MB

  All users of this forum, please ensure you familiarise yourselves with the sticky posts at the top of each forum; posts not conforming to these guidelines and requests will be deleted.

Members Login
Username 
 
Password 
    Remember Me  
Post Info TOPIC: Greece


Status: Offline
Posts: 592
Date:
RE: Greece


Fly home tomorrow evening after a week's non birding holiday in Mykonos, an island slap bang in the middle of the Aegean. Mykonos town is picture postcard perfect, a big harbour and waterfront with a labyrinth of small alleyways full of boutiques, restaurants, cafes and charming shops. The birdwatcher wants more, however, but I'm afraid this small island doesn't offer too much. The island at this time of year is barren and tired. No hedgerows, no wild flowers in bloom, no greenery and consequently little birdlife. The garden areas around our small hotel only held House and Spanish Sparrow with the odd Linnet, Collared Dove and Hooded Crow. On the town waterfront and adjacent beaches, there were only Yellow-legged Gull and a boat trip to nearby Delos Island only added Shag and Crested Lark. I was hoping for Yelkouan and Scopoli's Shearwater but no such luck. There was a reservoir come lake some two miles from our hotel, so we decided to walk there and back one day. Virtually nothing in the farmland en route although the island redeemed itself a little in some decent species at or nearby the reservoir which held more water than I had thought and which also had some half decent muddy/sandy margins. My worst ever holiday trip list of 23 (!!) species, the more interesting of which are listed below and virtually all seen at the reservoir :-

Shag
Little Egret
Marsh Harrier
Eleanora's Falcon
Lesser Kestrel
Greenshank
Crested Lark
Yellow Wagtail
Black-eared Wheatear
Woodchat Shrike
Hooded Crow
Spanish Sparrow

Mirroring the lack of birdlife, very few insects were seen, one dragonfly, and regarding butterflies, a few Whites with a handful of Swallowtails. Nothing else!

__________________
https://flickr.com/photos/44931335@N06


Status: Offline
Posts: 11
Date:

Santorini, Greece (2 weeks early June)

Worst place Ive ever been for birds (chosen by wife as non-birding holiday), I knew it was going to be hard, as its a volcanic island with few trees and no free standing water:

Yellow-legged Gull
Shag
Common Kestrel (couple of birds encountered)
Common/Long-legged Buzzard (seem a couple of times, but no bins with me).
Collard Dove (again drinking at hotel pool).
Swallow (1 only)
Alpine Swift (1 only)
Common Swift (occasional along costal cliffs at Fira).
Great Reed Warbler (Singing in a small over grown garden in the middle of Fira, tried to convince myself it was Olive Tree Warbler, but eventually saw in flight twice; a quite bizarre record and in mid June!)
House Sparrow (only common bird and drinking at hotel swimming pool).
Italian Sparrow (occasional males drinking at hotel pool).


__________________


Status: Offline
Posts: 592
Date:

Fly home today after a two weeks holiday in Parga, Greece. A lovely little town/resort on the north west mainland just below and across from Corfu.

Reading (mainly outdated) trip reports, clearly a very good birding spot with several wetlands within easy reach and also some fine mountain scenery in the near hinterland.

Didn't do anywhere near as much birding as I would have liked - I think lethargy had set in - but visited two fairly local wetlands on two mornings and also went on a boat trip to Paxos, an hour or so straight out from Parga. Certainly around Parga itself, from a birding perspective it seemed a little flat/quiet and certainly nothing like Lesvos where we went for the same period last year. Nonetheless, a few decent birds seen, of note :-

Little Grebe (c.75)
Yelkouan Shearwater (3)
Little Egret (c.50)
Great White Egret (5)
Purple Heron (2)
Little Bittern (1)
Dalmatian Pelican (1)
Ferruginous Duck (c.30)
Buzzard
Wood Sandpiper (3)
Yellow legged Gull
Kingfisher (4)
Alpine Swift
Yellow Wagtail (c.30)
White Wagtail
Sardinian Warbler
Red backed Shrike (2)
Hooded Crow
Raven (4)



-- Edited by Mark Jarrett on Sunday 20th of September 2015 09:05:02 AM

__________________
https://flickr.com/photos/44931335@N06


Status: Online
Posts: 1479
Date:

Neil Ferguson wrote:

Well I've been in Zante for 11 nights. Came back on Tuesday. All I saw were Sparrows,Collard Doves and a few Swallows. There were 3 House Martin Nests above my daughters apartments but no House Martins.

Saw and heard nothing else !!!

Unlucky I guess.smile





That is unlucky Neil, it was rich with bird-life when I was there, and most of my birding was done in probably about 2 hours a day so as not to annoy Gf too much and a lot of it within or close to the hotel grounds. Moments of pure chance did arise though, like sat on the balcony having a beer and watching a Lifer fly past. Feel really sorry for you mate.

__________________


Status: Offline
Posts: 191
Date:

Well I've been in Zante for 11 nights. Came back on Tuesday. All I saw were Sparrows,Collard Doves and a few Swallows. There were 3 House Martin Nests above my daughters apartments but no House Martins.

Saw and heard nothing else !!!

Unlucky I guess.smile

__________________


Status: Online
Posts: 1479
Date:

Ian McKerchar wrote:

Originally posted by Mike Haylett today:

Colony of approximately 100 Alpine swifts on the small craggy island in the bay. Quite a few red rumped swallows also. No warblers now, all departed north, regards mike





Purely out of genuine interest Ian/Mike, which bay are you referring to? Off mainland Greece or one of the islands, as there's no location name or town name given.
Cheers
Rob

__________________


Status: Online
Posts: 1479
Date:

Friday 19th June
Waiting for the coach to take us back to the airport.

Serin - 2 (more heard)
Spotted Flycatcher - 2
Eastern Olivaceous Warbler - 1 (more heard)
Collared Doves
House Sparrows

A cracking week that wasn't intended as a birding holiday, far from it. But it turned out a lot of good birding was there to be had without doing very much (sat on the balcony with a beer) or straying very far (hotel grounds or at most half mile walk opposite hotel) apart from the boat trip to Marathonisi Island, even that was only a mile or so from Zante, and some good Lifers probably more to be had.
I'd recommend a trip to Zante to anyone, weather was blistering hot (37/38degC bit much for me), lovely scenery with golden beaches, lovely people, busy nightlife or quiet side streets, and excellent wildlife.


Other Wildlife ... (Couldn't find Out of Country thread)
-Loggerhead Turtles 9 in total
(Beaches closed 7pm-7am and patrolled due to Turtles coming ashore to lay eggs)
-lots of Lizards (not 100% on species as can't find exact match but looks like one of the Balkan Wall Lizards-Podarcis Tauricus)
-Bats - not sure of species as there are 23 around Greece and The Islands, saw a few of various size etc
-lots of large flying Beetles that scared the pants of the gf, probably Phyllophaga
-lots of Cicada's heard, the odd one seen flying
-lots of Ants (small and large species seen) 290 species alone in Greece, the most of any European Country
-lots of Swallowtail Butterfly around
-plenty of large Wasps / Bees / and some Hornets (Hornets were on the beach)
-obviously lots of Mosquitos, they had a field day on me
-1 European Mole Cricket in hotel outdoor bar (must've been around 10cm long and looked lethal)


__________________


Status: Online
Posts: 1479
Date:

Thursday 18th June

2nd boat trip to Marathonissi Island for more Loggerhead Turtles (2) in the bay.
-lots of Yellow-legged Gulls
-Eleonora's Falcon 1 circling over the beach then disappeared back over the island
-Blackbird 1
-Wren heard only
-Cetti's Warbler 2 heard fairly close, not seen

Forest walk late afternoon.
-Spotted Flycatcher at least 6
-European Serin 2 seen with good views, lots heard and seen as silhouettes
-Eastern Olivaceous Warbler 3
But then came the call I heard briefly the other day. This time a bit closer and at length, and by more than one bird.
It soon appeared and my first impression was that it looked like a larger Lesser Whitethroat with a dark hood and a pale yellowish eye, at that point I kind of knew what it was likely to be. The song matched my iPhone Collins App almost perfectly.
-Eastern Orphean Warbler (Lifer) 1 and then another 3 seen later
-Peregrine 1 over the forest clearing
-minutes later a smaller Falcon over the clearing, appeared to be hawking the Hirundines, a poor sunlit shot, think it's a Hobby
-lots of House Martins over clearing
-Alpine Swift 1 over clearing
-Common Swift 2
-Red-rumped Swallow 1 over clearing

A quick walk around the scrubland produced...
-Red-rumped Swallow - 1
-Swallows + House Martins
-Common Swift 2
-lots of House Sparrow
-a small group of birds feeding with the Sparrows, I'm pretty sure they were Larks but just I'm not sure which.
-No sign of any Shrikes

Later on balcony...
-Eurasian Crag Martins yet again.
-Alpine Swift 1 again
-Nightjar heard in the distance as the light started diminishing.


__________________


Status: Online
Posts: 1479
Date:

Wednesday 17th June.
(Surely couldn't be a day as magical as yesterday?)

A morning walk into the town with the gf produced...
-1 European Serin near reception
-2 Spotted Flycatchers near reception
-few Eastern Olivaceous Warblers in trees along driveway
-Woodchat Shrike - 1 only that I could see (although I was being dragged away to the gift shops!)
-Yellow-legged Gull - 2 over the beach as we sat having some lunch on Laganas beach front

Walking back along the beach towards our hotel I was scanning the area and picked up on a large Bird of Prey circling low over Laganas town near where we'd been earlier. Got the binoculars on it and I'm pretty sure it was an Eagle of some kind, appeared larger than a Buzzard type even at the distance it was away, and had very large broad wings but that said I just couldn't further the ID as it got further away into the heat haze.


Mid-afternoon whilst gf was sunbathing I did my usual trick of disappearing.
Quick walk in the forest produced much the same as seen before, but on walking down the driveway to the main road I stumbled upon an unusual bird moving along next to me in the small privet hedge along the wall. I stopped and listened to see if there was any call and it produced a sweet chattering and warbling call not much unlike the Olivaceous Warblers but this was a bit more melodic. However it stopped and looked at me before carrying on through the hedge.
- Sardinian Warbler 1 (Lifer) the red eyes and black head together with the chance now to match the call I think pretty much ok'd it.
-Marsh Tit 1 in same bushes but further down the path, I couldn't believe it, right there infront of me and calling so straightforward ID, didn't expect to see this over here.
Over the road to my new found scrubland produced...
-Woodchat Shrike - 1 still there doing much the same as yesterday and earlier today
-Red-rumped Swallow - 3 together that briefly merged with the Swallows but then separated again. Even managed an ID shot!
-Common Swift 2
-Alpine Swift 1, out over the field with the Swallows
-Cetti's Warbler heard then seen in full view by the roadside in damp vegetation, I think it used to be a river or creek at one time

Back at the hotel, on balcony early evening...
-Lots of Swallow and House Martin
-Alpine Swift - 2 together in full view, brilliant!
-Common Swift 1 only
-Eurasian Crag Martin, a small group yet again circling high up, I can only assume they come down from the mountains or the coastal crags in early evening to feast on the abundant flying insects

-Not a single Eurasian Scops Owl heard all day until really late on today


__________________


Status: Online
Posts: 1479
Date:

Tuesday 16th June
(Girlfriend's birthday)

-Eurasian Scops Owl calling early morning around 7am and whilst having breakfast in the outdoor diner it was fairly loud so I knew it was close. Not seen though!

Marathonissi Island (Turtle Island).
Gf hates boats like I do planes but I dressed it up as a special birthday treat to see the Loggerhead Turtles (7) suspecting there'd be some good birds to be seen.

-Yellow-legged Gulls - lots of them around Marathonissi, adults and juveniles. Mainly soaking up the sun and circling round overhead. But whilst on the island I watched a small group patrolling low over the dense vegetation towards the high cliffs and they were stopping every so often to pluck things from the bushes, presumably large grubs as there's no shortage of large insects over there.
-Eleonora's Falcon (Lifer) 3 of them, 2 circling together just off the cliffs then back out of sight over island, then another on its own doing exactly the same a bit further round the island.
-Peregrine Falcon - 1 circling in same vicinity as the Eleanora's.
-Eurasian Crag Martin -(Lifer) 1 briefly flying close to the cliff face but it disappeared fairly quickly into one of the cave openings. I thought it would be difficult to see one of these but once on it, fairly obvious really, a dull greyish brown colour and somewhat larger than either a House or Sand Martin.
-Eastern Olivaceous Warbler heard and then briefly seen
-Cetti's Warbler heard very close but not seen
-Wren heard
-Blackbird heard then seen
-lots of beautiful bird song heard whilst on the island but there's limited time due to the boat trip and virtually no access to stray from the small beach due to the breeding Loggerhead's and the island being a conservation area so I have no idea what else was waiting to be found.

Out of interest the boat captain Yanis told me the Eleonora's Falcon are not seen very often and he'd not seen them in the last few trips, it's usually just the Peregrine's he saw so he was pleased I'd pointed out both Falcons. Something I didn't know was Zakynthos and the little surrounding islands can hold up to 75% of the worlds population in the summer months and I only saw 3 so I can see why they are rarely seen.

Mid-afternoon whilst gf was sunbathing by the pool the following birds were seen near the hotel reception...
-European Serin 3 (more heard in treetops)
-Spotted Flycatcher 4
-Eastern Olivaceous Warbler 2 (more heard)
-Blackbird - 1
-lots of Collared Doves

Opposite the hotel driveway there's a lane off the main road that eventually leads to the airport, with baron scrubland, old orchard type fields, a few unfinished residential villas with tropical trees etc so it looked inviting to give it it a good scan.
Almost immediately I noticed a bird drop down off a dead tree and then pop back up again with a large beetle in its bill.
-Woodchat Shrike (Lifer) I was gobsmacked that I was less than 500yds away from the hotel.
I watched it for sometime and it used quite a few vantage points including metal fence posts and bare logs with dead branches sticking up to catch bees flying by and stuff on the ground. If that wasn't enough, a 2nd bird caught my eye dropping down and back up and sure enough it was another Woodchat Shrike, however this one wasn't as showy and kept retreating to a tree with foliage so I kept losing it.
-Red-rumped Swallow 1 flying with the other Swallows and House Martins
-Common Swift 1
-Kestrel 1
-lots of House Sparrow feeding in a dry ploughed field
-few Serin mixed in with the Sparrows

Sat on balcony around 7pm having a drink with gf watching the Swallows and House Martins when a strange surreal moment occurred and the gf knew I'd seen something!!!
Firstly a small wader type flew right across in front of the balcony, calling as it flew by.
-Little Ringed Plover 1, it turned and flew back in the direction it came from.
-Alpine Swift (Lifer) - appeared within seconds of the LRP and was swirling around with the Swallows and House Martins, it stood out a mile being much larger, and I honestly thought it was a small Falcon at first but on reaching for the binoculars it became obvious what it was. Striking white belly and throat with a dark throat strap.
-Eurasian Crag Martins - within minutes of the Alpine Swift appearing, I could see a group of Martins higher up above twisting and turning, and I just knew what they were, they didn't come too low, and their colour contrasted against the other House Martins and their size was evident too since they were higher up but still appeared bulkier

Sat having our tea around 9.30pm in the open air diner with lots of other guests and we could hear the Scops Owl really close to the hotel, I said to the gf I'll finish my tea and have a quick look for it.
I didn't get chance as minutes later it dropped down from the roof area landed in a nearby tree in the hotel garden but almost immediately was off again to a tree further away and started calling. It must've been on the roof and was watching for an unsuspecting large flying beetle or the like that hang around the restaurant lights. I was amazed how small it was, it couldn't have been any bigger than a Starling to give you a rough idea, and like a grey brown colour.
-Eurasian Scops Owl - (Lifer) 1 albeit brief views but a Lifer nonetheless
-2 more heard on our walk into the town for a late drink

-- Edited by Rob Creek on Sunday 21st of June 2015 11:58:16 AM

__________________


Status: Online
Posts: 1479
Date:

John O'Neill wrote:

very envious reading your posts rob...we were in zante last year, brilliant for wildlife

if you happen to be round Kalamaki there's a great walk up Mt Skopos... easy to find...head for the Cave Bar (opens night only) and keep walking up the hill.

Good for Wheatears, Warblers, Birds of Prey.

(v hot)





Got home yesterday John, the data charges are ridiculous and kept losing connection so still got to sort my sightings notes out for Tuesday through to Friday and get it posted asap! Some excellent birds including Lifers to come!

__________________


Status: Offline
Posts: 489
Date:

very envious reading your posts rob...we were in zante last year, brilliant for wildlife
if you happen to be round Kalamaki there's a great walk up Mt Skopos... easy to find...head for the Cave Bar (opens night only) and keep walking up the hill.
Good for Wheatears, Warblers, Birds of Prey.
(v hot)

__________________


Status: Online
Posts: 1479
Date:

Monday 15th June

32 degrees C in the shade so a bit of quality time by the pool to keep the gf happy then it got too much and I retreated to the hotel forests.

-Cirl Bunting 1 cracking male (a Lifer for me) calling from a treetop branch so he stood out a mile. Totally unexpected!
-lots of European Serin
-lots of Eastern Olivaceous Warbler
-lots of Spotted Flycatcher
-Eurasian Scops Owl calling randomly again from morning right through to night with more sometimes joining in - in the distance
-1 Little Owl calling tonight at the same time as the Scops Owl but in different location.
-2 male Blackbird foraging through the dry leaf littered forest floor

Lots of usuals...
House Martin
Swallow
House Sparrow
Greenfinch
Goldfinch
Collared Dove

-1 large Gull over again tonight but this one knows when I'm in the restaurant !!!
-and a bird heard in the forest but can't match the call so unidentified for now

__________________


Status: Online
Posts: 1479
Date:

Sunday 14th June
Still blistering hot conditions

-lots of European Serin
-lots of Eastern Olivaceous Warbler
-lots of Spotted Flycatcher (some remarkably close up and seemingly Human tolerant)
-Eurasian Scops Owls calling randomly throughout the day and then again at the night time

-House Martins
-Swallows
-House Sparrows
-Greenfinches
-Goldfinches
-Collared Doves

-1 large Gull over the beach but again I had no equipment to ID it as we were in the restaurant.
-other wildlife will be posted when I get home


-- Edited by Rob Creek on Tuesday 16th of June 2015 01:27:51 AM

__________________


Status: Online
Posts: 1479
Date:

Saturday 13th June
Not a birding holiday but whilst the other half lies in the sun which I'm no good at, I can go off into the hotel forests to do some birding so all done within the hotel grounds.

-Eurasian Scops Owls still calling early morning and on and off for much of the morning until around lunchtime.
-1 Red-rumped Swallow (only my 2nd ever) fairly low over the hotel gardens, gobsmacked to see this and made up!
-lots of Swallows
-lots of House Martins
(The latter 2 nest within the hotel complex, and they're left to get on with it as they just clear up all the Mosquito's and other biting flying insects)
-European Serin (a Lifer for me) and lots of them too. They're high pitch trilling call evident all around in the cone filled Pine forest
-Eastern Olivaceous Warbler (a Lifer for me) again lots of them. They're warbling babbling calls give them away then they come floating across above your head between the branches. Lovely little things!
-1 male Blackcap
-lots of Spotted Flycatcher, strangely not listed on the official Zakynthos list but they're here, some do look a little bit of a warm brown colour rather than the greyish hue, but there's no eye ring, red throat, or black and white tail to make it a Red-breasted Flycatcher which apparently are here on the island.
-plenty of Goldfinch
-plenty of Greenfinch
-plenty of House Sparrow, a few individuals showing a rich reddy brown colour and white cheeks but the grey cap still evident so nothing rarer!
-lots of Collared Dove
-1 large Gull over but was having tea at the time in the hotel's beach restaurant so didn't have bino's with me
-Eurasian Scops Owls calling again late on within hotel grounds, not same tree

1 bird seen and photographed on wires near the hotel car park that for now is unidentified but could possibly be an Eastern Olivacious Warbler in a different posture.


__________________


Status: Online
Posts: 1479
Date:

Arrived in Zante (Zakynthos) yesterday with the girlfriend for a week, blistering hot!

Friday 12th June
-Lots of House Sparrow - very tame
(Checking for something different)
-Lots of Swallow and House Martin, some skimming over the pool right next to us
(Keep checking for Crag Martin, none as yet)
-1 Whitethroat seen singing away in the tree next to beach restaurant

...and last night on way out into the town, 2 Eurasian Scops Owl calling to each other within the trees next to hotel reception but couldn't locate, and more heard in the distance. The night security guard said locals call them 'Gionis' (pronounced Yonis) or Nightbirds.
I will try and get these before we come home.

-- Edited by Rob Creek on Saturday 13th of June 2015 06:50:40 PM

__________________


Status: Offline
Posts: 11181
Date:

Originally posted by Mike Haylett today:

Colony of approximately 100 Alpine swifts on the small craggy island in the bay. Quite a few red rumped swallows also. No warblers now, all departed north, regards mike

__________________
Ian McKerchar (forum administrator and owner)
Page 1 of 1  sorted by
Quick Reply

Please log in to post quick replies.

RODIS

 

This forum is dedicated to the memory of Eva Janice McKerchar; rest in peace mum.