Monday 27 May 2024

Hollesley May 2024

 May 3rd

Waders on the move, 2 Summer plumaged Bar tailed godwits were with the 78 Black tailed, the 2nd CY Glossy ibis is still here and a Spoonbill. 4 Little Ringed Plover, 3 Ringed plover and the Goosander Still.

May 10th, from the Garden Tawny Owl and Little Owl calling with the Aurora in the back ground.

May 11th
First Swift of the Year, Cuckoo, Glossy ibis, Common Sandpiper. 15 Tufted Ducks, 5 Pochard, 1 Goosander still and a few Yellow wagtails. A Regular Short Eared Owl and Barn Owl now too.

I went back out in the evening, highlights were a Black tern that flew out to see along the river. A Wood Sandpiper was heard only and 6 Spoonbill of all ages were happily feeding in front of the screen, the Glossy ibis again.

May 18th
Whimbrel and 2 Curlew sand were a nice addition to the year list, 6 Spoonbill again, Common Sandpiper and the Glossy Ibis again.

A drake Garganey was a nice find by Tom the evening before and was still here today.
Back at home it was a nice still evening, so i could clearly hear the Nightjars from Lower Hollesley Common. The Tawny was very loud in the neighbors garden.

May 20th
Nipped over to Boyton, the Turtle doves have arrived back, Short Eared owls and a Red Kite. 2 Common Sandpiper and a Cuckoo

May 25th
A Great crested Grebe was on the Sea and a year tick here. The Goosander, 3 Pochard and a Drake Pintail were still on site surprisingly.

Swift numbers were now in the 100s and the Glossy Ibis again. 2 Cuckoo and a Spoonbill still.
Muntjack and Chinese Water deer looked great in the evening light and Creeping Buttercups, and a Grey Heron showing nicely. Barn Owl hunting and the Egyptian geese have lost there young by looks of it.

May 26th 
Tonight, the drake Garganey dropped in late, 1st summer Glossy Ibis still, a distant Hobby and Short Eared Owl, Barn Owl again, Tawny Owl calling and the Goosander and Pintail still. A male Marsh harrier showed well. 2 Emperor moths seen in flight.

May 27th
Went out looking for a red backed shrike on patch, nothing from the Marsh but some lucky birder found a cracking male on the Upper Hollesley Common area. Managed to see it well along side 12 Common Crossbill, Dartford Warbler, Woodlarks, and Stonechats.

A nice finish to the bank Holiday weekend.

Sunday 5 May 2024

Lesvos April 2024 24th April to 1st May

 We picked the 2nd flight out from Stansted this year but it seems all the orchids and many flowers were over already which was a shame.  This year we had the mother in law with us too, this made it a much reduced birding trip. Still it was fantastic with 154 species.

Day 1 April 24th

Flew into Mitilini around lunch time so headed round the bay to Charamida where 2 Ruppell's were singing and showing nicely. Other birds were a few Sardinian warblers, Cretzschmar's Bunting and our first Woodchat Shrike. 

I turned a few rocks over finding a few Melaphe Vestita and a tiny Preying Mantis nymph.   

Moved onto Loutra for our usual meal at the taverna by the Laughing Dove nest. Saw at least 8 birds this time with 2 nests shown to me by the locals. 

Got our fill of the excellent pork steaks and meatballs so headed now for Mesa where 4 Pygmy Cormorant had been roosting and after missing these birds by just a day last autumn this was a boggy bird i didn't want to miss. Bingo 2 roosting in the channel and a third feeding on the pools. Lifer

Usual other stuff here were the Squacco heron, Fant tailed Warblers, Whinchat, Corn buntings, Little Ringed Plovers and Wood Sandpipers. 

Dropped the family off at the hotel not before spotting the Dalmation Pelican and Great White Egret feeding in the channel of the Saltpans.

I finished my day at Metochi lake where i had great views of 2 Little Crakes and a Purple Heron. Other bits were Golden Oriole, Black headed bunting, Reed Great Reed and Sedge Warblers.  

It didn't stop there as after a superb meal i stopped off at the old Diana shop where it took only a couple of minutes for the regular Barn Owl to appear from the chimney. Back at the hotel Scops owl calling.

A fantastic 1st day. 

Day 2 25th April

Stayed local today just a recovery day after the early morning flight and time lag. Walked to the Christou River, and Kalloni pools, Common Snipe and Wood Sandpipers were the only thin on the pool. The River held Stone Curlew, Common Terns, Little Stints a Ruff and Flamingos. Then my first Dalmation flew over distantly. Also a Jay.

Then headed For the Saltpans, Nothing amazing, but good views of Black and White Storks, Glossy Ibis Red Rumped Swallows and a 2cy Male Montagu's Harrier. A Lesser Kestrel was a nice early surprise

Got wind of some Lace Threadwings at Parakila Harbour so headed there for the afternoon, what a great area with no less than 15 of these fabulous insects on the wing. Also some Crimson Speckled moths and then a massive Ottomans Viper Snake.

  A nice easy day but a fabulous one,

Day 3 26th April

Started on the Saltpans again and around the racetrack, more Crimson Speckled moths, a Tawny Pipit and short toed larks, Montagu's harrier female and a Cracking Adult male this time. Took the Lotzaria Track for a nice Lesser Grey Shrike. 

The beach at the end of Tsiknias River help Black, Whiskered and White Winged Black Terns, also a surprise Bottle Nosed Dolphin. Finished birding at Old Potamia Res where there were 5 Night Heron and a Little Bittern. Violet dropwings, Small frit type and Snake eyed lizards too.

Finished the day visiting Molyvos so no birding done for the afternoon.

Day 4 27th April

Today it was the new road to Sigri, with a stop along the road for Crag Martin and then Ipsilo monastery, the mother in law didn't like heights so we didn't stop long but long enough for me to walk around the monastery and up the secret path. 

It was all too quiet, brief views of a female type flycatcher, Blue Rock Thrush, Rock Sparrow and the usual Cinerious and Cretzchmar's Buntings and Black eared Wheatear. Rock Nuthatch and Wood Nuthatch. Middle Spotted woodpecker showed well briefly too. Sombra Tit and Bonnelli's Warbler were singing and im pretty sure i heard a Thrush Nightingale in the valley, finally a Black Stork circled the hill oh and not forgetting the Agama Lizards.

Next stop was Sigri spotting a few bits on the way, Long legged Buzzard Short Toed Eagle and 2 Peregrine, Lesser Kestrel too. Little Owl on its usual rocky outcrop. 

Had lunch at Australia wonderful meal of Souvalaki.

After lunch a drive down to Feneromeni beach spotting on the way Rollers, Bee eaters, pretty much all the shrikes, Lesser grey, Red backed, Masked and Woodchat. Turtle Doves too.

On the beach, Little Ringed plover, Corn Buntings and Yelkoin and Scopolis shearwaters, Yelkoin in there hundreds. 

The upper ford unfortunately had a tractor driving through it flushing anything within it, but i did get a shot of 2 Ruddy Shelduck, further up the track a Marsh warbler found by another birder was singing its mixed tune. 

Headed back over the top to finish at Petrified forest VC, 3 Chukar was a highlight, Isabeline Wheatear, Orphean Warblers and 3 Golden Oriole were all a bonus. 2 Lesser Kestrel and a female Monties came over the hill together. A Hoopoe was in the carpark. Northern Wheatear looked stunning. A female Cretzmar's Bunting had me stringing an Ortoland Bunting.

Day 5 28th April

Ive been under the weather all week, so this morning i felt i needed to get out early and do some proper birding. Headed straight to the saltpans where 2 Spur winged plover had now set up residence with a bit of breeding going on. 

This was from the entrance to the main saltpan entrance, as i was there a little while other birds i spotted were 2 Temmnicks stint which i got on flight call, they did eventually land n the channel in front of me, Black headed wagtails and a flock of 15 Red Throated pipits dropped in. 2 Distant ring tailed Montagu's Harrier.

Headed for the Racetrack where the Rufous bushchat gave me the run around. The Tawny pipit and a short toed lark showed briefly on the beach. A Dalmation Pelican was distant in the harbour following boats in. They are so used to the fishermen feeding them from the boats now.  I did have a ringtailed Harrier come over the racetrack that looked slim, with a lot of white and black around the eye and just reminded me more of a Pallid Harrier, funnily enough a ringtail Pallid was picked up at the pans a very short time later. Wish id got the camera out in time.

I headed to the stinky pool to have a better look at one of the Montagu's Harriers which showed well eating crickets.

The obligatory Black winged Stilts were photogenic.

I spotted a Cattle egret in flight in the area where the farmer was cutting his grass so took a better look at that too. The Crested lark begged for its photo to be taken.

The morning was getting better when a Lesser Grey shrike turned up close to the car, so it would have been rude not to get a few shots.

A Purple Heron was in the same area

Headed back via the Loritza track, another 2 Lesser Grey Shrike, a Roller briefly and my first Collard Pratincole.

Picked up the family and went out for lunch and then off to Moria Roman Viaduct for the afternoon. 
Nipped into Mesa for the 2 Pygmy Cormorant again.

Later that day i visited the pans again where we stumbled upon 3 Red Footed Falcons and better views of the Spur Winged Plover.

 Day 6 29th April

Got up early again and watched the Christou River Bar tailed Godwit again, saw this bird on the pans earlier in week, a Dark Oiled Little stint and 86 Ruff on Show with a few Curlew Sand. The pans again but this time for a few Terns, a Little Gull was my first of the trip and good views of White winged black and Gull Billed Terns were the highlight. 

The Tsiknias River gave me good but brief views of a Spotted crake but little else. The Loritza track had 3 Lesser Grey Shrike now and 2 Collard Pratincole, 1 Spur winged Plover, Tawny pipit, Northern and Isabelline Wheatears.

The afternoon was spent in the sika sikamineas area so no birding done.  

On the way back i nipped into the school in Kalloni for a showy Long eared Owl.

Day 7 30th April

Our last day now so a lazy day. Some birding done such as Achladeri Woodland for the usual Krupers Nuthatch and then a Great Snipe was found further up on Achladeri pools so had to go see that as id been searching all the pools all week for one. 


Accompanying birds on show were the Masked Shrike, Long tailed Tits, Short toed treecreepers and finally a showy Cirl Bunting.

Finally back at Skalla Kalloni i walked the beach looking for better views of Rufous bushchat which i finally managed decent views of.

One last Bee eater attempt too.

Had to visit the pans 1 last time for White winged Black terns again and a showy Olivacious Warbler. Also from here Pallid and Alpine swift came in with the Common Swifts.

Another superb trip to the wonderful Island of Lesvos, and booked for 10 days next year.
All bird shots Digiscoped.

155 Species added to my list this year, not bad for juggling birding and family.  

List here