Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Birdwatching in Athens: Express birding trip, September 7

Vince Knight came to Athens for a couple of days before departing on a cruise ship. He desperately wanted to bird the area but had roughly a morning. So, what was the only solution to his problem? Greece Bird Tours of course!

Having just three hours to bird, we suggested a very fast but productive birding walk in the Aesthetic Forest of Kaisariani, on the lower slopes of Mt Hymettus. This site is just 15 min away from downtown Athens (in low traffic conditions like very early in the morning). On 7.30 we were already watching the first bird of the area; and what a bird it was - a Red-breasted Flycatcher!

Red-breasted Flycatcher

This rare passage migrant is almost always seen in this site in September. Not shy but restless, it can be seen quite easily but usually only briefly.

The forest was teeming with passerines, resident and migrant. The light rain actually helped us, as the birds were too busy feeding during the pauses of the rainfall and paid no attention to our presence. Redstarts, Spotted Flycatchers, Blackcaps, Willow Warblers were there, along with local Robins, Great Tits and Blackbirds. Hiding in the lush vegetation but very frequently coming out in the open to feed on the Turpentine Tree fruits or any unlucky insect.


Male Common Redstart
But it was not just the ground that was full of birds. Hundreds of all three Swift (Common, Pallid and Alpine) species were flying low, chasing insects along with a large group of House Martins! 

It was a full three-hour' birding frenzy! Vince was more than happy to share a photo with me after the trip!


Common Swift
Pallid Swift
Alpine Swift
House Martin
Common Redstart
Lesser Whitethroat
Subalpine Warbler
Sardinian Warbler
Willow Warbler
Spotted Flycatcher
Red-breasted Flycatcher
Long-tailed Tit
Blue Tit
Great Tit
Coal Tit
Short-toed Treecreeper
Cirl Bunting

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