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TRAVELLING NATURALIST TRIP REPORT



Kos

Wednesday 4 - Wednesday 11 May 2005





Trip Report

 

Leaders

Mike Langman

Robin Chittenden

 

Trip Diary

Wednesday 4 May

 
The group arrived safely in Gatwick at 4.50am and checked in. After a few problems with the aircraft refuelling we departed 2hrs late. Eventually we arrived at Kos at 3.05pm local time. Bags were loaded into the hotel manager’s pick-up truck and Minibuses were collected. Peter and Joan flying in from Manchester arrived on time and had taken a taxi to the Tingaki Star already.

The whole group gathered on the sunny terrace and tucked into some packed lunches kindly provided by the hotel. We also enjoyed our first views of Lesser Kestrels, three Red-footed Falcons and a Scarce Swallowtail Butterfly.

At 5pm our first field excursion involved a short walk out of the back of the hotel straight to the Saltpans. The next hour was filled with birds as White-winged Black and Whiskered Terns first hawked the lagoon then the fields all around us. Waders of several species including Temminck’s Stint frequented the marshy edges, a Black-headed Wagtail perched up on some dead tamarisks and a Gull- billed Tern sat on a small spit of land. Then a strikingly dark and bulky ‘turtle’ Dove flew in with a Collared Dove to land beside the path. Robin and Mike looked in disbelief before the shout of ‘it has to be Rufous Turtle Dove’ went up. The bird flew again with the Collared Dove; luckily the Dove landed again just in front of Mike who took some mental notes before it flew again this time landing in a tree. The regularly barred pattern made up by large dark centred wing coverts and pale, almost white tips were obvious as was the dark chest head and grey rump and greyish mantle the white outer tail and tail tips meant the bird was the race meena – What a start to the holiday!

Back at the Hotel there was time for a quick ‘buff-up’ before we walked for dinner at a local Taverna. This year a menu was provided in English, the huge Greek salads were consumed before the main course and we all headed off to bed at 9.30pm after a long day.

 

Thursday 5 May

The 6.45am start was attended by most of the group as we again walked past the small chapel, in the hotel grounds, out beside the lagoon a showy Woodchat Shrike was appreciated and most of us saw the Great Reed Warbler that was to grind out it song beside the hotel for most of the week. Flamingos were present in good numbers and the terns from the previous day were still hawking close to the reedy edge. Good numbers of Wood Sandpipers, Ruff, Temminck’s Stint, Slender-billed Gulls and a Kentish Plover were just reward for our early start.

Breakfast was taken on the terrace and the Greek Yoghurt with Honey proved popular with most.

With packed lunches delivered we headed for a usually damp field area to the north west of Kos town, unfortunately it was again dry this year but a brief stop gave us some good views of Red-rumped Swallows. A short drive through the outskirts of Kos town with its many archaeological sites and we were soon at the Psalidi Wetlands.

The receptionist was pleased to see us and loaned us the keys to the hide, then took us to see a splendid area for orchids. Walking to the hide a Squacco Heron showed well and we bumped into a local wildlife ‘activist’ who informed the group about the problems they were having with a nearby water fun park. A few group photos were taken that he was going to show to the Mayor! The hide was unlocked but was very stuffy and we couldn’t open the windows so we watched the lagoon from the causeway. There were not many birds but for a couple of Whiskered Terns, Moorhens a few Coots and Little Grebes. Walking around the reserve we found many species of butterfly, several damselflies, Fan-tailed, Olivaceous and Cetti’s Warblers, also a flocks of Yellow Wagtail of several races, Spanish Sparrows, Whinchats and Bee-eaters.

During our picnic lunch on a table with sun shade, Peter shouted ‘Chukar’ and there, just a few yards away, was fine the bird. It still took some finding as most of us were looking too far away! Butterflies included Spotted Fritillary and a Swallowtail. A bit of boulder turning near to the visitor centre revealed a large scorpion before we departed with leaflets and stickers. A planned trip to a local heath hillside proved tricky to find so we enjoyed a couple of flower and bird stops instead. We headed back for a look at the Western end of the Saltpans and watched a White Stork drift over near Tingaki. The Terns were here in good numbers, Garganey displayed amongst the reeds and a Red-throated Pipit that flew into a tree magically turned into five as it flew out! Three Cattle Egrets were unsurprisingly amongst the cows beside the lake and five Mediterranean Gulls flew over calling. The heat of the day and a planned evening excursion saw us back at the Hotel at 4.30pm for a rest.

Despite an early start to dinner it was pushing on well into the short Mediterranean dusk before we headed out of Tingaki. We soon arrived in an olive tree lined valley below Asfendiou just as it was getting dark. Nightjars were churring around the slopes and a Stone Curlew flew past. More Stone Curlews started to give an eyrie wailing. A couple of Scops Owls also called some distance off. A short drive later and we were listening to four or five Scops Owls that appeared to converse with our mimicking whistles. And a Barn Owl flew over hissing; it appeared to be circling the group but we could not see it!

 

Friday 6 May

After meeting at 6.30am we headed off in the minibuses to the western end of the saltpans on the way a Purple Heron dropped into a small marsh and showed quite well from the road side. A good number of waders, of several species, included a fine Black-tailed Godwit. The Flamingos and Ruddy Shelducks looked brighter in the early morning light. We drove to the beach and watched a pair of Stone Curlews, and Mediterranean Shag out to sea. Then three Golden Orioles were picked up flying over high in a determined direction, almost as though they had decided the group had not seen them well enough they spiralled out of the sky and landed in an isolated bush in front of us with the male landing right on top and allowing the group to scope it! A flock of Bee-eaters, Red-throated Pipit and a Short-toed Lark in song display added more interest.

Breakfast on the terrace was livened up with a Common Tree Frog leaping around under one of the breakfast tables!

We were soon off for the day with a quick stop at the ‘duck pond’ beside the main Kos road. There we watched the resident Mute Swans, a rather sad looking Lesser Black-backed Gull with only one wing, but also a pair of Red-rumped Swallows gathering mud and a Roller on Wires. In the pond were both naturalised Balkan Terrapins and a couple of introduced Red-eared Terrapins as well as several Common Eels.

Off to the ruins of Old Pyli in the hills below Mount Dikeos. A casual stroll up the steps to the ruins produced Chaffinches and Olivaceous Warbler. More Lesser Kestrels quartered the hillside with lots of Jackdaws. Our first Bonelli’s Eagle of the trip then drifted over before it circled up on thermal and glided high over us again.

Driving up a little higher we took a walk that contoured the hillside, it was very windy and most birds were staying low but we found pure looking Rock Doves, Whinchat, Cretzschmar’s Buntings and dozens of Spur-thighed Tortoises on a small area of grass. Robin’s persistence at grilling the rear ends of all the tortoises paid off when he discovered a Hermann’s Tortoise amongst the others. The wind was getting stronger so it was decided to head off for lunch at local taverna but not before a very confiding fledgling Serin flew in right beside our parked vans. Although the food was a bit slow in coming it was very much enjoyed and the location was good with views of Roller and a couple of Ostriches – although they were in a paddock!

The wind was still strong but it was warm in the sun as we headed off to an area of grazed meadow unfortunately the small road leading to it was gated and locked so an alternative site was found. Conditions made birdwatching tricky with the wind reaching a Force 6 at times so the hills were abandoned and the saltpans were visited again.

We again had some great views of the passage waders including some bright breeding plumaged Turnstones and a couple of Stone Curlews flying over the lagoon. Robin and the photographers in the group stayed on to take a few pictures. Mike headed back to the hotel with others in the group to search for a Marsh Sandpiper that was seen the day before. There was no sign of the Marsh Sandpiper but Marsh Harrier, Curlew Sandpipers, Cattle Egret and a close Squacco Heron added some interest.



Saturday 7 May

Just four of the group were up after a rough night with the wind whistling under the doors to the apartments. The sea between Kalyminos and Kos was white with small waves a short seawatch gave us some good(ish) views of Cory’s Shearwaters and more distantly Yelkouan Shearwaters and Shag with Marsh Harrier and Lesser Kestrel also out to sea. 30+ Spanish Sparrows flew past as did more Bee-eaters.

After breakfast a planned trip to the south of the island was cancelled as conditions were not good with a stiff southerly breeze. The alternative itinerary was put into action with a visit to Aspendio the ruins of Hippocrates hospital and temples. The ruins were full of flowers including four species of orchids and an arum with an unfavourably aroma. Birds from the site included Subalpine and Olivaceous Warbler, Roller, Eleonora’s Falcon and a distinctive race of Coal Tit. A couple of pools around the ruins also held Levant Pond Frogs and tadpoles. One or two in the group sat down in the shade to enjoy the freshly squeezed orange juice but it was not cheap!

 

It was a short drive into Kos Town and a parking space beside the Fort at the harbour. From here we all had good views of Pallid Swifts, Audouin’s Gulls with Yellow- legged Gulls for comparison and Shags. We walked up past the Plane Tree that Hippocrates was supposed to have lectured under. The tree is only about 700 years old and held up with scaffolding – still it’s a good story! Up to the harbour side fort for lunch on the ramparts where we were accompanied by Southern Comma butterfly and swifts of three species. The hills in the distance turned black and started to disappear rain was on the way, however it only, briefly, drizzled and soon turned to sun so we wandered around the ramparts looking at the tops of chapels and minarets and watching the busy port.

The weather had brightened up so instead of a walk around the town the group decided to head off and search for Rüppell’s Warbler. On route a Hoopoe was heard but it remained elusive despite a short search, Long-legged Buzzard, Black-eared Wheatear and Little Owl were all watched. The heath area was busy with birds including Subalpine, Sardinian, and Olivaceous Warblers, Little Owl, Stonechat and Cretzschmar’s Buntings but no sign of the target Rüppell’s Warbler.

We headed back to the hotel for a short rest before a late afternoon visit to the saltpans. Highlights here included two Marsh and one Montagu’s Harriers, five Collared Pratincoles and several Black-headed Buntings. Arriving back at the hotel, Peter picked out a Black-winged Stilt that he showed to the leaders; unfortunately it was not seen again.

On returning from the taverna late in the evening a Green Toad was discovered near to one of the apartments and was duly photographed.



 Sunday 8 May

Out at 6.30am for the pre-breakfast trip the SW corner proved a little quite so we drove to the NE corner through the Gypsy encampment. The edge of the Lagoon held a couple of new trip waders - Sanderling and Redshank - and we also had some great views of Slender-billed Gull.

 The breakfast Coffee urn was broken and only delivering warm drinks, but the hotel soon provided us with pots of hot coffee to prepare us for a long day.

Packed Lunches and more water collected we headed off east toward Mastichari. The journey along the agricultural plains was eventful with several stops for Bee-eaters, a fantastic 1st summer Montagu’s Harrier that landed in the road in front of us, colourful meadows, Red-footed Falcon and Black-headed Buntings.

The valley near Mastichari held a nice variety of birds including lots of Black-headed Buntings, confiding Sardinian and Cetti’s Warblers, Woodchat Shrike a brief Eleonora’s Falcon and a ‘swarm’ of Bee-eaters that were ‘buzzing’ a meadow. Heading off toward the airport a quick stop besides some British birder’s staring into a meadow produced two Chukar, Black-eared Wheatear, Woodchat Shrikes and Whinchat while overhead there were three Long-legged and single ‘Steppe’ and Honey Buzzard with several Alpine Swifts.

Next site on the agenda was Plaka forest it would be sheltered there and cool for a picnic. The airport was on route so was a convenient ‘comfort stop’. Plaka Forest was indeed cool and calm so we enjoyed our lunch amongst the feral peacocks which enjoyed our company. The Peacocks ate rice but seemed to prefer the carrots! Robin and Mike had bought a large box that held some delicious honey-drenched and very sticky baklava cake. There were strangely two pieces left over, the rest of the group graciously turned down the offer of another piece so the leaders did the decent thing and ate them!

Walking down through the valley we found Spotted Flycatchers, Coal Tits, Chaffinches, some skulking Subalpine and Sardinian Warblers that were enticed out with some ‘pishing in the woods’.

 The afternoon was getting rather hot to walk about so it was decided we would take a scenic drive south of Kefalos to St Johns Chapel. The views of Kos were superb and a stop at the end of the ‘major’ road gave us some good views of a pair of Black-eared Wheatears, and fly over Raven, Eleonora’s Falcon and Hobby. The drive back added a Golden Oriole, Kestrel, Long-legged Buzzard and a brilliant nearly all black Eleonora’s Falcon sat in a tree close to the road. At the same spot a Woodchat Shrike pair proved popular with the photographers and Gillian found a Golden Oriole.

After purchasing tickets for the Nisyros trip at Kardamena and ice creams it was off to a nearby valley with olive groves to see what we could find. Bee-eaters glided over and Rollers were found nesting, overhead Eleonora’s Falcons and Long-legged Buzzards soared.

Then a strange throaty sub-song was heard from a canopy of dense olive tree. We watched, and a large warbler with a dark tail skulked in the vegetation: an Olive-tree Warbler! A walk around the olive grove provided only flight views as the bird dashed from one tree to another; delighted we had found the species we headed off. The photographers took another opportunity to take some pictures of a pair of close Rollers.

Then we headed off back to the hotel. The journey ‘home’ was livened up as the lead minibus came to a fairly hasty stop (after checking the mirrors of course!) to see two Great Spotted Cuckoos sat side by side in a road side tree just feet away. The birds didn’t hang around but only flew a short distance again into other road side trees. More opportunities were made to watch and photograph before heading for the hotel.

The evening log call was full of some really good birds and the excellent views of so many.

 

Monday 10 May

Due to an early start to catch the boat to Nisyros there was no early morning walk. We were on the road soon after 8.30am. After finding a shady parking spot we headed for Kardamena Harbour. The sea was nearly calm except for a slight swell. Around the harbour Yellow-legged Gulls were joined by an Audouin’s Gull. Birds were few on the crossing but we did see several groups of Yelkouan Shearwaters, Shag and several Eleonora’s Falcons.

Landing at Mandraki on Nisyros we were told our bus trip up to the volcano would be in the afternoon. We took the opportunity to walk up a small road just outside of the town. Here we found good numbers and very showy Subalpine Warblers, Little Owl, Woodchat Shrike and overhead Alpine Swifts, Red-rumped Swallow and a Crag Martin. Back to town and we wandered off to find a Greek Orthodox Church somewhere in the narrow bleached streets, it didn’t take long to find but it was locked with hoards of German tourists outside so we headed back to a seaside taverna overlooking the turquoise Aegean Sea for some lunch. Several Shags, Yellow-legged Gulls and another Audouin’s Gull drifted by while we enjoyed our stuffed Squid, Mackerel, Calamari and Octopus.

A leisurely stroll and it was time to catch the coach- into the volcano. En-route several Eleonora’s Falcons and a Blue Rock Thrush were seen by a few. Some of the group chose to walk the rough path into the Volcano crater where mud bubbled and sulphur crystals grew at the entrance to steaming holes with the whole place smelling like stink bombs! Other members of the group wandered around the stony plains in search of birds. Several Black-eared Wheatears and a Hoopoe calling were added to the day list. Driving back to the harbour Agama lizards were spotted beside the road.

 

The boat trip back was uneventful but we did have some close views of a single Yelkouan Shearwater.

 

Tuesday 10 May

Another clear blue sky greeted those of us up for a rooftop gathering in a hope to see the two Glossy Ibis that Tony and Nancy had seen several times, from their balcony, early in the morning or late evening coming and going to roost. The views of the saltpan from the roof top were great : 120+ Flamingo’s were counted, Pallid and Alpine Swift showed well, more distantly a Red-footed Falcon and Slender-billed Gulls were seen and a Squacco bathed in the early morning sun turning occasionally from one side to the other to warm up. Unfortunately the Glossy Ibises didn’t show.

Following helpings of yoghurt and honey with peaches we headed off first stopping at the ‘duck Pond’. Armed with a few bread rolls from breakfast we threw bits into the pond: a rush for the grub saw Terrapins being sunk by ducks and geese standing on them.

Time to head for the hills; back up to the contour walk above the village of Old Pyli. Conditions were perfect, no wind and warm sun. We were rewarded with at least four Bonelli’s Eagles one pair very close overhead, 30+ Eleonora’s Falcons both dark and rusty forms, dozens of Lesser Kestrels several Long-legged Buzzards and a Red-footed Falcon! The lack of wind made it easy to pick out other birds including Garden Warbler, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Little Owl, Black-eared Wheatears, Sardinian Warbler and Cretzschmar’s Buntings! The regular Tortoises were again on the usual meadow and Agama Lizards basked on rocks

The day was heating up so we adjourned to our small taverna with the Ostriches. The owners of the Taverna were again very pleased to see us and were soon serving drinks and lunch. Just as the previous year our first Peregrine of the trip glided out of the rock face behind. Other creatures of interest included Humming Bird Hawk Moth and Scarce Swallowtail Butterfly.

 The afternoon would involve a short(ish) walk up to a small chapel to see if we could find Short-toed Eagle but we didn’t reach our destination. About 3km out of Pyli village a large raptor was seen from the minibus hanging in a breeze just away from the mountain road. A quick stop and we piled out of the minibuses to get some good views of the eagle before it drifted away and landed. We could see there was a dusty road passing close to where the eagle had landed so we made our way along to try and get some closer views. In the next _ hr we were treated to some excellent views of the bird perched up being mobbed by Magpies and a Hooded Crow. A bright Erhard’s Wall Lizard was an additional surprise.

 The strength of the sun made us abandon the walk up to the chapel and we opted to go back to the hotel and a short supermarket stop for those that wanted to before we headed off to the Saltpans. The lagoon was fairly quiet so it was up to the beach and a small area of flooded sedge meadow. Mike walked up the south side and through the damp ground and Robin and the group walked on the Northern dry side. Wood Sandpipers flew around calling and Mike put up a couple of Red-throated Pipits that then showed well on some open ground. Then Robin without hesitation shouted ‘Great Snipe’! There it was sat in the open by the sedge. Mike got across the boggy ground in record time, in a triple jump that Jonathan Edwards would have been proud of - but no one saw him as they had their eyes set on the Great Snipe. We all watched the bird for some time and a male Red-backed Shrike before heading back to the hotel.

Back at the Hotel it was time to pack our suitcases followed by a final log call. Walking to the taverna a Night Heron flew over us. It was our last meal together and hard to believe the week had passed so quickly with many good birds and memories.

 

 

Wednesday 11 May

Although we were flying out later in the morning nearly the whole group opted for a final pre-breakfast expedition to have another look for the Great Snipe. We did find the bird but it only gave a couple of good flight views.

On the way back to the hotel we watched a couple of Whiskered Terns the seemingly resident Gull-billed Tern, Cattle Egret, Stone Curlews and the a brief stop beside a roadside marsh as a Marsh Harrier and Black-headed Bunting were spotted. Robin then stepped out of the van to walk into the sadly partially reclaimed marsh. Mike explained to his group, sat in the minibus, to watch as there might be a Little Bittern in there. As he finished the sentence a male Little Bittern flew out quickly followed by a female that perched up on some tall reeds - it was difficult to convince the group that Robin had not gone and opened a cage! At the NW corner of the Lagoon we found the male Red-backed Shrike and a confiding Little Owl.

It was time to head back for a late breakfast and sort out our last minute packing. A quick call to the Airport revealed that Greek air traffic control had gone on a half day strike and we were going to be delayed for about 4 hours. Some frantic telephone calls by the leaders and chatting with the hotel staff ensured we would be able to keep both Minibuses and rooms until our departure. Most of the group had packed all their gear so decided to ‘chill’ by the pool a few went on a last walk out to the Lagoon where they watched the Flamingos, Squacco Heron and Gull-billed Tern. Peter and Joan were taken by minibus to the airport with the rest of the group leaving an hour and 15 minutes later.

We said our goodbyes to the hotel staff and the owner helped us again by taking luggage in his pickup truck to the airport. The Gatwick flight arrived home at 9.05pm where we said our final goodbyes and went our separate ways.

Mike Langman & Robin Chittenden



SPECIES LISTS



Birds (total 121 species)

Little Grebe:
Three at Psalidi Wetland 5th, one heard Tingaki 10th

Yelkouan Shearwater: Three from Tingaki Beach 7th and 30+ on crossing to Nysiros 9th

Cory's Shearwater: 20+ of the Scolopi's form on a windy day off Tingaki Beach 7th, a couple passed very close.

European Shag: one North of Kos town 5th, singles passed Tingaki Beach 6th, 7th, 8th and six passed 10th. Also four Kos Town 7th and 15+ Nysiros 9th

Grey Heron: ThreeTingaki Saltpans most days.

Purple Heron: one seen in flight north of Kos town 5th and one in the small marsh west of Tingaki 6th

Little Egret: small numbers daily at Tingaki Saltpans

Cattle Egret: up to seven by the Tingaki saltpans between 5th and 11th

Squacco Heron
: four at Psalidi Wetlands 5th, singles at Tingaki saltpans 6th- 9th and two 10th and 11th

Black-crowned Night Heron: adult over Tingaki on the way to the evening meal 10th

Little Bittern: Male and female flushed from the small marsh small marsh west of Tingaki 11th

Glossy Ibis: two flew over Tingaki Hotel in early mornings between 6th-9th but only seen by few.

White Stork: one circling over Tingaki 5th

Greater Flamingo: Up to 125 daily on the lagoons, their pinky hues and reflections admired in the mirror like saltpan on still days.

Mute Swan: A pair on a small pond beside the main road near Marmari.

Ruddy Shelduck: Seen daily at Tingaki Saltpans with up to six birds.

Mallard: Seen most days at Tingaki Saltpans with a maximum of 13 birds plus eight young.

Garganey: Four at Tingaki Saltpans 5th, two on 6th and three on 7th

Honey Buzzard: one in flight south-west of Mastichari 8th

Bonelli's Eagle: one over Old Pyli on 6th and four there 10th including two flying exceptionally low over

Short-toed Eagle: one west of Pyli 10th perched for a protracted period enabling a close approach resulting in fantastic views.

Eurasian Marsh Harrier: one Tingaki saltpans 6th, 10th, 11th and three on 7th

Montagu's Harrier : one first summer male by Tingaki saltpans 7th and another first summer male east of Mastichari 8th hunting the fields right next to us,

Common Buzzard: one 'steppe' type over fields south-west of Mastichari 8th

Long-legged Buzzard: one duck pond 6th, two Old Pyli 6th, one Asfendiou 7th, two south-west of Mastichari 8th, south of Kefalos 8th, two Chapel Flippos north of Kardamena 8th, two 9th, several Old Pyli area 10th including a perched bird.

Common Kestrel: Only one definitely of this species identified on 8th south of Kefalas

Lesser Kestrel: Seen daily at Tingaki Saltpans and at many sites around the island

Red-footed Falcon: Seen almost daily at the Tingaki Saltpans. Others included one east of Mastichari 8th, two St John's Chapel south of Kefalos 8th and one Old Pyli 10th

Hobby: one St John's Chapel south of Kefalos 8th and another over Tingaki saltpans 10th

Eleonora's Falcon: one Asclepion 7th, one valley south-west Mastichari 8th, two south Kefalas including one 'all black' perched bird 8th, 15+ Nysiros 9th and 30+One Old Pyli 10th. Numbers built up during our stay

Peregrine
: one over Koniario Taverna, Pyli on 10th and it or another east of Pyli 10th.

Chukar: one Psalidi wetland seen from the picnic tables 5th and two south-west of Mastichari 8th.

Common Moorhen: One Tingaki Saltpans 4th and two 7th and 10+ Psalidi Wetlands 5th

Common Coot: 15 at Psalidi Wetlands 5th.

Stone Curlew: three Lagoudi 5th, one east of Mastichari 8th and up to four in the dunes by Tingaki Saltpans throughout our stay

Collared Pratincole: five drifted over Tingaki Saltpans on 7th

Grey Plover
: Up to four at Tingaki Saltpans 4th-10th

Little Ringed Plover: One over Tingaki Beach 7th.

Ringed Plover: Up to four at Tingaki Saltpans 5th-10th

Kentish Plover: Up to three at Tingaki Saltpans 5th-11th

Black-tailed Godwit:
one Tingaki Saltpans 5th-7th

Black-winged Stilt: one Tingaki Saltpans 8th

Turnstone
: four at Tingaki Saltpans 5th-8th with five on 7th and one Kardamena harbour 9th. Most were very striking summer plumaged birds

Greenshank: Up to eight at Tingaki Saltpans most days 4th-10th

Redshank: One Tingaki 8th and 9th

Wood Sandpiper: Seen every day at Tingaki Saltpans 4th-11th. Many days with double figure counts.

Curlew Sandpiper: up to twelve Tingaki Saltpans 4th-10th

Common Sandpiper: Up to four at Tingaki Saltpans 5th-10th

Sanderling: two at Tingaki 8th and three 9th and 10th

Temminck's Stint:five at Tingaki Saltpans 4th, one 5th, two 6th and one 7th

Little Stint: Up to 30+ at Tingaki Saltpans 4th-10th

Ruff: Up to 15+ at Tingaki Saltpans 4th-11th

Great Snipe: one feeding on a small marshy area near Tingaki beach 10th and 11th. Seen probing the soft sand and flying around.

Audouin's Gull:
four Kos seafront 7th and six at Nysiros Island 9th

Yellow-legged Gull: Common.

Black-headed Gull: two Tingaki saltpans 7th.

Mediterranean Gull: Five Tingaki Saltpans 5th

Slender-billed Gull: four at Tingaki Saltpans 5th-10th

Whiskered Tern:
10+ Tingaki Saltpans 4th and 5th, 8 on 6th, 10+ on 7th, 4 on 8th, 2 on 10th and Thee Psalidi Wetlands 5th

White-winged Black Tern: 25+ Tingaki Saltpans 4th and 5th, only five on 6th and 2 on 7th

Gull-billed Tern one Tingaki Saltpans 4th-11th

Rock Dove 50+ Old Pyli 6th and several there on 10th, three over Tangaki beach 7th and 4 from boat from Nysiros 9th

European Turtle Dove: small numbers seen daily

Oriental Turtle Dove Meena: One Tingaki Saltpans 4th. A stunningly bizarre record which had the leaders left initially virtually speechless. Robin managed to stammer out 'Look at that Turtle Dove' Then more insistently : ‘look at that Turtle Dove, it's very dark’ . Mike then stepped in and said ‘It's not an Oriental Turtle Dove is it?’ And it was!

Great Spotted Cuckoo: two north-east of Andimachia by the Main Road and the road to Kardamena junction 8th and another showed brilliantly at Old Pyli 10th,

Barn Owl: two heard at Lagoudi 5th

Little Owl: two between Asclepion & Asfendiou 7th, Nysiros 9th, two Old Pyli 10th and Tingaki saltpans 11th

Scops Owl: Up to eight heard in Lagoudi area evening 5th

Nightjar: three heard at Lagoudi 5th

Alpine Swift: two Tingaki Saltpans 4th, seven 9th, four 10th and a few on 11th. Others included three Lagoudi 6th, four in Mastichari area 8th, 5 Nysiros 9th and a few Old Pyli 10th

Common Swift: common.

Pallid Swift: five north of Kos town on 5th, 10+ Kos 7th, one Tingaki 10th and 11th

Bee-eater: Five Psalidi Wetlands 5th. But numbers built up from the 6th with 23 at Tingaki 6th and 50+ 7th and 100 or so the next day around the west end of the island. Several were at Nysiros 9th

Roller: two by the small pond beside the main road near Marmari 6th, one Lagoudi 6th, one Asclepion 7th, one between Asclepion & Asfendiou 7th and then the main arrival with many at west end of island at various sites 8th-11th and 2 Nysiros 9th.

Hoopoe: one heard Asclepion 7th and another heard Nysiros 9th

Short-toed Lark
: one in display song flight by Tingaki saltpans 6th &11th

Crested Lark: Common everywhere

Sand Martin: 100+ Tingaki Saltpans 4th, 10+ 6th, many 7th & 8th, 300+ 9th, 200+ 10th and less on 11th. A slow clear out.

Crag Martin: one Nysiros 9th

Swallow: Common.

Red-rumped Swallow: Seen each day mainly in ones and twos.

House Martin: Common.

White Wagtail: one Nysiros 9th

‘Yellow’ Wagtails:

Ashy-headed Wagtail:
One+ Psalidi Wetland 5th

Blue-headed Wagtail
One+ Psalidi Wetland 5th

Black-headed Wagtail:
OneTingaki Saltpans 4th, 5th , 8th, 10th, 11th and two 6th and one Kos fort 7th

Romanian Wagtail: One Psalidi Wetland 5th

Red-throated Pipit: five by Tingaki saltpan 5th, one 8th, two 10th and one 11th

Meadow Pipit
: one in the valley south-west of Mastichari 8th.

Woodchat Shrike: one Tingaki Saltpans 5th and 11th, one with praying mantis Old Pyli 6th, one in valley to south-west of Mastichari 8th, two south of Kafalas 8th including one tame individaul, two Nysiros 9th, one Old Pyli 10th

Red-backed Shrike Gorgeous male by Tingaki saltpan 10th and 11th

Blue Rock Thrush: One Nysiros 9th.

Common Blackbird: Common in the hills.

Whinchat: two Psalidi Wetlands 5th, one Old Pyli 7th, several east of Mastichari 8th and two north-east of Andimachia by the Main Road and the road to Kardamena junction 9th

Common Stonechat: three between Asclepion & Asfendiou 7th and three One Old Pyli 10th

Northern Wheatear: one in airport car park 8th

Eastern Black-eared Wheatear: female between Asclepion & Asfendiou 7th, one south-west Mastichari 8th, three St John's Chapel south of Kefalos 8th, 7 Nysiros 9th and six Old Pyli 10th

Fan-tailed Warbler: Many Tingaki Saltpans and Psalidi wetlands but until 11th did several show well by preening out in the open.

Cetti's Warbler: several at wetland sites.

Great Reed Warbler: two singing Tingaki Saltpans 4th and 5th and one 6th-9th

Garden Warbler: one Old Pyli 10th

Reed Warbler: Seen and heard Tingaki saltpans and Psalidi wetlands

Eastern Olivaceous Warbler: Common.

Olive-tree Warbler: one singing bird near Kardamena 8th showed only poorly

Whitethroat: one north of Kos 5th and one Tingaki Hotel 7th

Sardinian Warbler: Common.

Eastern Subalpine Warbler: one Asclepion 7th, one between Asclepion & Asfendiou 7th, three Plaka Forest 8th and 8 Nysiros 9th including some very showy birds

Spotted Flycatcher: one Pasildi 5th, 4 Old Pyli 6th, lots Asclepion 7th, several Plaka forest 8th and three Old Pyli 10th

Great Tit: Two Tingaki Saltpans 4th, 9th, several Asclepion 7th and several Plaka forest 8th.

Blue Tit: two Nysiros on 8/5.

Coal tit: some Old Pyli 6th and 10th, three Asclepion 7th and a couple Plaka forest 8th

Eurasian Jackdaw: Very Common in mountains.

Hooded Crow: common.

Raven two St John's Chapel south of Kefalos 8th

Magpie:common.

Golden Oriole
: three Tingaki 6th and two south of Kefalos 8th

Corn Bunting: common around coastal plains

Black-headed Bunting:One heard Tingaki 4th, two 6th and one 7th. An arrival of many on 8th at the west end of the isalnd and seen in good numbers every day until the end of the trip.

Cretzchmar's Bunting:5+ Old Pyli 6th and 10+ there 10th. One between Asclepion & Asfendiou 7th and 4 Nysiros 9th.

Chaffinch
: common in pine forests.

Serin: one at Old Pyli 6th

Greenfinch: fairly common.

House Sparrow: Common nesting everywhere.

Spanish Sparrow: 9 at Psalidi Wetlands 5th, 30+ Tingaki beach 7th, 8th and nine 11th.

 

MAMMALS

Eastern European hedgehog
Erinaceus concolor one dead on road 6th

 

AMPHIBIANS

Common/Striped Tree Frog
Hyla arborea Several in residence in the grounds of Tingaki Hotel 6th-10th

Levant Water Frog
Rana bedriagae several at Asclepion 7th and calling at Tingaki dunes 9th and 10th.

Green Toad Bufa viridis One photographed at Tingaki hotel 8th

 

REPTILES

Spur-thighed Tortoise
Testudo graeca 30+ Old Pyli 6th and 10th.

Hermann's Tortoise Testudo hermanni One at Old Pyli 6th

Balkan Terrapin Mauremys rivulata one Tingaki 6th, two in the small pond beside the main road near Marmari 6th and seven 10th and one valley south-west Mastichari 8th

Starred Agama Laudakia stellio One Old Pyli 6th and several there 10th. One Kos 7th, one between Asclepion & Asfendiou 7th, several Nysiros 9th and two Tingaki 11th

Erhard's Wall Lizard
Podarcis erhardii several Old Pyli 10th

Balkan Green Lizard Lacerta trilineata one Psalidi Wetlands 5th, Tingaki 4th and 7th and one east of Mastichari 8th

Turkish Gecko Hemidactylus turcicus Two Tingaki Hotel 10th

Snake-eyed Skink Ablepharus kitaibelii See briefly on last day by Robin at the hotel. It disappeared down a hole very quickly.

(Red-eared Terrapin Trachemys scripta Three small pond beside the main road near Marmari 6th and 10th)*

* introduced

BUTTERFLIES

Scarce Swallowtail
Paplio podalirius Seen most days throughout the island

Swallowtail Paplio machaon one Psalidi Wetlands 5th and one Kos Fort 7th

Eastern Dappled White Euchloe ausonia several at Psalidi Wetlands 5th and then at many other sites during the week

Green Hairsteak Callophrys rubi one Psalidi Wetlands 5th and one Old Pyli 6th

Clouded Yellow Colias croceus: several seen at various sites

Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta: Individuals at various sites

Southern Comma Polygonia egea Kos forth 7th, one Asclepion 7th, one Nysiros 9th and one Tingaki 11th.

Painted Lady
Cynthia cardui Individuals at various sites

Spotted Fritillary Meliaea didyma a few Psalidi Wetlands 5th.

Small Skipper Thymelicus sylvestris several Psalidi Wetlands 5th

Eastern Festoon Zerynthia cerisyi three Psalidi Wetlands 5th

Common Blue
Polyommatus icarus one Psalidi Wetlands 5th

Green-underside Blue
Glaucopsyche alexis Psalidi Wetlands 5th

Aegean Meadow Brown
Maniola telmessia Psaldi several Psalidi Wetlands 5th and throughout Kos

Large Wall Brown Lasiommata maera adrasta Koniario Taverna Pyli 6th

 

MOTHS

Processionary Moth
Caterpillar nests noted in many pine trees.

Hummingbird Hawk-moth Macroglossum stellatarum One Koniario Taverna, Pyli 10th

 

DRAGONFLIES

Emperor
Anax imperator Duck pond 6th

Lesser Emperor
Anax parthenope Three Tingkai saltpans 5th

Grey-blue Emerald species Psaldi wetlands 5th

Black-tailed Darter species Psaldi wetlands 5th

Grey-blue Skimmer species Koniario Taverna, Pyli 10th

Scarlet Darter species Psaldi wetlands 5th

Small blue-tailed Damselflies species one valley south-west Mastichari 8th

 

OTHER INSECTS

Violet carpenter bee Xylocopa violacea noted on several days.

Preying Mantis Mantis Sp two seen in the bills of a Woodchat Shrike and House Sparrow

Hornet species Several hornets seen at several locations which had small amount of yellow on the adomnen

 

OTHER ANIMALS

Scorpion Buthanus occitanus

 

PLANTS Ordered by Latin family name (not including obvious introductions) with thanks to Gillian and Ann for their plant ID enthusiasm. Note this is not a complete list of plant species present but just the ones identified.

Dyer's Alkanet Alkana lehmanii

Pyramid Orchid Anacampis pyramidalis var brachystachys in the orchard in the hills above Kos town

Scarlet Pimpernel Anagalis arvensis the blue form

Alkanet Anchusa officinalis

Maidenhair Fern Adiantum capillus-nigrum

Allium nigrum
One of the Onion family seen in the fields

Allium subhirstutum common Mediterranean white flowered onion seen in rock crevices etc.

Allium scorodoprasum One of the Onion family seen at Kos castle possibly could be a garden escape.

Common Dragon Arum Dracunculus vulgaris leaves only

Sea Bindweed Calystegia soldanella

Cornflower Centaurea cyanus common roadside flower Nysiros

Honeywort Cerinthe major

Cistus incanus

Narrow-leaved Cistus Cistus monspeliensis

Sage-leaved Cistus Cistus salvifolius

Crown Daisy Chrysanthemum coronarium (and semi white variant discolor) common roadside flower

Bindweed Convolvulous arvensis

Pink Convolvulus Convolvulous contrabrica cantabrica

Cardoon Cynara cardunculus

Arum dioscoridis 
Psaldi wetlands

Narrow-leaved Bugloss Echium angustifolium

Greek Spiny Spurge Euphorbia acanthothamos around the salt pans in dunes but not yet in flower

Narrow-leaved Glaucous Spurge Euphorbia rigida common Old Pyli

Field Gladiolus Gladiolus italicus

Yellow-horned Poppy Glaucium flavum

Barbury Nut Gynandriris sisyrinchium

Helichrysum stoechas
yellow flowered dwarf shrub

Mandrake Mandragora autumnalis leaves only

Mullein verbascum

Orange Vetchling Lathyrus setifolius Psaldi

French Lavender Lavandula stoechas

Large Venus's looking glass Legousia speculum veneris

Winged Sea-lavender Limonium sinuatum

Medicago rugosa

Tassel Hyacinth Muscari comosum

Shrub Tobacco Nicotiana glauca

Syrian Thistle Notobasis syriaca

Bug Orchid Orchis coriophora fragrans seen at several sites its vanilla fragrance

Holy Orchid Orchis sancta seen at several sites

Ornithogalum arabicum
Kos fort

Ornithagalum narbonense

Yellow Gromwell Neatostema apulum

Phagnalon rupestre
with yellow solitary flower heads

Mastic Tree Pistacia lentiscus

Pitch Trefoil Psoralea bituminosa pretty blue flowered milk-vetch

Kermes Oak Quercuis coccifera Old pyli

Branched Brommrape Orobanche ramosa Psaldi wetlands is parasitic on a wide variety of hosts

Thorney Burnet Sarcopoterium spinosum on hills

French Figwort Scrophularia canina

Small-flowered Serapia Serapis parviflora

Spanish Broom Sparticum junceum common large yellow flowers

Pallenis spinosa a yellow flowered Inula

Meditearranean Woundwort Stachys cretica

Storax Styrax officianlis white flowered small tree/shrub

Salsify Tragopogan porrifolius






© The Travelling Naturalist & Limosa Holidays 2005