Monday, May 07, 2018

Birdwatching in Athens: April 29-30, 2018

Henry and Suzan are two very enthusiastic birds from Arizona, USA. They came to Greece for a week birding trip to Lesvos, the mecca of birdwatchers. Before they return to the States, they had roughly two more days to go birding in Athens.
Finding new species for this couple was not an easy job as Lesvos almost has it all; Greece Bird Tours accepted that challenge, of course, and another birding trip full of birds and amazing experiences just began.

Pick up time was around 14.15 from the airport. Our first stop was the agricultural land around the airport and the wetland of Vravrona. We saw almost 30 species, most notable being the Turtle Doves at the fields, a Little Owl at the same area, a few Zitting Cisticolas, Long-tailed Tits and Water Rails. The last three were all lifers to them!

Turtle Dove

We left Vravrona and headed to Mt Merenta to look for the Rock Sparrow that was not seen in Lesvos. After some effort, we managed to see one, along with Blue Rock Thrushes and Black-eared Wheatears.

We moved south for Cape Sounio for another lifer: the Bonelli's Eagle. The moment we arrived, two adult birds were seen perched! There were also Golden Orioles and more Turtle Doves.

It was dusk and we headed back to the hotel. On our way, we visited the wetland of Vravrona again, this time for nocturnal birds, like the Nightjar. We managed to find one and we also heard a couple of Scops Owls.

The next day, we started at 06.30 and headed to Spata Fields to look for Short-toed Larks and Great Spotted Cuckoos, two more lifers. Both were seen quite quickly!

Great Spotted Cuckoo
We drove further north and reached Schinian National Park. Ferruginous Ducks and Penduline Tits were the targets for this area; needless to say, both were seen very well! 

Ferruginous Duck
The surrounding area and especially the fields at Ramnountas are ideal for birds of prey. Another lifer, the Lesser Kestrel, was found there; a male bird was foraging and we had very nice views.

The trip was almost done as the flight was departing at 18.30 and our friends had to be at the airport at 16.00 but there was one last site we had to vist: the southern slopes of Mt Penteli that lie very close to the airport. Another two lifers, the Chukar and the Eleonora's Falcon, was the best way to call it a day! 

The total count for the two days was 72 species, among which many lifers for our lovely couple; they even reached their goal of finding more than 200 species for the whole duration of their European experience! 
Henry and Suzanne


Ferruginous Duck - Aythya nyroca
Chukar - Alectoris chukar
Little Grebe - Tachybaptus ruficollis
Little Egret - Egretta garzetta
Squacco Heron - Ardeola ralloides
Glossy Ibis - Plegadis falcinellus
Bonelli's Eagle - Aquila fasciata
Eurasian Marsh-Harrier - Circus aeruginosus
Common Buzzard - Buteo buteo
Water Rail - Rallus aquaticus
Eurasian Moorhen - Gallinula chloropus
Eurasian Coot - Fulica atra
Black-winged Stilt - Himantopus himantopus
Ruff - Calidris pugnax
Common Sandpiper - Actitis hypoleucos
Spotted Redshank - Tringa erythropus
Common Greenshank - Tringa nebularia
Wood Sandpiper - Tringa glareola
Yellow-legged Gull - Larus michahellis
European Turtle-Dove - Streptopelia turtur
Eurasian Collared-Dove - Streptopelia decaocto
Great Spotted Cuckoo - Clamator glandarius
European Scops-Owl - Otus scops
Little Owl - Athene noctua
Eurasian Nightjar - Caprimulgus europaeus
Alpine Swift - Apus melba
Common Swift - Apus apus
Eurasian Hoopoe - Upupa epops
European Bee-eater - Merops apiaster
Lesser Kestrel - Falco naumanni
Eurasian Kestrel - Falco tinnunculus
Eleonora's Falcon - Falco eleonorae
Eurasian Golden Oriole - Oriolus oriolus
Eurasian Jay - Garrulus glandarius
Eurasian Magpie - Pica pica
Hooded Crow - Corvus cornix
Greater Short-toed Lark - Calandrella brachydactyla
Crested Lark - Galerida cristata
Bank Swallow - Riparia riparia
Barn Swallow - Hirundo rustica
Red-rumped Swallow - Cecropis daurica
Common House-Martin - Delichon urbicum
Great Tit - Parus major
Long-tailed Tit - Aegithalos caudatus
Cetti's Warbler - Cettia cetti
Eastern Olivaceous Warbler - Iduna pallida
Sedge Warbler - Acrocephalus schoenobaenus
Eurasian Reed Warbler - Acrocephalus scirpaceus
Great Reed Warbler - Acrocephalus arundinaceus
Zitting Cisticola - Cisticola juncidis
Eurasian Blackcap - Sylvia atricapilla
Sardinian Warbler - Sylvia melanocephala
Spotted Flycatcher - Muscicapa striata
Common Nightingale - Luscinia megarhynchos
Blue Rock-Thrush - Monticola solitarius
Whinchat - Saxicola rubetra
European Stonechat - Saxicola rubicola
Black-eared Wheatear - Oenanthe hispanica
Eurasian Blackbird - Turdus merula
Western Yellow Wagtail - Motacilla flava
Tree Pipit - Anthus trivialis
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
Rock Petronia - Petronia petronia

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