Friday, June 23, 2017

Birdwatching in Athens: Two-day trip with Khoa and Joey from Vietnam, May 4-5 2017

Khoa and Joey is a Vietnamese couple that came to Greece for a long vacation. Apart from the mainstream destinations, they also wanted to see birdlife, that's why they contacted us. We arranged a two-day birding trip around Athens, so that they could see all the Athenian 'specialties'.

After picking up from the airport, we visited Mt Hymettus, the best place to look for the Ruppell's Warbler. Even though we started quite late (it was aready 9.00 when we reached the mountain), we managed to see quite a few birds, as this species is really common in the summit. We also saw a very nice male Cretzschmar's Bunting, while a stop at the lowland forest yielded Great, Coal and Long-tailed Tits and Short-toed Treecreepers, among others.

Cretzshmar's Bunting
The temperature rose and it was time to move to higher altitudes. We visited Mt Parnitha and saw many forest dwellers: Robins, Wrens, Tits, Blackbirds, Chafiinches and Serins were the most common. We had lunch at Bafi refuge, a very nice lodge that offers a variety of great dishes and an astonishing view!

We spent the afternoon around Bafi and had the chance to see Northern and Black-eared Wheatears, Woodlarks and lots of Cirl Buntings. A nice collection of birds for a hot day!

Black-eared Wheatear

On the second day, it was me and Khoa; we first visited the Antonis Tritsis' Ecology Park, a very interesting urban site in NW Athens. Hoopoes, Swifts, Little Bitterns and lots of warblers, like the Eastern Olivaceous Warbler, breed and are easy to see

Eastern Olivaceous Warbler
But the main target of the day was the Bee-eater. We visited the vast plain of Kopaida, close to the city of Thiva, north of Athens. A very large colony of Bee-eaters is active and dozens of birds could be seen from a really close distance! 

Bee-eater, one of the most colourful birds of Greece

Fully satisfied with the views and the photos, we wandered in the plain to look for other species. Larks, Wagtails and Hirundines were everywhere while Great Reed Warblers were found in every ditch. A beautiful male Penduline Tit offered some really close views. 
Penduline Tit

Leaving Kopaida, we took the old National Highway to Athens and made a stop at the village of Erythres to see the White Stork nest in the central square. We also enjoyed several Black-headed Buntings in the surrounding farmland. 

Black-headed Bunting

We saw a total of 60 species, most of them being lifers for our Vietnamese friends! 

Happy faces, this is one of Greece Bird Tours' goals! 

TRIP CHECKLIST


Mallard - Anas platyrhynchos
White Stork - Ciconia ciconia
Little Bittern - Ixobrychus minutus
Short-toed Snake-Eagle - Circaetus gallicus
Common Buzzard - Buteo buteo
Eurasian Moorhen - Gallinula chloropus
Eurasian Coot - Fulica atra
Yellow-legged Gull - Larus michahellis
Eurasian Collared-Dove - Streptopelia decaocto
Common Cuckoo - Cuculus canorus
Alpine Swift - Apus melba
Common Swift - Apus apus
Eurasian Hoopoe - Upupa epops
Eurasian Kestrel - Falco tinnunculus
Rose-ringed Parakeet - Psittacula krameri
Woodchat Shrike - Lanius senator
Eurasian Jay - Garrulus glandarius
Eurasian Magpie - Pica pica
Hooded Crow - Corvus cornix
Wood Lark - Lullula arborea
Crested Lark - Galerida cristata
Barn Swallow - Hirundo rustica
Red-rumped Swallow - Cecropis daurica
Common House-Martin - Delichon urbicum
Coal Tit - Periparus ater
Sombre Tit - Poecile lugubris
Great Tit - Parus major
Eurasian Penduline-Tit - Remiz pendulinus
Long-tailed Tit - Aegithalos caudatus
Short-toed Treecreeper - Certhia brachydactyla
Eurasian Wren - Troglodytes troglodytes
Firecrest - Regulus ignicapilla
Cetti's Warbler - Cettia cetti
Eastern Olivaceous Warbler - Iduna pallida
Sedge Warbler - Acrocephalus schoenobaenus
Eurasian Reed-Warbler - Acrocephalus scirpaceus
Great Reed-Warbler - Acrocephalus arundinaceus
Eurasian Blackcap - Sylvia atricapilla
Rόppell's Warbler - Sylvia ruppeli
Subalpine Warbler - Sylvia cantillans
Sardinian Warbler - Sylvia melanocephala
Greater Whitethroat - Sylvia communis
European Robin - Erithacus rubecula
Common Nightingale - Luscinia megarhynchos
Black Redstart - Phoenicurus ochruros
European Stonechat - Saxicola rubicola
Northern Wheatear - Oenanthe oenanthe
Black-eared Wheatear - Oenanthe hispanica
Eurasian Blackbird - Turdus merula
Western Yellow Wagtail - Motacilla flava
Cirl Bunting - Emberiza cirlus
Cretzschmar's Bunting - Emberiza caesia
Black-headed Bunting - Emberiza melanocephala
Corn Bunting - Emberiza calandra
Common Chaffinch - Fringilla coelebs
European Greenfinch - Chloris chloris
European Goldfinch - Carduelis carduelis
European Serin - Serinus serinus
House Sparrow - Passer domesticus
Eurasian Tree Sparrow - Passer montanus









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