TRAVELLING NATURALIST TRIP REPORT
24th April - 1st May 2003
Thursday 24th April Arrival
Bright & sunny, cloudless
The Manchester flight stopped briefly at Gatwick to pick the rest of us up before continuing on to Mytilene. Arriving in the late afternoon in brilliant sunshine, we met up with our old friend and driver, Leandros. We picked up our remaining two clients, who had arrived previously, and headed directly for Skala Kalloni. A Sandwich Tern was spotted alongside the road soon after leaving the airport, a Buzzard was circling to the north of Mytilene, and a Black-eared Wheatear and Lesser Grey Shrike were glimpsed from the bus en route. Good numbers of Flamingos were on the saltpans as we passed and we arrived at our hotel in good time for the bar and dinner!
Friday 25th April Misintziki, Achladeri Forest, Vouvari R., Kalloni Saltpans
Cloudless and calm am, cloud & wind increasing pm
We gathered as usual before breakfast to overlook the Kalloni Pool. Little Grebe, Garganey, Black-winged Stilts and Ruffs all showed well. A drake Pintail was unusual. Four species of swallows & martins and a few Swifts were overhead, and in the thick undergrowth, Nightingales, Cetti's, Sedge & Reed Warblers were all singing heartily. Several Little Crakes were creeping around quite close to the road and provided excellent opportunities to watch these normally elusive birds.
We met up with Leandros after breakfast, and headed south-east round the Gulf of Kalloni. We walked a short trail near Misintziki, finding Whinchats, Woodchat Shrike and Black-headed Wagtails. A pair of displaying Short-toed Eagles flew over, as did a party of Glossy Ibis. A male Rüppell's Warbler appeared briefly just as we were boarding the bus. Another brief stop to overlook the lagoon produced what was to prove our only Spoonbill of the trip, a Great White Egret and a Black Stork struggling to swallow prey. Then on to Achladeri Forest where we had excellent views of Krüper's Nuthatches foraging in the trees all around us and taking food to their nest hole in a broken pine stump. As usual, we kept well away from the nest hole and were rewarded with very close views of this pair and at least two other birds later. Also seen, were Short-toed Treecreeper, Spotted and Pied Flycatcher, Jay and Raven. We had our picnic lunch here, then retraced our route to stop briefly at bridge over the Vouvari River. We disturbed a male Little Bittern and had brief views of Nightingale; reptiles here included Agama and Stripe-necked Terrapins. Butterflies so far included a Scarce Swallowtail, Orange-tip and Small Copper, but as the weather had been very cold earlier in the week before we arrived, butterflies were still rather scarce.
The saltpans were alive with Greater Flamingos, Gull-billed Terns, Black Terns and White-winged Terns, and Black-tailed Godwits and Ruff were also numerous. The wind by now was becoming quite strong from the north-east. There were good views of other sandpipers and stilts in the channel alongside the road. We were watching up to 10 Red-footed Falcons hunting low over the dunes, when a Peregrine overhead flushed the Ruff and other shorebirds. A very distant Pratincole was probably a Collared, but we were to find others later in the week. Our second Black Stork of the day was in the channel very close by the coach. As we headed back, a Dalmatian Pelican was seen sitting on one of the bunds in the saltpans. How did we miss him as we passed earlier? We then returned to the hotel to spend a final hour or so overlooking the pool. A drake Pochard had appeared, as had good numbers of Ruffs and Wood Sandpipers. A Honey-buzzard then drifted overhead. A brief look over the beach to the bay found a breeding-plumaged Black-necked Grebe just offshore.
Saturday 26th April Skalochori, IPSalou Monastery, Petrified Forest & Sigri
Mainly sunny & cloudless, chilly breeze
Most of the early risers found a Little Bittern alongside the road, though it quickly disappeared into thicker vegetation. Several Squacco Herons were visible, and both Great Reed and Savi's Warblers were seen. Two Little Crakes showed well, as did a pair of Golden Orioles briefly in the willows across the fields. After breakfast and before boarding the bus, a Spotted Crake showed well in the corner of the pond. Our first stop just outside Kalloni was to find a Scops Owl roosting against a Eucalypt trunk. Looking up at an old crow's nest, we realised that two Long-eared Owl chicks were looking down at us! Back on the bus, a super Long-legged Buzzard was circling over the hillside above Dafia. We headed on past Filia and stopped to walk up a track with Nightingales singing all around. One was briefly in full view; then, several pairs of Subalpine Warblers showed well, as did a Rock Nuthatch and a stunning male Blue Rock Thrush. A pair of Black-eared Wheatear was also around and a second Long-legged Buzzard was found perched up on a distant bluff. We had several sightings of False Apollo butterflies. A Crag Martin flashed past the front of the bus as we headed down the Vatoussa Gorge, and there were several more flying around the Ipsilou Monastery. Unfortunately, this was rather disturbed by men working on the power cables when we arrived, and although they quickly disappeared, this had successfully disturbed any Rock Sparrows which we may have seen! However, Woodlarks were singing from across the slopes, and we saw several Pied Flycatchers and a female Collared Flycatcher. A Peregrine flew past whilst we were having lunch. A short ride further on and we arrived at the Petrified Forest, where a Cuckoo was flushed from the roadside as we approached along the ridge. We walked past several of the petrified trunks, many now being covered by plastic sheeting as protection from the weather. At the far end of the path, we scanned down the slope below us, to eventually find three Cinereous Buntings, including a superbly close singing male. There were also brief views of a Cretszchmar's Bunting here, with a Common Whitethroat and further Woodchat Shrikes. On again, following an Eleonora's Falcon along the road as we left, and we dropped down to Sigri, at the far west of the island. Several Lesser Kestrels and good numbers of Jackdaws flew over the village, then a small party of Bee-eaters flew over, calling. Several Shags were on the sea below us and a Kingfisher perched on the rocks was most unexpected. We then retraced our route, stopping briefly on the roadside to search for Isabelline Wheatears. We found two immediately, chasing each other vigorously and giving us excellent views of the tail pattern. A male Cretszchmar's Bunting was also in full song on a nearby rock. Back to the hotel for a brief look over the pond before dinner.
Sunday 27th April Potamia Valley, Parakila, Kalloni saltpans
Sunny all day, light breeze
The early risers again saw Little Crakes and had excellent views of Little Bittern. There were several hundred Sand Martins feeding over the pond and perched in the reeds. A Hobby flew west and two Great Reed Warblers appeared just before breakfast. We headed for the nearby Potamia valley in the bus and walked over the river and up the valley as far as the weir. Nightingales, as usual, were much in evidence, sometimes singing right in the open. Several Olivaceous Warblers and Blackcaps were in the bushes alongside the river and a very nice pair of Masked Shrikes showed well. Stripe-necked Terrapins, a pile I think would be a suitable collective noun, were hauled up on the riverbank. We then headed south-westwards to Parakila, to the Chapel of the Holy Cross. A Rock Nuthatch was attending a nest under a rocky overhang, and several Sombre Tits were in the valley and very close views were obtained of these as they came regularly to a small nearby oak tree. A Cretzschmar's Bunting was singing well on the hillside and we had excellent views of one in a tree right overhead by the chapel. We returned towards Parakila village itself and had lunch in the fields beside the ruined minaret, serenaded by gunfire and a church service! Several Wood Warblers showed well nearby and both Pied and Collared Flycatchers were found after lunch. We then did a second visit to the Kalloni saltpans, walking out to the sheep field where we had good views of Short-toed Larks and Red-throated Pipits. The Black Stork again flew in to feed in the channel and the Dalmatian Pelican was on one of the pans with the Flamingos. A final short walk produced a pair of Stone-curlews attacking some sheep, presumably trying to push them away from a nesting area, and we had stunning views of four Collared Pratincoles flying over us and landing exceptionally close in the field.
Monday 28th April Eftalou & Mithimni
Warm & sunny, up to 24'C
Our pre-breakfast walk took us to overlook the West River, where there were several Great White Egrets, three Black Storks, and a pair of Stone-curlews. After breakfast, we headed north, stopping first at the Panorama Viewpoint overlooking Petra Bay, where we had brief views of Rüppell's Warblers singing and in display flight. There were also Subalpine Warbler and Black-eared Wheatears on the slope, and a Peregrine was very vocal as it flew around above the cliffs. On to Eftalou where we walked along the hillside track overlooking the sea. Unfortunately there was no sign of any shearwaters on the sea, but we did have good views of Willow Warbler, Icterine Warbler, Lesser Whitethroats, Cirl Buntings with food for young, Sombre Tits and Masked Shrikes. Several members who had walked ahead found a large Ottoman Viper crossing the track. As we returned, butterflies were much in evidence, with Eastern Dappled White, False Apollo and Eastern Festoon all noted. After lunch in a taverna at Eftalou, we took the opportunity to look at Molivos Castle at Mithimni and to walk down through the old town, where Common Swifts and several Wall butterflies were much in evidence but not much else. We paid a final visit to the viewpoint, again getting brief views of Rüppell's Warblers.
Tuesday 29th April Misintziki, Karynnis Spring, Agiassos, Kalloni East River
Sunny & hot
The early morning revealed a rather quiet pool so we walked round to the end to view the White Storks on their nest on the church roof across the fields. A Snipe flew in to some wet ditches in the sheep field, followed by another. The second bird landed and showed itself briefly, but promptly sat down as soon as the telescopes zeroed in! A Cuckoo showed briefly behind the hotel, with another at the mouth of the West River. After breakfast, our first stop was a second walk down the track near Misintziki, where we found Whinchats, Subalpine Warbler and three Short-toed Larks. Then a lovely female Citrine Wagtail appeared right beside us, and we were all able to get excellent views through the telescopes. We stopped for coffees at Karynnis Springs, finding also Wrens and a Red-rumped Swallow. We admired the almost tardis effect of the huge plane tree where a local artist reputedly lived. We then drove on up through Agiassos to explore the pine and sweet chestnut woods above the village. Here, Serins were much in evidence, and we found another Krüper's Nuthatch attending a nest hole. Lax-flowered Orchids were the only orchids up and flowering, indicating just how late spring is this year. Middle-spotted Woodpeckers were seen by all, and Mistle Thrush, Song Thrush, Short-toed Tree-creeper, Wren and Robin were also seen by various group members. We then drove back down the hill to finish the day by briefly exploring part of the upper East River. A Great Reed Warbler was immediately found near the road, then two Temminck's Stints were found on the sandbanks, a pair of Little Ringed Plovers, and possibly a second Great Reed Warbler. Bathing Greenfinches looked stunning in the bright sunshine. Finally, a White Stork, presumably one of the local breeding pair in Kalloni, flew in to land in the river as we left.
Back to the hotel for a Greek evening which included a barbeque and Greek dancing.
Wednesday 30th April Petri, Petra and Kalloni Saltpans
Sunny & warm
Our pre-breakfast walk took us out to the mouth of the West River. We saw good numbers of Kentish Plovers, several Little Stints, Great White and Little Egrets, and a Squacco Heron. House Martins were very busy collecting mud for their nest-building. After breakfast, a male Little Bittern showed exceptionally well in the corner of the pond, allowing everyone, at last, to have good views. We drove north towards Stipsi and Petri. A Turtle Dove was seen briefly on the roadside wires as we passed. This, one of our favourite walks, did not disappoint! We found a Barred Warbler fiddling around near some poplars, several Blackcaps, a pair of Rock Nuthatches and several Black-eared Wheatears on the rocky outcrop. A male Cretzschmar's Bunting sang just over the track at one point and there were lots of Subalpine Warblers and a Sombre Tit briefly. Everyone also had nice views of a male Red-backed Shrike, and then several Golden Orioles were spotted, sitting up on distant trees. They were in view long enough for everyone to see them through the telescopes. A Greek Tortoise 'rushed' across a field! Butterflies had obviously just emerged and we saw several Large Wall Browns. On the way back, a Sparrow-hawk flew overhead, followed by a Goshawk circling the sun.
Leandros collected us at the village and we drove down to Petra for lunch at the restaurant run by his wife and daughter at the Women's Collective. After a really excellent lunch, we had a brief look around the town, some of us getting up to the church on the volcanic plug. Mid-afternoon, and we headed for a final visit to the saltpans, flushing two Turtle Doves off the roadside as we left Petra.
Getting to the pans, we checked the wet fields at the end of the road. Several Bee-eaters were nice, as were the Marsh Sandpipers, Greenshank, Ruff, Wood Sandpipers and both Little and Temminck's Stints on the shallow pool beside the track. Two Black-tailed Godwits, though distant amongst the Avocets and Flamingos, showed really richly-coloured breeding plumage. A final walk out across the fields found further Bee-eaters and another Red-backed Shrike. Back for dinner.
Thursday 1st May Kalloni Pool & departure
Sunny & warm
Our final look around the pool before breakfast enabled us to see Sedge, Reed, Olivaceous, Great Reed and Cetti's Warblers. We also eventually found a nice male Black-headed Bunting in the fields beside the hotel. After a leisurely breakfast, we packed up our things, loaded the bus and headed off to the airport for our flight home, dropping three of the group at their hotel in Mytilene for their extra week's holiday.
ACH = Achladeri
EFT = Eftalou
IPS = Ipsilou Monastery
KP = Kalloni Pool
KSP = Kalloni Salt Pans
MZ = Mizintziki (= 'Derbyshire')
PF = Petrified Forest
Little Grebe / Dabchick: Noted each day with up to 3 on KP.
Great Crested Grebe: Noted only on 1 day, 1 on sea off MZ on 25th.
Black-necked/Eared Grebe: Noted on 2 days with 1 in Kalloni Bay on 25th, 3 on 27th.
Yelkouan Shearwater: At least 15 off Petra on 30th were this species (not Cory's, closer views obtained during the second week's trip).
European Shag: Noted on 2 days with 3 on sea off Sigri on 26th, 1 in Petra Bay on 30th.
Dalmatian Pelican: Noted on 3 days with 1 at KSP on 25th, 27th, 30th.
Grey Heron: Noted most days.
Great [White] Egret: Noted most days.
Little Egret: Noted each day.
Squacco Heron: Up to five noted each day.
Little Bittern: Noted on 5 days with 1 Vouvari River on 25th, up to 2 at KP on 26th, 27th, 29th, & 30th.
Greater Flamingo: Noted most days with several hundred at KSP.
Black Stork: Noted most days with 1 MZ & 1 KSP on 25th, 2 on 26th, 1 KSP on 27th, 3 West River on 28th, 3 on 29th, 1 KSP on 30th, 2 KP on 1st.
White Stork: Noted on 5 days with nesting pairs on roof tops in Kalloni town and Papiana village. Also two flew over Petri and one at KSP on 30th.
Glossy Ibis: Noted most days with maximum c.20 at KP on 25th & 26th.
Eurasian Spoonbill: Noted only on 1 day, 1 at MZ on 25th.
Mute Swan: Noted on 2 days with 1 over KP on 28th, 1 Kalloni Bay on 29th.
Common Shelduck: Noted on 4 days with 2 MZ on 25th, 3 KSP on 27th, 1 MZ on 29th, 2 KSP on 30th.
Eurasian/Common Teal: Noted only on 1 day, 4 KSP on 27th.
Mallard: Noted on 4 days with a male at KP on 26th - 29th.
Northern Pintail: Noted on 4 days with a male at KP on 24th - 27th.
Garganey: Noted most days, with c.20 at KP on 25th, c.15 there on 26th, then declining in numbers to only 1 on 1st.
Common Pochard: Noted on 4 days with a male at KP on 25th - 28th.
European Honey-Buzzard: Noted on 3 days with single birds over KSP & KP on 25th, over Sigri on 26th, and the Chapel of the Holy Cross near Parkila on 27th.
Short-toed Eagle: Noted on 4 days with 2 over MZ on 25th, 2 Kalloni on 26th, 2 Potamia Valley on 27th, 1 Petri on 30th.
Montagu's Harrier: Noted only on 1 day, a male over KP on 26th.
[Eurasian] Marsh Harrier: Noted on 3 days with 1 KSP on 25th, 1f KP on 26th, 1 KSP on 30th.
Eurasian Sparrowhawk: Noted only at Petri, 1 on 30th, joined by a Goshawk.
Northern Goshawk: Noted only at Petri, 1 on 30th, with a Sparrowhawk.
Common Buzzard: Noted on 5 days with 1 near Mytilene on 24th, 2 at Achladeri on 25th, 3 Agiassos on 29th, 2 from bus on 30th, 1 from bus on 1st.
Long-legged Buzzard: Noted on 3 days with single birds near Dafia & Skalochori on 26th, Potamia Valley on 27th, and Petri on 30th.
Lesser Kestrel: Noted only at Sigri, at least 8 on 26th.
Common/Eurasian Kestrel: Noted on 5 days with 1 KSP on 25th, at least 3 on 26th, 1 from bus on 29th, 1 Petri on 30th, 1 Mytilene on 1st.
Red-footed Falcon: Noted on 2 days with c.20 at KSP on 25th, and another there on 27th.
Eurasian Hobby: Noted only on 1 day, 1 over KP on 27th.
Eleonora's Falcon: Noted on 2 days with 1 PF on 26th, 1 from bus on 27th.
Peregrine Falcon: Noted on 3 days with 1 KSP on 25th, 2 IPS on 26th, 1 Panorama viewpoint on 28th.
Chukar: Noted only on 1 day, 2 at IPS and another 2 as we approached PF on 26th.
Common Pheasant: Noted only on 1 day, heard MZ on 25th.
Little Crake: Noted on 3 days with 3 KP on 25th, 3 KP on 27th, 1 KP on 28th.
Spotted Crake: Noted only at KP, 1 on 26th.
Common Moorhen: Noted each day.
Eurasian/Common Coot: Noted each day.
Black-winged Stilt: Noted each day with nesting birds at KP.
Pied Avocet: Noted most days with at least 100 at KSP every time we passed.
Stone-curlew: Noted on 5 days with ones or twos at KSP on 25th, 27th & 30th, and the West River on 28th & 29th.
Collared Pratincole: Noted on 2 days with 1 distantly at KSP on 25th, and 4 just overhead and landing very close KSP on 27th.
Little [Ringed] Plover: Noted on 5 days with 1 KP on 26th, 4 at KP & KSP on 27th, West River on 28th, a pair East River on 29th, 2 KSP on 30th.
Kentish Plover: Noted on 5 days with 1 MZ on 25th, 4 at KP & KSP on 27th, and up to 11 at West River on 28th - 30th.
Black-tailed Godwit: Noted on 2 days with several hundred KSP on 25th, at least 2 in breeding plumage at KSP on 30th.
Common Snipe: Noted only at KP, 4 on 29th.
Marsh Sandpiper: Noted on 3 days with c.10 at KP & KSP on 25th, 4 KP on 26th, 2 KSP on 30th.
Common Greenshank: Noted on 3 days with 6 at KP & KSP on 25th, 3 KSP on 27th, 1 KSP on 30th.
Wood Sandpiper: Noted most days, maximum count c.30.
Common Sandpiper: Noted on 3 days with 4 on 25th, 3 on 27th, 3 KSP on 30th.
Little Stint: Noted on 5 days with several KSP on 25th & 27th, several West River on 28th, several on 29th, c.15 on 30th.
Temminck's Stint: Noted on 2 days with 2 East River on 29th, 1 KSP on 30th.
Curlew Sandpiper: Noted on 2 days with c20 KSP on 25th, 4 KSP on 27th.
Ruff: Noted most days, with several hundred at KSP on 25th, numbers generally declining until 1st.
Yellow-legged Gull: Noted each day.
Caspian Gull: Noted only on 1 day, a sub-adult at KSP on 25th.
Mediterranean Gull: Noted only at Sigri, an adult flew passed the quay as we alighted from the bus on 26th.
Whiskered Tern: Noted on 4 days with 10 KSP on 25th, then single birds only at KP on 28th & 29th, and West River on 30th.
White-winged [Black] Tern: Noted on 4 days with c.20 on 25th, then 2 at KP on 26th & 27th, and 6 there on 28th.
Black Tern: Noted only on 1 day, c.20 at KSP on 25th.
Gull-billed Tern: Noted on 2 days with c.40 at KSP on 25th, 1 KSP on 27th.
Sandwich Tern: Noted only on 1 day, 1 near airport on 24th.
Common Tern: Noted most days with 6 on 25th, 35 at Kalloni Bay & KSP on 27th, 12 West River on 28th, 2 West River on 29th, at least 20 on 30th & 1st.
Little Tern: Noted most days with 6 on 25th, several KSP on 27th, 2 West River on 28th, 1 West River on 29th, 2 West River 4 KSP on 30th & 1st.
Rock Dove / Feral Pigeon: Noted only on 2 days, 26th & 28th.
European Turtle Dove: Noted on 4 days with 6 flying past the bus near Kalloni on 26th, heard 'purring' on 27th & 29th, 4 seen plus others heard on 30th.
Eurasian Collared Dove: Noted each day.
Common Cuckoo: Noted on 3 days with 1 near PF on 26th, heard EFT on 28th, 1 seen another heard on 29th.
[Common] Barn Owl: Noted only on 1 day, pair visiting nest in chimney stack in Skala Kalloni on 28th.
Eurasian Scops Owl: Noted only near Kalloni, 1 seen at roost against a Eucalyptus trunk on 26th.
Little Owl: Noted only on 1 day, 1 EFT on 28th.
Long-eared Owl: Noted only near Kalloni, 2 chicks in nest on 26th.
Alpine Swift: Noted on 3 days with c.10 on 25th, at least 1 on 26th & 29th.
Common Swift: Noted most days.
European Bee-eater: Noted on 5 days with 15 over Sigri on 26th, 18 over Parakila on 27th, heard EFT on 28th, heard over hotel on 29th, 6 KSP on 30th.
Eurasian Hoopoe: Noted on 2 days with heard ACH on 25th, heard Skalochori on 26th.
Common Kingfisher: Noted only at Sigri, 1 on rocks on 26th.
Middle Spotted Woodpecker: Noted on 3 days with 1 from bus en route on 26th, 2 pairs Agiassos on 29th, 1 Petri on 30th.
[Greater] Short-toed Lark: Noted on 2 days with 20 at KSP on 27th, 3 MZ on 29th.
Crested Lark: Noted each day.
Wood Lark: Noted only at IPS when heard singing on 26th.
[European] Sand Martin: Noted most days, maximum several hundred at KP on 27th.
[Eurasian] Crag Martin: Noted only on 26th, when 1 briefly past the bus in the Vatousa Gorge and several at IPS.
Barn Swallow: Noted each day.
Red-rumped Swallow: Noted on 5 days.
[Common] House Martin: Noted each day.
Citrine Wagtail: Noted only at MZ, 1f on 29th.
Blue-headed Wagtail: Single birds noted only on 4 days.
Black-headed Wagtail: Noted most days, though not as numerous as in previous years.
Tree Pipit: Noted only at EFT, 1 on 28th.
Red-throated Pipit: Noted only at KSP, 6 on 27th.
Red-backed Shrike: Noted only on 30th, when 4 seen during the day.
Lesser Grey Shrike: Noted only on 24th, when 1 seen from bus en route.
Masked Shrike: Noted on 4 days with a pair Potamia Valley on 27th, 4 EFT on 28th, 1 East River on 29th, 1 Petri on 30th. Much more numerous than in previous years.
Woodchat Shrike: Noted on 5 days with 3 on 25th, several on 26th, 1 Parakila on 27th, 1 MZ and another East River on 29th, 1 from bus on 1st.
[Winter] Wren: Noted on 2 days with several at Karynnis Springs and at Agiassos on 29th, 1 Petri on 30th.
Blue Rock Thrush: Noted on 3 days with pairs at Skalochori & IPS on 26th, 1 distantly Potamia Valley on 27th, a female Petri on 30th.
Common Blackbird: Noted most days.
Mistle Thrush: Noted only at Agiassos, 2 on 29th.
Song Thrush: Noted only at Agiassos, 1 on 29th.
European Robin: Noted only at Agiassos, 1 on 29th.
Common/Rufous Nightingale: Noted most days.
Whinchat: Noted on 5 days, a very widespread spring migrant.
Common Stonechat: Noted only on 1 day, several at IPS & PF on 26th.
Black-eared Wheatear: Noted most days, a very widespread spring migrant and summer visitor with both white-throated and black-throated forms seen.
Isabelline Wheatear: Noted only on 1 day, 2 on 26th.
Cetti's Warbler: Noted most days.
Savi's Warbler: Heard & seen at KP only on 26th.
Sedge Warbler: Noted most days.
[Eurasian] Reed Warbler: Noted on 2 days at KP, on 25th & 1st.
Great Reed Warbler: Noted on 5 days with ones or twos at KP on 26th - 28th & 1st, and 2 on the East River on 29th,
Eastern Olivaceous Warbler: Noted on 5 days with birds regularly seen in the tamarisks near the hotel and several in the Potamia Valley on 27th.
Icterine Warbler: Noted only at EFT, 1 on 28th.
Willow Warbler: Noted only at EFT, 1 on 28th.
Common/Eurasian Chiffchaff: Noted only at IPS, several on 26th.
Wood Warbler: Noted on 5 days with 3 at ACH on 25th, 1 IPS on 26th, several Parakila on 27th, EFT on 28th, 1 Petri on 30th.
Blackcap: Noted on 4 days with several at Skalochori on 26th, Parakila on 27th & EFT on 28th, 4 at Petri plus others on 30th.
Common Whitethroat: Noted on 2 days with 2 on 26th, 1 on 27th.
Lesser Whitethroat: Noted on 2 days with several on 26th & 28th.
Rüppell's Warbler: Noted on 2 days with a male briefly at MZ on 25th, up to 4 at the Panarama viewpoint on 28th.
Subalpine Warbler: Noted on 4 days with several pairs at Skalochori on 26th, EFT on 28th, Agiassos on 29th, Petri on 30th.
Barred Warbler: Noted only at Petri, 1 on 30th.
Spotted Flycatcher: Noted most days.
[European] Pied Flycatcher: Noted on 4 days with a pair at ACH on 25th, several at IPS on 26th, Parakila on 27th, and a male from the bus on 1st.
Collared Flycatcher: Noted on 2 days with a female at IPS on 26th, 2 males & a female at Parakila on 27th.
Long-tailed Tit: Noted only at ACH, several in the wood on 25th.
Sombre Tit: Noted on 3 days with 3 at the Chapel on 27th, several EFT on 28th, 1 Petri on 30th.
Great Tit: Noted most days.
Blue Tit: Noted most days.
Krüper's Nuthatch: Noted on 2 days with at least 4 at ACH on 25th, and a pair at nest near Agiassos on 29th.
Western Rock Nuthatch: Noted on 4 days with 2 at Skalochori on 26th, 1 at nest near the Chapel on 27th, 1 at MZ on 29th, a pair at Petri on 30th.
Short-toed Treecreeper: Noted on 2 days with 1 ACH on 25th, 2 Agiassos on 29th.
Eurasian Jay: Noted on 5 days with 1 ACH on 25th, several from bus en route on 26th, several on 28th & 29th, 1 Petri on 30th.
Western/Eurasian Jackdaw: Noted only at Sigri, at least 50 on 26th.
Hooded Crow: Noted each day.
Common Raven: Noted on 2 days with 2 at ACH on 25th, 1 from bus on 26th.
[Eurasian] Golden Oriole: Noted on 3 days with a pair briefly at KP on 26th, 5 at EFT on 28th, at least 3 males & 2 females near Petri on 30th.
Corn Bunting: Noted most days.
Cinereous Bunting: Noted only on 1 day, 2 males & a female at PF on 26th.
Cretzschmar's Bunting: Noted on 4 days with 2 males at PF on 26th, 2 males near the Chapel on 27th, 2 males at EFT on 28th, and a male near Petri on 30th.
Cirl Bunting: Noted on 5 days with single males at Skalochori & IPS on 26th, Potamia Valley & the Chapel on 27th, a pair at EFT on 28th, heard on 29th, & noted also on 30th.
Black-headed Bunting: Noted only on 1 day, a male by the hotel on our last morning on 1st. A late arrival this spring as this species is an abundant summer visitor usually from late April.
Common/European Chaffinch: Noted most days.
European Serin: Noted only near Agiassos, several in the woodland on 29th.
European Greenfinch: Noted most days.
European Goldfinch: Noted most days.
Common Linnet: Noted on 5 days.
Hawfinch: Noted only near Agiassos, 1 briefly on 29th.
House Sparrow: Noted each day.
Spanish Sparrow: Noted most days.
BUTTERFLIES & other insects:
Swallowtail: Noted on 2 days, 28th, & 29th.
Scarce Swallowtail: Noted on 3 days, 25th, 26th, & 30th.
Eastern Festoon: Noted on 5 days, 26th, 28th - 1st.
False Apollo: Noted on 3 days, 26th, 28th, & 29th.
Large White: Noted most days.
Small White: Noted most days.
Eastern Dappled White: Noted only on 28th.
Orange-tip: Noted most days.
Clouded Yellow: Noted most days.
Cleopatra: Noted on 2 days, 26th, & 27th.
Small Copper: Noted most days.
Holly Blue: Noted on 2 days, 26th, & 30th.
Red Admiral: Noted only on 1st.
Painted Lady: Noted only on 30th.
Small Heath: Noted most days.
Wall Brown: Noted on 2 days, 26th, & 28th.
Large Wall Brown: Noted only on 30th.
Broad-bodied Chaser: Noted only at Petri on 30th.
Egyptian Grasshopper: Noted only at ACH on 25th.
Red-winged Grasshopper: Noted on 2 days, 26th, & 28th.
Blue-winged Grasshopper: Noted only on 27th.
AMPHIBIANS & REPTILES:
Marsh Frog / Lake Frog: Noted each day.
Spur-thighed/Greek Tortoise: Noted on 4 days, at KSP on 27th, EFT on 28th, Agiassos on 29th, and near Petri on 30th.
Stripe-necked Terrapin: Noted on 3 days, Vouvari R. on 25th, Potamia Valley on 27th, and Kalloni East River on 29th.
Turkish Gecko: Noted only at the Chapel of the Holy Cross on 27th.
Agama: Noted most days.
Balkan Green Lizard: Noted on 2 days, 29th, & 30th.
Ottoman Viper: Noted only at EFT on 28th, when a large specimen was seen crossing the track.
Red Fox: Noted only on 1 day, 1 seen from the bus near Skalochori on 26th.
Persian Squirrel: Noted on 5 days.
Brown Rat: A road kill noted on 26th.
SELECTED PLANTS: Nos. on right refer to Mediterranean Wild Flowers by Blamey & Grey-Wilson.
Many plants were not in flower due to the late spring. Indeed, many orchids were not even above the ground! A formal plant list was not created; however, this is a brief list of some of the plants noted:
Pinaceae Pinus brutia Calabrian Pine 2
Pinus pinea Stone Pine / Umbrella Pine 3
Cupressaceae Cypressus sempervirens (f. sempervirens)
Funereal Cypress 11
Juniperus oxacedrus macrocarpa Prickly Juniper 15a
Fagaceae Castanea sativa Sweet Chestnut 23
Quercus coccifera Kermes Oak 24
Quercus ilex Holm Oak 25
Moraceae Ficus carica Fig 42
Aizoaceae Carpobrotus aciniformis Hottentot Fig 116
Ranunculaceae Anemone coronaria Crown Anemone 211
Papaveraceae Papaver rhoeas Common/Corn Poppy 283
Papaver apulum 291
Glaucium flavum Yellow Horned-poppy 293
Cruciferae Matthiola sinuata Sea Stock 326
Platanaceae Platanus orientalis Plane Tree 400
Rosaceae Crataegus monogyna Hawthorn 420
Leguminosae Spartium junceum Spanish Broom 481
Lupinus sp. Lupin species (blue) c.487
Trifolium stellatum Star Clover 662
Linaceae Linum bienne Pale Flax 777
Euphorbiaceae Euphorbia mysinites Broad-leaved Glaucous Spurge 801
Euphorbia characias [Large] Mediterranean Spurge 818
Cistaceae Cistus creticus Cretan Cistus 962
Cistus parvifolius Small-flowered Cistus 964
Cistus salvifolius Sage-leaved Cistus 965
Tamaricaceae Tamarix smyrnensis Tamarisk 1022
Umbelliferae Eryngium maritimum Sea Holly 1073
Ferula communis Giant Fennel 1141
Daucus carota Wild Carrot 1168
Primulaceae Anagallis arvensis Scarlet Pimpernel (blue form) 1198
Cyclamen graeca Greek Sowbread/Cyclamen 1205
Oleaceae Olea europaea Olive (planted) 1248
Convolvulaceae Convolvulus althaeoides Mallow-leaved Bindweed 1331
Boraginaceae Echium angustifolium Narrow-leaved/Red Bugloss 1382
Echium italicum Pale Bugloss 1380
Echium plantagineum Purple Viper's Bugloss 1383
Anchusa undulata Undulate Anchusa 1406a
Labiatae Ballota acetabulosa Garden Horehound / Ballota 1469
Lavandula stoechas French Lavender 1528
Schrophulariaceae Verbascum sinuatum/graeca Greek Mullein 1601
Verbascum undulatum Wavy-leaved Mullein 1602
Campanulaceae Legousia speculum-veneris Large Venus' Looking-glass 1778
Legousia pentagonica Pentagonica 1780
Compositae Chrysanthemum segetum Corn Marigold 1894
Chrysanthemum coronarium Crown Daisy 1895
Calendula arvensis Field/Spring Marigold 1908
Galactites tomentosa Galactites 1971
Silybum marianum Milk Thistle 1982
Centaurea cyanus Cornflower 2008
Tragopogon porrifolius Salsify / Med'ean Goatsbeard 2055
Crepis rubra Pink Hawksbeard 2070
Liliaceae Asphodelus albus White Asphodel 2091
Fritillaria pontica Pontic Fritillary 2154
Ornithogalum montanum Branched Star of Bethlehem 2167
Ornithogalum nutans Large Star of Bethlehem 2173
Muscari neglectum Common Grape Hyacinth 2206
Iridaceae Gyndandriris sisyrinchium Barbary Nut 2305
Araceae Dracunculus vulgaris Dragon Arum 2358
Arum conophalloides Eastern Arum 2364
Orchidaceae Limodorum abortivum Violet Bird's Nest Orchid 2386
Orchis laxiflora Lax- /Loose-flowered Orchid 2420
Serapias parviflora Small-flowered Tongue Orchid 2452
I hope you all enjoyed the trip and have returned home with your own special memories. It is always fascinating to see migration in action, with numbers of terns and swallows and martins fluctuating overnight as the weather cleared and settled. The spring seemed to be delayed with some summer visitors, which should be commonly seen, not arriving, and most of the orchids and butterflies not yet emerged. As always, no-one saw everything that we recorded, but that is birding.
The restaurants for dinner and the two lunches were excellent, and who could forget the Greek evening and dances on Tuesday evening at the hotel.
Well done to all of you who made this trip the success it was, and our special thanks to Lena and her team at Eressos Travel, and to Leandros who drove us so patiently and safely during the week. We hope to see you on another trip sometime in the not-too-distant future.
Keith Grant & Neil Arnold, May 2003