TRAVELLING NATURALIST TRIP REPORT

Lesbos

3 - 10 May 2001


Leaders:
Stephanie Coghlan
Jamie McMillan

Trip Diary

 

May 3rd

The two leaders gathered their groups together at Manchester and Gatwick airports respectively and flew out to arrive within minutes of each other. We were greeted by sunshine, plenty of flowers and Lena from Eressos Travel. We loaded the bus and set off across the island driving through Mytiline Town and we were soon out into olive groves bright with blood-red poppies and the yellow Chrysanthemum coronarium or Crown Daisy. We arrived in Skala Kalloni and settled into our rooms all with views over the pool and were soon tucking into a delicious lunch.

At 4 we assembled at the pool to start birdwatching, and immediately we did not know where to look. There were White-winged Black and Whiskered Terns, Black-winged Stilts, Wood Sandpipers, Garganey, Purple and Squacco Herons and many more. A female Red-footed Falcon flying over was to be our only sighting of this species during the week. We took nearly two hours to walk round the pool and finally returned to prepare for our first bird list and eat another fine spread. We were two members short, but were all too tired to wait up for them, so we left Jamie to be the welcome committee, and retired for a well-earned sleep.

 

 

Friday 4th May Sunny and hot.

Out to explore West River at 6.30 and we were soon watching Cetti's Warbler as well as Olivaceous and admiring Stone Curlew and Kentish Plover. A flock of Little Stints fed in a pool with Marsh Sandpipers and Grey Herons and Little Egrets were hunting in the river. We returned for breakfast to greet the two remaining members of the tour and to set off to explore the local area.

We began at the back of the Salt Pans and found more Greater Flamingoes than usual and loads of Avocet. Further along we spotted a solitary Spoonbill and plenty of Ruff, and glimpsed our first Bee-eaters. At Misintziki, better known in Britain as 'Derbyshire' we walked the lane and found our first orchid, Holy Orchid, Orchis sancta and found a pair of Rufous Bushchats displaying nicely.

We called in at the taverna near Ancient Pyrra, which was submerged by the sea in 231BC, and then explored the pine forest. Within yards of the coach we found a Long-eared Owl staring back down at us from a pine tree, an excellent find and the first we've seen on Lesbos. We had good views of Serin before lunch, but it was only after lunch that we located our main quarry - two Krüper's Nuthatches near a nest hole.

Our next stop was at the Vouvara River where we stood on the bridge and found lots of little heads swimming towards us: the Stripe -necked Terrapins were used to being fed. Jamie demonstrated his bread throwing skills and had to revise his rules about what could be counted on a checklist if it came for food. An elusive Nightingale sang beautifully, but otherwise it was quiet in the shade and heat of the afternoon, so we went on to the Salt Pans where the Greater Flamingoes were shining pink in the sun, and we found Ruff, Curlew Sandpipers in superb breeding plumage, and Redshank in the channel. Over the fields Bee-eaters were hunting and amongst many Crested Larks and Corn Buntings we spotted a Lesser Grey Shrike. As we drove back over the East River we screeched to a halt, and Paniyotis reversed the bus down so we could see the waders, White Wagtails and five immaculate Glossy Ibis. On our return those with energy still enjoyed the sight of three Little Bittern at the Kalloni Pool.

 

Saturday 5th May Sunny and clear but windy in the afternoon.

The early morning walkers explored to the mouth of the west river, the Potamia and we found Grey, Kentish & Little Ringed Plovers and had good views of Black-headed Wagtails and female Marsh Harrier.

After breakfast we drove through Kalloni and up into the hills, where we were soon in a very different rocky landscape, the result of an ancient volcanic explosion 20 million years ago. In the fertile patches were village houses perched above each other with oak trees and green fields scattered below.

We stopped above Skalahorio, explored a lane, and found many flowers including more Holy Orchids, two kinds of Campanula and masses of white daisies, Greek Chamomile. Subalpine Warbler and Cirl Buntings showed well here, together with two Hoopoes and Eastern Festoon, Spotted Fritillary, Black-veined White and Inky Skipper butterflies. We then moved on to the Vatoussa Gorge to watch Blue Rock Thrush and Long legged Buzzards displaying.

At the Ipsalou Monastery the bus took us as high as the road would allow so we walked up the remaining steep part to the monastery at the top of the volcanic plug. There were lots of Spotted Flycatchers, a very watchable Little Owl, and brief views of a Rock Sparrow as the wind was rising, but we had good views of Rock Nuthatch and one of our main target birds here, Cinereous Bunting. We watched at least two males singing from the rocks and trees below us. They were feeding on the

We continued to the Petrified Forest, where we had lunch sheltering from the wind in their picnic area. Here we marvelled at the fossilised trees, preserved by the cataclysmic volcanic explosion that created much of this barren landscape.

At the harbour at Sigri we found Jackdaws, a Shag and plenty of Lesser Kestrels coming in to feed over the town, and as we left after coffee and beers a Short-toed Eagle hung in the wind alongside the bus to give us very close views. At the Eressos turn-off we saw several Isabelline Wheatears and a very large spider or harvestman, together with masses of the 'ladder-backed' bush crickets that many of the birds, including Cinereous Buntings were feeding on. Stonechats were spotted from the bus and the Barn Owls were busy in the evening in Skala Kalloni village to complete a busy day.

 

Sunday 6th May Windy

The weather had changed in the night, and there was a strong wind from the SW, which was to bring in dust from the Sahara and a variety of migrants, including a dramatic passage of Sand Martins. The early morning tourers of the pool saw three Night Herons flying over.

We set off up the Potamia valley and found it full of flowers and many Swallows. Swifts and Sand Martins. We heard Nightingales everywhere, saw a Masked Shrike in the olive groves, and heard an Olive-tree Warbler singing in the valley.

We lunched at the old Mosque at Parakila and walked on an old road or Kalderimi, passing over a double arched ridge with a Roman and a Turkish Arch. Here we saw a freshly-dead Ottoman Viper with spectacular markings.

We climbed up to the Church of the Holy Cross and found Frogs and Toads and Spiders, including several Ladybird Spiders, which had Jamie very excited as he had always wanted to see them in their only UK site in Dorset. There were several other spiders to take our interest and sounds of a Cinereous Bunting but few other birds.

Parakila Marsh was fairly quiet but we did see Little Grebe, nesting Black-winged Stilts and many flowers. A walk along the beach produced various shells that Jonathan told us were mentioned by Aristotle, including the distinctive fan-shaped Pinna.

At our last stop at the second East River we found two Little Bitterns and there were still many Sand Martins passing through. After the checklist we went to the Sea Horse Taverna and had a typical Greek evening meal; but the situation was not typical, sheltering from the onshore wind behind plastic screening! However our spirits warmed the situation and a good time was had by all. A few of the group went to see the Barn Owls, and just as we had given up hope there was a change over in the chimneys - just after Brian left!

Monday 7th May Overcast with bright intervals Clearing later.

The early morning walk reached West River bridge and found all the saltmarsh flooded. We had good views of Kentish Plover and there were 15 Little Egrets on the upper reaches, and a dark phase Eleonora's Falcon flew over. After breakfast we set off to Kalloni to look in the picnic site for a Scops Owl, which was found giving excellent views in the appointed Eucalyptus tree, and we saw two Persian Squirrels. Middle Spotted Woodpecker flew over in front of the bus, but we could not stop due to the many bends in the road. However when we did stop at the Panorama layby we were soon watching Rüppell's Warblers, Blue Rock Thrush, Rock Nuthatch, Cretzschmar's Bunting and Black-eared Wheatear, as well as a Peregrine hunting over the ridge.

We drove on past Molyvos towards Eftalou and had some coffee when the taverna opened. Many Turtle Doves were feeding in the field and a Shag was diving offshore. Climbing the road past the Hot Springs we were soon finding plenty of flowers including the Yellow-horned poppy which grows in an orange form here, and lots of Helichrysum barrelieri(siculum), the 'dried flower'.

Many birds were visibly migrating through, and amongst flocks of swallows we saw some Alpine Swifts, at least 20 Bee-eaters and an Eleonora's Falcon. Below us on the hillside there were Red-backed Shrike and Cirl Bunting and yet more Cretzschmar's Buntings. We returned to the shore and had our lunch watching the sea and looking across to Turkey at about its closest point to the island - Paniyotis told us that on still mornings from here you can hear the cockerels crowing in Turkey!

At Molyvos Castle we drove up past Spotted Flycatchers and Black-eared Wheatears and on to the castle. Another dark-phase Eleonora's flew over giving superb views, as we looked down over the rooftops to the village.

We crossed back through the island and went down to the Kalloni Salt Pans where we found Marsh & Montagu's Harriers and more Bee-eaters. Out on the grazed fields we found Short-toed Larks and Red-throated Pipits, having passed a couple of Rufous Bushchats. In the lagoons there were about 500 Greater Flamingoes, many more than we had seen on previous visits, and a good variety of waders as well as a solitary Shelduck.

We returned to the Hotel in time to have a rest and change as we were having a Barbecue and Greek Night. The dull cool weather meant that the Souvlaki and Sausages were grilled undercover but the rest of the spread was very enjoyable. Lena came again with a guest, the local Vet. The dance team showed us dances from Lesbos and the mainland and then demonstrated Chair dancing, which all the men in the group performed while we watched and anticipated broken legs, both chair and human, but fortunately everyone survived. Dancing lessons then encouraged the group to take to the floor and we ended the evening with The Travelling Naturalists the main guests at the party.

The Barn Owl was reported to have shown briefly by Brian, who passed on the dancing.

 

Tuesday 8th May Overcast clearing later.

The early morning walkers came home early due to approaching showers, but not before seeing two Golden Orioles. However after breakfast it was clearing and we stopped at Misintziki (Derbyshire), which had Ruddy Shelduck, Greater Flamingo and Great White Egret, and good views of Common Terns. A goatherd on a pony came over the hillside in pursuit of his goats, and had us all entertained as we wondered how he kept on board riding side-saddle and later astride.

Our next stop was at the Karynis Springs where we watched a Wren at a nest, and looked at donkey saddles and saw how they were constructed. We stood inside the ancient Oriental Plane Tree which the folk painter Theophilus had lived in for several years. Paniyotis drove up above Agiassos and we saw the village below us as we wound our way up into the forests. Here we found plenty of new flowers although we had to search hard to find a fresh Pontic Fritillary as they were in seed pod, as were the tulips. However we had a good list of new orchids. We had lunch watching Subalpine Warblers, and finding a huge Roman Snail.

On our return we walked through the village of Agiassos and explored the narrow streets. An excellent bakery induced an outbreak of sticky cake buying and Jamie was caught going back for a third time, for gifts he claimed. After a swim we were ready for another buffet spread despite all that cake eating. The Barn Owls were reported as busy after last night's dull weather.

 

Wednesday 9th May 2001 Sunny with high cumulus

We began the day with an early morning walk to West River, seeing five Black Storks in the sunshine, and a superb flypast of flamingoes.

We set off after breakfast to Kalloni and north to Petri where we walked through the countryside which was full of Greek Chamomile, poppies and Greek Anchusa under the olive trees. We followed a small road along a hillside giving us splendid views over the landscape full of volcanic features. We found a Masked Shrike, and a pair of Woodchat Shrikes posed for us in a tree. The local race of Jays displayed themselves as a party of five raced around showing their paler heads. Many Nightingales sang and an unusual cricket-like song was identified as River Warbler. A single Sombre Tit gave us good but brief views.

We went down to Petra and visited the frescoes in the Chapel of St Nicholas and climbed up to the church on the volcanic plug. The Merchant's House was open after last year's repairs and we had a guided tour. Many people stocked up on olive oil, olive wood and other souvenirs before we had our last picnic on the beach. A sharp shower cleared the beach and we drove back to Kalloni and searched for the Middle Spotted Woodpecker nest near the school, this time with success.

Finally we walked to East River mouth where we found House Martins and Swallows gathering mud and we saw Little Ringed Plover displaying and also Short-toed Larks both breeding in the area. At the river mouth Common Terns rested and a Little Egret hunted, but the water levels were very high so we walked home and visited the ice cream shops, on the way, before our last log and dinner. Finally Richard Brooks gave a slide show with fine photographs, which was a good overview of the birds we had seen and helped to remind us of our highlights.

 

Thursday 10th May Sunny

The early morning walkers saw Black Storks as well as many Little Stints reflected in the pools near West River and a fine ring-tailed Montagu's Harrier flew over. At the pool there was the resident White Stork, a Little Bittern and a flock of Little Egrets. We were going to miss them on our doorstep tomorrow.

 

Some time during the week we found two magnificent spikes of the very rare Komper's Orchid in its only European locality - a find that had Jamie dancing with delight!

Many thanks to Paniyotis, our driver for his local knowledge and excellent English (well, Australian!), and to the group for being both enthusiastic and excellent company. We look forward to seeing you again in the not-too-distant future.

Stephanie Coghlan

Jamie McMillan

May 2001

 

SPECIES LISTS

BIRDS

Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis One, Parakila Marsh, 6th

European Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis Singles at Sigri, Eftalou and Petri

Grey Heron Ardea cinerea Seen at West River (max 6 on 7th), Kalloni Salt Pans and Derbyshire

Purple Heron Ardea purpurea Up to 2 daily at Kalloni Pool, singles at Derbyshire

Great White Egret Egretta alba Up to 3 at Derbyshire, with one at the salt pans

Little Egret Egretta garzetta Up to 15 noted on West River and Kalloni Pool, with odd records from other wetlands

Squacco Heron Ardeola ralloides Up to six on Kalloni Pool, noted daily

Black-crowned Night-heron Nycticorax nycticorax Three flew over Kalloni Pool on 6th

Little Bittern Ixobrychus minutus Up to 3 noted daily at Kalloni Pool. Also two on Potamia River

Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus ruber Up to 485 counted on Salt Pans - much more numerous than in previous year. Also seen on West River with a superb fly - past in the morning light on 9th

Black Stork Ciconia nigra Up to 5 at West River on four days. Odd singles seen elsewhere

White Stork Ciconia ciconia Up to 3 noted daily. Regular confiding birds at Kalloni pool, commuting to their nest site in Kalloni. Also at Salt Pans & Derbyshire

Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus Five in superb light at East River bridge, 4th

Eurasian Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia One at Salt Pans, 4th

Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea Five at Salt Pans, 7th; eight at Derbyshire, 8th.

Common Shelduck Tadorna tadorna One Salt Pans, 7th. A new species for the Travelling Naturalist on Lesbos.

Garganey Anas querquedula Up to 6 daily at Kalloni Pool

Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata 2 drakes on 3 days at Kalloni Pool

Short-toed Eagle Circaetus gallicus Up to 3 per day seen from 5th

Montagu's Harrier Circus pygargus One over Kalloni, 6th; 3 on Salt Pans, 7th; one West River, 10th. All ringtails.

(Eurasian) Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus Up to 2 per day seen in lowland areas on 5 days

Northern Goshawk Accipiter gentilis One over Potamia Valley, 6th

Common Buzzard Buteo buteo Up to 2 seen on 5 dates in the Kalloni area

Long-legged Buzzard Buteo rufinus At least 10 on the west island trip on 5th. 2 or 3 in the Potamia Valley.

Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni At least 20 flying in over Sigri and hunting over the rocky hillsides near Petrified Forest

Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus Up to 2 on 3 days in Kalloni area

Red-footed Falcon Falco vespertinus Two females and a male over Kalloni Pool on 3rd.

Eleonora's Falcon Falco eleonorae Three along north coast 7th, with a dark-phase bird giving superb views at Molybos Castle; two at Petri, 9th

Peregrine Falco peregrinus Three along north coast on 7th

Chukar Alectoris chukar Heard at Potamia Valley; one seen above Eftalou.

Water Rail Rallus aquaticus Heard at Kalloni Pool, 7 - 10th

Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus Up to 2 daily, Kalloni Pool; 5 at Parakila Marsh.

Common Coot Fulica atra Two at Derbyshire, 3rd

Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus Up to 10 at Kalloni Pool; seen daily here, Salt Pans, Derbyshire & Parakila Marsh, where nesting

(Pied) Avocet Recurvirostra avocetta At least 100 on Salt Pans

Stone-curlew Burhinus oedicnemus Pair regularly seen on West River, sometimes giving excellent views

Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola Three on West River, 5th.

Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius Seen on shore around Kalloni and Salt Pans

Kentish Plover Charadrius alexandrinus Seen daily around Kalloni. Chicks seen East River mouth, 9th

Common Redshank Tringa totanus One on Salt Pans, 4th - a new species for the Travelling Naturalist on Lesbos.

Marsh Sandpiper Tringa stagnatilis Two, West River, 4th

Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia One on Salt Pans, 4th

Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola Up to 20 daily.

Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos Two on Salt Pans, 4th

Little Stint Calidris minuta Seen daily. Up to 30 West River.

Dunlin Calidris alpina Flock of 10, Salt Pans, 7th

Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea Up to 8 on Salt Pans with 5 West River on 9th. Many in superb breeding plumage.

Ruff Philomachus pugnax Hundreds on Salt Pans on 4th, with lower numbers seen thereafter

Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis Seen daily all over the island.

Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybridus Seen daily. Max 10 at Kalloni Pool on 3rd with decreasing numbers during the week

White-winged (Black) Tern Chlidonias leucoptera Seen 3rd - 8th. Max 23 on Salt Pans 4th, with Kalloni Pool having max 6 on 6th

Gull-billed Tern Sterna nilotica Four on Salt Pans, 4th

Common Tern Sterna hirundo Seen daily along shore with 10 East River, 9th

Little Tern Sterna albifrons Seen at Kalloni and Salt Pans, with at least 10 there on 4th

Rock Dove (Feral Pigeon) Columba livia Seen daily. Possible wild-type Rock Doves at Eftalou

European Turtle Dove Streptopelia turtur Seen daily from 4th, with max 10 at Eftalou on 7th

(Eurasian) Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto Seen daily

Common (Eurasian) Cuckoo Cuculus canorus Heard at Achladeri, 4th

Barn Owl Tyto alba The Skala Kalloni pair seen most evenings bringing food to young in the chimneys of the local disco !

European Scops Owl Otus scops Wonderful views of a roosting bird just outside Kalloni, 7th

Little Owl Athene noctua One seen very close at Ipsalou Monastery; another on West River


Long-eared Owl Asio otus Looking up in pines for Krpers Nuthatch at Achladeri and finding one of these staring back down was something of a surprise. A first for the Travelling Naturalist in Lesbos.

Alpine Swift Apus melba Seen daily from 6th, including some over the hotel with max 20 + at Eftalou on 7th

Common Swift Apus apus Seen daily

European Bee-eater Merops apiaster Seen on 5 days with max 30 on 7th - visible migration of these at Eftalou. Superb views of perched birds at the Salt Pans & Derbyshire

(Eurasian) Hoopoe Upupa epops Two near Skalahouri, 5th

Middle Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos medius Seen in forest on 3 days, with best views behind the school at Kalloni, where a pair was feeding young

(Greater) Short-toed Lark Calandrella brachydactyla A few seen regularly on the Salt Pans and West and East Rivers

Crested Lark Galerida cristata Probably the most ubiquitous bird; seen daily

(European) Sand Martin Riparia riparia Hugely impressive passage and gatherings of these, peaking at several hundred over Kalloni Pool and area on 7th

(Eurasian) Crag Martin Hirundo rupestris Singles at Vouvrai Gorge and near Skalahouri, 8th

Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica Seen daily - nesting in the hotel

Red-rumped Swallow Hirundo daurica Up to 5 seen on 5 days mostly away from Kalloni area

(Common) House Martin Delichon urbica Seen daily - nesting on the hotel balconies

Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava Up to 5 of the Black-headed (feldegg) race seen daily

White Wagtail Motacilla alba Four East River, 4th. One Parakila Marsh, 6th

Red-throated Pipit Anthus cervinus Five at Salt Pans, 4th, with 3 there on 7th

Lesser Grey Shrike Lanius minor One on Salt Pans, 4th

Woodchat Shrike Lanius senator Up to 2 noted on 3 days. Best views of a pair at Petri, 9th

Masked Shrike Lanius nubicus One Potamia Valley, 6th; one Petri, 9th

Red-backed Shrike Lanius collurio Up to 2 noted, 4th - 8th. Best views of a male at Eftalou, 7th

(Winter) Wren Troglodytes troglodytes One at Karynis Springs, nestbuilding by the taverna. Two in Agiassos Forest.

Blue Rock Thrush Monticola solitarius Seen at Vouvrai Gorge and Ipsalou Monastery, with a pair at the Panorama lay-by north of Petri

(Common) Blackbird Turdus merula Widespread; seen daily

Common Nightingale Luscinia megarhynchos Widespread; heard in most habitats daily. Occasional sightings

Rufous Bushchat Cercotrichas galactotes Two at Derbyshire displaying on 4th; two presumed migrants at the Salt Pans, 7th

Whinchat Saxicola rubetra Up to 6 seen on 3 days; 4th, 5th and 7th

(Common) Stonechat Saxicola torquata One near Salt Pans, 4th; 2 at Antirco ??, 5th; one on Mytilini road, 10th

Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe One on Salt Pans, 4th

Black-eared Wheatear Oenanthe hispanica Up to 10 seen on 5 dates. Regular away from Kalloni area

Isabelline Wheatear Oenanthe isabellina About five at Eressos turning below Ipsalou, 5th

Fan-tailed Warbler (Zitting Cisticola) Cisticola juncidis Heard and seen, mostly in Kalloni area, on 5 dates

Cetti's Warbler Cettia cetti Common; heard and seen each day especially around Kalloni Pool

(Eurasian) River Warbler Locustella fluviatilis One heard near Petri, 9th.

Sedge Warbler Acrocephalus schoenobaenus Kalloni Pool - one on 4th; two on 7th; four on 10th

Olivaceous Warbler Hippolais pallida The most abundant warbler; noted daily in a wide variety of habitats

Olive-tree Warbler Hippolais olivetorum One heard in Potamia Valley, 6th

Common Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita Two seen and heard singing at Agiassos, 8th. These were grey-looking birds, probably of one of the eastern races. A first for the Travelling Naturalist on Lesbos

Wood Warbler Phylloscopus sibilatrix One at Achladeri, 4th; one in Potamia Valley, 6th

Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla One at Petri and one at Kalloni school on 9th

Common Whitethroat Sylvia communis One at Eftalou on 7th

Orphean Warbler Sylvia hortensis One at Eftalou, 7th

Rüppell's Warbler Sylvia rueppelli At least 10 seen at Panorama lay-by site and Eftalou on 7th

Subalpine Warbler Sylvia cantillans Seen on 5 days in wood areas, with at least 10 at Petri on 9th

Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata Seen 6 days. Seemed very numerous on 5th when at least 20 seen

Sombre Tit Parus lugubris One at Petri showed briefly but well

Great Tit Parus major Widespread. Seen daily

Blue Tit Parus caeruleus Widespread. Seen daily

Krüper's Nuthatch Sitta krueperi Pair seen at Achladeri around nest hole

Rock Nuthatch Sitta neumayer Noted on 4 days; at Ipsalou Monastery, Panorama lay-by, Agiassos, and max 4 at Petri

Short-toed Treecreeper Certhia brachydactyla Heard at Achladeri and Agiassos.

Eurasian Jay Garrulus glandarius Seen daily, mostly from vehicle, but excellent views of this south-east European race at Petri, where at least 10 birds were present

(Eurasian) Jackdaw Corvus monedula 30 over Sigri

Hooded Crow Corvus corone Widespread, many seen daily

(Eurasian) Golden Oriole Oriolus oriolus Two seen near Skalahouri, 5th. Two juv. males singing and seen at Skala Kalloni, 8th; heard at Petri, 9th

Corn Bunting Miliaria calandra Seen daily, but becoming less obvious through the week as the barley was cut

Cinereous Bunting Emberiza cineracea Excellent views at Ipsalou Monastery; where two males seen, and a female carrying a bush-cricket. Also at Petrified Forest and Holy Cross Chapel

Cretzschmar's Bunting Emberiza caesia Seen on 4 days on open hillsides, with best views at Eftalou - males often singing

Cirl Bunting Emberiza cirlus Up to 6 seen on 4 days

Black-headed Bunting Emberiza melanocephala Seeing males singing from the tops of bushes and telegraph wires so abundantly was one of the most memorable features of the trip. Up to 20 - 30 seen daily

(Common) Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs Common in forests. Seen daily

European Serin Serinus serinus A pair at Achladeri. Several at Agiassos.

(European) Greenfinch Carduelis chloris Noted on 5 days, mainly in forests

(European) Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis Common. Noted daily.

(Common) Linnet Carduelis cannabina A few at the Petrified Forest and Agiassos

House Sparrow Passer domesticus Seen daily. Breeds in the hotel, often in House Martin nests. Chick rescued and returned to nest by Stephanie on 8th

Spanish Sparrow Passer hispaniolensis Superb views at the hotel, where it nests both in the trees and behind the air-conditioning units. Those who had Spanish Sparrows nesting on their balcony (including Jamie) definitely one up on those who had mere House Sparrows!

Rock Sparrow Petronia petronia One seen at Ipsalou Monastery.

 

MAMMALS

Eastern Hedgehog Erinaceus concolor One dead on road, 6th.

Persian Squirrel Sciurus anomalus One or two seen on 5 dates.

 

 

AMPHIBIANS

Green Toad Bufo viridis Probably this species at the Holy Cross chapel.

Marsh Frog Rana ridibunda Quoting from Aristophanes all night at Kalloni pool.

 

 

REPTILES

Spur-thighed Totoise Testudo graeca One at the salt pans, 4th.

Stripe-necked Terrapin Mauremys caspica At Vouvara River, where came enthusiastically to bread, and Parakila Marsh.

Turkish Gecko Hemidactylus turcicus Apparently this species seen at the hotel.

Agama Agama stellio This spectacular lizard was seen on 3 dates.

Balkan Green Lizard Lacerta trilineata Quite common. Noted 6 days.

Dice Snake Natrix tessellata Probably this species seen vanishing into a pool at Derbyshire.

Montpellier Snake Malpolon monspessulanus Huge snake crossing the road towards Ipsalou.

Ottoman Viper Vipera xanthina Dead individual at Parakila.

 

BUTTERFLIES

Scarce swallowtail Iphiclides podalirius One at Petri, 9th

Eastern festoon Zerynthia cerisyi Seen on 3 dates.

Black-veined white Aporia crategi Seen at Skalahouri, 5th.

Large white Pieris brassicae Common. Seen daily.

Small white Pieris rapae Common. Seen 5 dates.

Eastern dappled white Euchloe ausonia Common. Seen 5 dates.

Orange-tip Anthocharis cardamines Seen on 5th and 8th.

Clouded yellow Colias crocea Common. Seen daily.

Ilex hairstreak Nordmannia ilicis Seen on 6th and 7th.

Small copper Lycaena phlaeas Seen 5 dates.

Holly blue Celatrina argiolus Seen at Agiassos

Brown argus Aricia agestis Seen on 2 dates.

Common blue Polyommatus icarus Seen on 5 dates

Southern white admiral Limenitis reducta Seen on 9th.

Red admiral Vanessa atalanta Seen on 2 dates

Painted lady Cynthia cardui Widespread. Seen on 6 dates.

Spotted fritillary Melitaea didyma Seen on 2 dates.

Balkan marbled white Melanargia larissa Seen at Sigri and Potamia valley.

Meadow brown Manolia jurtina This species not found in eastern islands where it is replaced by M.telmessia and M.megala. Seen daily.

Small heath Coenonympha pamphilus Seen 3 dates

Inky skipper Erynnis marloyi Seen at Skalahouri, 5th.

Small skipper Thymelicus flavus Seen 2 dates

 

 

DRAGONFLIES

Black-tailed Skimmer Orthetrum cancellatum Seen two days.

Lesser Emperor Dragonfly Anax parthenope Seen at Derbyshire.

Crocothemis (red dragonfly) Crocothemis erythaea Seen at Derbyshire.

 

 

OTHER INSECTS

Mole Cricket Gryllotalpa gryllotalpa One crossing the road outside the hotel on 3rd.

Egyptian Grasshopper Anacridium aegyptium Seen two days.

Buprestid beetle sp. Capnodis tenebrionis Abundant at Achladeri wood

Violet Carpenter Bee Xylocopa violacea Seen on 4th.

Scolia wasp Scolia flavifrons Seen on three days.

Spider-hunting Wasp A huge pompilid wasp seen around Achladeri.

Ascalaphid Nemoptera sp. A spectacular insect with long hind wings found by Stephanie in the Potamia valley.

Lesser Stag Beetle Dorcus parallelepipedus One on the salt pans, 7th.

Cream-spot Tiger moth Arctica villica One at Eftalou.

'Ladder-backed' Bush-cricket Barbitistes fischeri ? Abundant on open ground.

 

OTHER GROUPS

Ladybird Spider Eresus niger Several at Holy Cross Chapel

Harvestman Large black short-legged harvestmen abundant on roadsides and open ground.

Roman Snail One at Agiassos woods.

Pinna Fan-shaped shell found on beaches. Edible according to Paniyotis!

 

 

PLANT LIST:

The numbers refer to Grey Wilson & Blamey's " Mediterranean Wild Flowers". Some highlights:

 

1 Pinus halepensis Aleppo Pine

2 Pinus brutia Calabrian Pine

3 Pinus pinea Stone Pine/Umbrella Pine

11a Cypressus sempervirens forma horizontalis Cypress

11 Cypressus sempervivens forma sempervivens Funeral Cypress

15a Juniperus oxacedrus macrocarpa Juniper

20a Ephedra campylopoda Joint Pine

Juglans regia Walnut (introduced)

23 Castanea sativa Sweet Chestnut (introduced)

24 Quercus coccifera Kermes Oak

28 Quercus aegilops (macrolepis) Valonia Oak

31 Quercus pubescens Downy Oak

35 Salix pedicellata Mediterranean Willow

41 Morus alba White Mulberry

42 Ficus carica Fig

47 Urtica dioica Stinging Nettle

48 Urtica pilulifera Roman Nettle

50 Parietaria judaica Pellitory of the Wall

70 Polygonum maritimum Sea Knotgrass

85 Salicornia europaea Salicornia

110 Bougainvillea glabra Bougainvilla

116 Carpobrotus aciniformis Hottentot Fig

157 Silene vulgaris vulgaris Bladder Campion

167 Silene cretica Cretan Catchfly

176 Silene gallica French Catchfly

180 Silene colorata Seaside Catchfly

187 Kohlrauschia velutina Kohlrauschia/Proliferous Pink

211 Anemone coronaria Crown Anemone

261 Delphinium staphissagria Wild Delphinium

283 Papaver rhoeas Common Poppy

284 Papaver dubium (Long-headed) Small poppy

291 Papaver hybridum Rough Poppy

293 Glaucium flavum Yellow-horned Poppy

297 Hypercoum imberbe Hypercoum

303 Fumaria capreolata Ramping Fumitory

306 Fumaria officinalis Common Fumitory

313 Malcomia littorea Sand Stock

316 Malcomia maritima Virginia Stock

326 Matthiola sinuata Sea Stock

333 Alyssum saxatile Golden Alyssum

341 Biscutella didyma Biscutella/ Buckler Mustard

359 Sinapis arvensis Charlock

360 Sinapis alba White Mustard

361 Eruca sativa Rognette

369 Raphanus raphanistrum Wild Radish

376 Reseda lutea Wild Mignonette

396 Umbilicius rupestre Wall Penny wort

400 Platanus orientalis Oriental Plane Tree

404 Rosa sempervirens Wild Rose

411 Sacropoterium spinosum Thorny Burnet

420 Crataegus monogyna Hawthorn

429 Eriobotrya japonica Japanese Loquat

431 Ceratonia siliqua Carob

481 Spartium junceum Spanish Broom

486 Lupinus angustifolius Narrow-leaved Lupin

??? Vicia bithynica Bithynian Vetch

510a Vicia dasycarpa

510 Vicia villosa Fodder Vetch

531 Vicia sativa Common Vetch

533 Vicia peregrina Blue Pea

545 Lathyrus cicera Red Vetchling

555 Pisum sativum Wild Pea

572 Meliotus indicus Small Melilot

594 Medicago lupulina Black Medick

623 Medicago arabica Spotted Medick

651 Trifolium uniflorum One-flowered Clover

657 Trifolium resupinatum Reversed Clover

659 Trifolium pilulare Ball Cotton Clover

662 Trifolium stellatum Star Clover

761 Erodium cicutarium Common Storksbill

777 Linum bienne Pale Flax

792 Euphorbia dendroides Tree Spurge

801 Euphorbia myrsinites Broad-leaved Glaucous Spurge

818 Euphorbia characias Mediterranean Spurge

824 Ricinus communis Castor Oil Plant

832 Citrus limon Lemon

836 Citrus sinensis Orange

843 Melia azederach Indian Bead Tree, Persian Lilac (planted)

861 Pistachia terebinthus Turpentine tree/ Terebinth

889 Vitus vinifera Grape/Common Vine

898 Malva sylvestris Common Mallow

905 Alcea rosea Common Hollyhock

912 Lavertera arborea Tree Mallow

962 Cistus creticus Cretan Cistus

964 Cistus parvifolius Small-Flowered Cistus

965 Cistus salvifolius Sage-Leaved Cistus

985 Tuberaria guttata Annual Rockrose/Spotted Rockrose

1022 Tamarix smyrnensis Tamarisk sp.

1032 Ecballium elaterium Squirting Cucumber

1033a Bryonia cretica White Briony ssp.dioca

1040 Opuntia ficus indica Prickly Pear

1073 Eryngium maritimum Sea Holly

1088 Smyrnium perfoliatum Perfoliate Alexanders

1102 Oenanthe pimpinelloides Med. Water Dropwort

1141 Ferula communis Giant Fennel

1149 Tordylium apulum Tordylium

1166 Orlaya grandiflora Orlaya

1168 Daucus carota Wild Carrot

1191 Lysimachia atropurpurea Purple Loosestrife

1198 Anagallis arvensis Scarlet/Blue Pimpernel

1205 Cyclamen graeca Greek/Sowbread (Cyclamen)

1220 Limonium sinuatum Winged Sea Lavender

1248 Olea europaea Olive(planted)

1255 Centaurium maritimum Sea Centaury

1331a Convolvulus althaeoides sp eleganthissimus Mallow- Leaved Bindweed

1380 Echium italicum Pale Bugloss

1382 Echium angustifolium Red Bugloss

1383 Echium plantagineum Blue Bugloss

1406a Anchusa undulata (hybrida) Undulate Anchusa

1416 Vitex agnus-castus Chaste Tree

1469 Ballota acetabulosa Ballota

1515 Origanum vulgare Marjoram

1518 Origanum onites Pot Marjoram

1528 Lavendula stoechas French Lavender

1537 Salvia fruticosa (triloba) Three-lobed Sage

1555 Hyoscyamus albus White Henbane

1592 Scrophularia scoplii Figwort

1601 Verbascum sinuatum(graeca) Greek Verbascum

1602 Verbascum undulatum Wavy Leaved Verbascum

1646 Veronica cymbalaria Cymbalia-leaved Speedwell

1652 Parentucellia latifolia Parentucellia

1664 Orobanche minor Common Broomrape

1675 Orobanche crenata Crenate Broomrape

1736 Knautia integrifolia Knautia

1739 Pterocephalus plumosus Annual Pterocephalus

1751 Scabiosa brachiata Tremastelma

1757 Campanula patula Spreading Bellflower

1759 Campanula rapunculus Rampion Bellflower

1769 Campanula lyrati Rock Campanula

1778 Legousia speculum-veneris Large Venus Looking Glass

1780 Legousia pentagonia Pentagonia

1805 Evax pygmae Evax

1825 Helichrysum siculum Helichrysum

1831 Phagnalon rupestre Phagnalon

1847 Pallenis spinosa Pallenis

1870 Anthemis cretica (rigida) Rayless Chamomile

1892 Otanthus maritimus Cottonweed

1894 Chrysanthemum segetum Corn Marigold

1895 Chrysanthemum coronarium Crown Daisy

1908 Calendula arvensis Field Marigold

1937 Echinops ritro Globe Thistle

1966 Notobasis syriaca Syrian Thistle

1971 Galactites tomentosa Milk Thistle

1973 Onopordon illyricum Illyrian Scotch Thistle

2008 Centaurea cyanus Cornflower

2023 Cichorium intybus Chicory

2055 Tragopogon porrifolius Salsify/Med. Goatsbeard

2070 Crepis rubra Pink Hawksbeard

??? Doronicum orientale Leopard's Bane

2087 Asphodelus albus White Asphodel

2116 Colchicum variegatum Colchicum

2141 Tulipa orphanidea Orange Wild Tulip

2154 Fritillaria pontica Pontic Fritillary

2167 Ornithogalum montanum Branched Star of Bethlehem

2166 Ornithogalum narbonese Slender Star of Bethlehem

2173 Ornithogalum nutans Large Star of Bethlehem

2201 Muscari comosum Tassel Hyacinth

2224 Allium roseum Rosy Garlic

2227 Allium subhirsutum White Allium

2237 Allium ampeloprasium Wild Leek

2241 Allium sphaerocephalon Round-headed Leek

2287 Iris orientalis Oriental Iris

2307 Gladiolus italicus Wild Gladioli

2358 Dracunculus vulgaris Dragon Arum

2364 Arum corophalloides Eastern Arum

2383 Cephalanthera longifolia Narrow-leaved Hellebore

2386 Limodorum abortivum Violet Bird's Nest Orchid

2400 Comperia comperiana Komper's Orchid

2403a Orchis morio picta Green-Winged Orchid

2407 Orchis tridentata Toothed Orchid

2408 Orchis lactea Milky Orchid

2409 Orchis italica Italian Orchid (Naked Man)

2417 Orchis provincialis Provence Orchid

2436 Ophrys scolopax Woodcock Orchid

2447 Anacamptis pyramidalis Pyramidal Orchid

2452 Serapias parviflora Small -Flowered Tongue Orchid

2469 Hordeum murinum Wall Barley

2494 Arundo donax Giant Reed

 

 

 

Stephanie Coghlan May 2001.


© The Travelling Naturalist 2001