Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Birdwatching in Greece: Mt Parnassos Full day tour, October 3rd 2021

 Helen Skuodas from Scotland came to Greece for holidays and had one day for birding; she did not have a 'wish list' but would really like to see birds not found in the UK, so the destination for the day was Mt Parnassos, a superb birding hotspot with woodpeckers like the Black and the White-backed Woodpecker and alpine species like the Alpine Chough. 

On our way to Parnassos, we stopped at Kopaida Plain, to look for another woodpecker not found in the UK, the Syrian. We managed to find a couple of them and had good views as one of them was on a wooden pole. We also managed to see Sardinian Warblers, Spotted Flycatchers and Crested Larks, among others. 

Reaching Mt Parnassos, we first looked the scrubby slopes above Arachova village, where we found more Sardinian Warblers and Rock Nuthatcher. We then moved to the dense Greek Fir forest, looking for woodpeckers. We managed to see four different species (Green, Middle Spotted, White-backed and Black)! Other birds seen were the Short-toed Treecreeper, Firecrest, the European Nuthatch. 

White-backed Woodpecker

Black Woodpecker

Leaving the forest, we moved higher up in the alpine zone, where we saw some Rock Buntings in the tree line and then we started walking in the slopes around Kelaria ski center. We heard several Rock Partridges but couldn't see them, unfortunately. We did see several Black Redstarts, Serins, Wood Larks and a couple of Alpine Choughs. 

Helen in the alpine zone of Mt Parnassos

The day was over and we managed to see 50 species, a great number for the date and place. 

TRIP CHECKLIST

Rock Partridge

Eurasian Collared-Dove

Pallid Swift

Eurasian Sparrowhawk

Common Buzzard

Buteo buteo

Middle Spotted Woodpecker

White-backed Woodpecker

Syrian Woodpecker

Eurasian Green Woodpecker

Black Woodpecker

Eurasian Kestrel

Eurasian Jay

Eurasian Magpie

Yellow-billed Chough

Eurasian Jackdaw

Hooded Crow

Common Raven

Coal Tit

Eurasian Blue Tit

Great Tit

Wood Lark

Crested Lark

Bank Swallow

Barn Swallow

Common House-Martin

Willow Warbler

Common Chiffchaff

Cetti's Warbler

Eurasian Blackcap

Sardinian Warbler

Common Firecrest

Eurasian Nuthatch

Western Rock Nuthatch

Short-toed Treecreeper

Eurasian Wren

Mistle Thrush

Spotted Flycatcher

European Robin

Black Redstart

House Sparrow

Eurasian Tree Sparrow

Gray Wagtail

White Wagtail

Tree Pipit

Common Chaffinch

Eurasian Linnet

European Goldfinch

European Serin

Rock Bunting

Cirl Bunting








Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Birdwatching in Greece: Lake Dystos Full Day Trip, September 12 2021

 Ricardo from Spain is our latest visitor who wanted to see some of Greece's specialties that cannot be found in the Iberian Peninsula. Due to the season, we focused on resident species like the Chukar, the Sombre Tit and the Western Rock Nuthatch, as well as the Yelkouan and Scopoli's Shearwaters. That's why Lake Dystos was chosen as it combines a ferry ride and ideal habitats for all the target birds of Ricardo. 

We picked the first ferry to Evvoia and we had our first Scopoli's, along with Shags, hundreds of Yellow-legged Gulls and a migrant Ringed Plover(!). 

Reaching Lake Dystos, we focused on the surrounding farmland and the adjacent mountains. Raptors seen include the Lesser Kestrel, the Levant Sparrowhawks and the Short-toed Eagle. Non-passerine migrants found include the Turtle Dove. the Hoopoe and the Bee-eater. 

Many passerines were also present: Rock Nuthatches, Sombre Tits, migrant wheatears (including Black-eared) and warblers (including Eastern Subalpine), Yellow Wagtails, Tawny Pipits and three different species of shrikes (Red-backed, Woodchat and Lesser Grey) were easily seen. 

Rock Nuthatch   

Lesser Kestrel

Ricardo on Lake Dystos

We also tried to find Rock Partridges but that is always a difficult task and we didn't get any. 

Returning to the port of Nea Styra, an adult Audouin's Gull was a very pleasant surprise; the trip back to Athens yielded more Scopoli's Shearwaters. 

The last stop was Mt Hymettus, where we succeeded in finding the Chukar; a whole family group was seen, in fact, from a close distance! 


Audouin's Gull

Scopoli's Shearwater

Chukar


TRIP CHECKLIST

Mallard - Anas platyrhynchos

Chukar - Alectoris chukar

Rock Pigeon - Columba livia

European Turtle-Dove - Streptopelia turtur

Eurasian Collared-Dove - Streptopelia decaocto

Common Ringed Plover - Charadrius hiaticula

Green Sandpiper - Tringa ochropus

Common Greenshank - Tringa nebularia

Audouin's Gull - Ichthyaetus audouinii

Yellow-legged Gull - Larus michahellis

Cory's Shearwater - Calonectris diomedea

European Shag - Gulosus aristotelis

Gray Heron - Ardea cinerea

Little Egret - Egretta garzetta

Squacco Heron - Ardeola ralloides

Short-toed Snake-Eagle - Circaetus gallicus

Eurasian Marsh-Harrier - Circus aeruginosus

Levant Sparrowhawk - Accipiter brevipes

Eurasian Sparrowhawk - Accipiter nisus

Common Buzzard - Buteo buteo

Eurasian Hoopoe - Upupa epops

European Bee-eater - Merops apiaster

Lesser Kestrel - Falco naumanni

Eurasian Kestrel - Falco tinnunculus

Red-backed Shrike - Lanius collurio

Lesser Gray Shrike - Lanius minor

Woodchat Shrike - Lanius senator

Eurasian Magpie - Pica pica

Eurasian Jackdaw - Corvus monedula

Hooded Crow - Corvus cornix

Sombre Tit - Poecile lugubris

Great Tit - Parus major

Crested Lark - Galerida cristata

Zitting Cisticola - Cisticola juncidis

Sedge Warbler - Acrocephalus schoenobaenus

Barn Swallow - Hirundo rustica

Red-rumped Swallow - Cecropis daurica

Common House-Martin - Delichon urbicum

Willow Warbler - Phylloscopus trochilus

Cetti's Warbler - Cettia cetti

Eurasian Blackcap - Sylvia atricapilla

Sardinian Warbler - Curruca melanocephala

Eastern Subalpine Warbler - Curruca cantillans

Greater Whitethroat - Curruca communis

Western Rock Nuthatch - Sitta neumayer

Eurasian Blackbird - Turdus merula

Spotted Flycatcher - Muscicapa striata

Blue Rock-Thrush - Monticola solitarius

Whinchat - Saxicola rubetra

European Stonechat - Saxicola rubicola

Northern Wheatear - Oenanthe oenanthe

Eastern Black-eared Wheatear - Oenanthe melanoleuca

House Sparrow - Passer domesticus

Western Yellow Wagtail - Motacilla flava

Tawny Pipit - Anthus campestris

Tree Pipit - Anthus trivialis

European Greenfinch - Chloris chloris

Eurasian Linnet - Linaria cannabina

European Goldfinch - Carduelis carduelis

Corn Bunting - Emberiza calandra

Cirl Bunting - Emberiza cirlus





Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Birdwatching in Greece: Full day trip on Mt Parnassos, July 4th 2021

 The second day of birding with Dimitris from USA was dedicated to the mountain of Parnassos in Central Greece. On the way, we made a stop to see the beautiful Bee-eaters at the plain of Kopais and we also enjoyed Hoopoes, Syrian Woodpeckers and Lesser Grey Shrikes. 

Bee-eater

Reaching Mt Parnassos, we first stopped at the rocky slopes above the village of Arachova. There we found Crag Martins, Blue Rock Thrushes and Rock Nuthatches. We then moved uphill and reached the dense Greek Fir forests, where we stopped to find woodpeckers. We were very successful as three species (Black, Green and Middle Spotted Woodpecker) were well seen. 

Black Woodpecker

We also found Mistle Thrushes, Nuthatches and many Coal Tits, Firecrests, Goldcrests and Short-toed Treecreepers, among other species. It was now time to visit the alpine zone of the mountain; it was a long hike to reach an altitude of 2,250 m. but it definitely worth it as we saw Horned Larks, Rufous-tailed Rock Thrushes, Alpine Choughs and Tawny Pipits. 
Horned Lark


We ended the day with 52 species recorded, an excellent count for a hot July day! 

TRIP CHECKLIST

Eurasian Collared-Dove - Streptopelia decaocto

Eurasian Moorhen - Gallinula chloropus

Yellow-legged Gull - Larus michahellis

Common Buzzard - Buteo buteo

Eurasian Hoopoe - Upupa epops

European Bee-eater - Merops apiaster

Middle Spotted Woodpecker - Dendrocoptes medius

Syrian Woodpecker - Dendrocopos syriacus

Eurasian Green Woodpecker - Picus viridis

Black Woodpecker - Dryocopus martius

Red-backed Shrike - Lanius collurio

Lesser Gray Shrike - Lanius minor

Eurasian Jay - Garrulus glandarius

Eurasian Magpie - Pica pica

Yellow-billed Chough - Pyrrhocorax graculus

Eurasian Jackdaw - Corvus monedula

Hooded Crow - Corvus cornix

Coal Tit - Periparus ater

Great Tit - Parus major

Horned Lark - Eremophila alpestris

Crested Lark - Galerida cristata

Eurasian Crag-Martin - Ptyonoprogne rupestris

Barn Swallow - Hirundo rustica

Red-rumped Swallow - Cecropis daurica

Common Chiffchaff - Phylloscopus collybita

Subalpine Warbler - Sylvia cantillans

Sardinian Warbler - Sylvia melanocephala

Goldcrest - Regulus regulus

Common Firecrest - Regulus ignicapilla

Eurasian Nuthatch - Sitta europaea

Western Rock Nuthatch - Sitta neumayer

Short-toed Treecreeper - Certhia brachydactyla

Eurasian Wren - Troglodytes troglodytes

Mistle Thrush - Turdus viscivorus

Eurasian Blackbird - Turdus merula

European Robin - Erithacus rubecula

Black Redstart - Phoenicurus ochruros

Rufous-tailed Rock-Thrush - Monticola saxatilis

Blue Rock-Thrush - Monticola solitarius

European Stonechat - Saxicola rubicola

Northern Wheatear - Oenanthe oenanthe

House Sparrow - Passer domesticus

Eurasian Tree Sparrow - Passer montanus

Tawny Pipit - Anthus campestris

Common Chaffinch - Fringilla coelebs

European Greenfinch - Chloris chloris

Eurasian Linnet - Linaria cannabina

European Goldfinch - Carduelis carduelis

European Serin - Serinus serinus

Corn Bunting - Emberiza calandra

Cirl Bunting - Emberiza cirlus

Ortolan Bunting - Emberiza hortulana






Wednesday, July 07, 2021

Birdwatching in Greece: Messolonghi full day trip, July 3, 2021

 Dimitris is a Greek birder who currently lives in the US. He is new to birdwatching so almost every European bird is a lifer to him. When he planned to visit his homeland, he contacted us and arranged a weekend full of birds. The first day was dedicated to wetlands so we visited Messolonghi National Park, a unique lagoon complex 230 km west of Athens. 

Our first stop, however, was the gorge of Kleisoura, north of Messolonghi, with the Griffon Vultures that still persist there. 

Griffon Vulture

After Kleisoura, we visited one by one the lagoons of Messolonghi, having the opportunity to see hundreds of herons, flamingoes, pelicans, spoonbills, avocets, stone curlews, collared pratincoles, waders (including more than 100 Spotted Redshanks), Slender-billed Gulls and terns but also passerines like the Rufous-tailed Bush Robin, the Western Rock Nuthatch and the Spanish Sparrow. 

Pied Avocet

Rufous Bush Robin


Spanish Sparrow

A full 69 species were seen in one day of July! 

Common Shelduck - Tadorna tadorna

Mallard - Anas platyrhynchos

Greater Flamingo - Phoenicopterus roseus

Eurasian Collared-Dove - Streptopelia decaocto

Common Swift - Apus apus

Eurasian Coot - Fulica atra

Eurasian Thick-knee - Burhinus oedicnemus

Black-winged Stilt - Himantopus himantopus

Pied Avocet - Recurvirostra avosetta

Eurasian Oystercatcher - Haematopus ostralegus

Black-bellied Plover - Pluvialis squatarola

Kentish Plover - Charadrius alexandrinus

Little Ringed Plover - Charadrius dubius

Eurasian Curlew - Numenius arquata

Black-tailed Godwit - Limosa limosa

Common Sandpiper - Actitis hypoleucos

Spotted Redshank - Tringa erythropus

Common Greenshank - Tringa nebularia

Common Redshank - Tringa totanus

Collared Pratincole - Glareola pratincola

Slender-billed Gull - Chroicocephalus genei

Black-headed Gull - Chroicocephalus ridibundus

Mediterranean Gull - Ichthyaetus melanocephalus

Yellow-legged Gull - Larus michahellis

Little Tern - Sternula albifrons

Gull-billed Tern - Gelochelidon nilotica

Caspian Tern - Hydroprogne caspia

Whiskered Tern - Chlidonias hybrida

Common Tern - Sterna hirundo

White Stork - Ciconia ciconia

Great Cormorant - Phalacrocorax carbo

Dalmatian Pelican - Pelecanus crispus

Gray Heron - Ardea cinerea

Purple Heron - Ardea purpurea

Little Egret - Egretta garzetta

Eurasian Spoonbill - Platalea leucorodia

Eurasian Griffon - Gyps fulvus

Eurasian Marsh-Harrier - Circus aeruginosus

Common Buzzard - Buteo buteo

Lesser Kestrel - Falco naumanni

Eurasian Magpie - Pica pica

Eurasian Jackdaw - Corvus monedula

Hooded Crow - Corvus cornix

Eurasian Blue Tit - Cyanistes caeruleus

Great Tit - Parus major

Eurasian Penduline-Tit - Remiz pendulinus

Crested Lark - Galerida cristata

Zitting Cisticola - Cisticola juncidis

Eastern Olivaceous Warbler - Iduna pallida

Eurasian Reed Warbler - Acrocephalus scirpaceus

Bank Swallow - Riparia riparia

Barn Swallow - Hirundo rustica

Red-rumped Swallow - Cecropis daurica

Common House-Martin - Delichon urbicum

Cetti's Warbler - Cettia cetti

Sardinian Warbler - Sylvia melanocephala

Western Rock Nuthatch - Sitta neumayer

Rufous-tailed Scrub-Robin - Cercotrichas galactotes

European Robin - Erithacus rubecula

Blue Rock-Thrush - Monticola solitarius

Black-eared Wheatear - Oenanthe hispanica

House Sparrow - Passer domesticus

Spanish Sparrow - Passer hispaniolensis

Eurasian Tree Sparrow - Passer montanus

Western Yellow Wagtail - Motacilla flava

Common Chaffinch - Fringilla coelebs

European Greenfinch - Chloris chloris

European Goldfinch - Carduelis carduelis

Corn Bunting - Emberiza calandra









Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Birdwatching in Athens: Summer on Mt Parnitha

June is an ideal month to vist Mt Parnitha as all the resident birds and summer visitors are active. Just a few hours can be very productive, with sights of species like the Black-eared Wheatear and the Cretzschmar's Bunting. 

A Raven looking over Athens

Black-eared Wheatear

Cirl Bunting

Cretzschmar's Bunting


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