Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Birdwatching in Greece: Athens Panorama Birding Trip, September 4th

September is the peak month of fall migration and a bird trip is always a nice idea. The September, 4th trip, however, was far more productive than we could imagine as we counted c.80 species around Athens, including specialties like Ferruginous Duck, Sombre Tit and Eastern Orphean Warbler! 

The day started very early (5.30 am) as we wanted to check for Scops Owls at Mt Hymettus. We saw at least two birds and we also saw a Nightjar in the ground. Just after dawn, we headed to suitable habitats for Rock Nuthatch, Blue Rock Thrush and Chukar and we saw them all, along with Wood Warbler, Marsh Harrier and more.

The Rock Nuthatch is very common in Mt Hymettus
Wood Warbler is scarce in fall
After we left the rocks, we headed towards the wooded parts of the mountain, where we found, among others, Collared Flycatcher, Coal Tit, Firecrest, Short-toed Treecreeper and Cirl Bunting.

The next stop was Spata Fields. We visited the agricultural land and enjoyed Pallid Swift, Tawny Pipit, Red-rumped Swallow, Whinchat and lots of Subalpine Warblers, feeding on Turpentine berries.

Northern Wheatears are very common passage migrants in fall
Close to Spata Fields, lie the small lagoon of Artemis (aka Loutsa). This tiny wetland was very productive as it held Ferruginous Duck, Purple Heron, Squacco Heron, Ruff, Little Stint, Marsh Sandpiper, Little Ringed Plover, Black-winged Stilt, Moorhen and Coot, while Water Rails were calling from the dense reedbed.

Afterwards, we headed north to Oropos Lagoon, the sole breeding site of Kentish Plover. We also found Penduline Tit and had a glimpse of Kingfisher. Large numbers of Little Egrets were also present, along with Sandwich Tern, Grey Plover and Redshank. 

More than 60 Little Egrets were found in Oropos Lagoon
Our last stop was Mt Parnitha. This site was the best way to finish our trip, as we saw Sombre Tit, Redstart and Eastern Orphean Warbler, along with Short-toed Eagle, Pied and Spotted Flycatcher.

The total list of birds seen (and heard) is  76 species! Pretty good for Athens, don't you think?

September, 4th Athens Panorama Checklist

(H=Hymettus, S=Spata, A=Artemis, O=Oropos, P=Parnitha)

 Mallard O
Teal O
Ferruginous Duck A
Chukar H
Little Grebe AO
Squacco Heron A
Little Egret O
Grey Heron O
Purple Heron A
Short-Toed Eagle P
Marsh Harrier H
Common Buzzard S
Sparrowhawk H
Kestrel HSOP
Water Rail A
Moorhen A
Coot A
Black-winged Stilt A
Little Ringed Plover AO
Kentish Plover O
Grey Plover O
Little Stint AO
Wood Sandpiper A
Redshank AO
Marsh Sandpiper A
Ruff A
Black-headed Gull O
Yellow-legged Gull O
Sandwich Tern O
Feral Pigeon HSAO
Collared Dove O
Little Owl H
Scops Owl H
Nightjar H
Swift SAP
Pallid Swift SA
Alpine Swift SAP
Kingfisher O
Crested Lark S
Sand Martin S
Barn Swallow SAOP
Red-rumped Swallow SAOP
Tawny Pipit S
Robin H
Redstart P
Northern Wheatear SP
Whinchat S
Stonechat HS
Blackbird H
Blue Rock Thrush H
Blackcap HP
Eastern Orphean Warbler P
Sardinian Warbler H
Subalpine Warbler S
Zitting Cisticola SA
Reed Warbler A
Willow Warbler S
Wood Warbler H
Firecrest H
Spotted Flycatcher HSP
Pied Flycatcher P
Collared Flycatcher H
Great Tit HOP
Coal Tit H
Sombre Tit P
Penduline Tit O
Rock Nuthatch HP
Short-toed Treecreeper H
Red-backed Shrike S
Magpie HSAO
Jay HP
Hooded Crow P
House Sparrow SAO
Chaffinch HP
Goldfinch SO
Cirl Bunting HP

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