait, wasn't long and they were flushed by a Stilt so in I went ...
Laying on top of the heather to keep me out the mud, should of been lower as this made the lens about 12" above water level and then they flew back in !!!
We should of been here much later in the softer light ..
Shooting at midday was hard trying to get catchlight in the eyes and just when they were stupidly close my battery died ... a short wait for them to be flushed by the Stilt again and i moved back to the car !!

Little Stint

Moving on to Ag. Fokas we had both Yelkouan c.700+ & Scopoli's c.1 yep only one but thats enough ...

Red-backed Shrike

And back for another go at the Rufous Robin near Kalloni saltpans ...

White-winged Black Tern

Rufous Bush Robin

Day 7

05:30 and out west way past Parakila for Makara .. hoping for another chance with Cinereous but no ...
Long-legged Buzzard over 

And we stalked a Chukar out near Makara ...


Out on the beach the Dudley guide had sites for pools and we found Alpine Swifts coming to drink on the wing great to watch ...

Alpine Swift

Now back to Efthalou 

Middle Spotted Woodpecker

And then to the Thrush site which is better in the afternoon light ...

Blue Rock Thrush

And back at the Kalloni saltpans till dusk ...

Whiskered Tern

and our last sunset

Day 8

We tried Metochi Lake first thing, Heron's & Bittern's and loads of people so on to the saltpans ..

Common Tern

Whiskered Tern

Little Tern

And then off to the Airport ...

Seen but failed to get images of ..

Red-Throated Pipit
Little Crake
Spur-winged Plover
Subalpine Warbler

Thanks to

Pela & Thekla at Pela Hotel

Alan & Bob


" The Image Collector "

Some of these species will be covered with more images in seperate blog posts 

Lesvos nearly Done !!  


Ben Porter said...

Awesome trip report once again Mick. Really superb images and look forward to seeing some more!! Particularly like the low-angle shots of the waders, especially the Black-winged Stilt. On another note, the Yellow Wag part way down looks like it could be of the race 'dombrowskii', as opposed to a flava. Cheers, Ben.

Mick Southcott said...

Thanks Ben, I was drawn to 'dombrowskii' due to the darker ear coverts but the more extensive white on the throat lead me to 'iberiae' not quite sure why i labelled it flava surely not enough yellow in throat ..

Mick ..

chiddy said...

superb mick,defo going back year without fail,super images as always

Ana Mínguez Corella said...

Wonderful pictures.. Well done.. Congrats and regards..

Jamie Medford said...

Great images Mick as always.

Alan & Brenda Fossey said...

Great photos Mick! All those early mornings and hard work paid off.

Unknown said...

Great post. just back myself (yesterday) just wish my pics were half as good. thanks for posting

Mike Gould said...

Great account and photos Mick. Good to meet out there.