Saturday, July 30, 2016

Birding in Greece: Weekend birding tour in the Peloponnese, July 9-10, 2016

Another exciting birding tour took place in the region of Peloponnese, on the 9th and 10th of July. From our "base" in Epidavros, we toured Mt Parnonas, a very rich area in birdlife but rather unknown to birders, Lake Stymfalia, the coastal wetland of Nea Kios, close to the city of Nafplio and Lake Moustos. We managed to see some 75 species, a remarkable number given the time of year!

On the first day (July 9), we visited the extensive mountain range of Parnonas, a diverse area with large tracts of maquis scrub, conifer and broad-leaved woodland. Birds were everywhere; Honey-Buzzards, Short-toed Eagles, Common Buzzards and Kestrels soared the skies, while Cirl Buntings, Woodlarks, Woodchat Shrikes and Goldfinches were few of the passerines seen. Sombre Tit was also found and seen from a close distance.

One of the many Short-toed Eagles of the area
Close to Mt Parnonas is Lake Moustos, a small but very important wetland. Numerous Water Rails and  hundreds of hirundines were seen, while Turtle Doves were singing from tamarisk trees. A Whiskered Tern was a very unique sight, perched on a small tamarisk!

Whiskered Tern
On the second day, we started our tour in the coastal wetland of Nea Kios, watching waders like the Black-winged Stilt, the Curlew Sandpiper, the Greenshank and the Kentish Plover. A group of 10 Flamingos was a remarkable sight as it flew right in front of us, making several passes before leaving the area. Common Terns were still mating!

Common Terns
We left Nea Kios and drove to Lake Stymfalia. On our way, we stopped at the ancient castle of Larisa, at the city of Argos and enjoyed close views of Blue Rock Thrushes and Rock Nuthatches.

Rock Nuthatch
Lake Stymfalia holds Ferruginous Duck, a rare and endangered waterfowl. We saw qute a few, along with Mallards, Little and Great Crested Grebes. The surrounding farmland held Lesser Grey Shrikes, Red-rumped Swallows and Middle-Spotted Woodpeckers.

Leaving Stymfalia, we saw Corn Buntings on the fields and Alpine Choughs close to the surrounding mountain tops. The day ended with a visit to the newest White Stork nest of the area!

White Storks are coming back to the Peloponnese! 

Tired but really happy after two days of birding!

TRIP CHECKLIST (75 species)

Ferruginous Duck
Little Grebe
Great Crested Grebe
Little Egret
Grey Heron
White Stork
Honey Buzzard
Short-toed Eagle
Marsh Harrier
Common Buzzard
Water Rail
Black-winged Stilt
Little Ringed Plover
Kentish Plover
Curlew Sandpiper
Common Redshank
Green Sandpiper
Black-headed Gull
Yellow-legged Gull
Whiskered Tern
Sandwich Tern
Common Tern
Turtle Dove
Tawny Owl
Green Woodpecker
Middle Spotted Woodpecker
Crested Lark
Barn Swallow
House Martin
Red-rumped Swallow
Yellow Wagtail
White Wagtail
Blue Rock Thrush
Cetti's Warbler
Zitting Cisticola
Reed Warbler
Subalpine Warbler
Sardinian Warbler
Spotted Flycatcher
Long-tailed Tit
Blue Tit
Great Tit
Coal Tit
Sombre Tit
Rock Nuthatch
Short-toed Treecreeper
Penduline Tit
Lesser Grey Shrike
Woodchat Shrike
Hooded Crow
Alpine Chough
House Sparrow
Cirl Bunting
Corn Bunting

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