Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Birdwatching in Greece: Two-day birding tour in Athens and Messolonghi, August 9-10, 2019

Brett and Madeleine came all the way from Australia for a big European tour. Greece was one of their destinations and they wanted to add some more lifers to their list. Even though most of the summer visitors (e.g. Ruppell's Warbler, Black-headed Bunting) have already departed from their breeding grounds, there are still plenty of birds around. As they wanted two full days of birding, we planned a full day around Athens for start and then a full day at Messolonghi Lagoon.

DAY 1

August is a windy month so we had to monitor the weather forecast till the very last day to decide where we should go birding on the first day (August 9th). The final verdict was Athens as the following day would be very windy.

The first stop was Erythres plain, NW of Athens. A fairly unknown place for most birders but very rich in birds. As fall migration had started, we quickly saw many migrants like Subalpine, Icterine and Wood Warblers, Woodchat and Lesser Grey Shrikes, Northern Wheatears and Hoopoes. Lesser Kestrels on their post-breeding dispersion were very common. There were also two very low flying Short-toed Eagles and a Honey Buzzard! Another surprise was a migrant Ruppell's Warbler, seen along with the other migrants. 

Honey Buzzard

Icterine Warbler

Short-toed Eagle

Just before we go, the call of a Syrian Woodpecker was the best surprise ever; in a few minutes we managed to find the bird, this being the first record of this species in Athens!

We left Erythres and moved to Kopaida plain, a vast area outside of Athens but close enough from where we were. We visited the area to find Bee-eaters and we were not dissapointed as we saw more than 20, along with another Syrian Woodpecker, Turtle Doves, Marsh Harriers and Red-rumped Swallows. 

Bee-eater
After Kopaida, we headed back to Athens, this time visiting the eastern part and more specifically Schinias National Park, the best place to look for the Ferruginous Duck. We saw at least 20 birds and another surprise was the presence of 2 Pygmy Cormorants, Europe's least common cormorant. It is known to overwinter here but staying during the summer is something new; perhaps a resident population will be established shortly. In the area there were also many swifts of all three species, Coots, Moorhens and Great Reed Warblers, to name a few of the birds. 
Ferruginous Duck
Pygmy Cormorant

Pallid Swift
From Schinias we moved south to Artemis Lagoon, where we saw several waders: Black-winged Stilts, Kentish and Little Ringed Plovers, Curlew Sandpipers and Wood Sandpipers and Little Stints. 
Early in the afternoon, we reached Mt Hymettus, looking for Chukars at the top, to no avail...A Eurasian Sparrowhawk, however, was added to their lifer list. We moved lower, at Kaisariani Forest and saw a very nice Cirl Bunting, Firecrests and Jays, among other birds. 
Cirl Bunting


The day was over and the count reached the staggering number of 71 species! 

TRIP CHECKLIST
Mallard - Anas platyrhynchos
Ferruginous Duck - Aythya nyroca
Little Grebe - Tachybaptus ruficollis
Rock Dove - Columba livia
European Turtle Dove - Streptopelia turtur
Collared Dove - Streptopelia decaocto
Alpine Swift - Apus melba
Common Swift - Apus apus
Pallid Swift - Apus pallidus
Water Rail - Rallus aquaticus
Common Moorhen - Gallinula chloropus
Eurasian Coot - Fulica atra
Black-winged Stilt - Himantopus himantopus
Kentish Plover - Charadrius alexandrinus
Little Ringed Plover - Charadrius dubius
Curlew Sandpiper - Calidris ferruginea
Little Stint - Calidris minuta
Common Sandpiper - Actitis hypoleucos
Wood Sandpiper - Tringa glareola
Pygmy Cormorant - Microcarbo pygmaeus
Great Cormorant - Phalacrocorax carbo
Purple Heron - Ardea purpurea
Little Egret - Egretta garzetta
European Honey-buzzard - Pernis apivorus
Short-toed Eagle - Circaetus gallicus
Western Marsh Harrier - Circus aeruginosus
Eurasian Sparrowhawk - Accipiter nisus
Common Buzzard - Buteo buteo
Eurasian Hoopoe - Upupa epops
Common Kingfisher - Alcedo atthis
European Bee-eater - Merops apiaster
Syrian Woodpecker - Dendrocopos syriacus
Lesser Kestrel - Falco naumanni
Common Kestrel - Falco tinnunculus
Red-backed Shrike - Lanius collurio
Lesser Grey Shrike - Lanius minor
Woodchat Shrike - Lanius senator
Eurasian Jay - Garrulus glandarius
Common Magpie - Pica pica
Hooded Crow - Corvus cornix
Common Raven - Corvus corax
Coal Tit - Periparus ater
Sombre Tit - Poecile lugubris
Great Tit - Parus major
Crested Lark - Galerida cristata
Zitting Cisticola - Cisticola juncidis
Icterine Warbler - Hippolais icterina
Great Reed Warbler-Acrocephalus arundinaceus
Barn Swallow - Hirundo rustica
Red-rumped Swallow - Cecropis daurica
Common House Martin - Delichon urbicum
Wood Warbler - Phylloscopus sibilatrix
Cetti's Warbler - Cettia cetti
Long-tailed Tit - Aegithalos caudatus
Lesser Whitethroat - Sylvia curruca
Ruppell's Warbler - Sylvia ruppeli
Subalpine Warbler - Sylvia cantillans
Sardinian Warbler - Sylvia melanocephala
Common Whitethroat - Sylvia communis
Common Firecrest - Regulus ignicapilla
Eurasian Blackbird - Turdus merula
Spotted Flycatcher - Muscicapa striata
Northern Wheatear - Oenanthe oenanthe
Black-eared Wheatear - Oenanthe hispanica
House Sparrow - Passer domesticus
Eurasian Tree Sparrow - Passer montanus
Common Chaffinch - Fringilla coelebs
European Greenfinch - Chloris chloris
European Goldfinch - Carduelis carduelis
Corn Bunting - Emberiza calandra
Cirl Bunting - Emberiza cirlus







Monday, September 16, 2019

Birdwatching in Athens: Half-day trip, June 20, 2019

David Rupp is a fellow bird guide from Indiana, USA. He contacted us for a half-day tour around Athens and after a couple of emails everything was set for the afternoon of June 20.

Leaving Athens, we made our first stop at the still flooded in June Spata fields. Water levels this year were so high that Mallards, Ferruginous Duck and even Common Pochards nested, along with Coots, Moorhens and Little Grebes. Black-winged Stilts and many passerines, like the Great Reed Warbler were other birds seen.


Next stop was Artemis Lagoon; on the way, we saw a nice Hoopoe flying right in front of us. The lagoon's highlight was a Whiskered Tern, while more Black-winged Stilts and lots of hirundines were also present.
Whiskered Tern
A quick visit to Vravrona added Little Egrets, Red-rumped Swallows and Zitting Cisticolas to our list but it was Markopoulo Fields that added a local specialty: the Rufous Bush Robin. There were also Black-headed Buntings and a nice Little Owl. 

Rufous Bush Robin

Little Owl
We headed to Mt Hymettus and had a great collection of birds in late afternoon: Chukars, Ruppell's Warblers, Subalpine Warblers, Short-toed Treecreepers and Nightjars. At dusk, two Scops Owl also popped up, closing this trip the best way possible as the day's count was 40 species! 

Chukar

Ruppell's Warbler


David on Mt Hymettus

TRIP CHECKLIST


Common Pochard - Aythya ferina
Ferruginous Duck - Aythya nyroca
Chukar - Alectoris chukar
Little Grebe - Tachybaptus ruficollis
Collared Dove - Streptopelia decaocto
Eurasian Nightjar - Caprimulgus europaeus
Common Swift - Apus apus
Eurasian Coot - Fulica atra
Black-winged Stilt - Himantopus himantopus
Yellow-legged Gull - Larus michahellis
Whiskered Tern - Chlidonias hybrida
Grey Heron - Ardea cinerea
Little Egret - Egretta garzetta
Eurasian Scops Owl - Otus scops
Little Owl - Athene noctua
Tawny Owl - Strix aluco
Eurasian Hoopoe - Upupa epops
Common Kestrel - Falco tinnunculus
Eurasian Jay - Garrulus glandarius
Common Magpie - Pica pica
Coal Tit - Periparus ater
Great Tit - Parus major
Crested Lark - Galerida cristata
Zitting Cisticola - Cisticola juncidis
Great Reed Warbler - Acrocephalus arundinaceus
Barn Swallow - Hirundo rustica
Red-rumped Swallow - Cecropis daurica
Common House Martin - Delichon urbicum
Cetti's Warbler - Cettia cetti
Long-tailed Tit - Aegithalos caudatus
RΓΌppell's Warbler - Sylvia ruppeli
Subalpine Warbler - Sylvia cantillans
Sardinian Warbler - Sylvia melanocephala
Common Firecrest - Regulus ignicapilla
Short-toed Treecreeper - Certhia brachydactyla
Eurasian Blackbird - Turdus merula
Rufous-tailed Scrub-Robin - Cercotrichas galactotes
European Stonechat - Saxicola rubicola
House Sparrow - Passer domesticus
Black-headed Bunting - Emberiza melanocephala




Sunday, August 04, 2019

Birdwatching in Greece: Western and Central Greece 3-day Tour, June 14-16 2019 (Day 3)


DAY 3

The third day started with birding on Mt Parnassos, first at the woodland tracts where we looked for the Green Woodpecker. To our surprise, none was seen or heard; we managed to see, however, lots of tits, crests, finches and thrushes. An immature Golden Eagle being 'mobbed' by a Honey Buzzard was the highlight of forest birding.

Golden Eagle

We moved higher to the alpine zone and found several Alpine Choughs, Rock Thrushes, Tawny Pipits and Northern Wheatears.

Alpine Chough
Luis on Mt Parnassos

Luis had a plane to catch in the afternoon, so we left Mt Parnassos and headed back to Athens. Our last stop was the flooded plain close to the airport; Ferruginous Ducks, a wandering Squacco Heron and lots of Zitting Cisticolas were the most important species seen.

The day count was 42 species, while the whole trip count reached 112 species! Luis was ready to go to China for his business trip with a pack full of nice birding memories.


DAY CHECKLIST

Ferruginous Duck - Aythya nyroca
Common Swift - Apus apus
Pallid Swift - Apus pallidus
Eurasian Coot - Fulica atra
Yellow-legged Gull - Larus michahellis
Squacco Heron - Ardeola ralloides
European Honey-buzzard - Pernis apivorus
Golden Eagle - Aquila chrysaetos
Common Buzzard - Buteo buteo
Eurasian Hoopoe - Upupa epops
European Bee-eater - Merops apiaster
Common Kestrel - Falco tinnunculus
Red-backed Shrike - Lanius collurio
Common Magpie - Pica pica
Alpine Chough - Pyrrhocorax graculus
Woodlark - Lullula arborea
Crested Lark - Galerida cristata
Barn Swallow - Hirundo rustica
Red-rumped Swallow - Cecropis daurica
Coal Tit - Periparus ater
Eurasian Nuthatch - Sitta europaea
Short-toed Treecreeper - Certhia brachydactyla
Eurasian Wren - Troglodytes troglodytes
Goldcrest - Regulus regulus
Common Firecrest - Regulus ignicapilla
Great Reed Warbler - Acrocephalus arundinaceus
Zitting Cisticola - Cisticola juncidis
Eurasian Blackcap - Sylvia atricapilla
Lesser Whitethroat - Sylvia curruca
Spotted Flycatcher - Muscicapa striata
European Robin - Erithacus rubecula
Black Redstart - Phoenicurus ochruros
Common Rock Thrush - Monticola saxatilis
Northern Wheatear - Oenanthe oenanthe
Mistle Thrush - Turdus viscivorus
Eurasian Blackbird - Turdus merula
Tawny Pipit - Anthus campestris
Common Chaffinch - Fringilla coelebs
Common Linnet - Linaria cannabina
European Serin - Serinus serinus
Cirl Bunting - Emberiza cirlus
House Sparrow - Passer domesticus






Friday, August 02, 2019

Birdwatching in Greece: Western and Central Greece 3-day Tour, June 14-16 2019, Day 2

Day 2

On Saturday, June 16th, we left Delphi for the hilly country surrounding Itea and Galaxeidi towns, looking for Rock Sparrows, Rock Partridges and Eastern Orphean Warblers. Despite the intense heat, we managed to find all three, along with dozens of Black-eared Wheatears, Rock Nuthatches and Blue Rock Thrushes etc.

Eastern Orphean Warbler

Rock Sparrow

Next stop was Kleisova Lagoon at Messolonghi. It was quite hot at noon; we managed, nevertheless, to enjoy Dalmatian Pelicans, Stone Curlews, Collared Pratincoles, Gull-billed and Caspian Terns and lots of herons. 

Stone-curlew
We continued west and visited the Ash Forest of Lesini, as well as some parts of the riparian woodland of Acheloos River. We managed to find the Levant Sparrohawk (one of the target species for Luis) and Middle Spotted Woodpeckers. 

Middle Spotted Woodpecker
Early in the afernoon, we headed back to Delphi. The species count for Day 2 was 61, a very fruitful day!

DAY CHECKLIST

Common Shelduck - Tadorna tadorna
Mallard - Anas platyrhynchos
Rock Partridge - Alectoris graeca
Greater Flamingo - Phoenicopterus roseus
Collared Dove - Streptopelia decaocto
Stone-curlew - Burhinus oedicnemus
Black-winged Stilt - Himantopus himantopus
Kentish Plover - Charadrius alexandrinus
Eurasian Curlew - Numenius arquata
Common Greenshank - Tringa nebularia
Common Redshank - Tringa totanus
Collared Pratincole - Glareola pratincola
Yellow-legged Gull - Larus michahellis
Little Tern - Sternula albifrons
Gull-billed Tern - Gelochelidon nilotica
Caspian Tern - Hydroprogne caspia
Common Tern - Sterna hirundo
Pygmy Cormorant - Microcarbo pygmeus
Great Cormorant - Phalacrocorax carbo
Dalmatian Pelican - Pelecanus crispus
Grey Heron - Ardea cinerea
Little Egret - Egretta garzetta
Western Marsh Harrier - Circus aeruginosus
Levant Sparrowhawk - Accipiter brevipes
Eurasian Hoopoe - Upupa epops
Middle Spotted Woodpecker - Dendrocoptes medius
Common Kestrel - Falco tinnunculus
Peregrine Falcon - Falco peregrinus
Woodchat Shrike - Lanius senator
Eurasian Jay - Garrulus glandarius
Common Magpie - Pica pica
Eurasian Jackdaw - Corvus monedula
Hooded Crow - Corvus cornix
Greater Short-toed Lark - Calandrella brachydactyla
Crested Lark - Galerida cristata
Sand Martin - Riparia riparia
Barn Swallow - Hirundo rustica
Sombre Tit - Poecile lugubris
Eurasian Blue Tit - Cyanistes caeruleus
Great Tit - Parus major
Eurasian Penduline Tit - Remiz pendulinus
Western Rock Nuthatch - Sitta neumayer
Cetti's Warbler - Cettia cetti
Eastern Olivaceous Warbler - Iduna pallida
Eurasian Reed Warbler - Acrocephalus scirpaceus
Zitting Cisticola - Cisticola juncidis
Eastern Orphean Warbler - Sylvia crassirostris
Sardinian Warbler - Sylvia melanocephala
Common Nightingale - Luscinia megarhynchos
Black-eared Wheatear - Oenanthe hispanica
Eurasian Blackbird - Turdus merula
Western Yellow Wagtail - Motacilla flava
Common Chaffinch - Fringilla coelebs
European Greenfinch - Chloris chloris
European Goldfinch - Carduelis carduelis
Black-headed Bunting - Emberiza melanocephala
Corn Bunting - Emberiza calandra
Cirl Bunting - Emberiza cirlus
House Sparrow - Passer domesticus
Spanish Sparrow - Passer hispaniolensis
Rock Sparrow - Petronia petronia





Friday, July 26, 2019

Birdwatching in Greece: Western and Central Greece 3-day tour, June 14-16 2019 (Day 1)

Luis is a Portugal birder who's been travelling the world for many years now. He managed to combine a business trip to China with a three day tour in Greece. As he wanted to see as many as local specialties as possible, we planned an itinerary that combined Messolonghi Lagoon, Mt Parnassos, Evvoia island and some of the Athens' hotspots.

DAY 1 

The first birding we did was actually on the night of June 13th; we visited Lycabettus Hill to look for the Scops Owl and, despite the loads of people still on the hill at 22.30, we heard two birds and had fantastic close views of one of them.

On the 14th, we drove early in the morning to get the 08.15 ferry from Agia Marina port to Evvoia island.  On our way, we saw six Scopoli's Shearwaters and at least 80 Yelkouan Shearwaters; we also saw Shags, Rock Doves and, of course, hundreds of Yellow-legged Gulls.

Scopoli's Shearwater
Reaching Lake Dystos, we first searched the adjacent groves for the Olive-tree Warbler, the Black-headed Bunting and the Sombre Tit. All three were found, along with Cirl Buntings, Greenfinches and Eastern Olivaceous Warblers. 

Sombre Tit
Lesser Kestrels were foraging in the fields, lots of herons were seen in the lake, along with Mute Swan families; a White Stork also visited the area, coming from Krieza village where its nest (the sole in the whole of the island) is found. Short-toed Lark and Crested Larks, Zitting Cisticolas and Woodchat Shrikes were also seen in the open fields closer to the lake. 

We also visited Mt Koskina, west of the lake and saw Ruppell's Warblers, Black-eared Wheatears, Rock Nuthatches and Cretzschmar's Buntings, among many other species. Turtle Doves, Tawny Pipits and Subalpine Warblers were a few more of the species seen. 

Black-eared Wheatear

Cretzschmar's Bunting
Early in the afternoon, we left Lake Dystos and headed to Delphi to stay overnight. 

The total list for the day (including the night of June 13th) was 48 species, nine of which were lifers. A perfect way to start a trip! 

DAY CHECKLIST

Mute Swan - Cygnus olor
Mallard - Anas platyrhynchos
Rock Dove - Columba livia
European Turtle Dove - Streptopelia turtur
Collared Dove - Streptopelia decaocto
Alpine Swift - Apus melba
Yellow-legged Gull - Larus michahellis
Cory's Shearwater - Calonectris diomedea
Yelkouan Shearwater - Puffinus yelkouan
White Stork - Ciconia ciconia
European Shag - Phalacrocorax aristotelis
Grey Heron - Ardea cinerea
Short-toed Eagle - Circaetus gallicus
Western Marsh Harrier - Circus aeruginosus
Common Buzzard - Buteo buteo
Eurasian Scops Owl - Otus scops
Lesser Kestrel - Falco naumanni
Common Kestrel - Falco tinnunculus
Woodchat Shrike - Lanius senator
Common Magpie - Pica pica
Hooded Crow - Corvus cornix
Common Raven - Corvus corax
Greater Short-toed Lark - Calandrella brachydactyla
Crested Lark - Galerida cristata
Barn Swallow - Hirundo rustica
Red-rumped Swallow - Cecropis daurica
Common House Martin - Delichon urbicum
Sombre Tit - Poecile lugubris
Great Tit - Parus major
Western Rock Nuthatch - Sitta neumayer
Cetti's Warbler - Cettia cetti
Eastern Olivaceous Warbler - Iduna pallida
Olive-tree Warbler - Hippolais olivetorum
Great Reed Warbler - Acrocephalus arundinaceus
Zitting Cisticola - Cisticola juncidis
Ruppell's Warbler - Sylvia ruppeli
Subalpine Warbler - Sylvia cantillans
Sardinian Warbler - Sylvia melanocephala
European Stonechat - Saxicola rubicola
Black-eared Wheatear - Oenanthe hispanica
Eurasian Blackbird - Turdus merula
Tawny Pipit - Anthus campestris
European Greenfinch - Chloris chloris
Common Linnet - Linaria cannabina
Black-headed Bunting - Emberiza melanocephala
Cirl Bunting - Emberiza cirlus
Cretzschmar's Bunting - Emberiza caesia
House Sparrow - Passer domesticus










Monday, July 22, 2019

Birdwatching in Athens: Mt Parnitha Half-day tour, June 12 2019




June in Athens can be quite hot some times and birding get tough. Brittany Foret, from the United States of America, was on her first trip to Greece, however, and wanted to see as many species as possible in half a day. As Greece Bird Tours gives much attention to the term 'tailor-made', we suggested to spend the whole time on Mt Parnitha, Athens' highest mountain and one of the most important birding hot spots.

Starting from downtown Athens at 06.45, it took us 45 min. to reach the lower slopes of the mountain. There, in a nice patch of mixed woodland, we got our first birds: Long-tailed, Great and Coal Tits and Cirl Buntings.
Cirl Bunting

Juv Long-tailed Tit
After a while, we headed for the higher altitude, where the bird diversity is even larger. Soon, we got great views of Sombre Tits, Sardinian and Subalpine Warblers, Black-eared Wheatears and Cretzschmar's Buntings, Athenian specialties that have colonized Mt Parnitha after the great wildfire of 2007. 

Cretzschmar's Bunting

Sombre Tit
The sky was teeming with swifts and a pair of Ravens mobbed a Common Buzzard. Then, a mega rarity (for the time of year) appeared: a Griffon Vulture! This impressive raptor is a rare, though regular, late fall migrant but this is the first time, in the last decades, to see a bird in summer as there is not any active colony around. Let's hope that this is the first sign of a future re-colonization. 

Griffon Vulture
Ravens mobbing on Common Buzzard
Alpine Swift

Birding continued as we moved to more wooded areas and found lots of forest dwellers; Nightingales, Robins, Short-toed Treecreepers, Firecrests and dozens of Chaffinches were present. 

Nightingale

Robin
Even though Brittany didn't want to leave the area, we had to drive back to Athens as she had booked a cooking class with her boyfriend later that day. Amazed by the natural beauty of Mt Parnitha and Greece in general, she made a promise to do a lot more birding the next time she comes to Greece, with us of course! 



TRIP CHECKLIST

Alpine Swift - Apus melba
Common Swift - Apus apus
Yellow-legged Gull - Larus michahellis
Griffon Vulture - Gyps fulvus
Common Buzzard - Buteo buteo
Common Kestrel - Falco tinnunculus
Hooded Crow - Corvus cornix
Common Raven - Corvus corax
Woodlark - Lullula arborea
Coal Tit - Periparus ater
Sombre Tit - Poecile lugubris
Great Tit - Parus major
Long-tailed Tit - Aegithalos caudatus
Short-toed Treecreeper - Certhia brachydactyla
Eurasian Wren - Troglodytes troglodytes
Common Firecrest - Regulus ignicapilla
Eurasian Blackcap - Sylvia atricapilla
Lesser Whitethroat - Sylvia curruca
Subalpine Warbler - Sylvia cantillans
Sardinian Warbler - Sylvia melanocephala
Spotted Flycatcher - Muscicapa striata
European Robin - Erithacus rubecula
Black Redstart - Phoenicurus ochruros
European Stonechat - Saxicola rubicola
Black-eared Wheatear - Oenanthe hispanica
Eurasian Blackbird - Turdus merula
Common Chaffinch - Fringilla coelebs
European Serin - Serinus serinus
Cirl Bunting - Emberiza cirlus
Cretzschmar's Bunting - Emberiza caesia






Monday, July 15, 2019

Birdwatching in Greece: Athens Full Day Trip, June 8 2019

Rob Van Epps in an enthusiastic nature lover who as on vacation on the island of Santorini and was so determined to see some cool birds that he flew from Santorini on Saturday, Jun 6 to go birding with us.

Picking him from the airport early in the morning, we headed straight to the adjacent farmland, to look for the Black-headed Bunting and the Rufous Bush Robin. We found both of them and had some really nice photos.

Rufous Bush Robin

Black-headed Bunting
There were also lots of Common Swifts, Crested Larks, Barn Swallows, as well as a Little Grebe and a Moorhen in a ditch close to the airport. 

We then moved north, to the still-flooded Spata fields. The Ferruginous Ducks were one of the highlights along with the Black-winged Stilts, the Great Reed Warblers and the Zitting Cisticolas. A Short-toed Eagle flew overhead while, Alpine and Common Swifts were flying around all the time. 

Ferruginous Duck
It was time for one of the Athenian specialties: the Ruppell's Warbler. We drove west and reached Mt Hymettus, where we managed to find one bright male at its usual post. 
Ruppell's Warbler
It was time for Mt Parnitha, Athens' highest mountain. The main target, the Sombre Tit, was found rather easily and along with that we saw Lesser Whitethroats (the sole breeding area in Athens), Red-backed Shrikes, Subalpine Warblers, Black Redstarts, Woodlarks, Nightingales, lots of finches and Cirl Buntings, among other species. 

Subalpine Warbler
Leaving Mt Parnitha, we headed east and reached Mt Penteli. Thre, we saw Rock Nuthatches, Cretzschmar's Buntings and a Tawny Pipit, which is a rare summer visitor to Athens. There were also Blue Rock Thrushes, Black-eared Wheatears, Stonechats etc. 

Tawny Pipit

The last stop for the day was Vravrona wetland. There we found Green Sandpipers, most probably very early fall migrants, Little Egrets, a Peregrine Falcon with prey in its tallons (most probably a chick Black-winged Stilt from Spata Fields or Artemis Lagoon), dozens of swifts (including Pallid), Cetti's and Eastern Olivaceous Warbler and Goldfinches.  

The day was over and the tally was 57 species. Rob was very happy to have seen many lifers in a single day! 
                                                                   
TRIP CHECKLIST

Ferruginous Duck - Aythya nyroca
Little Grebe - Tachybaptus ruficollis
Collared Dove - Streptopelia decaocto
Alpine Swift - Apus melba
Common Swift - Apus apus
Pallid Swift - Apus pallidus
Water Rail - Rallus aquaticus
Common Moorhen - Gallinula chloropus
Eurasian Coot - Fulica atra
Black-winged Stilt - Himantopus himantopus
Green Sandpiper - Tringa ochropus
Yellow-legged Gull - Larus michahellis
Little Egret - Egretta garzetta
Short-toed Eagle - Circaetus gallicus
Common Buzzard - Buteo buteo
Common Kestrel - Falco tinnunculus
Peregrine Falcon - Falco peregrinus
Red-backed Shrike - Lanius collurio
Common Magpie - Pica pica
Hooded Crow - Corvus cornix
Woodlark - Lullula arborea
Crested Lark - Galerida cristata
Barn Swallow - Hirundo rustica
Common House Martin - Delichon urbicum
Coal Tit - Periparus ater
Sombre Tit - Poecile lugubris
Great Tit - Parus major
Western Rock Nuthatch - Sitta neumayer
Short-toed Treecreeper - Certhia brachydactyla
Cetti's Warbler - Cettia cetti
Eastern Olivaceous Warbler - Iduna pallida
Eurasian Reed Warbler - Acrocephalus scirpaceus
Great Reed Warbler - Acrocephalus arundinaceus
Zitting Cisticola - Cisticola juncidis
Lesser Whitethroat - Sylvia curruca
RΓΌppell's Warbler - Sylvia ruppeli
Subalpine Warbler - Sylvia cantillans
Sardinian Warbler - Sylvia melanocephala
Common Whitethroat - Sylvia communis
Spotted Flycatcher - Muscicapa striata
Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin - Cercotrichas galactotes
Common Nightingale - Luscinia megarhynchos
Black Redstart - Phoenicurus ochruros
Blue Rock Thrush - Monticola solitarius
European Stonechat - Saxicola rubicola
Northern Wheatear - Oenanthe oenanthe
Black-eared Wheatear - Oenanthe hispanica
Eurasian Blackbird - Turdus merula
Tawny Pipit - Anthus campestris
Common Chaffinch - Fringilla coelebs
Common Linnet - Linaria cannabina
European Goldfinch - Carduelis carduelis
European Serin - Serinus serinus
Black-headed Bunting - Emberiza melanocephala
Cirl Bunting - Emberiza cirlus
Cretzschmar's Bunting - Emberiza caesia
House Sparrow - Passer domesticus




Monday, July 08, 2019

Birdwatching in Greece: Western and Central Greece Tour, May 17-21 2019 Day 5

DAY 5

On the last day of the tour, we visited several birding hot spots around Athens; the first site was Cape Sounio, where we found some Chukars, a Peregrine Falcon and a distant Bonelli's Eagle, at least 200 Yelkouan Shearwaters off the coast, Bee-eaters and Alpine Swifts, among other birds.

Chukar

Peregrine Falcon
From Cape Sounio, we drove north to Vravrona Wetland for a quick stop and got lucky enough to have great views of a juv Great Spotted Cuckoo and a very close Citrine Wagtail! 

Citrine Wagtail

Great Spotted Cuckoo
Next stop was Artemis Lagoon, where we watched Black-winged Stilts, Little Grebes, Coots and lots of hirundines. 

House Martin

We also made a brief stop at Rafina's Megalo Rema river mouth for a new species for the trip (Little Ringed Plover) and the flooded Spata fields for some more Ferruginous Ducks, a Great Reed Warbler and a Whiskered Tern. 

Early in the afternoon, the Harris' couple was dropped off at a hotel close to the airport as they had to take a very early flight next day. The total count for these five days was 137 species (including those heard), an impressive number made possible by the selection of so many different habitats. Wade and Karren, we look forward to seeing you again in Greece for some more exciting birding! 

DAY 5 CHECKLIST

Ferruginous Duck - Aythya nyroca
Chukar - Alectoris chukar
Little Grebe - Tachybaptus ruficollis
Rock Dove - Columba livia
Collared Dove - Streptopelia decaocto
Great Spotted Cuckoo - Clamator glandarius
Alpine Swift - Apus melba
Common Moorhen - Gallinula chloropus
Eurasian Coot - Fulica atra
Black-winged Stilt - Himantopus himantopus
Little Ringed Plover - Charadrius dubius
Ruff - Calidris pugnax
Yellow-legged Gull - Larus michahellis
Whiskered Tern - Chlidonias hybrida
Cory's Shearwater - Calonectris diomedea
Yelkouan Shearwater - Puffinus yelkouan
European Shag - Phalacrocorax aristotelis
Grey Heron - Ardea cinerea
Little Egret - Egretta garzetta
Bonelli's Eagle - Aquila fasciata
Common Buzzard - Buteo buteo
Eurasian Hoopoe - Upupa epops
European Bee-eater - Merops apiaster
Common Kestrel - Falco tinnunculus
Peregrine Falcon - Falco peregrinus
Common Magpie - Pica pica
Crested Lark - Galerida cristata
Barn Swallow - Hirundo rustica
Common House Martin - Delichon urbicum
Cetti's Warbler - Cettia cetti
Eastern Olivaceous Warbler - Iduna pallida
Great Reed Warbler - Acrocephalus arundinaceus
Zitting Cisticola - Cisticola juncidis
Sardinian Warbler - Sylvia melanocephala
European Stonechat - Saxicola rubicola
Citrine Wagtail - Motacilla citreola
European Greenfinch - Chloris chloris
Black-headed Bunting - Emberiza melanocephala
House Sparrow - Passer domesticus








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