Friday, July 26, 2019

Birdwatching in Greece: Western and Central Greece 3-day tour, June 14-16 2019 (Day 1)

Luis is a Portugal birder who's been travelling the world for many years now. He managed to combine a business trip to China with a three day tour in Greece. As he wanted to see as many as local specialties as possible, we planned an itinerary that combined Messolonghi Lagoon, Mt Parnassos, Evvoia island and some of the Athens' hotspots.

DAY 1 

The first birding we did was actually on the night of June 13th; we visited Lycabettus Hill to look for the Scops Owl and, despite the loads of people still on the hill at 22.30, we heard two birds and had fantastic close views of one of them.

On the 14th, we drove early in the morning to get the 08.15 ferry from Agia Marina port to Evvoia island.  On our way, we saw six Scopoli's Shearwaters and at least 80 Yelkouan Shearwaters; we also saw Shags, Rock Doves and, of course, hundreds of Yellow-legged Gulls.

Scopoli's Shearwater
Reaching Lake Dystos, we first searched the adjacent groves for the Olive-tree Warbler, the Black-headed Bunting and the Sombre Tit. All three were found, along with Cirl Buntings, Greenfinches and Eastern Olivaceous Warblers. 

Sombre Tit
Lesser Kestrels were foraging in the fields, lots of herons were seen in the lake, along with Mute Swan families; a White Stork also visited the area, coming from Krieza village where its nest (the sole in the whole of the island) is found. Short-toed Lark and Crested Larks, Zitting Cisticolas and Woodchat Shrikes were also seen in the open fields closer to the lake. 

We also visited Mt Koskina, west of the lake and saw Ruppell's Warblers, Black-eared Wheatears, Rock Nuthatches and Cretzschmar's Buntings, among many other species. Turtle Doves, Tawny Pipits and Subalpine Warblers were a few more of the species seen. 

Black-eared Wheatear

Cretzschmar's Bunting
Early in the afternoon, we left Lake Dystos and headed to Delphi to stay overnight. 

The total list for the day (including the night of June 13th) was 48 species, nine of which were lifers. A perfect way to start a trip! 


Mute Swan - Cygnus olor
Mallard - Anas platyrhynchos
Rock Dove - Columba livia
European Turtle Dove - Streptopelia turtur
Collared Dove - Streptopelia decaocto
Alpine Swift - Apus melba
Yellow-legged Gull - Larus michahellis
Cory's Shearwater - Calonectris diomedea
Yelkouan Shearwater - Puffinus yelkouan
White Stork - Ciconia ciconia
European Shag - Phalacrocorax aristotelis
Grey Heron - Ardea cinerea
Short-toed Eagle - Circaetus gallicus
Western Marsh Harrier - Circus aeruginosus
Common Buzzard - Buteo buteo
Eurasian Scops Owl - Otus scops
Lesser Kestrel - Falco naumanni
Common Kestrel - Falco tinnunculus
Woodchat Shrike - Lanius senator
Common Magpie - Pica pica
Hooded Crow - Corvus cornix
Common Raven - Corvus corax
Greater Short-toed Lark - Calandrella brachydactyla
Crested Lark - Galerida cristata
Barn Swallow - Hirundo rustica
Red-rumped Swallow - Cecropis daurica
Common House Martin - Delichon urbicum
Sombre Tit - Poecile lugubris
Great Tit - Parus major
Western Rock Nuthatch - Sitta neumayer
Cetti's Warbler - Cettia cetti
Eastern Olivaceous Warbler - Iduna pallida
Olive-tree Warbler - Hippolais olivetorum
Great Reed Warbler - Acrocephalus arundinaceus
Zitting Cisticola - Cisticola juncidis
Ruppell's Warbler - Sylvia ruppeli
Subalpine Warbler - Sylvia cantillans
Sardinian Warbler - Sylvia melanocephala
European Stonechat - Saxicola rubicola
Black-eared Wheatear - Oenanthe hispanica
Eurasian Blackbird - Turdus merula
Tawny Pipit - Anthus campestris
European Greenfinch - Chloris chloris
Common Linnet - Linaria cannabina
Black-headed Bunting - Emberiza melanocephala
Cirl Bunting - Emberiza cirlus
Cretzschmar's Bunting - Emberiza caesia
House Sparrow - Passer domesticus

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