Monday, March 27, 2017

Birdwatching trip in Athens: March 2, 2017

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.
House Martin

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.

Red-crested Pochards


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)

Mute Swan V
Mallard LS
(Northern) Shoveler L
(Eurasian) Teal L
Red-crested Pochard S
Chukar H
Little Grebe S
Yelkouan Shearwater R
Little Egret VR
(Western) Marsh Harrier S
Hen Harrier S
Common Buzzard HV
Sparrowhawk HS
(Common) Kestrel S
Water Rail S (heard)
Moorhen LS
Coot LS
Black-winged Stilt S
Green Sandpiper S
(Common) Redshank L
Black-headed Gull LRS
Yellow-legged Gull VLRS
Collared Dove HVLRS
Skylark S
Crested Lark S
Barn Swallow L
House Martin V
Meadow Pipit VLS
Water Pipit  VR
White Wagtail VL
Grey Wagtail V
(European) Robin HVRS
Black Redstart VS
(Common) Stonechat VS
Song Thrush S
(Common) Blackbird HS
Blue Rock Thrush H
Blackcap HVS
Sardinian Warbler S
Cetti's Warbler VS
(Common) Chiffchaf V
Firecrest H
Great Tit HVS
Coal Tit H
Short-toed Treecreeper H
Magpie HVLRS
(Eurasian) Jay H
Hooded Crow LS
House Sparrow HVLRS
Chaffinch HVS
(European) Goldfinch S
(European) Greenfinch V
(European) Serin S
Reed Bunting VS
Cirl Bunting V
Corn Bunting V
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