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GREECE – LESVOS 2004

Birding began almost immediately at the marsh adjacent to the hotel. Little Bittern, Squacco and Purple Herons, Glossy Ibis, Wood Sandpipers and Black-winged Stilts were all seen as were Eastern Olivaceous Warbler and Cetti's Warbler.

Our second day dawned cool and gloves and coat were in order. Our destination was the Inland Lake, a good birding area that did not disappoint: thirteen Black-crowned Night-herons, two Little Crakes and many Great Reed Warblers were amongst the species added to our trip list. West and East Rivers added more species: Great Egret. Black Stork, Ruddy Shelduck, Temminck's Stint and Stone Curlew. Yellow-legged Gulls and Hooded Crows were ubiquitous. Passerines included European Bee-eater, Black-headed Bunting, Woodchat and Red-backed Shrikes and a nearby Citrine Wagtail. The nearby saltpans added Greater Flamingo, Montagu's and Western Marsh-harrier, Collared Pratincole, Kentish and Little Ringed Plovers, Marsh Sandpiper and some beautiful White-winged Terns. The day ended with Greater Short-toed Larks, Red-throated Pipits and Whinchats in the sheep fields and a Eurasian Scops-owl in the grounds of a school.

Day three started at the salt pans and, amongst other waders, we found a Eurasian Curlew, quite rare on the island.Red-footed Falcons, Eurasian Sparrowhawks and Montagu's Harriers all showed well and two Gull-billed Terns were located. After breakfast we visited the 'Derbyshire' area. Here we added Black-eared Wheatear, Blue Rock-thrush, Subalpine Warbler, Red-rumped Swallow and Black and White Storks.A Middle Spotted Woodpecker gave brief views here too. After lunch we found Rüppell's Warbler, Eastern Orphean Warbler and European Roller. Finally, walking along Goat Pit Track, we added Western Rock Nuthatch, Rose-colored Starling and Cretzschmar's Bunting.

Day four dawned and we visited Devil's Bridge getting Common Stonechat and a pair of Cirl Buntings. Next was Ipsilou Monastery. En route we picked up our first Isabelline Wheatear. At the monastery we picked up four real goodies – Eleanora's Falcon, Masked Shrike, Collared Flycatcher and Cinereous Bunting – along with Blackcaps, Wood Warblers, and Pied and Spotted Flycatchers. Also here we picked up Short-toed Snake-eagle, Chukar, Eurasian Crag-martin and Alpine Swift. At Sigiri we added Lesser Kestrel and Eurasian Golden Oriole.

On day five we visited the Napi Valley and admired a flock of about forty Red-footed Falcons, plus Somber Tit and another 'biggie' Olive Tree Warbler.We visited various other sites getting good views of species we had already seen, plus our only Tawny Pipit of the trip, and finished with a raptor watch during which we got Northern Goshawk, Common Buzzard, Long-legged Buzzard and another Eleanora's Falcon.

Early on day six and we were back on the goat track admiring Rufous Bush-robin.Then it was time to hunt for another 'biggie'. We drove to a wood and could hear but not see the bird. We picked up Short-toed Treecreeper and European Serin and then our target – Krüper's Nuthatch – a gem of a bird. In a chestnut wood we added some more familiar birds: European Robin, Winter Wren, Song Thrush and Eurasian Bullfinch. Also here we saw a singing Eastern Bonelli's Warbler and added Osprey and Northern Raven to the list. At the end of the day, again at the salt pans, we watched two Common Ringed Plovers, at least thirty Little Stints and six Curlew Sandpipers.

Day seven was our last day and the weather was bad. This had affected migrants as we saw telegraph wires filled with Barn and Red-rumped Swallows and House Martins, and by Pervoli Monastery, Spotted Flycatchers were everywhere. Later, at Molivos harbour, we watched a fishing boat come in trailing hundreds of gulls and a few Levantine Shearwaters, and finished with 156 species in seven days.

Krüper's Nuthatch

Krüper's Nuthatch