Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Birdwatching in Southern Greece: Mt Parnassos Trip, August 26, 2017

Amit Cohen is an over-enthusiastic teen birder from Israel. He is only 16 and yet his checklist is really impresive: more than 350 species just in his home country!

Being for vacation in Greece with his family, he contacted us because he wanted to add some new species like the Cirl Bunting and the Middle Spotted Woodpecker. Mt Parnassos was the ideal destination for his needs, as the woodland and alpine species found there are very rare or absent from Israel.

We started very early in the morning as we made a short stop at Kaisariani Aesthetic Forest to look for the Tawny Owl, another lifer. We heard one but didn't get to see it, unfortunately. We also found Short-toed Treecreepers, Common Redstarts, Spotted Flycatchers and lots of Jays before we headed for Parnassos.

The first lifer for the day was the Cirl Bunting. Very common and widespread, we found several birds at the Livadi plateau, along with Northern Wheatears, Woodlarks, Red-rumped Swallows, Sombre Tits and Red-backed Shrikes.

Cirl Buntings

Sombre Tit

When we entered the fir forest, we saw several Coal Tits, European Nuthatches, but our main targets were woodpeckers. The time of year is propably the worst as birds are silent. Nevertheless, we did manage to find a Middle Spotted Woodpecker, another lifer for Amit!

European Nuthatch

Middle Spotted Woodpecker

It was time to move higher up, to the alpine zone. We didn't have much time, as the search for the woodpeckers was very time-consuming. However, we did find a 1-st year Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush, lifer #3 for Amit! 

Rufous-tailed Rock Thush
The best, however, was kept for the end; while walking along a dirt track at an altitude of 1.900 m, two large raptors were spotted straight ahead; a few secs of observation were enough to tell the species: Golden Eagles! A pair of adults, a very rare sighting, was hunting right in front of us. One of the birds was very 'cooperative' flying quite close for several minutes. An unexpected fourth lifer for Amit and a spectacular sighting from every aspect. 

Adult Golden Eagle 

It was time to head our way back to Athens, after a selfie shot at the alpine zone. Another great birding trip was over!

Happy birders!

TRIP CHECKLIST

Golden Eagle - Aquila chrysaetos
Common Buzzard - Buteo buteo
Eurasian Collared-Dove - Streptopelia decaocto                     
Tawny Owl - Strix aluco
Common Swift - Apus apus
Pallid Swift - Apus pallidus
Eurasian Kestrel - Falco tinnunculus
Red-backed Shrike - Lanius collurio
Eurasian Jay - Garrulus glandarius
Eurasian Magpie - Pica pica
Hooded Crow - Corvus cornix
Wood Lark - Lullula arborea
Eurasian Crag-Martin - Ptyonoprogne rupestris
Barn Swallow - Hirundo rustica
Red-rumped Swallow - Cecropis daurica
Coal Tit - Periparus ater
Sombre Tit - Poecile lugubris
Great Tit - Parus major
Eurasian Nuthatch - Sitta europaea
Short-toed Treecreeper - Certhia brachydactyla
Eurasian Wren - Troglodytes troglodytes
Firecrest - Regulus ignicapilla
Willow Warbler - Phylloscopus trochilus
Lesser Whitethroat - Sylvia curruca
European Robin - Erithacus rubecula
Common Redstart - Phoenicurus phoenicurus
Black Redstart - Phoenicurus ochruros
Rufous-tailed Rock-Thrush - Monticola saxatilis
Northern Wheatear - Oenanthe oenanthe
Eurasian Blackbird - Turdus merula
Mistle Thrush - Turdus viscivorus
Cirl Bunting - Emberiza cirlus
Rock Bunting - Emberiza cia
Ortolan Bunting - Emberiza hortulana
Common Chaffinch - Fringilla coelebs
Eurasian Linnet - Linaria cannabina
European Goldfinch - Carduelis carduelis
House Sparrow - Passer domesticus





















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