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WEATHER:  sunshine all day. Top temp 28C

It was a mish-mash of a day today, we had no clear itinerary we just went where the birds that we needed for our list, happened to be sighted. Maybe not a great idea, chasing other peoples sightings rather than setting out to find our own.

We started at the old Kaloni Reservoir, a rectangular, deep lake hidden along a rack in the Potamia Valley. There we saw at least four Night Herons, a few Little Grebes with Moorhen and Coot thrown into the mix. After a short stay we drove around to the small Metochi Lake (pool). The reedbeds around the perimeter of the pool were alive with warblers,we saw our first Great Reed Warbler along with Sedge Warblers and Reed Warblers. Cetti’s Warblers sang out accompanying Nightingales and Olivaceous Warblers.

Oor first Great Reed Warbler of the trip

Scanning the reed beds we found two Little Crakes, but they were very elusive, unlike the very showy Squacco Herons, more Little Grebes and Moorhens and Coots.

there were four Squacco herons at Metochi Lake

After breakfast the rest of the group joined us except for Zella and Brigitte, we set off for the River Tisknias where a Spotted cRake had been seen this morning. We staked out the area of reeds where the bird had been seen for about an hour and saw not a sausage! However a Little Bittern, Reed and Sedge Warblers, Black-headed Bunting, Olivaceous Warbler, Black Stork (fly-over) and plenty of commn species kept us occupied.

Little Bittern in the reeds along the Tisknias River

We heard of the sighting of a Ferruginous Duck not 10 minutes away, so off we shot, we went via Lotzaria and the west side of Kaloni salt Pans where we saw not one but two Spur-winged Plovers, we searched for the Cattle Egret, but it still eluded us. We did see plenty of European Bee-eaters, Whinchats, Yellow Wagtails, a few Red-throated Pipits and the usual suspects on the salt pans. Two ringtail Montagu’s Harriers gave us a wonderful display as they quartered the surrounding fields to the west of the salt pans, we had close encounters with some European Bee-eaters too.

our first Fritillary - the Lesser Spotted fritillary

Our visit to Karami Marshes was quite brief, we searched the roadside pools for the Ferruginous Duck, but of course, it wasn’t there! A short walk produced nothing new so we abandoned our search. Three Gull-billed Terns flew along the coastline, they were about our best sightings.

We made a quick visit to the beach not far away, there is a sand -bar there that we walked to, unfortunately the tide was only just turning and not much of the sand-bar was in view. We only saw Yellow-legged Gulls and a apir of Common Shelduck. We decided to eat our lunch beside the River Tsiknias at the Spotted Crake site, hoping that maybe it would appear whilst we ate, it never did show.

a view out to the Sand bar, the tide was just starting to recede to expose more of the sand bar

The large open fields beyond the salt pans have seasonal pools, the area is called Alykes Wetlands, it is a good place where to see Tawny Pipits during this migration period. Along the way we saw four Black Storks, two Whgite Storks and two Spur-winged Plovers in one section of the marsh.

the open fileds behind the Salt Pans - called Alkykes Wetland

Our walk produced a lot of sightings, the pools were drying up fast, so not many waders were present. We did find three Whimbrel, a dozen Kentish Plovers, a pair of Little Ringed Plovers, a few Little Stints and lots of Yellow Wagtails. Ruddy Shelducks, Little Egrets, Yellow-legged Gulls and a Marsh Harrier were also present. A small flock of Greater Short-toed Larks flew over us and as we walked along the dunes we saw a couple more.

Leaving the marsh we saw three Spur-winged Plovers and we visited a hide overlooking the salt pans, we saw nothing new.

We drove into Skala Kaloni and bought an ice-cream and a coffee, we passed by the Long-eared Owl site and stopped for a quick look. We saw one of the adults sitting out, we never got out of the car, other birders were there and getting a bit too close to take pictures. After our coffee we dropped some of the group back at the hotel and then drove round to tracks near Metochi Lake where we had heard a report of an Olive Tree Warbler sighting.

Large Skipper 

The warbler wasn’t present but we did enjoy a close sighting of a Hoopoe and a Common Nightingale. We then decided to spend the last hour at the River Tsiknias and the Lotzaria track. We had a modicum of success along the track when we found two Tawny Pipits! At last we had a pipit in the bag. We also saw Yellow Wagtails, Whinchats, a male Montagu’s Harrier and lots of Crested Larks.

Tawny Pipit and a Yellow Wagtail

two Tawny Pipits

Finally we made one last attempt to see the Spotted Crake back at the river. We stood on the east bank whilst a dozen other birders stood on the west bank. Guess where the bird was seen from? Yes, the west bank, we quickly drove across the ford to join the other birders, but the bird was out of sight and never came out of the reeds again. A male Little Bittern was nice consolation, It was now 6:30pm so we called time and drove back to the hotel to get ready for our last dinner together.