Saturday, June 01, 2013

Breeding jewels of the far west (of Athens)

Erythres is a small village in the northwest, the last before entering the Prefecture of Voiotia. Its plain is largely untouched by development, and there are cereal fields, vineyards and a few orchards. The avifauna is very rich; Black-headed Buntings are abundant, Corn Buntings are also common, while in the riparian stands, Nightingales, Cetti's Warblers and Penduline Tits are the most significant. This is the only area with breeding White Storks, while Lesser Kestrels are coming in late summer when their breeding season is over. This year we found the first confirmed breeding colony of Spanish Sparrows in Athens, along with Lesser Grey Shrike, all in the same patch of willows! And that's not all, as Sombre Tits and Subalpine Warblers are easily seen in the lower slopes of Mt Pastra that's adjacent to the plain, along with Red-rumped Swallows.

Black-headed Buntings are found everywhere; vineyards, olive groves, even maquis scrub

Spanish Sparrows don't actually nest near man, preferring willows instead

Lesser Grey Shrike, protecting its territory from any "intruder"

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