Thursday, October 25, 2018

Birdwatching in Athens: Half-day, October 18 2018

Joe Farkas came to Athens because his wife had to attend a business conference. He had some time to spend on his own so he contacted us to show him the feathered attractions of the area. Since this was a half-day tour, the itinerary included Oropos Lagoon and Schinias National Park.

We started at 07.00 and headed to Oropos Lagoon, the most important coastal wetland of Athens. Our target species included the Mediterranean and the Slender-billed Gull and the Kentish Plover.

We managed to have very good views of all the Gulls of the area: Mediterranean, Black-headed, Yellow-legged and Slender-billed.

All the gulls of the lagoon in one picture
But there were more new birds to Joe to see: Kingfishers, a Great Flamingo and at least two Red-throated Pipits, a regular but scarce passage migrant. We also managed to see Sardinian Warblers in the surrounding scrubs and a very close Mediterranean Shag as we started driving the coastal road, heading for Schinias National Park.

Mediterranean Shag (juvenie)
On our way to Schinias we stopped to look for Sombre Tits and Cirl Buntings. We got a very nice view of the bunting and a brief  view of the tit in flight.

Schinias National Park had another great surprise for both of us. While looking for waterfowl at the Olympic Rowing Center, a small group of three Bearded Reedlings came right in front of us! This is a very rare sighting in Athens, as the last confirmed record is from the 1990s. 

Male Bearded Reedling
Among the new birds for Joe - and there were a lot - the Ferruginous Duck, the Pygmy Cormorant (both seen at the rowing center) and the Cetti's Warbler were the most interesting.

Ferruginous Duck

Pygmy Cormorant and Ferruginous Duck

By 14:00. we had alread seen and heard 56 species; it was time to head back to Athens. Joe had added a good number of lifers in just a few hours and wanted to tell all about his experience to his wife! Antoher great birding trip was over. 


Mallard - Anas platyrhynchos
Northern Pintail - Anas acuta
Ferruginous Duck - Aythya nyroca
Greater Flamingo - Phoenicopterus roseus
Little Grebe - Tachybaptus ruficollis
Eurasian Collared-Dove - Streptopelia decaocto
Eurasian Moorhen - Gallinula chloropus
Eurasian Coot - Fulica atra
Black-bellied Plover - Pluvialis squatarola
Kentish Plover - Charadrius alexandrinus
Common Ringed Plover - Charadrius hiaticula
Sanderling - Calidris alba
Dunlin - Calidris alpina
Little Stint - Calidris minuta
Common Redshank - Tringa totanus
Slender-billed Gull - Chroicocephalus genei
Black-headed Gull - Chroicocephalus ridibundus
Mediterranean Gull - Ichthyaetus melanocephalus
Yellow-legged Gull - Larus michahellis
Sandwich Tern - Thalasseus sandvicensis
Pygmy Cormorant - Microcarbo pygmeus
European Shag - Phalacrocorax aristotelis
Gray Heron - Ardea cinerea
Great Egret - Ardea alba
Little Egret - Egretta garzetta
Eurasian Marsh-Harrier - Circus aeruginosus
Common Buzzard - Buteo buteo
Common Kingfisher - Alcedo atthis
Eurasian Kestrel - Falco tinnunculus
Eurasian Jay - Garrulus glandarius
Eurasian Magpie - Pica pica
Hooded Crow - Corvus cornix
Bearded Reedling - Panurus biarmicus
Crested Lark - Galerida cristata
Barn Swallow - Hirundo rustica
Cetti's Warbler - Cettia cetti
Common Chiffchaff - Phylloscopus collybita
Sardinian Warbler - Sylvia melanocephala
European Robin - Erithacus rubecula
Black Redstart - Phoenicurus ochruros
European Stonechat - Saxicola rubicola
European Starling - Sturnus vulgaris
Grey Wagtail - Motacilla cinerea
Western Yellow Wagtail - Motacilla flava
White Wagtail - Motacilla alba
Meadow Pipit - Anthus pratensis
Red-throated Pipit - Anthus cervinus
Water Pipit - Anthus spinoletta
Cirl Bunting - Emberiza cirlus
European Greenfinch - Chloris chloris
European Goldfinch - Carduelis carduelis
House Sparrow - Passer domesticus
Tree Sparrow - Passer montanus

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