TRAVELLING NATURALIST TRIP REPORT



Lesvos

28th April – 5th May 2005





Leaders:

Keith Grant

Rebecca Nason



Drivers:

Leandros (collected us from the airport on day 1)

Yiannis (with us for the rest of the week)





Daily Diary:



Thurday 28th April Arrival

Bright & sunny, 23°C

We arrived at Mytilene about 30 minutes ahead of schedule and it was good to meet up with our old friend, Leandros, for the drive across the island to Skala Kalonis. Just over an hour later we arrived at our hotel, disturbing a small flock of Glossy Ibis from the pool as we came to a stop. The only other birds of note on the drive were the flocks of Greater Flamingos on the Kalloni saltpans and a very nice female Marsh Harrier alongside the road en route. We settled in to our rooms and duly met outside an hour later for a short bird-watch along the pool. A second Marsh Harrier disturbed the flock of 12 Glossy Ibis and a Wood Sandpiper, and the nesting Black-winged Stilts went up to escort it off-scene. We then watched a pair of stilts change over on the nest, marvelling at how each bird folded and unfolded its long legs. Several Swifts and Sand Martins accompanied the local Swallows and House Martins overhead, and there were also several Nightingales and Cetti's Warblers in full song. Some of the Spanish Sparrows also looked superb in the bright light. We then retired back to our rooms to change for dinner, meeting beforehand in the bar for the call-over, oh, and for drinks!



Friday 29th April Misintziki, Achladeri & Kalloni Saltpans

Overcast & light rain am, clearing pm, light N breeze veering E.


Our pre-breakfast walk took us to overlook the West River where we found a rather nice Stone-curlew on the salt marsh. There were several Common Terns in the bay, and we had brief views of an Olivaceous Warbler but it quickly flew across the road and out of sight into the scrubby ditch. Just outside the hotel, a Cetti's Warbler showed well and four Sandwich Terns flew over. After breakfast, Yiannis arrived with the bus and we set off eastwards along the coast. We stopped firstly at Misintziki, where we walked a short way along a track at the foot of a scrubby slope. Overlooking the marsh, we found a nice adult female Marsh Harrier sitting on the grass, looking rather sulky in the damp weather. A Woodchat Shrike, then a Lesser Grey Shrike, appeared on a fence rather distantly but they did show well in the telescopes. Our first Turtle Dove was on the wires. There were good numbers of Small-flowered Tongue-orchids, Serapias parviflora, alongside the track. As the weather brightened, the Marsh Harrier took off and started quartering the marsh, flushing several Black-headed Wagtails. Our next stop was to overlook the lagoon where two Greenshanks and a pair of Common Shelducks were seen distantly. There were also good numbers of Little Egrets and a single Great White Egret. We finally reached Achladeri where we walked up the slope into the pine forest, where we found several really nice Violet Bird’s Nest Orchids, Limodorum abortivum. After a long wait, a superb pair of Krüper's Nuthatches was seen briefly before lunch, after which we returned to have excellent views of the pair attending a nest-hole in a stump. One or both appeared every minute or so, feeding what seemed to be well-grown young at the nest entrance. A pair of Woodchat Shrikes was on the wires and around us at lunch.

We headed back, stopping briefly at the roadside for a Red-footed Falcon, then a Raven, and then a Honey-buzzard. The Kalloni Saltpans were as good as ever, with good numbers of Avocets and Ruff. The northerly wind must have pushed a lot of surface food into one corner because here were several Common, Little and White-winged Black Terns in a feeding frenzy. There were several Little Stints amongst the Ruff and some excellent Wood Sandpipers. Up to five Red-footed Falcons were hawking insects over the fields and a Short-toed Eagle flew over and joined two more over the hills to the west. But the best bird of all was a female Pallid Harrier seen very distantly at first, but which gradually came closer until it passed by very close. A Black Stork then flew over, and we saw several Whinchats and two nice Tawny Pipits. As we walked towards the 'sheep field', several people saw a Little Owl sat up on a fence post, and once in the field itself, we found several Short-toed Larks, Red-throated Pipits and Black-headed Wagtails. We then really had to head back to the bus and we returned to the hotel for a well-earned coffee.



Saturday 30th April Vatousa Gorge, Ipsilou Monastery & Sigri

Fine and sunny, light breeze from N


We checked out the Kalloni Pool before breakfast, finding the reed patches alive with warblers - Sedge, Reed and Great Reed here, with Olivaceous in the tamarisks alongside us. A pair of Garganey was joined by two further males. Then a flock of Glossy Ibis landed close by, and whilst watching these, we discovered a Squacco Heron sitting quietly on the edge of an open patch. After breakfast, Yiannis arrived on time and we set off, heading north out of Kalloni. Our first stop was just north of the town where we searched for a reported Scops Owl, to no avail, but we did find a juvenile Long-eared Owl sitting out on a branch. We headed on, climbing steadily past Filia and Skalochori. At one point, a Long-legged Buzzard circled nearby, followed immediately by a pair of Common Buzzards giving us a good comparison. We walked a short way along a track, with Inky Skippers, Orange-tips and Eastern Festoons much in evidence. Several Small Coppers were also seen, together with a larger relative, the Purple-shot Copper. Black-eared Wheatear, Cirl Bunting and Subalpine Warbler were all in full song and showed well. Returning downhill to the bus, we headed on to Vatousa Gorge. Here a five-minute stop on the roadside turned into over half an hour, as Crag Martins, Blue Rock Thrush, Cretzschmar's & Cinereous Buntings, Black-eared Wheatears, Rock Nuthatch and Masked Shrike all showed well and a Golden Oriole sang briefly a couple of times but unfortunately did not show. A Common Buzzard drifted overhead carrying a large lizard. We had to move on, heading for the Ipsilou Monastery for lunch. The monastery itself was quite quiet birdwise, though a Peregrine did fly past whilst we were eating our picnic. We then decided to walk down the road, sending the bus on to wait for us at the bottom of the hill. We were again surrounded by Black-eared Wheatears, one in particular causing much discussion with various plumage anomalies. A male Cinereous Bunting was perched nearby during all this, occasionally singing just to make sure we looked at him as well, and a Sombre Tit appeared in the oak tree just behind him. As we approached the bus near the bottom of the hill, a male Isabelline Wheatear was perched up on a rock, singing loudly and persistently. Two group members who had declined the walk and were waiting with the bus, had excellent views of this and several others on the hillside below them. A Rock Sparrow appeared briefly but flew on up the hill and out of sight. We bypassed the Petrified Forest as we had already recorded both buntings and also we had heard it was closed for Greek Easter, and headed directly for Sigri. Here everyone went for coffee, but not before some of the clients had authenticated the leaders' sightings of Jackdaw and Shag (to get them on the list)! The two leaders then went up to the old fort, recording good numbers of very very distant Yelkouan Shearwaters passing across the sound beyond the islands. A Scarce Swallowtail showed well for another of us, being safely photographed without falling over the edge! We headed back, stopping at the viewpoint overlooking the coast. Several Lesser Kestrels immediately flew overhead giving excellent views, followed by an Eleonora's Falcon and then a Red-footed Falcon - a great five minutes. Back to the hotel for coffees, beer and dinner, though not necessarily in that order!



Sunday 1st May Parakila, Potamia Valley & Upper East River

Sunny but cool, with some cloud and NW breeze


We checked out the Kalloni Pool again before breakfast, finding a good number of Wood Sandpipers and a lone Ruff. A Marsh Harrier flew in, flushing a second bird, previously unseen, from the reeds. After breakfast we headed towards Parakila, stopping to view a superb female Montagu's Harrier quartering the hillside right alongside us. At the small chapel, we walked up the slope, finding a recently fledged family of Stonechats, several Black-eared Wheatears and a superbly close Cretzschmar's Bunting. A female Orphean Warbler flew into the juniper right above us just a few feet away, but disappeared inside the tree. This happened twice and we still didn't get a decent view! The flock of Swallows and House Martins swirling over the slope included a couple of Red-rumped Swallows, and they parted as a Hobby swept through. There were two Turkish Geckos in the chapel itself, and the water-filled pits held a good number of frogs of varying sizes. We then retraced our route, turning off just before the West River to drive partway up the Potamia Valley. Walking on for about an hour, we watched a pair of Short-toed Eagles above the opposite hillside. Nightingales abounded, including one in full view for ten minutes which allowed all of us to view its tonsils (if birds have them!) through the telescopes. A male Woodchat Shrike on the other side of the river was followed by a further pair beside the track. There were patches of Tongue-orchids in some of the wetter areas and other plants kept us busy. Butterflies included Scarce Swallowtail, Eastern Dappled White, Large Wall Brown, Purple-shot Copper, Brown Argus and some superbly fresh Spotted Fritillaries. Returning for lunch, a Masked Shrike flew across the river and there were some nice Balkan Terrapins in the river itself. A Great Reed Warbler was singing to itself in the tangled vegetation by the river and this eventually sidled up a dead thistle stem to show itself for all. We had lunch at the bridge, though due to the cold wind, we didn't linger long. A couple of Honey-buzzards circled overhead just before we reboarded the bus. We headed through Kalloni, with White Stork, Marsh Harrier, Common Buzzard and Squacco Heron seen en route, turning left beside the Upper East River which we walked during the afternoon. It took us well over a half hour to get beyond the road bridge! Yellow Wagtails in the river bed included flava, thunbergi, “dombrowskii” and feldegg races. A party of Whiskered Terns flew in and circled around the river for some time, and our second Great Reed Warbler was found in a tangled heap in the river bed (the tangled heap being vegetation not the warbler!). We walked upriver, where two pairs of Little Ringed Plovers seemed to be on territory. Indeed one bird seemed to be settled on a nest scrape on a small pebble bed. A male Red-backed Shrike showed well, as did a superb Black-headed Bunting bathing and preening at the river's edge. A Common Swallowtail butterfly swept past. Our second pair of Short-toed Eagles for the day circled the opposite hillside, sometimes hanging motionless on the updraft; then a pale Booted Eagle appeared and we had excellent views of this next to one of the Short-toed Eagles. We returned slightly earlier than normal, allowing everyone to have coffee, beer or bird before changing for dinner.



Monday 2nd May Eftalou, Molivos Castle, Panorama viewpoint

Sunny & virtually cloudless, calm am, light N breeze pm


Looking out over the West River before breakfast, we found a good flock of Little Stints with three Curlew Sandpipers, all coming into breeding plumage and one with a really superb deep brick colouration. Several Ruff and Kentish Plover were also there. A Lesser Grey Shrike was sitting quietly on some flood-strewn branches on the distant river bank, and a female Marsh Harrier was sitting out in the early morning sunshine. After breakfast, we headed north, stopping firstly just north of Kalloni for Scops Owl. Chatting to a German bird watching group, we suddenly realised where the owl was roosting and all had excellent views through the telescopes of the bird sitting quietly just 7 feet from the ground. An adult Long-eared Owl was sitting out in the top of the trees, and a pair of Middle Spotted Woodpeckers was attending a nest hole in a dead Eucalypt. We eventually tore ourselves away and headed on. With two brief stops for Short-toed Eagle and Honey-buzzard en route, and we got to Eftalou mid-morning. After a short but stiff climb from the end of the road, the unmade track followed the contours of the hillside along the coast. Yellow Horned Poppies, Glaucium flavum, here tended to be orange rather than the clear yellow elsewhere. A Black-headed Bunting sang its heart out from a television aerial and a Black-eared Wheatear was also on territory. Butterflies abounded, then we heard the classic notes of Bee-eaters, looking up we watched a flock of at least 30 flying over. Having caught up with the rest of the group, we found them watching these birds perched in one of the oaks on the hillside. After some insect catching, they all then took off and headed off along the coast towards Turkey. A Sombre Tit put in a brief appearance, as did a lone Eleonora's Falcon overhead. Our final birds before turning back were several Yellow Wagtails of three forms and a Woodchat Shrike. We had an excellent lunch in the taverna - we can thoroughly recommend the fried baby Mullet, grilled tuna steak, kalamari and ‘slow lamb from the oven’! We retraced our route in the bus, Yiannis dropping us at the top of the hill by Molivos Castle. We meandered our way down through the narrow streets of the town, stopping for shopping, ice creams or coffees (or all three)! After an hour, we all met up again, found Yiannis and the bus and stopped briefly at the Panorama View-point overlooking Petra Bay. A pair of Rüppell's Warblers was on territory just next to the road and the male eventually gave us excellent views as he did a display song flight and perched on the top of a twig. Back to the hotel.









Tuesday 3rd May Misintziki, Agiasos & Kalloni Saltpans

Hot & sunny


We did a circum-navigation of the pond before breakfast; the pair of White Storks still on their nest on the church in the neighbouring village; three drake Garganey gave us good views and a nice Black Stork flew over heading towards the West River. First stop after breakfast was a repeat visit along the track at Misintziki, where Lesser Grey Shrike, Black-headed Bunting and Subalpine Warbler all showed well. We then headed up past Agiasos to explore the Pine and Sweet Chestnut woodlands. Some of us searched for flowers and butterflies whilst others stuck to birding. Between us, we noted Short-toed Treecreeper, Jay, Wren and Blackbird, with several species of orchids, Pontic Fritillary Fritillaria pontica and Orange Wild Tulip Tulipa orphanidea for the botanists and Holly Blue, Eastern Festoon and False Apollo butterflies all adding interest. We had our picnic on a rocky slope, watching a Serin singing and displaying. Walking down the hill, we found further Serins and a nice Krüper's Nuthatch. Four-spotted Orchid Orchis quadripunctata is an eastern Mediterranean speciality, and Narrow-leaved Helleborine Cephalanthera longifolia, Green-winged O. morio picta, Toothed O. tridentata and Yellow Bee Orchids Ophrys sicula completed the list. We headed back to pay a further brief visit to the Saltpans. There were the usual array of shorebirds including a Black-winged Stilt on a nest and close views of Ruffs and Little Stints. A fine flock of Bee-eaters were on the wires, and as we were watching these, a Gull-billed Tern flew in from the bay and landed on a sand bank, allowing excellent views through the telescopes. We headed back to the hotel where a few walked out to the mouth of the West River. We counted at least 75 Little Stints, heard a Greenshank calling several times, and had nice views of three species of terns.

We met up in the bar for the call-over and then had dinner at a local taverna (and a good time was had by all, but we won’t go into that!).



Wednesday 4th May Petri, Petra and upper West River

Hot & sunny, stiff breeze from S during pm.


It was very quiet during our early morning walk. A single Squacco Heron on the pool and a brief sighting of a Water Rail dashing across an opening were the only records of note. A few Garganey were still present, and we did have excellent views of the Nightingale behind the hotel, singing in full view on a dead eucalypt. After breakfast we again headed northwards, this time to Petri where we rambled along a lovely track, following the contours of the hillside. Several Red-backed Shrikes and Masked Shrikes were stunning. A pair of Rock Nuthatches was seen several times on one of the large volcanic plugs. We had really close views also of Black-eared Wheatears and a pair of Cirl Buntings feeding juveniles. A Common Buzzard perched up on the skyline disappeared as soon as we trained the telescopes that way, and a pair of Sombre Tits was also seen. Butterflies included our first and only Green Hairstreak.



We returned to Petri village itself and were collected by Yiannis at the appointed time, for the brief ride down the hill to Petra where we had a very pleasant lunch in the Women's Cooperative Restaurant near the main square. After exploring the old town for an hour after lunch, we headed back to the hotel, and most then walked the West River to just upstream of the road bridge. The flocks of Little Stints were still present with several Ruff and Kentish Plover. A very distant Marsh Harrier was seen, and when we got to the road bridge and scanned the marsh ahead of us, we found first one Stone-curlew very close, then a second bird apparently nest-scraping. The first slowly meandered back into the long grass, making its way to be near its presumed mate. We walked a short distance along the river bank, to view the Kentish Plovers and a Common Sandpiper which had disappeared into long vegetation.





Red-backed Shrike, near Petri
Red-backed Shrike, near Petri, 4th May 2005



Thursday 5th May Kalloni Saltpans & departure

Hot & sunny, cloudy spells

The pool was very quiet before breakfast with just a single Glossy Ibis present and the odd Wood Sandpiper & Black-winged Stilt. A Black Stork flew over, heading towards the West River. One of the White Storks was still sitting tight on its nest on the church roof of the neighbouring village. After a leisurely breakfast, we loaded the bus and said our farewells to the hotel staff. We made a brief stop at the saltpans, having our closest views of the Greater Flamingos and seeing many Avocets. A party of Purple Herons drifted overhead. At the far end, a single Curlew Sandpiper was found amongst the Little Stints, and a half dozen Ringed Plovers and two Little Gulls were our final new species for the trip. A first year male (with grey tail feathers just coming through the brown) Montagu's Harrier quartered the marsh and we left it there as we boarded the bus to head to the airport.




Species Lists:

The various species lists below use the following references:

Birds: We have used the suggested worldwide English names and systematic order as found in World Bird Species Checklist: with alternate English & scientific names (Wells, M.G., 1998). Commonly used alternates are enclosed in [ ] or separated by / .

Collins Bird Guide (Svensson, L. Grant, P.J., Mullarney, K. & Zetterström, D., 1999)

Birding on the Greek Island of Lesvos (Brooks, R., 1998)

Mammals: We have used the suggested worldwide English names and systematic order as found in Mammals of the World, A Checklist (Duff, A. & Lawson, A., 2004)

Collins Field Guide: Mammals of Britain & Europe (Macdonald, D. & Barrett, P., 1993)

Butterflies: Collins Field Guide: Butterflies of Britain & Europe (Tolman, T. & Lewington, R., 1997)

Amphibians and Reptiles: Collins Field Guide: Reptiles & Amphibians of Britain & Europe [second edition] (Arnold, E.N. & Ovenden, D.W., 2002)

Plants: Mediterranean Wild Flowers (Blamey, M. & Grey-Wilson, C., 1993)

Orchids of Lesvos (Anderson, B. & E., 2001)

Collins Photo Guide: Orchids of Britain & Europe [English edition] (Delforge, P., 1995)



BIRD LIST:

Little Grebe / Dabchick: Noted on 4 days on Kalloni II Pool.

Great Crested Grebe: One noted on 3 days off the beach on 2nd, 3rd, & 5th.

Yelkouan Shearwater: Noted only distantly on 30th, c200 passed Sigri in 20 minutes.

European Shag: Noted on 2 days with 4 at Sigri on 30th, 1 on 2nd.

Grey Heron: Noted only on 1 day, 2 Kalloni Saltpans on 5th.

Purple Heron: Noted only on 1 day, 12 Kalloni Saltpans on 5th.

Great [White] Egret: Noted on 4 days with 3 on 29th, 1 on 1st, 1 Kalloni Saltpans on 3rd, 1 flew along the beach on 4th.

Little Egret: Noted on 4 days with 15 on 29th, c20 Upper East River on 1st, several on 3rd, several Kalloni Saltpans on 5th.

Squacco Heron: One noted on 5 days at Kalloni II Pool, another at Upper West River on 30th.

Greater Flamingo: Noted on 4 days, each time we passed the Saltpans; c200 counted on 29th & 5th.

Black Stork: Noted on 3 days with singles over Kalloni Saltpans on 29th, over Kalloni II Pool twice on 3rd, & again on 5th.

White Stork: Noted on 4 days with 2 over Skalochori & 1 on nest in neighbouring village near Kalloni II Pool on 30th, 1 near Kalloni on 1st, the pair on nest on 3rd, and again on 5th.

Glossy Ibis: Noted each day at Kalloni II Pool; max counted 18 on 30th.

Ruddy Shelduck: Noted only on 1 day when 1 flew over Kalloni II Pool on 3rd.

Common Shelduck: Noted only at Misintziki lagoon, 4 on 29th.

Garganey: Noted most days at Kalloni II Pool where at least 3 males and a female present.

European Honey-Buzzard: Noted on 3 days with 1 en route on 29th, 2 Potamia Valley on 1st, 1 en route on 2nd.

Short-toed Eagle: Noted on 4 days with 5 over Kalloni Saltpans & distant hills on 29th, 2 on 30th, a pair at each of Potamia Valley & Upper East River on 1st, 1 en route on 2nd.

Booted Eagle: Noted only on 1 day, a pale plumaged bird (photographed) over Upper East River on 1st.

Montagu's Harrier: Noted on 2 days with a female near Parakila on 1st, a first year male Kalloni Saltpans on 5th.

[Eurasian] Marsh Harrier: Noted each day with 2 on 28th & 29th, 1 Kalloni II Pool on 30th, 3 females Kalloni II Pool & near Kalloni town on 1st, 1 West River on 2nd, several on 3rd, 1 West River on 4th.

Pallid Harrier: Noted only on 1 day, a female Kalloni Saltpans on 29th.

Eurasian Sparrowhawk: Noted only on 1 day, 1 north of Kalloni on 30th.

Common Buzzard: Noted on 5 days with at least 5 en route on 30th, 1 Potamia Valley on 1st, 1 en route on 2nd, 1 en route on 3rd, 1 Petri 2 Petra & 1 en route on 4th.

Long-legged Buzzard: Noted only on 1 day, 1 en route on 30th.

Lesser Kestrel: Noted only on 1 day, at least 6 above Sigri on 30th.

Common/Eurasian Kestrel: Noted on 3 days with 1 on 29th, singles Kalloni II Pool & Eftalou on 2nd, 1 Kalloni Saltpans on 5th.

Red-footed Falcon: Noted on 2 days with 1 at Misintziki & 5 at the Saltpans on 29th, 1 above Sigri on 30th.

Eurasian Hobby: Noted only on 1 day, 1 over Parakila on 1st.

Eleonora's Falcon: Noted on 2 days with 1 above Sigri on 30th, 1 Eftalou on 2nd.

Peregrine Falcon: Noted on 2 days with 2 en route & 1 Ipsilou Monastery on 30th, 1 Panorama Viewpoint on 2nd.

Chukar: Noted only on 1 day, 1 en route on 30th.

Water Rail: Noted on 2 days with a bird heard at Kalloni II Pool on 1st, then seen briefly on 4th.

Common Moorhen: Noted each day.

Eurasian/Common Coot: Noted each day.

Black-winged Stilt: Noted each day.

Pied Avocet: Noted on 4 days each time we passed the Saltpans; only count was at least 140 there on 29th.

Stone-curlew: Noted on 4 days with 1 seen on West River & heard Kalloni Saltpans on 29th, heard West River on 30th & 3rd, a pair really close Upper West River on 4th.

[Greater] Ringed Plover: Six at Kalloni Saltpans on 5th.

Little [Ringed] Plover: At least 2 pairs Upper East River on 1st.

Kentish Plover: Noted on 4 days with 3 on 29th, several West River on 2nd & 3rd, at least 8 West River on 4th.

Common Greenshank: Noted on 2 days with 2 Misintziki on 29th, 1 Kalloni II Pool on 3rd.

Wood Sandpiper: Noted each day; max count at least 15 on 1st.

Common Sandpiper: One on Upper West River on 4th was our only sighting.

Little Stint: Noted on 5 days with 3 Kalloni Saltpans on 29th, c40 West River on 2nd, c6 Kalloni Saltpans c75 West River on 3rd, still present West River on 4th, good numbers Kalloni Saltpans on 5th.

Curlew Sandpiper: Noted on 2 days with 3 in breeding plumage West River on 2nd, 1 Kalloni Saltpans on 5th.

Ruff: Noted most days at Kalloni II Pool, West River & Saltpans, max count at least 200 on 29th.

Yellow-legged Gull: Noted each day.

Little Gull: Noted only on 1 day, 2 Kalloni Saltpans on 5th.

Whiskered Tern: Noted on 4 days with at least 25 Upper East River on 1st, 1 Kalloni Bay on 2nd, c6 on 3rd, 3 Kalloni II Pool on 4th.

White-winged [Black] Tern: Noted on 5 days with 3 Kalloni Saltpans on 29th, c4 Upper East River on 1st, 1 Kalloni II Pool on 2nd, c10 on 3rd, at least 15 Kalloni Saltpans on 5th.

Gull-billed Tern: Noted only on 1 day, 1 Kalloni Saltpans on 3rd.

Sandwich Tern: Noted only on 1 day, 4 over Kalloni II Pool on 29th.

Common Tern: Several noted each day.

Little Tern: Several noted on 5 days.

Rock Dove / Feral Pigeon: Noted each day.

European Turtle Dove: Noted each day, seen and/or heard.

Eurasian Collared Dove: Noted each day.

Common Cuckoo: Noted on 4 days with 1 above Sigri on 30th, heard Eftalou on 2nd, heard Misintziki on 3rd, heard Petri on 4th.

Eurasian Scops-owl: Noted only on 1 day, 1 on 2nd.

Little Owl: One at Kalloni Saltpans on 29th was surprisingly our only record.

Long-eared Owl: Noted on 2 days with a ‘branching’ juvenile on 30th, an adult on 2nd.

Alpine Swift: Noted only on 1 day, 4 over the Eressos turnoff on 30th.

Common Swift: Noted each day.

European Bee-eater: Noted on 4 days with at least 30 Eftalou on 2nd, c25 Kalloni Saltpans on 3rd, heard overhead Petri on 4th, several Kalloni Saltpans on 5th.

Middle Spotted Woodpecker: Noted on 2 days with a pair at nest on 2nd, 1 Agiassos on 3rd.

[Greater] Short-toed Lark: At least 8 Kalloni Saltpans on 29th.

Crested Lark: Noted each day.

Sand Martin / Bank Swallow: Noted each day.

[Eurasian] Crag Martin: Noted on 2 days with c6 Vatousa Gorge on 30th, 2 Potamia Valley on 1st.

Barn Swallow: Noted each day.

Red-rumped Swallow: Noted on 3 days with several on 1st, at least 1 West River on 2nd, a pair near Petri on 4th.

[Common] House Martin: Noted each day.

Yellow Wagtail: Noted on 5 days; as usual the locally breeding Black-headed Wagtail Motacilla [flava] feldegg (Balkans, Turkey & Caucasus) was the most regularly seen. Also seen were males of the nominate race breeding in the greater part of Western Europe Blue-headed Wagtail Motacilla flava flava, and single males of Grey-headed Wagtail Motacilla flava thunbergi (breeding in Scandinavia & N Russia) and probably Motacilla flava ‘dombrowskii’ (breeding in Romania) on 1st.

White Wagtail: Noted only on 1 day, 2 near West River bridge on 4th.

Tawny Pipit: Two at the Kalloni Saltpans on 29th was the only record.

Red-throated Pipit: Noted on 2 days with 2 Kalloni Saltpans on 29th, 1 West River on 3rd.

Red-backed Shrike: Noted on 2 days with a male Upper East River on 1st, 3 males Petri on 4th.

Lesser Grey Shrike: Noted on 3 days with 1 Misintziki on 29th, 1 West River on 2nd, 1 Misintziki on 3rd.

Masked Shrike: Noted on 3 days with 1 Vatousa Gorge on 30th, 1 briefly Potamia Valley on 1st, at least 2 Petri on 4th.

Woodchat Shrike: Noted on 5 days with at least 5 on 29th, 1 Ipsilou Monastery on 30th, 3 Potamia Valley on 1st, 1 Eftalou on 2nd, 2 en route on 3rd.

[Winter] Wren: Noted only on 1 day with several heard & seen near Agiassos on 3rd.

Blue Rock Thrush: Noted on 2 days with males at Vatousa Gorge & Ipsilou Monastery plus another en route on 30th, another male at the Panorama Viewpoint on 2nd.

Common Blackbird: Noted each day.

Common/Rufous Nightingale: Noted each day, including excellent views behind the hotel most days and another close view in the Potamia Valley on 1st.

Whinchat: Noted on 2 days with several on 29th, 1 en route on 30th.

Common Stonechat: Noted on 2 days with 2 en route on 30th, a family party near the chapel on 1st.

Eastern Black-eared Wheatear: Many noted on 4 days, on 30th - 2nd, & 4th.

Isabelline Wheatear: Noted only on 1 day, at least 3 near Ipsilou Monastery on 30th.

Cetti's Warbler: Noted each day.

Sedge Warbler: Noted on 4 days, ones or twos usually at Kalloni II Pool.

[Eurasian] Reed Warbler: Noted on 3 days, ones and twos at Kalloni II Pool.

Great Reed Warbler: Noted on 2 days with singles at Kalloni II Pool on 30th, then two singles at Potamia Valley & Upper East River on 1st.

Eastern Olivaceous Warbler: Noted each day.

Icterine Warbler: One briefly near Petri on 4th.

Common/Eurasian Chiffchaff: Noted on 2 days with singing males at Achladeri on 29th, and again Potamia Valley on 1st.

Wood Warbler: One briefly near Petri on 4th.

Orphean Warbler: A female briefly at the chapel on 1st.

Rüppell's Warbler: A pair on territory plus a male in song at the Panorama Viewpoint on 2nd.

Subalpine Warbler: Noted on 3 days, on 30th, 3rd, & 4th.

Spotted Flycatcher: One near Petri on 4th was amazingly our only record.

Long-tailed Tit: Heard calling at Achladeri on 29th.

Sombre Tit: Noted on 3 days with 1 Ipsilou Monastery on 30th, 1 Eftalou on 2nd, 2 Petri on 4th.

Great Tit: Noted most days.

Blue Tit: Noted each day.

Krüper's Nuthatch: Noted on 2 days with a pair feeding well-grown young at Achladeri on 29th, 1 near Agiassos on 3rd.

Western Rock Nuthatch: Noted on 3 days with singles Vatousa Gorge & Ipsilou Monastery on 30th, a pair at a nest near the chapel on 1st, 2 near Petri on 4th.

Short-toed Treecreeper: Noted only near Agiassos on 3rd.

Eurasian Jay: Noted each day.

Western/Eurasian Jackdaw: Noted on 2 days with many over Sigri on 30th, & again over Petra on 4th.

Hooded Crow: Noted each day.

Common Raven: Noted on 4 days with 1 en route on 29th, 1 en route on 30th, 1 Eftalou on 2nd, 1 Agiassos on 3rd.

[Eurasian] Golden Oriole: Noted only on 1 day, heard singing briefly Vatousa Gorge on 30th.

Corn Bunting: Noted each day.

Cinereous Bunting: Noted only on 30th, a male at Vatousa Gorge & a pair below Ipsilou Monastery.

Cretzschmar's Bunting: Noted on 3 days with several on 30th, several males on 1st, heard singing on 2nd.

Cirl Bunting: Noted on 4 days with good views of a male Skalochori on 30th, singing distantly on 1st, several on 3rd, several feeding young near Petri on 4th.

Black-headed Bunting: Noted on 5 days, 1st - 5th.

Common/European Chaffinch: Noted each day.

European Serin: Noted only on 3rd, 2 near Agiassos.

European Greenfinch: Noted each day.

European Goldfinch: Noted each day.

House Sparrow: Noted each day.

Spanish Sparrow: Noted each day.

Rock Sparrow / Rock Petronia: Noted only on 30th, 1 briefly below Ipsilou Monastery.




MAMMALS:


Persian Squirrel: Noted on 5 days with 3 near Kalloni town on 30th, 2 Potamia Valley on 1st, 1 on 2nd, 2 on 3rd, 2 singles near Petri on 4th.

Lesser Mole-rat: ‘Mole-hills’ at Achladeri on 29th.

Eastern Hedgehog: Noted only as road casualties.

Bat species: Several small bats around the road lamps outside the hotel each night should really remain unidentified.



AMPHIBIANS & REPTILES:


Common Frog: Noted near Petri on 4th, adults and tadpoles in a trackside puddle.

Common Tree Frog: Noted on 3 days, one outside the hotel on 28th, 29th, & 1st.

Levant Water Frog: These are the bright ‘Marsh Frogs’ noted on several days.

Spur-thighed/Greek Tortoise: Noted only on 4th, 1 near Petri.

Balkan Terrapin: Noted only on 1st, several in the Potamia River.

Starred Agama: Noted regularly.

Turkish Gecko: Noted outside the hotel and at the chapel near Parakila.

Balkan Green Lizard: Several bright green individuals noted on 2 days, 2nd & 3rd.

Balkan Wall Lizard: Noted on 5 days.

Large Whip Snake: A road casualty (over a metre in length) near West River on 2nd (& thereafter!).



BUTTERFLIES:


Swallowtail: Noted on 2 days.

Scarce Swallowtail: Noted on 5 days.

Eastern Festoon: Noted most days.

False Apollo: One near Agiassos on 3rd was our only record.

Large White: Noted on 2 days.

Small White: Noted most days.

Eastern Dappled White: Noted on 2 days.

Orange-tip: Noted most days.

Clouded Yellow: Noted on 5 days.

Green Hairstreak: One near Petri on 4th was our only record.

Small Copper: Noted on 4 days.

Purple-shot Copper: Noted on 3 days.

Holly Blue: Noted only near Agiassos on 3rd.

Brown Argus: Noted on 2 days.

Red Admiral: Noted on 3 days.

Painted Lady: Noted on 3 days.

Southern Comma: One as we walked down from Molivos Castle on 2nd was our only record.

Spotted Fritillary: Noted on 4 days.

Lesser Spotted Fritillary: Noted only on 1 day, although not identified at the time, I have one photograph of this species on our walk from Petri on 4th.

Small Heath: Noted each day.

Wall Brown: Noted only on 30th.

Large Wall Brown: Noted on 3 days.

Orbed Red-underwing Skipper: Noted only near Eftalou on 2nd.

Oriental Marbled Skipper: Noted only near Eftalou on 2nd.

Inky Skipper: Noted only near Skalochori on 30th.



DRAGONFLIES & DAMSELFLIES:


White-legged Damselfly:
Noted only in the Potamia Valley on 1st.

Blue-tailed Damselfly: Noted only on 2nd.

Broad-bodied Chaser: Noted on 3 days.

Red-veined Darter: Noted only on 1 day, a female photographed near Petri on 4th.



PLANTS:
[Nos. on right refer to Grey-Wilson & Blamey, Mediterranean Wild Flowers]

Juniperus oxycedrus macrocarpa Prickly Juniper 15a

Castanea sativa Sweet Chestnut 23

Quercus coccifera Kermes Oak 24

Quercus ilex Holm Oak 25

Juglans regia Walnut (planted) ----

Morus alba White Mulberry (planted) 41

Ficus carica Fig 42

Urtica atrovirens Stinging Nettle 46

Urtica pilulifera Roman Nettle 48

Carpobrotus acinaciformis Red Hottentot Fig 116

Silene dichotoma Forked Catchfly 172

Silene colorata Seaside Catchfly 180

Anemone coronaria Crown Anemone 211

Delphinium sp. - ----

Papaver rhoeas Common Poppy 283

Papaver minus - 288

Papaver nigrotinctum - 289

Papaver apulum - 291

Glaucium flavum Yellow Horned-poppy 293

Malcolmia maritima Virginia Stock 316

Matthiola sinuata Sea Stock 326

Reseda alba White Mignonette 375

Umbilicus rupestris Navelwort 396

Platanus orientalis Oriental Plane 400

Rosa sempervirens Wild Rose 404

Sarcopoterium spinosum Spiny/Thorny Burnet 411

Pyrus amygdaliformis Almond-leaved/Wild Pear 416

Crataegus monogyna Hawthorn 420

Prunus domestica Wild Plum 426

Spartium junceum Spanish Broom 481

Lupinus angustifolius Narrow-leaved Lupin 486

Robinia pseudacacia False Acacia 488

Vicia dasycarpa Fodder Vetch 510a

Vicia lutea Yellow Vetch 525

Vicia pannonica - 526

Lathyrus sphaericus - 541

Lathyrus cicera Red Vetchling 545

Trifolium uniflorum One-flowered Clover (white form) 651

Trifolium campestre Hop Trefoil 656

Trifolium resupinatum Reversed Clover 657

Trifolium pilulare Ball Cotton Clover 659

Trifolium stellatum Star Clover 662

Linum bienne Pale Flax 777

Euphorbia dendroides Tree Spurge 792

Euphorbia acanthothamnos Greek Spiny Spurge ("Wire-netting Bush"!) 794

Euphorbia myrsinites Broad-leaved Glaucous Spurge 801

Euphorbia characias Large Mediterranean Spurge 818

Melia azedarach Indian Bead Tree / Persian Lilac 843

Pistacia terebinthus Turpentine Tree / Terebinth 861

Malva sylvestris Common Mallow 898

Cistus creticus Cretan Cistus 962

Cistus parviflorus Small-flowered Cistus 964

Cistus salvifolius Sage-leaved Cistus 965

Tamarix (smyrnensis ??) Tamarisk 1022

Ecballium elaterium Squirting Cucumber 1032

Eryngium maritimum Sea Holly 1073

Eryngium creticum Small-headed Blue Eryngo 1076

Smyrnium perfoliatum Perfoliate Alexanders 1088

Bupleurum nodiflorum - 1121

Ferula communis Giant Fennel 1141

Tordylium apulum Tordylium 1149

Torilis purpurea (Hedge-parsley) 1164

Orlaya grandiflora Orlaya 1166

Daucus carota Wild Carrot 1168

Lysimachia atropurpurea 'Purple Loosestrife' 1191

Anagallus arvensis Scarlet Pimpernel (red, blue & pink forms) 1198

Cyclamen graecum Greek Cyclamen 1205

Limonium sinuatum Winged Sea-lavender 1220

Olea europaea Olive (planted) 1248

Convolvulus althaeoides tenuissimus Mallow-leaved Bindweed 1331a

Echium italicum Pale Bugloss 1380

Echium angustifolium Narrow-leaved/Red Bugloss 1382

Echium plantagineum Purple Viper's Bugloss 1383

Echium parviflrum Small-flowered Bugloss 1388

Anchusa undulata hybrida Undulate Anchusa 1406a

Ballota acetabulosa Garden Horehound 1469

Lamium amplexicaule Henbit Deadnettle 1478

Melissa officinalis Balm 1502

Lavandula stoechas French Lavender 1528

Verbascum thapsus Great Mullein / Aaron's Rod 1597

Verbascum undulatum Wavy-leaved Mullein 1602

Linaria pelisseriana Jersey Toadflax 1621

Veronica cymbalaria Cymbalaria-leaved Speedwell 1646

Plantago coronopus Buck's-horn Plantain 1696

Valeriana asarifolia Cretan Valerian 1721

Cephalaria transsylvanica - 1730

Knautia purpurea Purple Knautia 1734

Knautia arvensis Field Scabious 1735

Campanula rapunculus Rampion Bellflower 1759

Legousia speculum-veneris Large Venus' Looking Glass 1778

Evax pygmaea Pygmy Evax 1805

Pallenis spinosa - 1847

Anthemis tomentosa Woolly Chamomile 1861

Anthemis rigida Rayless Chamomile 1870

Doronicum columnae Heart-leaved Leopardsbane

Chrysanthemum segatum Corn Marigold 1894

Chrysanthemum coronarium Crown Daisy 1895

Galactites tomentosa Galactites 1971

Silybum marianum Milk Thistle 1982

Centaurea cyanus Cornflower 2008

Tragopogon porrifolius Salsify / Mediterranean Goatsbeard 2055

Crepis rubra Pink Hawksbeard 2070

Asphodelus aestivus Common Asphodel 2089

Tulipa orphanidea Orange Wild Tulip 2141

Fritillaria pontica Pontic Fritillary 2154

Ornithogalum narbonense Slender Star-of-Bethlehem 2166

Ornithogalum montanum Montane Star-of-Bethlehem 2167

Ornithogalum nutans Large Star-of-Bethlehem 2173

Muscari neglectum Common Grape Hyacinth 2206

Iris orientalis Oriental Iris 2287

Dracunculus vulgaris Common Dragon Arum 2358

Arum conophalloides Eastern Arum 2364

Cephalanthera longifolia Narrow-leaved Helleborine 2383

Limodorum abortivum Violet Bird's Nest Orchid 2386

Orchis morio picta Green-winged Orchid 2403a

Orchis tridentata Toothed Orchid 2407

Orchis quadripunctata Four-spotted Orchid 2419

Ophrys sicula (syn. O. lutea galilaea) Yellow Bee-orchid 2423x

Serapias bergonii (syn. S. vomeracea subsp. laxiflora) Lax-flowered Tongue-orchid 2450b

Serapias parviflora Small-flowered Tongue Orchid 2452









As ever, this was a great trip, the more so due to everyone's good humour, dreadful jokes and unending enthusiasm. Although the Kalloni Pool was relatively quiet this time, we had some excellent birds, butterflies and flowers as we explored parts of the island with stunning scenery. It is always impossible to pick a single highlight for the trip, and we're sure you have all gone home with your own particular memories. We would like to thank you all very much for making this trip so enjoyable and we certainly hope to see you on trips with us in the not-too-distant future.

Keith Grant & Rebecca Nason, May 2005


© The Travelling Naturalist 2005