Friday, May 24, 2019

Birdwatching in Athens: May 3, 2019 Half-day trip

A half-day tour, starting from the port of Piraeus has some restrictions on time, that's why the itinerary shall be carefully planned to yield as many species as possible.

Debbie Einarson, along with her mother and aunt, were picked up from the port and we headed straight to the flooded Spata fields. Hundreds of swifts and swallows flew above the water, while Little Bitterns and Purple Herons looked for frogs and other small prey. Waterfowl was also very interesting, as Ferruginous Ducks were easily found, along with Pochards and Mallards.

Purple Heron

Pallid Swift

Black-winged Stilt
Furthermore, Great Spotted Cuckoos and Turtle Doves were among the most interesting sightings in the surrounding farmland. We were also lucky to see a Nose-horned Viper crossing the road!

Nose-horned Viper
Very close to Spata fields lies the small but very rich in birds Artemis Lagoon. Breeding Black-winged Stilts were incubating while a small group of several different waders rested in one of the 'islets' formed in the wetland. 

Ringed Plovers, Ruffs, a Curlew Sandpiper and Little Stints
After a delicious lunch at Artemis we started our way back to Piraeus but first we stopped at the Aesthetic Forest of Kaisariani on Mt Hymettus. We managed to see Short-toed Treecreepers, Jays, Long-tailed and Great Tits, Blackbirds and Chaffinches. 

Three happy birders!

We ended up at 49 species, all within a few hours; mission accomplished!


Mallard - Anas platyrhynchos
Common Pochard - Aythya ferina
Ferruginous Duck - Aythya nyroca
Little Grebe - Tachybaptus ruficollis
Rock Dove - Columba livia
European Turtle Dove - Streptopelia turtur
Collared Dove - Streptopelia decaocto
Great Spotted Cuckoo - Clamator glandarius
Alpine Swift - Apus melba
Common Swift - Apus apus
Pallid Swift - Apus pallidus
Common Moorhen - Gallinula chloropus
Eurasian Coot - Fulica atra
Black-winged Stilt - Himantopus himantopus
Common Ringed Plover - Charadrius hiaticula
Ruff - Calidris pugnax
Curlew Sandpiper - Calidris ferruginea
Little Stint - Calidris minuta
Wood Sandpiper - Tringa glareola
Yellow-legged Gull - Larus michahellis
Little Bittern - Ixobrychus minutus
Purple Heron - Ardea purpurea
Little Egret - Egretta garzetta
Glossy Ibis - Plegadis falcinellus
Western Marsh Harrier - Circus aeruginosus
European Bee-eater - Merops apiaster
Common Kestrel - Falco tinnunculus
Woodchat Shrike - Lanius senator
Eurasian Jay - Garrulus glandarius
Common Magpie - Pica pica
Crested Lark - Galerida cristata
Sand Martin - Riparia riparia
Barn Swallow - Hirundo rustica
Common House Martin - Delichon urbicum
Coal Tit - Periparus ater
Great Tit - Parus major
Long-tailed Tit - Aegithalos caudatus
Short-toed Treecreeper - Certhia brachydactyla
Sedge Warbler - Acrocephalus schoenobaenus
Great Reed Warbler - Acrocephalus arundinaceus
Zitting Cisticola - Cisticola juncidis
Sardinian Warbler - Sylvia melanocephala
Whinchat - Saxicola rubetra
European Stonechat - Saxicola rubicola
Eurasian Blackbird - Turdus merula
Western Yellow Wagtail - Motacilla flava
Red-throated Pipit - Anthus cervinus
Common Chaffinch - Fringilla coelebs
House Sparrow - Passer domesticus

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