TRAVELLING NATURALIST TRIP REPORT

Lesbos

25th April - 2nd May 2002
2nd - 9th May 2002


Leaders:
Keith Grant

Diary:

Thursday 25th April

Arrival.

After an uneventful afternoon flight from Gatwick, we arrived at Mytilini late in the evening a little ahead of schedule. Lena was awaiting our arrival and we transferred by taxi to our hotel at Skala Kalloni.

Friday 26th April

'Derbyshire', Achladeri & Kalloni salt-pans.

Sunny and warm

7 o'clock found us overlooking the pool in front of the hotel and as the mist rose and the sun came up, we were quickly watching Black-winged Stilts, Wood Sandpipers, Glossy Ibis and several drake Garganeys. A Night Heron showed briefly, then several Little Bitterns were found, a Purple Heron appeared and a Little Crake showed well in the open. Several breeding-plumaged White-winged Black Terns looked stunning as they picked food items from the water surface and, just as we were going into breakfast, a Great Bittern appeared - a wonderful start to the week. After breakfast, we loaded into the minibus and headed eastwards. A brief stop at the East River allowed us excellent views of further Glossy Ibises and several Temminck's Stints. Further on, at 'Derbyshire', we walked a little way up a track, finding Cirl Bunting singing from the electricity wires, a lovely male Rüppell's Warbler appeared briefly, and a male Woodchat Shrike was superb in the good sunlight. A Black Stork flew across in the distance and as we returned to the minibus, a pair of Ruddy Shelducks flew in. We then stopped to overlook the lagoon for a closer look at the Ruddy Shelducks before moving on to the pinewoods near Achladeri. Subalpine Warblers sang briefly, Krüper's Nuthatch called but appeared all too briefly. With Spotted Fritillary and Orange-tips on the wing, we ate our picnic lunch here, before driving back to the Kalloni Saltpans. We searched several flocks of hundreds of Ruffs, finding small numbers of Curlew Sandpipers and Little Stints. Then, further on, good numbers of White-winged and Whiskered Terns, with a single Black Tern, were dipping over one of the lagoons. Eight Gull-billed Terns were just visible over a grassy bank, resting on a sandbank, and there were three more flying in the distance. Our final stop was to check across a field of short turf, to find several Short-toed Larks, feeding quietly in the distance. Back to the hotel soon after 5pm.

Saturday 27th April

Ipsilou, Petrified Forest & Sigri.

Sunny and clear; cool breeze.

Our pre-breakfast walk took us to the West River where a Stone-curlew showed well. Several Ringed Plovers were new for the trip, and as we were watching good numbers of Yellow Wagtails, including both Black-headed and Blue-headed races, we found two superb Red-throated Pipits in full breeding plumage. After breakfast, we set off westwards. Above Kalloni, we found our first Stonechat and Cretzschmar's Bunting. Above Skalochorion, we stopped to explore a track leading up the hillside, and soon had really good views of Subalpine Warblers, a male Blue Rock Thrush, Cirl Bunting and Black-eared Wheatear. Many Nightingales were singing and at one stage we were seemingly surrounded by song. We moved on and just past the Eressos turnoff, an Isabelline Wheatear appeared on the roadside. We drove right up to the monastery at Ipsilou where several Rock Sparrows were seen. A nice pair of Woodchat Shrikes showed well and while we were having lunch out of the wind near the car parking area, many Willow Warblers were moving through the trees below us, as was a Persian Squirrel. We then picked up a good number of Pied Flycatchers and a Cinereous Bunting appeared briefly. A Peregrine was also present.

On the way to the Petrified Forest, a pair of Chukars was alongside the road, good numbers of Whinchats were seen on the wire fences, together with several Tawny Pipits. We did a short walk around part of the Petrified Forest, gazing at the amazing fossilised tree trunks formed 20 million years ago, some so perfect that their growth rings were still clearly visible. A Spectacled Warbler showed well and we then found the bird of the day, a stunning male Cinereous Bunting, feeding quietly below us. Back to the bus and we all had excellent views of a Long-legged Buzzard over the car park. Finally, at Sigri, there were parties of several hundreds of Yelkouan Shearwaters moving north far offshore. Several Shags were also seen, but unfortunately the only Kestrels noted were all Common Kestrels (rather than the hoped-for Lessers). Back to the hotel, stopping briefly for a dark-plumaged Marsh Harrier circling overhead. After beers and coffees in Skala Kalloni, we finally tore ourselves away from incredibly close Whiskered Terns, Little Bitterns, Purple Herons and Glossy Ibis on the pool to come in to change for dinner!

Sunday 28th April

Potamia Valley and Parakila.

Cloudy with the wind rising during the day.

The weather had changed with low cloud and mist hiding the hills. We walked a little way alongside the Kalloni II pool before breakfast, finding more Glossy Ibis, Squacco Herons and Little Bitterns. Olivaceous and Sedge Warblers were singing nicely and a Marsh Harrier lifted the Black-winged Stilts and Garganeys as it flew over and back. After breakfast, we explored the Potamia Valley, driving slowly and walking. A pair of Masked Shrikes by the river bridge showed well in the telescopes, as did several Nightingales and a pair of Red-backed Shrikes a little later. The minibus enabled us to 'reach places other buses cannot reach', and we continued well beyond the dam with many Stripe-necked Terrapins hauled out along the shoreline. Two Short-toed Eagles soared overhead, with possibly two more in the distance. We then retraced our steps, finding a pair of Long-legged Buzzards playing around each other in the air and landing on the rocky outcrops near the bottom of the valley - stunning views in good light through the telescopes! We then drove on to Parakila where we had our picnic lunch near the ruins of the Turkish mosque. The banks of blue iris in full bloom were exceptionally photogenic, and having found suitable rocks to perch on, we had our picnic lunch overlooking the small hayfields. Middle Spotted Woodpecker and Golden Oriole both flew past but didn't show themselves after that. A quick look across Parakila Marsh produced only a Little Bittern, so we returned to the Kalloni Saltpans, finding a female Red-footed Falcon beside a main road. Two Common Terns showed well as did several Little Terns and two Black Terns, but the numbers of White-winged and Whiskered Terns from two days ago seem to have departed. Close views of a Marsh Sandpiper were interrupted by the fluty calls of several Bee-eaters, so we moved on a little further and spent the next half hour or so watching the Bee-eaters and three more Red-footed Falcons hawking insects, hovering and perched on the roadside wires. Finally, after checking the furthest field, we drove round to the other side of the saltpans to try for better views of the Flamingos. A Short-toed Eagle appeared overhead before we returned to the hotel for a final check of the pool - excellent views of one of the Little Crakes. Dinner at a taverna along the sea front.

Monday 29th April

Eftalou.

Sunny and clear; slight breeze.

All three 'marsh' terns were present on the pool before breakfast, providing a good opportunity to compare Black, White-winged and Whiskered Terns at close quarters. After breakfast we drove north, stopping at the Panorama viewpoint between Petra and Molivos. We walked a fair way up the track, finding Spotted, Pied and at least one stunning male Collared Flycatcher. Several Rüppell's and Subalpine Warblers showed well, as did a party of Alpine Swifts. We then moved on to Eftalou to explore the coastal track to the east. We quickly found a pair of Masked Shrikes and several Cretzschmar's Buntings and Lesser Whitethroats. We returned to Eftalou for lunch at a taverna, to find three Yelkouan Shearwaters on the sea just offshore. They were diving like auks and as they surfaced, several Yellow-legged Gulls were hanging around hoping to pirate any food. After lunch, we returned along the track, driving a little further before walking on. There was another pair of Masked Shrikes, a Woodchat Shrike and several Bee-eaters and Tree Pipits. Then two Spotted Eagles flew directly overhead as we returned to the minibus. Return in good time for dinner and an evening of Greek dancing.

Tuesday 30th April

East River, Achladeri, Agiassos.

Sunny and clear; light breeze.

A pre-breakfast drive just north of Kalloni found a Scops Owl roosting in its allotted spot on a large eucalypt! Heading back for our second visit to Achladeri, we stopped briefly at the East River where a Middle Spotted Woodpecker was nesting in an electricity pole. A Great Reed Warbler was also fiddling around in the riverside vegetation. In the woods near Achladeri, we stood well back with the telescopes set up, and eventually had excellent views of a pair of Krüper's Nuthatches at and around the nest-hole, and as we were leaving, a third bird came in, and all three were chasing each other, sometimes right overhead! We then headed back on to the main road and up towards Agiassos, stopping for coffee at Karynis Springs, with the huge elderly Oriental Plane trees. Plants in the woods above Agiassos included Provence and Green-winged Orchids, Narrow-leaved Helleborines, many Crown Anemones, and good numbers of Orange Wild Tulips. Birds here included Wren and Robin, with only a single Serin seen briefly and then heard singing. A Mistle Thrush flew across in front of the bus as we returned down the hill. On the way back, we stopped briefly at the Derbyshire track, where we found two male Red-backed Shrikes, the white & yellow Oriental Iris were now in flower, as were good numbers of Small-flowered Tongue Orchids. Back to hotel for emergency beers (!!) and dinner.

Wednesday 1st May

Petri, Petra and return via Kalloni salt-pans.

Sunny and hot.

A pre-breakfast drive up the Potamia valley was fairly quiet bird-wise, although there had obviously been a large arrival of Black-headed Buntings overnight and several Bee-eaters were moving north. Then, after breakfast, we drove north to Petri and walked along a lovely track, following the contours of the ridge with views down to Petra and the coast. Rock Nuthatches and Blue Rock Thrushes were watched on the volcanic plugs. Two eagles, possibly dark-plumaged Booted, were seen over the ridge at great distance and into the sun, and these must remain unidentified. A Reed Warbler was new for the trip, before we retraced our steps and drove down to Petra for a walk up to the church and to explore the town before meeting up again for lunch in a local taverna. Then back to Kalloni Saltpans for the rest of the afternoon, where we had excellent views of Black-headed Wagtails and Red-throated Pipits, then a female Citrine Wagtail appeared very close and we spent about half hour watching this and the pipits through the telescopes. A final visit to the Upper East River provided nothing new, although a Peregrine circled overhead, suddenly stooping on unseen prey and disappearing. Back to hotel in time for dinner.

Thursday 2nd May

Return home.

Sunny and hot, again.

Pre-breakfast walk to the West River bridge. Before that, a few Garganey and one Shoveler still on the Kalloni pool, Olivaceous and Cetti's Warblers in the tamarisks, Kentish Plover, a nice Stone-curlew in full view and, at the bridge, a Ruddy Shelduck. Back for a leisurely breakfast and departure.

SPECIES LISTS:

BIRD LIST:

[ KP = Kalloni II pool ; KS = Kalloni Saltpans ]

Little Grebe / Dabchick: Noted each day with up to 3 at KP.

Great Crested Grebe: Noted only on 1 day, 2 on 26th off 'Derbyshire'.

Yelkouan Shearwater: Noted on 2 days with flocks of several hundreds flying north off Sigri on 27th, 3 just offshore Eftalou on 29th.

Great Cormorant: Noted only on 1 day, 1 possibly KP on 1st.

European Shag: Noted only on 1 day, at least 6 off Sigri on 27th.

Grey Heron: Noted most days.

Purple Heron: Noted on 4 days with up to 2 KP on 26th - 29th.

Great [White] Egret: Noted on 5 days with up to 5 on 26th - 30th.

Little Egret: Noted each day.

Squacco Heron: Noted each day at KP (max 5 on 27th), also 3 West River on 2nd.

Black-crowned Night-Heron: Noted on 2 days at KP with single birds on 26th & 29th.

Little Bittern: Noted each day at KP (max at least 8 on 29th).

Great Bittern: Noted only on 1 day, 1 at KP on 26th.

Greater Flamingo: Noted on 4 days, with at least 50 KS on 26th, 250 there on 28th, c.60 flying east along N coast past Molivos on 29th, noted again on KS on 30th, but apparently none there on 1st.

Black Stork: Noted on 5 days with 2 on 26th, 1 Ipsilou on 27th, 1 West River on 28th, 1 Potamia valley on 1st, 1 West River on 2nd.

White Stork: Noted on 5 days with 1 KP on 26th, 1 KS on 28th, 1 KP on 29th, a pair on nest Skala Kalloni on 30th, 1 KS on 1st.

Glossy Ibis: Noted each day, mainly KP but also other sites; 30 + on 26th, 10 KP on 27th, c.60 KP on 28th, 10 KP on 29th, c.12 on 30th, c.50 on 1st & 2nd.

Mute Swan: Noted on 2 days with a party of 5 at the 'Derbyshire' lagoon on 26th & 30th.

Ruddy Shelduck: Noted on 2 days with 3 at the 'Derbyshire' lagoon on 26th, 1 West River on 2nd.

Common Shelduck: Noted on 2 days with 2 KP on 26th, 5 KS on 28th.

Common Teal: Noted only on 1 day, 5 KP on 28th.

Garganey: Noted each day at KP, with 24 males on 26th, 15 on 27th, 10 on 28th, 7 on 29th, 8 on 30th, 8 on 1st, 2 on 2nd.

Northern Shoveler: Noted on 5 days at KP, 1 or 2 males on 28th - 2nd.

Short-toed Eagle: Noted only on 1 day, 4 Potamia valley and 1 KS on 28th.

Montagu's Harrier: Noted only on 1 day, 1 male KS on 28th.

[Eurasian] Marsh Harrier: Noted on 4 days with 1 possibly this species on 26th, 1 dark phase on 27th, 1 KP on 28th, 2 on 1st.

Eurasian Sparrowhawk: Noted only on 1 day, 2 on 29th.

Common Buzzard: Noted on 4 days with 4 on 26th, 2 on 29th, 2 on 30th, 1 East River on 1st.

Long-legged Buzzard: Noted on 3 days with 1 Petrified Forest on 27th, a pair Potamia valley & 1 Parakila on 28th, 1 on 29th.

[Greater] Spotted Eagle: Noted only on 1 day, 2 low & right overhead at Eftalou on 29th, heading W.

Common/Eurasian Kestrel: Noted on 4 days.

Red-footed Falcon: Noted on 3 days, 5 KS on 28th, 1 'Derbyshire' on 30th, 3 KS on 1st.

Peregrine Falcon: Noted on 2 days with 1 Ipsilou on 27th, 1 East River on 1st.

Chukar: Noted only on 1 day, 2 Ipsilou on 27th.

Common Quail: Noted only on 1 day when heard at KS on 26th.

Little Crake: Noted on 4 days at KP, 2 on 26th & 27th, 1 on 28th & 29th.

Common Moorhen: Noted each day.

Eurasian/Common Coot: Noted each day.

Black-winged Stilt: Noted each day.

Pied Avocet: Noted only on 1 day, 1 KS on 26th.

Stone-curlew: Noted on 4 days, heard KS on 26th, 1 seen West River on 27th, heard KS on 28th, 1 West River on 2nd.

[Greater] Ringed Plover: Noted only on 1 day, 5 West River on 27th.

Little (Ringed) Plover: Noted on 3 days with 3 on 26th, 4 on 28th, 2 KS on 1st.

Kentish Plover: Noted on 4 days with 1 on 26th, 2 West River on 27th, 2 pairs on 28th, & 2nd.

Black-tailed Godwit: Noted only on 1 day, 1 KS on 26th.

Marsh Sandpiper: Noted on 2 days with 1 KS on 28th, 2 East River on 1st.

Common Greenshank: Noted on 2 days though only heard, at 'Derbyshire' on 26th and West River on 27th.

Wood Sandpiper: Noted most days.

Common Sandpiper: Noted only on 1 day, 2 on 28th.

Little Stint: Noted on 4 days with 10 KS on 26th, 15+ West River on 27th, 1 on 28th, 1 KP on 1st.

Temminck's Stint: Noted only on 1 day, 5 on 26th.

Curlew Sandpiper: Noted on 3 days with 6+ on 26th, 1 on 28th, 20 KS on 1st.

Ruff: Noted on 5 days, max at least 700 on 26th, thence declining in numbers to 2nd.

Yellow-legged Gull: Noted each day.

Whiskered Tern: Noted on 5 days, again declining in numbers through the week, last were 3 KP on 30th.

White-winged [Black] Tern: Noted on 2 days, at KS on 26th, 1 KP on 29th.

Black Tern: Noted on 4 days with 1 KS on 26th, 2 KS on 28th, 1 KP on 29th, 1 KS on 1st.

Gull-billed Tern: Noted only on 1 day, 11 KS on 26th.

Common Tern: Noted most days with 3 on 26th, 1 Kalloni beach on 27th, 4 KS on 28th, 1 Eftalou on 29th, 6 on 1st, 7 West River on 2nd.

Little Tern: Noted on 3 days with 4+ on 26th, 8+ KS on 28th, 4 KS on 1st.

Rock Dove / Feral Pigeon: Noted most days.

[European] Turtle Dove: Noted on 4 days, seen and heard, on 27th - 30th.

[Eurasian] Collared Dove: Noted each day.

Common Cuckoo: Noted on 3 days with 1 on 26th, 1 Ipsilou on 27th, 1 Petri on 1st.

[Common] Barn Owl: Noted on 3 days at Skala Kalloni where a pair were feeding young in the nest in a chimney near the town square.

Eurasian Scops Owl: Noted only on 1 day, 1 at roost north of Kalloni on 30th.

Little Owl: Noted on 2 days, 1 Skala Kalloni on 26th, 1 on 28th.

Alpine Swift: Noted only on 1 day, c.25 Panorama track on 29th.

Common Swift: Noted most days.

European Bee-eater: Noted on 3 days with 8+ KS on 28th, 4 Eftalou on 29th, at least 30 on 1st.

Eurasian Hoopoe: Noted on 2 days with 3 on 27th, heard on 30th.

Middle Spotted Woodpecker: Noted on 2 days with 1 Parakila on 28th, at nest East River on 30th.

[Greater] Short-toed Lark: Noted on 2 days with 8 on 26th, 3 KS on 1st.

Crested Lark: Noted each day.

[European] Sand Martin: Noted most days.

[Eurasian] Crag Martin: Noted only on 1 day, 3 Ipsilou on 27th.

Barn Swallow: Noted each day.

Red-rumped Swallow: Noted on 4 days with 4 on 27th, 3 Potamia Valley on 28th, 4 Panorama track on 29th, 3 on 1st.

[Common] House Martin: Noted each day.

Yellow Wagtail: Noted on 5 days, mainly feldegg (Black-headed Wagtails) with fewer numbers of flava (Blue-headed Wagtails).

Citrine Wagtail: Noted only on 1 day, a female KS on 1st.

White Wagtail: Noted only on 1 day, 1 on 26th.

Tawny Pipit: Noted on 2 days with c.6 Petrified Forest on 27th, 1 KS on 1st.

Tree Pipit: Noted only on 1 day, at least 2 Eftalou on 29th.

Red-throated Pipit: Noted on 3 days with 2 West River on 27th, heard on 28th, c.10 KS on 1st.

Red-backed Shrike: Noted on 3 days with a female on 27th, a pair Potamia valley & a male KP on 28th, a male Derbyshire on 30th.

Masked Shrike: Noted on 2 days with a pair Potamia valley on 28th, 2 pairs Eftalou on 29th.

Woodchat Shrike: Noted on 5 days with 2 on 26th, a pair Ipsilou on 27th, several on 28th, 1 Eftalou on 29th, 2 Potamia valley on 1st.

[Winter] Wren: Noted on 2 days with several heard on 30th, heard again on 1st.

Blue Rock Thrush: Noted on 2 days with several pairs on 27th, 2 pairs Petri on 1st.

Common Blackbird: Noted most days.

Mistle Thrush: Noted only on 1 day, 2 on 30th.

Common/Rufous Nightingale: Noted on 5 days with many heard on 27th, seen well on 28th, then noted during 29th - 1st.

European Robin: Noted only on 30th.

Whinchat: Noted on 4 days with 4 on 26th, 20+ Petrified Forest on 27th, present on 29th, 2 KS on 1st.

Common Stonechat: Noted only on 1 day, several on 27th.

Northern Wheatear: Noted only on 1 day, 3 on 27th.

Black-eared Wheatear: Noted regularly on 4 days.

Isabelline Wheatear: Noted only on 1 day, 1 on 27th.

Cetti's Warbler: Noted each day.

Sedge Warbler: Noted each day.

[Eurasian] Reed Warbler: Noted only on 1 day, 1 Petri on 1st.

Great Reed Warbler: Noted only on 1 day, 1 seen well East River on 30th.

Olivaceous Warbler: Noted most days.

Willow Warbler: Noted only on 1 day, many at Ipsilou on 27th.

Blackcap: Noted on 2 days with a female on 28th, 4 Petri & East River on 1st.

Common Whitethroat: Noted on 3 days, 26th 28th, & 29th.

Lesser Whitethroat: Noted on 3 days with 3+ on 27th, then also on 28th & 29th.

Rüppell's Warbler: Noted on 2 days with 1 'Derbyshire' on 26th, 4 Panorama track on 29th.

Sardinian Warbler: Noted only on 1 day, 1 from bus on 26th.

Subalpine Warbler: Noted most days.

Spectacled Warbler: Noted only on 1 day, 1 at the Petrified Forest on 27th.

Spotted Flycatcher: Noted on 4 days with 2 on 27th, several on 28th, 4 on 29th, 1 Petri on 1st.

[European] Pied Flycatcher: Noted on 2 days with c.10 mainly at Ipsilou on 27th, 1 female on 29th.

Collared Flycatcher: Noted only on 1 day, 1 male on 29th.

Great Tit: Noted most days.

Blue Tit: Noted most days.

Krüper's Nuthatch: Noted on 2 days with heard & seen only briefly on 26th, then 3 together on 30th.

Western Rock Nuthatch: Noted only on 1 day, 2 Petri on 1st.

Short-toed Treecreeper: Noted on 2 days with 3 on 26th, 1 seen well on 30th.

Eurasian Jay: Noted most days.

Western/Eurasian Jackdaw: Noted on 2 days, at Sigri on 27th and Petra on 1st.

Hooded Crow: Noted each day.

[Eurasian] Golden Oriole: Noted on 2 days, heard KP on 27th, a male Parakila on 28th.

Corn Bunting: Noted each day.

Cinereous Bunting: Noted only on 1 day, 1 at Ipsilou & a superb male at Petrified Forest on 27th.

Cretzschmar's Bunting: Noted on 2 days, throughout the day on 27th, & 4 males on 29th.

Cirl Bunting: Noted most days.

Black-headed Bunting: Noted only on 1 day, at least 10 on 1st.

Common/European Chaffinch: Noted most days.

European Serin: Noted only on 1 day, 1 seen, others heard on 30th.

European Greenfinch: Noted most days.

European Goldfinch: Noted each day.

Common Linnet: Noted on 3 days with up to 3 on 27th, 30th, & at Petri on 1st.

House Sparrow: Noted each day.

Spanish Sparrow: Noted each day.

Rock Sparrow / Rock Petronia: Noted only on 1 day, c.12 on 27th.

BUTTERFLIES & other insects:.

Scarce Swallowtail: Noted on 2 days, 29th & 1st.

Eastern Festoon: Noted on 3 days, 29th - 1st.

Small White: Noted on 2 days, 29th & 30th.

Eastern Bath White: Noted only on 1 day, on 27th.

Eastern Dappled White: Noted on 2 days, 26th & 29th.

Orange-tip: Noted on 4 days, 26th, 28th 30th, & 1st.

Clouded Yellow: Noted on 3 days, 26th, 29th, & 30th.

Small Copper: Noted only on 1 day, on 1st.

Common Blue: Noted only on 1 day, on 29th.

Red Admiral: Noted only on 1 day, on 29th.

Painted Lady: Noted on 4 days, 27th, 28th, 29th, & 1st.

Peacock: Noted only on 1 day, on 1st.

Spotted Fritillary: Noted on 2 days, 26th & 29th.

Small Heath: Noted on 3 days, 26th, 27th & 29th.

Wall Brown: Noted only on 1 day, on 27th.

Grizzled Skipper: Noted only on 1 day, on 27th.

Inky Skipper: Noted only on 1 day, on 27th.

AMPHIBIANS & REPTILES:

Eastern Spadefoot Toad: Tadpoles of this species much loved by Whiskered Terns and Little Bitterns at KP.

Marsh Frog / Lake Frog: Heard regularly at KP and other pools, often quite small water-filled ditches.

Spur-thighed/Greek Tortoise: Noted on 2 days, singles on 27th & 29th.

Stripe-necked Terrapin: Noted only at the Potamia valley weir where c.40 on 28th.

Agama: Noted on 2 days, 27th & 1st.

Balkan Green Lizard: Noted on 2 days with 1 on 29th, 2 on 30th.

Montpellier Snake: Noted on 2 days, both dead on road, on 30th & 1st.

MAMMALS:

Eastern Hedgehog: Noted only on 1 day, 2 dead on road on 26th.

Red Fox: Noted only on 1 day, 2 crossing road plus a dead cub on 30th.

Persian Squirrel: Noted on 4 days with 1 Ipsilou on 27th, 1 Potamia valley on 28th, dead on road on 30th, Potamia valley on 1st.

Brown Rat: Noted only on 1 day, dead on road on 30th.

SELECTED PLANTS:

Flower highlights above Agiassos were: Pontic Fritillary, various species of Star-of-Bethlehem, Crown Anemone, Orange Wild Tulip, Common Grape Hyacinth, two species of arum, Dragon Arum Dracunculus vulgaris and Eastern Arum Arum conophalliodes, and three species of orchids - Provence and Green-winged Orchids and Narrow-leaved Helleborine.

Wherever we went elsewhere, there were massed arrays of deep-red Poppies, Papaver apulum and the smaller P. hybridum, and the stately, towering Giant Fennel Ferula communis. At 'Derbyshire', we found Small-flowered Tongue Orchid Serapias parviflora and the yellow and white Oriental Iris Iris orientalis, this latter plant also present in the fields near the Kalloni Saltpans.

It's always impossible to pick a single highlight from a trip and this one was no exception. I'm sure you have all gone away with special memories of your own, but don't forget the Krüper's Nuthatches chasing around the trees just above us, the Cretzschmar's Bunting singing and feeding below us at the Petrified Forest, the male Collared Flycatcher together with Rüppell's and Subalpine Warblers above the Petra Panorama viewpoint, and of course all those terns, herons and ibis on the pool right in front of the hotel every morning and evening! I hope that you all thoroughly enjoyed the trip and I hope to see you again in the not-too-distant future.

Keith Grant, May 2002


© The Travelling Naturalist 2002