Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Birdwatching in Greece: Birding in Messolonghi Lagoon, June 26, 2016

Messolonghi Lagoon is a favourite birding destination all year round. Even in summer, it offers a great many interesting species that breed in the wetland or the surrounding areas.

That's why when James C Greenwood, member of the board of the National Audubon Society contacted us for a full day birding trip, Messolonghi was, undoubtedly, the place to go.

We started very early (05.30) from Athens so as to spend as much time as possible at the area, since it is a full 3 hours' drive (a large part of the national road leading to Messolonghi is under construction).

When we reached the lagoon, we enjoyed the view of several passerines that were moving in the dense reedbeds; Cetti's, Reed and Great Reed Warblers, along with Penduline Tits, were abundant.

The lagoon itself was full of terns: Little, Common, Caspian, Gull-billed Terns all breed there, while there were also Whiskered, Black and White-winged Terns. There were also several Dalmatian PelicansOystercatchers, Avocets, Flamingoes, Black-winged Stilts and Redshanks.
Some Little Terns are still mating, while others have already chicks

Oystercatchers
 Other interesting birds found at the lagoon include Little and Great Egrets, Grey and Purple Herons, Stone Curlews and Kentish Plovers. The most interesting passerines were the Rufous Bush Robin, the Zitting Cisticola and the Spanish Sparrow. 

Male Spanish Sparrow


Close to the lagoon is the small village of Lesini. A small but increasing (thanks to nestboxes put the last few years) population of Lesser Kestrels is the greatest attraction. A Honey Buzzard, mobbed by the Lesser Kestrels, was also a very nice sighting.
Male Lesser Kestrel

The "intruder" Honey Buzzard

Another interesting site close to the area is the Lesini Ash Forest, home to woodpeckers, like the Middle and the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker.

Middle Spotted Woodpecker

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker

Tired but happy after a very productive trip, we stood for the typical "selfie"!





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