Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Birdwatching in Greece with Jonathan Franzen

Jonathan Franzen is not just a famous author but also a very keen birdwatcher. His desire was to see a Syrian Woodpecker, the only European woodpecker he hadn't seen so far. So, who is the best to help him find his lifer? Greece Bird Tours of course! We arranged a special tour just to see this bird, but we also got some really good views of the Black Stork as well.

Another succesfull bird trip is over!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Birdwatching in Greece: More migration snapshots

More pics of migrants, on their way to the north.

Barn Swallows are very common in agricultural land

A Turtle Dove resting on a tree stand at the plain of Kopaida, Central Greece
Night Heron in a ditch at the plain of Kopaida

Monday, April 27, 2015

Birwatching in Greece: Bird Migration Snapshots

April is almost done and bird migration is at its peak. This is the time for many interesting species; some are very colourful while others are rather dull.

Bee-eaters are common and widespread passage migrants

The Great Reed Warbler is a widespread passage migrant and summer visitor

Monday, April 20, 2015

Birdwatching in Athens: Arrival of the Red-footed Falcons!

Once again, late April is the best month to look for the Red-footed Falcons in Athens. The first group of 10+ birds was seen at Spata Fields (the best site to look for them in spring). The birds were perching in a vineyard, grounded by strong northern winds.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Birdwatching in Athens: Spata Fields are flooded (with water and birds)!

The plain east of the town of Spata is a very good birdwatching site for those interested in farmalnd birds. However, it is also very important for waterfowl, herons and waders when a part of the plain gets flooded after a very rainy winter season, like this year. Within a few meters you can see Glossy Ibis, Red-throated Pipits and Tawny Pipits!

Flocks of Glossy Ibises forage on flooded vineyards

The Red-throated Pipit is a regular passage migrant 

Tawny Pipits are frequently seen on open areas

Friday, April 10, 2015

Birdwatching in Athens: Spring Migration Update, March 2015 (Part III)

The first Sedge Warblers were heard on the 6th of March, while Great Reed Warblers arrived om the last days of the month.
Sedge Warbler (Schinias National Park)
Ruppel's and Subalpine Warblers were already on their breeding grounds by mid March, while Eastern Bonelli's, Wood and Willow Warblers were seen on the 30th. 

Ruppell's Warbler (Mt Hymettus)

Eastern Bonelli's Warbler (Spata Fiels)
There was also a large wave of Semi-collared and Collared Flycatchers from the 24th to the 30th of March. 
Collared Flycatcher (Spata Fields)

Semi-collared Flycatcher, female (Vravrona Wetland)
Finally, the first Cretzschmar's Buntings showed up on their usual spots on Mt Penteli. 

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Birdwatching in Athens: Spring migration snapshots

April has come and bird migration is at its peak. All the major sites around Athens are teeming with birds. Here are just a few of the highlights

Glossy Ibises at Artemis Lagoon 

Eastern Bonelli's Warbler at Spata Fields

Purple Heron at Vravrona Wetland

Monday, April 06, 2015

Birdwatching in Athens: Spata Fields in full glory!

The famous fields around Spata are once again flooded! Due to the intense rains of winter and spring, the area south of the small church of St.George has transformed to a lake. Currently, the water level is very high and most of the waders have to remain in the banks, while Ferruginous Ducks, Garganeys and other waterfowl enjoy the presence of freshwater. The famous Turpentine Tree stand (that attracts many warblers in autumn) is also attractive for a number of interesting migrants; an Eastern Bonelli's Warbler and two Collared Flycatchers were looking for insects on or around.
Collared Flycatcher

Eastern Bonelli's Warbler

Spata Fields (flooded mode)

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Birdwatching in Athens: Spring Migration Update, March 2015 (Part II)

The first Great Spotted Cuckoos were once again seen on the last days of March; a pair was sighted at Vravrona Wetland. Hoopoes, Swifts and Alpine Swifts also made their appearance on the same site.
Courtship behaviour of the Great Spotted Cuckoo (Vravrona Wetland)
Wrynecks were particularly common this spring and many were seen in wetlands 
Wryneck at the former Ilissos Delta in Athens
Another target species for many European birder, the Short-toed Lark, arrived at the end of the month, along with thousands of hirundines: House and Sand Martins, Barn and Red-rumped Swallows. 

Short-toed Lark (former Ilissos Delta)
Large flocks of Yellow Wagtails forage on wetlands, fields and other open areas, while Tree and Red-throated Pipits have also arrived. 

Yellow Wagtail (Schinias National Park)
The first Nightingales were heard singing from inside dense bushes and trees and they were not confined to wetlands. Whinchats, many Northern Wheatears and several Black-eared Wheatears showed up in open areas with scattered bushes. 

Nightingale (Vravrona Wetland)

Black-eared Wheatear (Vravrona Wetland)

Friday, April 03, 2015

Rarity Alert: Isabelline Shrike found at Nea Kios Wetland, Peloponnese!

Another vagrant appeared at the very important wetland of Nea Kios, close to the picturesque city of Nafplio in the eastern Peloponnese: An adult Isabelline Shrike! The bird was very tame and it gave us, apart from greath photos, many moments of pleasure. It was very hungry and would attack on any insect around, from bees to grasshoppers!

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