Monday, August 20, 2007

Summer vacation combined with birdwatching

Greek island birding!

Most of you know how hard it is to combine summer holidays with birdwatching. Basically, you do not feel like carrying your binoculars with you while on the beach, since people might think that you are weird (especially in Greece). Also, it is the time you really want to relax and do nothing. Well, after a while even this gets boring. Especially if you see Unidentified Flying Objects over your car while driving... If birdwatching is your hobby, I believe it is almost impossible not to carry binoculars with you, even during summer holidays in greek islands.

Sporades islands (Skopelos, Skiathos, Alonissos) are very green, covered with dense pine forests

I did my best not to overdo it... I had my binoculars in the car and made some walks in certain areas, looking for species I wanted.

For vacations, I went with my wife to the Sporades complex of islands, and especially to Skopelos & Skiathos island. I did not get too many species, but I finally got Honey Buzzard that I was looking for for so long. Not wonder why: the island is full of wasps! It is insane how wasps are eveywhere in the island of Skopelos.

I also saw lots of Eleonorae's Falcons, Shags, Cory's Shearwater, Raven, and the highest ammount of Red-rumped Swallows I have ever encountered. They were everyday around our rented rooms, Stamatiou rooms which we fully reccommend for relaxed holidays. The view from any room is breathtaking

The capital of Skopelos, "Chora", as seen from the castle

In Skopelos, one should really hike up the mountains, that are fully covered with pine trees. The view from Sendoukia is superb.
The view of the whole pine forest, as seen from Sedoukia, Skopelos island

In Skiathos, try Strofylia Lake close to famous Koukounaries beach (althought no waterfoul was seen due to season) and I am sure in winter and spring gets full of birds. A great idea is also to take the tour around the island with a traditional boat. Close view of seabirds & dolphins, combined with swimming in the nicest beaches, like Aselinos, Tsougria, Banana

Boat trip around the island of Skiathos

The complete bird list for a few days with very brief birding in these islands:

Cory's Shearwater, Shag, Honey Buzzard, Kestrel, Alpine Swift, Common Swift, Pallid Swift, Yellow-legged Gull, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, House Martin, Spotted Flycatcher, Sardinian Warbler, Great Tit, Hooded Crow, House Sparrow, Chaffinch.
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