Thursday, June 20, 2019

Birdwatching in Greece: Central and Western Greece Tour, 17-21 May 2019

Wade and Karren are a Canadian couple with an impressive life list of more than 4,400 species. They wanted to fill the gaps of Balkan and South-eastern species so they chose us for a five-day tour that included every major birding site of western and central Greece.


On the first day of the tour, we left Athens and drove west to Messolonghi Lagoons. Before we entered the lagoon, we had good views of Lesser Kestrels, hirundines and swifts as they all nest in the town of Messolonghi. Upon our entry to the lagoon, the Dalmatian Pelican, one of the lifer birds, was very easily seen as there is a breeding colony.

Dalmatian Pelican
The wetland was full of terns (Common, Little and Gull-billed being the most numerous), Pygmy Cormorants, Spoonbills, stilts, Avocets, Flamingoes and egrets. Close to the sea, we found Ruddy Turnstones, Curlews, Oystercatchers etc.

Pygmy Cormorants
A few Stone-curlews were also present, while lots of passerines were flying around (Yellow Wagtails, Short-toed and Crested Larks, Zitting Cisticolas etc). There were also a few Rufous-tailed Scrub Robins (aka Rufous Bush Robins), another target of the couple.

Spanish Sparrow


Yellow Wagtail
In the afternoon, we drove to the area of Louros, west of Aitoliko and apart from the wetlands species, we enjoyed great views of Black-headed Buntings, Black-eared Wheatears and Rock Nuthatches at the cliffs bordering the lagoons. 

Rock Nuthatch
Before we reach our hotel at Aginio, we stopped at Kleisoura Gorge and enjoyed a few Griffons, Blue Rock Thrushes and lots of Jackdaws, totalling 71 species on the first day. 


Common Shelduck - Tadorna tadorna
Garganey - Spatula querquedula
Mallard - Anas platyrhynchos
Greater Flamingo - Phoenicopterus roseus
Little Grebe - Tachybaptus ruficollis
Collared Dove - Streptopelia decaocto
Common Swift - Apus apus
Eurasian Coot - Fulica atra
Stone-curlew - Burhinus oedicnemus
Black-winged Stilt - Himantopus himantopus
Pied Avocet - Recurvirostra avosetta
Eurasian Oystercatcher - Haematopus ostralegus
Grey Plover - Pluvialis squatarola
Kentish Plover - Charadrius alexandrinus
Eurasian Curlew - Numenius arquata
Ruddy Turnstone - Arenaria interpres
Common Redshank - Tringa totanus
Black-headed Gull - Chroicocephalus ridibundus
Yellow-legged Gull - Larus michahellis
Little Tern - Sternula albifrons
Gull-billed Tern - Gelochelidon nilotica
Black Tern - Chlidonias niger
Common Tern - Sterna hirundo
White Stork - Ciconia ciconia
Pygmy Cormorant - Microcarbo pygmeus
Great Cormorant - Phalacrocorax carbo
Dalmatian Pelican - Pelecanus crispus
Grey Heron - Ardea cinerea
Great White Egret - Ardea alba
Little Egret - Egretta garzetta
Squacco Heron - Ardeola ralloides
Glossy Ibis - Plegadis falcinellus
Eurasian Spoonbill - Platalea leucorodia
Griffon Vulture - Gyps fulvus
Western Marsh Harrier - Circus aeruginosus
Little Owl - Athene noctua
Lesser Kestrel - Falco naumanni
Common Kestrel - Falco tinnunculus
Common Magpie - Pica pica
Eurasian Jackdaw - Corvus monedula
Hooded Crow - Corvus cornix
Common Raven - Corvus corax
Greater Short-toed Lark - Calandrella brachydactyla
Calandra Lark - Melanocorypha calandra
Crested Lark - Galerida cristata
Sand Martin - Riparia riparia
Eurasian Crag Martin - Ptyonoprogne rupestris
Barn Swallow - Hirundo rustica
Red-rumped Swallow - Cecropis daurica
Common House Martin - Delichon urbicum
Eurasian Blue Tit - Cyanistes caeruleus
Eurasian Penduline Tit - Remiz pendulinus
Western Rock Nuthatch - Sitta neumayer
Cetti's Warbler - Cettia cetti
Eastern Olivaceous Warbler - Iduna pallida
Eurasian Reed Warbler - Acrocephalus scirpaceus
Great Reed Warbler - Acrocephalus arundinaceus
Zitting Cisticola - Cisticola juncidis
Sardinian Warbler - Sylvia melanocephala
Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin - Cercotrichas galactotes
Blue Rock Thrush - Monticola solitarius
Black-eared Wheatear - Oenanthe hispanica
Western Yellow Wagtail - Motacilla flava
Common Chaffinch - Fringilla coelebs
European Greenfinch - Chloris chloris
European Goldfinch - Carduelis carduelis
Black-headed Bunting - Emberiza melanocephala
Corn Bunting - Emberiza calandra
Cirl Bunting - Emberiza cirlus
House Sparrow - Passer domesticus
Spanish Sparrow - Passer hispaniolensis

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