Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Birdwatching in Athens: Full day, Apri 17 2019

Tom Beal, an American birder who came to Athens for vacations, wanted to have a full day of birding and make the most of the area's birdlife. Therefore, contacting Greece Bird Tours was the best way to achieve it. Pick up time from his BnB apt in downtown Athens was 5.45 so that the Scops Owl would be our first bird (and Tom's lifer) for the day. We saw a pretty male bird very easily at Lycabettus Hill and then headed off to the northern slopes of Mt Parnitha.

The scrubby areas were full of warblers: Sardinian, Subalpine and Eastern Orphean were singing all over the place.
Subalpine Warbler
There were also Sombre Tits, Cirl Buntings and distant Rock Nuthatches.

Next destination was Oropos Lagoon, Athens' most important brackish wetland. It really lived up to its name as we saw a very close Great Bittern, three beautiful Spoonbills and a Pygmy Cormorant, along with Red-throated Pipits and many more passerines!  

Great Bittern

Pygmy Cormorant and Sandwich Terns

Spoonbills

Red-throated Pipit
We could stay all day there but had to leave for the next stop: Schinias National Park. There, Ferruginous Ducks were very easy to find but we also had great views of Cretzschmar's Buntings on the way from Oropos Lagoon. There were also a lot of Glossy Ibises, Garganeys and Turtle Doves.

Cretzschmar's Bunting

Ferruginous Duck
We left Schinias and headed towards Mt Hymettus, for the Ruppell's Warbler. On the way, we stopped at the fields around Spata which are flooded due to the heavy rains of winter and spring. A Little Crake was the most interesting species and the place was full of hirundines, Coots and Moorhens. We also looked for the Great Spotted Cuckoo but the pouring rain didn't help.

We left Spata fields and drove to Mt Hymettus, where we found the Ruppell's Warbler just minutes after the rain stopped. 
Ruppell's Warbler

It was almost dusk and a short walk around the forested lower slopes yielded the Short-toed Treecreeper, along with Jays, Blackbirds and Great Tits.

The day was over and we managed to record 91 species, an amazing number indeed!



TRIP CHECKLIST

Common Shelduck - Tadorna tadorna
Garganey - Spatula querquedula
Mallard - Anas platyrhynchos
Ferruginous Duck - Aythya nyroca
Little Grebe - Tachybaptus ruficollis
Rock Dove - Columba livia
European Turtle Dove - Streptopelia turtur
Collared Dove - Streptopelia decaocto
Common Cuckoo - Cuculus canorus
Alpine Swift - Apus melba
Common Swift - Apus apus
Water Rail - Rallus aquaticus
Common Moorhen - Gallinula chloropus
Eurasian Coot - Fulica atra
Little Crake - Zapornia parva
Black-winged Stilt - Himantopus himantopus
Eurasian Oystercatcher - Haematopus ostralegus
Grey Plover - Pluvialis squatarola
Kentish Plover - Charadrius alexandrinus
Black-tailed Godwit - Limosa limosa
Little Stint - Calidris minuta
Common Sandpiper - Actitis hypoleucos
Green Sandpiper - Tringa ochropus
Common Greenshank - Tringa nebularia
Wood Sandpiper - Tringa glareola
Black-headed Gull - Chroicocephalus ridibundus
Mediterranean Gull - Ichthyaetus melanocephalus
Yellow-legged Gull - Larus michahellis
Little Tern - Sternula albifrons
Sandwich Tern - Thalasseus sandvicensis
Pygmy Cormorant - Microcarbo pygmeus
Great Bittern - Botaurus stellaris
Grey Heron - Ardea cinerea
Purple Heron - Ardea purpurea
Little Egret - Egretta garzetta
Glossy Ibis - Plegadis falcinellus
Eurasian Spoonbill - Platalea leucorodia
Osprey - Pandion haliaetus
Short-toed Eagle - Circaetus gallicus
Western Marsh Harrier - Circus aeruginosus
Eurasian Sparrowhawk - Accipiter nisus
Common Buzzard - Buteo buteo
Eurasian Scops Owl - Otus scops
Little Owl - Athene noctua
Eurasian Hoopoe - Upupa epops
European Bee-eater - Merops apiaster
Common Kestrel - Falco tinnunculus
Eurasian Jay - Garrulus glandarius
Common Magpie - Pica pica
Eurasian Jackdaw - Corvus monedula
Hooded Crow - Corvus cornix
Common Raven - Corvus corax
Crested Lark - Galerida cristata
Sand Martin - Riparia riparia
Barn Swallow - Hirundo rustica
Red-rumped Swallow - Cecropis daurica
Common House Martin - Delichon urbicum
Sombre Tit - Poecile lugubris
Great Tit - Parus major
Long-tailed Tit - Aegithalos caudatus
Western Rock Nuthatch - Sitta neumayer
Short-toed Treecreeper - Certhia brachydactyla
Cetti's Warbler - Cettia cetti
Wood Warbler - Phylloscopus sibilatrix
Common Chiffchaff - Phylloscopus collybita
Sedge Warbler - Acrocephalus schoenobaenus
Eurasian Reed Warbler - Acrocephalus scirpaceus
Great Reed Warbler - Acrocephalus arundinaceus
Zitting Cisticola - Cisticola juncidis
Eurasian Blackcap - Sylvia atricapilla
Eastern Orphean Warbler - Sylvia crassirostris
RΓΌppell's Warbler - Sylvia ruppeli
Subalpine Warbler - Sylvia cantillans
Sardinian Warbler - Sylvia melanocephala
Common Whitethroat - Sylvia communis
European Robin - Erithacus rubecula
Common Nightingale - Luscinia megarhynchos
Whinchat - Saxicola rubetra
European Stonechat - Saxicola rubicola
Black-eared Wheatear - Oenanthe hispanica
Eurasian Blackbird - Turdus merula
Grey Wagtail - Motacilla cinerea
Western Yellow Wagtail - Motacilla flava
Red-throated Pipit - Anthus cervinus
Common Chaffinch - Fringilla coelebs
European Greenfinch - Chloris chloris
Common Linnet - Linaria cannabina
European Goldfinch - Carduelis carduelis
Cirl Bunting - Emberiza cirlus
Cretzschmar's Bunting - Emberiza caesia
House Sparrow - Passer domesticus


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