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WEATHER: cloudy, warm with plenty of sunshine. Temp 24C

With a day to spare before my group arrives tomorrow (7th) I took Guy to Kalachori Wetlands which will be the first port of call when trip begins tomorrow, it was a pre-tour recce.  We had a fantastic 6 hours birding the large pools, the canals, the seashore and the reedbeds, we amassed an incredible 60 species with some goodies thrown. We saw 7 species of terns, a dozen or so of waders and had great views of many Slender-billed Gulls.

the first brackish lagoon on Kalachori Marsh

We arrived at the first lagoon just after 9am our breakfast was taken at the hotel so we were all set for some hard core birding. The water and weedy margins were covered in all sorts of species and above the water, gulls, terns and swallows were ducking and diving all over the place.

White-winged Terns flying over a mix of Black-headed and Slender-billed Gulls, can you see the Slender-billed Gulls, there are six of them?

A flock of 86 marsh terns fed in part of the lagoon that was furthest away from us, it was a tremendous sight, we counted 70+ White-winged Terns, 11 Black Terns and 5  Whiskered Terns, they put on a great display for us.

record shot of a Whiskered Tern

Waders fed all over the place we saw Ruff, Wood Sandpiper, Curlew Sandpiper (in summer plumage) Little Stint, also in summer plumage, Black-winged Stilts, Kentish and Little ringed Plovers.

On the water was a huge number of Common Shelduck, some Mallards, 3 male Garganey, Coots, Moorhens and Little Grebes. We saw both Pygmy and Great Cormorants.

distant Garganey with Black-winged Stilts and Common Shelduck

We drove around the marsh to get nearer to the terns where we enjoyed watching them for a while longer. At our new vantage point we saw at least 5 Marsh Harriers, Common Kestrel, Crested Lark, Corn Bunting, Woodchat Shrike and Pallid Swift.

Wood Sandpiper

In the distance on lagoon number two we scoped Greater Flamingos, huge numbers of Spotted Redshank (70+) and some massive flocks of Little Stint (2-300). We added Greenshank, Dunlin, Grey Plover and we spent a lot of time sifting trough the Stilt flocks looking for Broad-billed Sandpiper, but we drew a blank.

huge numbers of Curlew Sandpipers and Little Stints could be seen on the marsh

Further into the marsh land we added Black-headed Yellow Wagtail, Squacco Heron, Dalmatian Pelican, Purple Heron, Little & Common Terns, Mediterranean Gull, Oystercatcher and Tree Sparrow. We ate our lunch siting by a small canal where we saw Marsh frogs, a Coypu and more Squacco Herons. We tracked down a calling Cuckoo, it was distant but recognisable and we watch small parties of Bee-eaters. A large Rookery of Rooks was a surprise and Jackdaws flew past every now and again.

well comouflaged Little Stints in their summer plumage

Our journey back through the marsh produced more sightings, one of the best of the day was a Spur-winged Plover, it flew alongside the track and over the bay towards lagoon number 1, we never relocated it so it was only a fly-passed sighting.

We also had closer views of the ‘Marsh’ Terns and Guy found a small number of Collared Pratincoles, about a dozen were hawking insects high above us, they we joined by Gull-billed Terns and White-winged Terns. We saw distant Buzzards in the sky and a couple of Common Kestrels hunting in the fields. Guy also pointed out a few Spanish Sparrows as we made our way off the marsh. 

Pygmy Cormorant

Squacco Heron

For the rest of the afternoon we visited a large brackish lagoon near our hotel at Angelchori, it wasn’t as productive as the marsh at Kalachori but we added a few species to our day list. A Great White Egret dropped into a marshy area with three Little Egrets and a Grey Heron. We saw a bunch of  Grey-headed Wagtails, a couple of Hoopoes and our first Avocets of the day.

Grey-headed Yellow Wagtail ssp flava

an adult Slender-billed Gull

Lots of Mediterranean Gulls flew over, we had much closer views of Slender-billed Gulls and the usual Greater Flamingos and Common Shelducks were sprinkled over the water. We left the lagoon around 5pm, it had been a great day out, we ate dinner again at the hotel. They have tables actually on the beach, the sunset was once again a very colourful affair and very tranquil. Yesterday during dinner four Night Herons flew over and headed across the bay and this morning we found a Spotted Flycatcher in the tiny garden of the hotel!