Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Birdwatching in Central Greece: Part III, June 3rd, 2014

The last day of the trip started with a very early wake-up because we wanted to catch up with the forecasted rain; The owners of Epavlis Suites Hotel were very kind to prepare us a breakfast-basket so that we could leave the hotel at 6.30. Before saying goodbye to the area of Trikala we paid a short visit to the village of Theopetra, where one can have the chance to see a White Stork's nest without having to raise his neck! This year's brood is very successfull; five hungry chicks! The bottom of the nest serves as a nesting site for House and Spanish Sparrows, so we also had a look on the latter.

After some 1.5 hour we reached Lake Karla, an extensive shallow reservoir that, after many years of being completely dry, now covers a very large area and has become a very important site for waterbirds. The lake was full of Dalmatian Pelicans, Greater Flamingos, while other interesting species include the Spoonbill, the Great White Pelican and the Pygmy Cormorant (a single bird found among the numerous Great Cormorants).

The surrounding fields were also teeming with birdlife; Calandra Larks, Black-headed Buntings, Lesser Grey Shrikes being some of the most interesting. Large numbers of Eleonora's Falcons, a Long-legged Buzzard, many Lesser Kestrels and a single Hobby were some of the raptors seen, while the extensive almond groves held Olive-tree Warblers and Syrian Woodpeckers.

Eleonora's Falcons are attracted by the huge numbers of large insects

The Woodchat Shrike is the most common breeding shrike of the area

We could have seen much more if it weren't for the rain that made us begin our return to Athens. The last stop before reaching the capital of Greece was at Mt Parnitha, where we looked for Eastern Orphean Warbler. This very secretive warbler gave us brief views, as it is very difficult to see it for more than a second, but still we managed to see all of its features. The day ended with the distant call of a Scops Owl and the robust flight of a Peregrine Falcon.

Black Storks are quite frequent at the open areas around the lake

The abundant Black-headed Buntings feed on the huge numbers of insects
Overall, it's been a great 3-day trip, full of birds and beautiful pictures!

The checklist of the day:

Mute Swan
Common Shelduck
Great Crested Grebe
Black-necked Grebe
Great Cormorant
Pygmy Cormorant
Great White Pelican
Dalmatian Pelican
Night Heron
Little Egret
Grey Heron
Black Stork
White Stork
Greater Flamingo
Marsh Harrier
Common Buzzard
Long-legged Buzzard
Lesser Kestrel
Eleonora's Falcon
Black-winged Stilt
Black-headed Gull
Yellow-legged Gull
Whiskered Tern
Common Tern
Collared Dove
Turtle Dove
Scops Owl
Little Owl
Common Swift
Syrian Woodpecker
Calandra Lark
Crested Lark
Sand Martin
Barn Swallow
House Martin
Red-rumped Swallow
Black-eared Wheatear
Cetti's Warbler
Reed Warbler
Great Reed Warbler
Eastern Olivaceous Warbler
Olive-tree Warbler
Eastern Orphean Warbler
Subalpine Warbler
Sardinian Warbler
Blue Tit
Great Tit
Rock Nuthatch
Lesser Grey Shrike
Woodchat Shrike
Hooded Crow
House Sparrow
Spanish Sparrow
Cirl Bunting
Black-headed Bunting
Corn Bunting

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