Carol and Peter Abbot from Australia made a literally last-minute call for a birding tour with Greece Bird Tours in Athens.
This time of the year is, one can say, a transitional period as the wintering birds have already started moving north and the migrants are still a few days before their arrival.
Our first stop was at Hymettus mountain; Kesariani monastery and the Robin was the first bird we saw singing its beautiful song. Other species we saw around the monastery were Coal Tit, Short-toed Treecreeper, Blackcap and some other common ones. Even though it was early March we headed towards the top of the mountain to check for any spring arrivals. Unfortunately we didn't see any, but we had good views of Chukar, Sparrowhawk, Common Buzzard and Blue Rock Thrush.
|Chukar in Athens|
Next stop was Vravrona wetland. This beautiful place combines a very beautiful ancient temple of Artemis with a nice birding area. Some of the species we saw were Mute Swans, a flock of House Martins that had just arrived, Meadow and Water Pipits, White and Grey Wagtails, Reed, Cirl and Corn Buntings.
Our final destination was Schinias National Park but before that we also visited Loutsa Lagoon and . the small estuary of Megalo Rema stream in the port of Rafina. Some of the species we saw were, Yelkouan Shearwater, Shoveler, Teal, Mallard etc.
At Schinias NP, the highlight was an overwintering Black-winged Stilt and some Red-crested Pochards (both male and female). Other species seen include the Little Grebe, the Stonechat, the Song Thrush, the Serin, the Crested Lark, the Skylark, the Sardinian Warbler etc. A Water Rail was calling all the time but it never showed up.
Our total species of a nice birding day was 55 birds seen and 1 heard.
TRIP CHECKLIST (H = Hymettus, V = Vravrona, L = Loutsa, R = Rafina, S = Schinias)